Beyond Reflections: Navigating Self-Love And What Is Truly Essential, Laureen Uy Is At The Best She’s Ever Been

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Has it been a decade since the introduction of Break My Style? Thriving since then, Laureen Uy takes us on journey of self-discovery and self-awareness in this introspective exercise.

Related: Laureen Uy On The Power Of Dressing Up

“I learned a new thing today,” Laureen Uy says on our WhatsApp exchange. Volunteering this nugget of knowledge with minimal to no prodding, she quickly types out: “It’s random, but I learned that for the Gen Z, if something is funny, it’s lame if you use 😂 or 😅. This is what’s cool now: 😹 💀.” As mundane as it sounds, the discussion on the intricacies of modern day communication by way of emojis is necessary, especially as it has now graduated to be a linguistic signifier of a generational divide. Whether be colloquial terms unique to an age group, a truncation of words to adapt to what was then a limited space to send a message, or an encompassing of mood and emotions in as little as a 2D animated character, a lot can be said by the way we talk. “Grabe,” she exasperates, followed by a succession of 😂😂😂 “Ay, ayan na naman tayo.”

While framed in the paradigm of self-deprecation and disbelief, we have come to the point that we no longer are the younger ones. Is it surprising? A little, because where did the time go? But does it necessarily sound off the alarm of panic? Not really. “I don’t want to sound old, but I did start blogging 10 years ago. Actually, next month is my birthday and it also marks my tenth year of blogging,” begins Laureen Uy. “But really a lot has changed. I feel like this passion of mine didn’t even start with blogging. I knew as early as a teenager that I wanted to be in the fashion industry, because I really love fashion so much. I remember putting that in my yearbook. [Written under] what do you want to be when you grow up, I said, ‘I want to be in the fashion and advertising industry.’ I’ve tried both and I‘m very, very happy and blessed to be where I am right now, because I really love what I’m doing.” As she was on the cusp of possibilities then, she has since built her name to what it is today—a standard when it comes to what kids want to be when they grow up.

Laureen Uy
Blue sheer dress with ruffles by MARC RANCY, floral mesh top by GUESS, and white high-cut sneakers by MSGM

But things are never what they once were. After all, the only thing we’ve realized that is constant is to keep an eye out for change and to adapt to it as best we can, especially in a world of innovation at warped speed and dynamic developments. The industry, one that Laureen Uy has grown up in went through so many shifts, as it still is in every veritable blink of an eye. “Yes, it did really change a lot over the years. When I started blogging, hindi pa uso ang Instagram or even Twitter. ‘Yung uso noon, Chictopia, Lookbook. But I really started blogging before joining Lookbook and then eventually Instagram became a thing,” she details. “It’s really more fast-paced now. Before kasi, I think if you really wanna get fashion inspirations, you read a magazine or go to certain blogs, websites also. Now, there’s Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Me, I enjoy keeping up the times. I feel like we really need to adapt and keep learning so we can also grow. We all need to keep learning, because once we stop learning, we stop growing—and changes are good.”

All At Once, And Then Slowly

Change has been a word that is thrown a lot these days, and with good reason, because as it seems, that is the only constant variable in the many denominators that challenge our everyday. While many buckle at the onset of anything that even so much as tips the balance of convenience that have become routine, Laureen Uy has been keeping a good head on her shoulders in the long-drawn-out but conscious exercise of self-isolation. “I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful. I’ve actually been staying at home since March and trying to help in ways that I can via the internet,” she says. “For the past few months, I’ve been really thankful—thankful to be alive, thankful that I’m safe, thankful that I’m happy. Also, I’ve been discovering new things about me and I’ve been reminiscing my childhood hobbies. So, I’ve been coloring a lot. But most importantly, I’ve learned to be patient. We don’t know when this is going to end. So, patience is really the key and hoping for better days ahead.”

