International Women's Month 2020: What I Learned From 4 Inspirational Women
International Women’s Month is an event everyone at Tatler looks forward to. It advocates something very close to our hearts — especially as an office that’s predominantly female.
Last March 5, 2020, we were invited to join the Rustan’s #GRLPWR forum at EDSA Shangri-la where women such as Karen Davila, Bianca Gonzalez, Liz Uy, and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo spoke about fashion, beauty, burnout, and motherhood. And while the audience had previously been preoccupied by the games and giveaways from Rustan’s beauty, I guarantee that we were all engrossed during the open forum that placed these four ladies at the centre of the stage. This is what I learned.
Starting the afternoon off easy, host Bianca Valerio first asked these four women about their sartorial style. Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, published author and founder of Happy Skin, talked about how important it is for her, as a woman of many hats, to be comfortable. While Liz Uy, a true stylist, spoke of style as something that depended on the occasion.
Both Bianca Gonzalez and Rissa talked of the empowering aspect of the colour red, particularly in lipstick.
Even if you’re home alone, you go to a mirror, you put on [red] lipstick, and it just changes your mood. You have this renewed sense of energy and power.
Karen Davila, whose go-to is a white polo and denim jeans described her style as classic and timeless. “I feel it’s important to stick with colours that are classic, colours that fit you, and styles that are timeless.”
Despite these differences, all four women agreed: “If you feel empowered, then [wear] it.”
On How To Start The Day Off Right
Now getting personal, the four ladies talked about their morning routines.
Karen wakes up at 6:30am every day and prepares for her show at ANC with the meditation app, Abide. She does a quick prayer afterwards before heading off to work. As a newscaster, Karen is best known for her hard-hitting interviews with politicians and personalities, not all of whom are as happy-go-lucky as the ideal interviewee. “Some [interviews] can get very negative, and some can go not the way you expect it to go, then you get bashed after [on Facebook]. So [my prayer is like having] God’s armour before I start the show.”
Bianca, as a TV personality, enjoys starting her day off relaxed. “If I have to be up at a certain time, I wake up an hour before so I can enjoy a cup of coffee without being rushed.”
Rissa concurred and emphasised the importance of making a commitment to caring for yourself. “You have to set aside that moment in the morning that’s for yourself. Your time to yourself should be as equally important as a business meeting.”
The conversation then veered to work styles. All four women are leaders in their own fields and have their own work styles and ethics.
Liz, a talented delegator, said: “Chill lang ako kasi I feel like if I panic, work will not get done.”
Rissa, another entrepreneur, agrees on the importance of balance and delegation, especially as a leader. “Most women feel like they have to do everything, hanggang wala nang mapiga from you. But it’s okay to delegate, it doesn’t make you less powerful. It makes you more powerful because it gives you more control. There’s no shame in delegating.”
On Balance And Burnout
Approaching a more in-depth look into the lives of these four women, the host then asked what their thoughts were on balancing priorities, particularly relationships.
All women agreed that prioritising was key. “You have to choose what’s important,” Liz said.
Karen agreed, at the same time speaking out on the importance of having deep and meaningful friendships. “I’m a strong believer in keeping old, simple friends because you need people to keep you grounded. Kailangan may nagsasabi sa iyo ng totoo.”
“I’m a believer in ‘you can have it all, but not at the same time’,” Bianca said. If you have a busy day at work today, then perhaps tomorrow you can dedicate more time to your family, she suggests. “It’s more about making sure you pace yourself so you can reach the end of the day successfully.”
While some people may imagine that Karen, Bianca, Liz, and Rissa all lead perfect lives, the four guest speakers found themselves going candid about being burnt out. Tackling the issue of such, Rissa said:
I’ve come to realise that [perfectionism] can really burn you out. [So] don’t be afraid to say no. The ability to say no is very powerful because you’re saying no for something better — your friends, your family, or yourself.
There was emphatic applause within the audience as Karen added: “When you feel burnt out, you lose that spark to continue in your job. You have to guard against that. You have to find moments and pockets that inspire you. It could be a dog in the house, it could be moments with a baby.”
“You become more effective in other areas of your life when [you aren’t burnt out]. Energy is contagious so be the energy that shifts the room,” Rissa said.
On Problems In Life
One of the most empowering moments in the entire talk was when Karen said:
Don’t even [think] that you can’t do it. That’s not part of the vocabulary. I grew up [being told] that failure is not an option in life. In other words, you may fail doing some projects but overall in the long run, I never considered that I will fail in life. And I feel it starts with that.
“I believe that the word is strong,” Liz followed. “When you say it out loud and say that you can do it, then you can do it.” She also added how important having a good support system is, something all the women agreed with, especially Rissa.
Throughout this conversation, on the lows of life, on social media, and on mental health the message that all resounded the most was not only the importance of having a good support system, but also the importance of being grounded in reality. “Social media is not real life,” Bianca said. Nods followed as these women elaborated on their own personal struggles — as mothers, as caretakers, and as women online and off.
The entire forum painted an honest depiction of the lives of celebrities behind the camera and filtered photos. If there was ever a time that I felt closest to these changemakers, it was right then when I could see their feet planted firmly on the ground in front of me, and hearing them speak about what life is really like in their shoes.
International Women’s Month is all about equality and empowerment, and something to realise in all this is that the core of these virtues lies in honesty — the honesty of a downfall and the honesty of a comeback, the honesty of being human, and of being a woman.
Read Also: International Women's Month 2020: Achievements Of Notable Women Around The World