Women on Womanhood
These extraordinary women from fashion to family make their mark in the world and celebrate womanhood. Get to know their stories.
On Hollywood's red carpet and fashion capitals' runways, Monique Lhuillier has conquered the scene. The international designer believes that women who wear her creations are strong and makes a difference in everything they do, as well as extremely passionate whether it's about family, work, or style.
Monique Lhuillier as the cover lady of Philippine Tatler October 2014 LA Fashion Issue
"My design philosophy is to create clothing that is special, and makes women feel empowered. I am inspired by life. Art, travel, architecture are such huge parts of my life and are infused into every garment. The creative process can only start from something that visually inspires me. When I design I keep strong women in mind. I want them to feel beautiful, glamorous, yet comfortable and confident when they are wearing a piece from my collection."
Even with countless art exhibitions, Marivic Rufino still cannot see herself as a full-time painter but rather one who has mastered the craft for a deeper purpose. She believes that if she becomes a full-time painter, she would be so isolated and reclusive. Just like any woman, she had to live a normal life and earn a living.
Marivic Rufino as the cover lady of Philippine Tatler May 2013 Art Issue
“Painting heals me,” she says. “My paintings reveal my yearning for nature and a different, transformed state of being. I paint happy and tranquil artworks to calm the soul. When I paint, I could be very sad. But the process of painting transforms, and when I look at the finished product, I see that it’s a happy painting. Of course it’s good when people buy my work; but for me, to touch someone’s life—that’s fulfilling enough.”
With style, beauty, and intelligence, Stephanie Kienle-Gonzalez exudes the characteristics of a Filipina making an impact on the corporate world. She is the vice president for sales and marketing of Philux, a furniture company that her parents started in 1980, and finds that one secret to success is knowing well the people you work with.
Stephanie Kienle-Gonzalez as one of Philippine Tatler November 2014 issue's Belles of the Ball
“I’m a firm believer that in order to be able to sell and understand the market you need to know how it is made from the ground up. Time in the factory is very important, you are exposed to both the behind the scenes and the retail. It’s quite fulfilling because you get to know your people well, you get to appreciate what each person does and their role in the company.”
Sofia Zobel-Elizalde, founder of the STEPS Dance Studio discovered the art of dance at age four, and it remains her life's passion. The studio has been up and running for more than two decades and for her, it was a long and fulfilling journey that is borne out of love.
Sofia Elizalde in a feature article for Philippine Tatler December 2013 issue
“Throughout my teaching career, I’ve tried to take everything that I have learnt and continue to learn, both here and abroad, and pass it on to my students. I want them to perform and compete with the standards of the world and one way to do that is to give them a first-rate facility,” Sofia said. “It is designed to help Filipino artists tap into their creativity and inner strength, which can be very difficult; that’s why we need to have a space where artists can feel safe in, to release their feelings.”
The country's leading businesswoman Zenaida Rustia Tantoco is first and foremost an accomplished businesswoman who believes in bringing her corporate know-how to the business of raising funds for charity.
Nedy Tantoco as the cover lady of Philippine Tatler August 2012 Charity Issue
“The easiest approach is to choose a good cause,” she pointed out. “If your reason for fundraising meets opposition, you will never make it. So choose your causes carefully and be passionate about it. And be sure to take care of the details.But don’t pick a cause to help based on its popularity. If it’s a popular cause many fundraisers will be ready to help it anyway. Choose a charity according to its need, even if it is unknown. Furthermore, don’t be content with asking people for money alone. Try to get donors interested in the project so as to create personal involvement and a sense of stewardship. Most important, be upright with the way that you deal with the funds you raise. There should be utmost openness about the money collected, and it should all go to the cause for which it was raised.”
Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski came from a prominent political clan and an accomplished equestrienne. Though she and her husband Dodot Jaworski are inclined to sports, they nurture a strong attachment to their families—those they grew up with and the one they started together.
Mikee Cojuangco and her family on the cover of Philippine Tatler December 2012 issue
"We don’t want our kids to be replicas of us. They should identify themselves, build their characters based on what we’ve taught them, and that is to have Filipino values,” says Mikee. “We’re hoping that they’d be humble but not insecure, and that they’d become individuals who can make their own contributions to society.”
Entrepreneur and philanthopist Kaye Tinga couldn't agree more that the world appreciates the uniqueness of Filipina beauty as seen in the many Filipinas being top contenders in international beauty pageants.
Kaye Tinga in the Philippine Tatler February 2015 Ball issue
“Ask any man in the world who has met a Filipina and chances are he will say Filipinas are among the warmest and most caring in the world. Filipinas are sweet and loving, adaptable and resourceful. But underneath our sweetness and smiles, lie extraordinary strength and courage which is second to no one,” she said.