Light blue tulle dress by NERIC BELTRAN

Much like the rest of us, the pandemic has forced our lives to jolting and jarring halt. Contained in the safety our individual privileges, we have all been working at coping with the harsh realities of our current predicament. ‘Personally, it really taught me to slow things down. Before kasi, sobrang fast-paced ng life ko. It was just work, work, work, and I feel like now, I really learned to give myself more time, more love, and importantly, to really be thankful—period,” she muses on what she has learned so far being away from family, friends, and well, what she has so been used to up until now. “I also feel like life hasn’t stopped. We’re all just at home, but students are still studying, people are still working, and after a long day, you look forward to laughing and being entertained. I really have fun when I do share videos to people, especially when I get comments, emails, and DMs, saying they’re really entertained with my content. I feel like that’s one thing we should think of, we still need self-love at the end of the day. Whether it be watching k-dramas, YouTube, or Netflix, even just for a minutes or few hours of a day, I think that’s what we need to consider and not forget—to give ourselves a break. Let’s not stress ourselves too much, para at least okay pa din ang mental health natin.”

Certainly not taking anything for granted, Laureen Uy has been more mindful in quarantine. While reminiscing on something as simple as walking outdoors, being one with nature or even going to the beach, what she really has taken to great consideration is how despite things being stripped down and pared back to essentials, there are enough reasons to get up and smile about everyday. “I do agree that life became simpler now—and realizing that contentment doesn’t require us to have all this and that. Now, it’s about being grateful to be alive, happy that your family and friends are safe, thankful for the little things like having a good cup of coffee during the day,” she ruminates. “I’m not saying we all changed—it’s just that we are starting to realize what really matters in this world.”

Laureen Uy
Mustard yellow pleated dress by CON CORDETA

All About The Love Of Self

A path unique to the individual, the journey to figuring out what truly matters to you is quite the spiritual study of introspection. Revealing itself in increments you are supposed to navigate at any given time, this self-discovery was something that Laureen Uy really had to wrestle with herself—especially in this context she has actively chosen, chased, and grown accustomed to. “Growing up and working in the fashion industry, I had a lot of insecurities. When I was in highschool kasi, I was always the odd one out. I was actually bullied and in college, I kept wondering: why am I not taller? Why am I not this size? Why is my skin color this? Why am I not this and that?” she recalls. “But since then, I’ve really learned to embrace my insecurities. If meron kang ayaw sa body mo, learn to own your flaws and flaunt your assets. Once I’ve learned to take hold of my insecurities and learned to let go of them, I found happiness. When you build that happiness up and up the ladder, you will really see that there is no perfect definition of beauty. If you’re content and happy with yourself, that’s what truly matters.”

Laureen Uy
Gray patterned flared trousers by BENCH

It doesn’t just depend on that larger-than-life light bulb moment of realization, but rather, it’s the little things that led up to opening the door and stepping into the world of self-awareness and self-actualization. “As cliché as it sounds, beauty really lies within you. You know, if you give yourself love, if you nurture yourself, your mind, your body and soul, that’s the true meaning of beauty,” she says before interrupting herself with a laugh. “Bakit naging serious ‘yung voice ko when I talked about beauty? But it really is true,” she reasons. “For me, it’s when you look at yourself and you tell yourself: you’re beautiful, you’re happy, you’re loved, and you’re content. At the end of the day, we should be happy with ourselves, and when you learn to let go of your insecurities, then you can really truly embrace yourself and love yourself.” For Laureen Uy, this starts with a necessary indulgence in caring for oneself, like through skincare for example. “I keep saying, skincare is really worth the investment, because iba ‘yung confidence na nabibigay sa’yo if you have good skin,” she relates. “Personally, I’ve struggled with a lot of skin problems ever since quarantine started. I’ve been getting a lot of breakouts and dark spots, and this has never happened to me before quarantine started.”

As normal as it is, there is a reason to raise a concern over it, especially with the stress, anxiety, and aggressors that abound in this fragment of our history. “Naging insecure ako for awhile since hindi ako sanay to have consistent skin problems. I would be getting two, three pimples and it would be gone, then I’d have new pimples again, and I would have dark spots and the marks would just stay,” she details. “I guess I was trying to look for products that would work well for my skin, but siyempre you really have to find the right products for you and consistency is key. You really have to keep using it to see results talaga.”

