On the day of her shoot, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo steps inside the studio with a face full of makeup–from her base to her falsies–that she expertly applied herself. This is just one of the many things the wife, mother of three, model, award-winning entrepreneur and author of the newly-published Read My Lips: What It Takes To Build A World-Class Homegrown Brand is capable of. One of the things she is most known for, of course, is being the woman behind local beauty brand Happy Skin. Just in time for National Lipstick Day, we had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss her eye-opening perspective on beauty, her personal skincare regimen and advice she would want to give to budding entrepreneurs.
What is a day in the life for you like?
After finishing my Executive MBA at the Asian Institute of Management, writing my book, and launching Happy Skin’s latest collaboration with Disney, I am happy to say that my schedule is not as crazy as it used to be—but I still feel like there’s still not enough hours in a day! I suppose that’s really the norm for anyone who’s balancing work and family life. You will never run out of things to do, which is why it’s important to think about what really matters to you. Also, juggling numerous roles can be as uncomplicated and simple as having an excellent support system. My husband, Paolo Trillo, is my anchor.
Normally, my days end very late because I prefer to finish my work after I get to spend time with my three kids and when they’re already in bed, but I also like catching them in the morning before they head out. The best part in a day for me is the evenings when we’re all complete at home, unwinding together. Those are actually the most special moments for me.
What is your skincare regimen like? Are there any products you wear by?
Skincare requires commitment, but you also want to be able to spend the least effort on it as possible. That’s the reason why Happy Skin designed an effortless three-step skincare routine through our Anti-Aging Series.
I start with the Hydrating Facial Wash that cleanses even your pores, but without drying the skin. Then I follow that up with the Time Reversing Serum that penetrates the skin deeply to firm it up and prevent moisture loss, and I finish off with the Regenerating Moisturizer that helps defend against wrinkles. We made sure this line of products would be compatible with makeup, so I’m able to use it even during the day. I also do not leave the house without using sunscreen and I love our non-sticky, white cast-free UV Gel Cream with SPF 40 PA++ that also defends the skin against urban pollution.
How would you describe your everyday look?
I’m always on-the-go as an entrepreneur, wife and mom of three, which means my go-to look tends to be what I can put on in a moving car! But I’d like to think that the fifteen years I spent in the beauty industry has prepared me. I’m now able to do anything–from a simple makeup look for the office to a more glamorous look, complete with falsies!
What favorite beauty products do you use to achieve this look?
I love multi-use products. My most used ones at the moment are the Happy Skin X Disney Perfect Eyes Trio, a pencil with two tips that contain brow products and a bonus third tip that’s an eye shadow pen, and the Happy Skin X Disney Multi-Use Mousses. This is one product you can use to add color or a glow on your eyes, lips, cheeks and even your body! I use the Multi-Use Mousse Highlighter on my collarbones and shoulders.
In your opinion, what is it about lipstick that makes it so empowering for women?
There’s just something about putting on lipstick that makes you feel a little more put-together, a little bit more confident, and a little bit more prepared to face the day ahead of you. And I don’t think it’s because it changes how you look–all it really does it enhance the best qualities about you, from the inside out, that have always been there.
How has your perspective on beauty changed since creating Happy Skin?
It’s no longer about providing women with instant gratification, but really about showing them how beauty is about the intangible. Happy Skin’s guiding principle has always been to make a positive difference in the lives of Filipinas through skin-caring makeup. High-quality, easy-to-use and non-intimidating beauty products are the vehicle but at the end of the day, we want to do more than make women feel beautiful. We also want to empower them with effortlessness and confidence, and ultimately deliver happiness.
With its impressive products and unique branding, Happy Skin has stayed relevant throughout the years. What is one piece of advice you would want to share to young entrepreneurs on staying true to themselves and their brand?
My work as a model and a beauty columnist exposed me to so many beauty solutions, but in spite of this, I still had not come across a makeup line that could take good care of my skin and also wonderfully celebrate Filipina beauty. I felt very passionate about creating skin-caring products that I could swear my life on, and with equal parts of strategy, hard work, and passion, I’m proud to say that that’s what we have now with Happy Skin.
The introduction of the brand nearly six years ago paved the way for more local makeup brands to follow suit and it’s gratifying to see the local beauty industry so alive. But even with all these players coming onboard, we are confident that Happy Skin started with innovative products and an inimitable proposition of skin-caring makeup. This is what drives the brand up until today. At the end of the day, you don’t have to succeed by killing competition. You succeed by creating value.
What made you start writing your new book?
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would someday write my own book. Read My Lips: What It Takes To Build A World-Class Homegrown Brand is for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur, or even those with day jobs who want to start a business on the side. Today, entrepreneurship has been so glamorized and what makes this different from other business books is that it talks about the hard truths that people don’t talk about. Some assume that my entrepreneurial journey is one of ease and luck, but I really had to learn and sacrifice. If this book can, in any way, help a budding entrepreneur learn from my mistakes to make their own journey more fruitful, then I would consider it a huge privilege to have been able to help out.
Is there any beauty philosophy you live by?
I like to remind young women that developing good values is, ultimately, the measure of true beauty. At a time of compromise, it means having a strong sense of self–knowing who you are and sticking to it, even when the going gets tough. Nowadays, there is so much division and negativity, so it means being able to choose the right values, such as kindness and honesty. It’s important that women feel confident, not just about how they look, but also about who they are and what they can do.
Don’t be afraid to be different. Be more afraid of being the same as everybody else. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.