Finally, my Pond’s #BeautifulStory is out. My story is about overcoming low self-esteem, and building my confidence, which I was able to do when I started taking care of myself. I am so proud to be a part of this meaningful campaign. I hope we can all make a difference by sharing our own stories, and helping each other realize we are beautiful in our own way.
Everyone has their own beautiful story to tell.
It is when you realize you are beautiful in your own right, and begin to discover your self-worth. In a lot of ways, it is an ‘AHA moment’, where you stop listening to negative, hyper-critical talk and start celebrating your good qualities, inside and out. No doubt, we’ve all experienced “ugly days”, and for some of us, we may actually believe this is all we are. But guess what, there is more to us than what others and what we perceive ourselves to be. There is beauty is each one of us, sometimes you just need to look closely to find it.
Have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror and just began tearing yourself down? That happened to me, a lot. I was back in grade school, at around grade 6 or 7, a time when my height shot up and all of a sudden I was tall, extremely thin and gangly. All my other classmates were cute and petite and I stood out like a sore thumb. It didn’t help that my parents decided I needed braces, which destroyed my smile for a few years but okay, it made my teeth straight so I have them to thank for it. I wanted to hide my hideous height but it was impossible, so I began slouching, which you know only made things worse. I was awkward and self-conscious with my new body, and to top it off, I looked like a boy, with a nose too big for my face. I was rail-thin with a mouth full of metal and I always stood at the back of the line. This went on all throughout high school, and I seriously believed this was all I would ever be. In my free time, I sought the solace of books and writing in my diary (an intro to blogging). Thankfully, I had friends, who are still my core group till this day. But I never in a million years would I have believed it if someone told me I would be where I am today. I would likely dismiss it as an impossible dream, but as I learned through the years, nothing is impossible.
So when did this ‘AHA moment’ come to me? Did I wake up one day, look at my reflection in the mirror and say, “I’m beautiful”? I wish it were that easy. It took most of my college life to build my self-confidence. In college, I met different kinds of people, from different schools with different ideologies. My world grew, and I suddenly realized I could do whatever I wanted without everyone else’s approval. I was in charge of my life, and I could pursue my dreams. So I began introducing myself as ‘Kelly’ (my real name is Raquel, which I never liked, Kelly is a nickname I never used because I was too scared to make the change), I cut my hair short and colored it red, and began trying out for commercials. I joined a modelling competition, which I made to Top 10 (I was with the likes of Solenn Heussaff, Nicole Hernandez, and my sister-in-law, Bianca Fernandez, if you can believe that). I found a reputable modelling agency who signed me up, and soon after, I began booking jobs. In late 2004, I attended a final VTR for a skincare commercial. I was among so many beautiful girls and I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would get the part. My Pond’s commercial was launched in 2005, and until this day I swear, people still remember me from it. That commercial launched my modelling career, and I went on to do many, many print ads, commercials and endorsements. I even got to travel around Asia to model. Impossible.
It has been a crazy transition, but all it took was a positive view of myself. I tore down all my “hurdles” and decided they were not real, and went for what I wanted. I tried, which may not always end in success, but if you think of it, you’ve already got your foot in the door, so might as well continue. Also what I’ve realized is, perception is reality. You are what you believe to be. And really, the only person that might be stopping you is your own reflection in the mirror. I truly believe we can all be what we want to be, and that nothing is impossible in this world. Dreams can come true, and it comes hand-in-hand with hard work, dedication and good intention. (Excerpt from a blog post published in August 3, 2014)