Contrary to what one might assume, Laureen Uy is practical and pragmatic in her approach to her skincare. In fact, she is the type to figure things out such as trying out home remedies and streamlining her routine to its most effective, but admits that you really have to find the products that will target your specific skin concern. “Each skin is really different. My issue before was dark spots, so I tried using Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, which turned out to be the solution for me. I know some people when they use dark spot serums or solutions, they usually just put it sa problem area, but I encourage everyone to actually use it sa whole face nila. Put a few drops on your palm, rub it, and pat it all over your face. That way, it will really even out your skin tone and any discoloration,” she explains. “So, my current favorite now, it’s really the Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. However, an all-time favorite would be the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Sobrang ganda talaga niya and I love the scent! More than that, what’s nice about Kiehl’s is they really think of their customers and address everyone’s needs. I love that they give samples. Usually when you go inside their shop, they give you little samples for you to try at home para at least alam mo if hiyang siya sa skin mo, because the problem that most people encounter when buying skincare products are one, bibili ka ng product, tapos pag hindi siya hiyang sa’yo, sayang ‘yung buong bottle. That’s one of the reasons why Kiehl’s came up with the sampler size, at least you get to really to try it first.”

Light blue tulle dress by NERIC BELTRAN

The proof, as they say, is in the photo, and for this undertaking, the results were impressive, even to Laureen Uy herself. “This is something new for me, because most of my cover shoots and editorials, it’s always fashion-oriented. So, it’s super nice to have a fresh take for me, because it’s skin-focused nga. Also, I did my own hair and makeup for the shoot, which was at first, to be honest, kabado ako. Of course, iba talaga pag may makeup artist and hairstylist ka, but since we’re practicing safety protocols, I decided to do it myself,” she says of this shoot operating on a very lean and necessary team. “I really had so much fun. Dito talaga lumabas ‘yung skin is very, very important, because I feel like if you don’t have a good skin base, then mas mahirap siya. So, I’m really thankful that my dark spots already disappeared, because of the products I’m using.”

Much like everything else, the most efficient and enduring solution is that apart from the focused attention on isolated concerns, it should really be an overall mindset thing, too. “To be honest, ‘yung mga skin problems, they really occur if you don’t take good care of yourself also—that’s sleeping too late, eating unhealthy food. Also, hydration is key, not only on your face, so drink a lot of water.”

So, yes, that’s your daily reminder to do so, and fast.

Here To Stay

While she is certainly stands as a quintessence of the digital landscape, one that she acknowledges to be fortunate enough to thrive in, Laureen Uy isn’t resting on just being a surface-level type of content creator, or as modern marketing has dictated to be, influencer. “Nauso lang talaga siya recently, but ever since before, there were already influencers out there. An influencer is so much more. It’s everyone, anyone or people who have a voice and use that to give out a greater impact in the world,” she says. For her, it is so much more than just peddling commerce and a lifestyle to aspire to and double tap. Now, she wants it to mean something. “I honestly feel like we really need to use our voices for the better. As individuals, we all have the freedom to express what we want to share and being a content creator shouldn’t stop you from using your voice when it comes to issues that you feel like will help make this world a better place,” she asserts. “It doesn’t matter if you have thousands or millions of followers, for as long as you are doing good for others, then that’s what influencing really means to me.”

There’s a reason why even after all this time, especially being commanded by the fleeting and fickle-minded, people like Laureen Uy have stood the test of time. It isn’t just a keen understanding of their audience and themselves, but more importantly, it is the innate ability to take charge of change, gripping it by its tempestuous horns and reeling it in to their advantage. Sure, we may now feel old, Jurassic even, when it comes to the ways of the young’uns, but make no mistake about it, they don’t quite make them like they used to, and as it has been reflected—literally and figuratively—Laureen Uy is in the better, if not best place of her life.

Photography BJ PASCUAL
Creative direction VINCE UY
Fashion direction and styling ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Makeup and hair LAUREEN UY
Shoot coordination PATRICIA RAMOS
Video Spotlight Creatives
Shot on location at CO Studio