It’s all hands on deck for the newest collab between MEGA and Converse produced by four of the next generation’s talented creators
As much as we hate to admit it, there are still a lot of industries that are both led and occupied by men. Yes, we’re starting to get a bit more female representation here and there, but it’s far from enough. This is why whenever we get the chance to join and even take charge, we do so passionately–and that’s exactly what the Converse All Stars, namely photographer Andy Genota, stylist Mik Tabimina, content creator Rachelle Ruth, and model Luna Mingming did for a production made from their own minds, hearts, and skill sets. Working together from start to finish, these talented young women embodied the Create Next mentality as they produced outputs that amplify their voices in their respective industries.
The girl behind the viewfinder
At first glance, no one would think that All Star Andrea or Andy Genota is a toughie. Her exterior could make someone say she was timid, but she’s the complete opposite. From her creative eye to her killer photos (and dance moves), she’s definitely on the rise to being one of the most sought-after photographers of her generation.
Like many others, her journey to becoming the woman she is today didn’t start off easy. She shared that at a young age, she used to be so angry for not being allowed to take part in activities her brothers could do simply because of her gender. But thanks to her tenacity, she proved everybody wrong. She explained, “I was sheltered because they insisted the world would be cruel to a young woman like me. But I didn’t let that stop me. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone so I can grow.” Now that she has a wider platform, Andy aims to inspire other Filipinas to pursue their own craft no matter what anyone says. She added that she wants to hold space in a male-dominated industry to represent women, especially probinsyanas like herself who didn’t have the advantage to study in a prestigious school in Metro Manila.
When asked what makes her stand out from other photographers out there, she mentioned that her confidence to be behind and in front of the camera makes her unique. “I used to be a bit shy of the fact that I loved being in front of the camera as much as I did being behind it, but now I’m more unapologetic. I’ve come to embrace it.” It’s no surprise that her feisty personality and IDGAF attitude, along with her stellar talent, can be seen in every single photo she took throughout the entire shoot.
While Andy may be proud of how far she’s come, it doesn’t mean it’s all uphill from here. The young photographer herself said, “I struggle a lot with self-doubt—I compare myself with other artists, question my validity, and second guess how much I charge for my work. So I guess my drive to fight those insecurities, to always reinvent myself, and to push myself to just continue creating makes me embody the Create Next mentality.” Through this behavior, Andy gets to be more and do more for herself while paving the way for her fellow Filipina photographers.
She’ll never go out of style
The life of a stylist, especially if we’re only starting to make our mark in the industry, isn’t all glitz and glamour. It consists of creating various mood boards, carrying loads of clothes and accessories from multiple stores, and making sure each piece fits and suits whoever has to wear it. What could make it more challenging is if we don’t have a background in fashion at all, but All Star Mik Tabimina proves it can work in our favor in spite of the trials and tribulations.
“It is possible to make it in fashion without a fashion background or connections. I just focus on doing what I enjoy, learning as much as I can, and believing that I can make it,” shared Mik. The young fashion stylist, who only got thrusted into fashion when she worked as an intern for a magazine, considers her ongoing journey as something that deeply humbles her. As she continues to create a name for herself, she wants to be an inspiration to all aspiring fashion stylists and creatives to simply chase after their dreams.
As someone working directly in the fashion industry, it’s easy to get thrown knee deep into the viral trends and styles, especially with how easy it is to discover them on social media. However, Mik is one to step out of the common threads and practice individuality as much as she can. She tries her best not to copy them, “But rather use them as inspiration to create my ‘own’ [looks]. I enjoy learning from others and not being sensitive to criticism, but rather work on improving on what needs to be improved.” She believes that this certain way of walking through the industry makes her stand out more. She’s staying true to who she is as she’s expressing her own creativity through each look she creates for herself and other people. She added, “It is very important to express our truest self with what we create because it’s rare to see authenticity on outputs these days. Nothing beats showing your true self rather than putting on a mask.” Preach.
To further showcase her personality, she’s always on the lookout for something new and fresh to inspire future ideas. Through this, the Create Next mentality she has eventually appears on the outfits she creates, and each layout she came up with for the collaborative production is a definite proof of that. Create Next also keeps her ahead of the game, ready to take on new, challenging, and exciting projects that come her way–one of which is a personal fashion vlog where she plans on showing seasonal looks and fashion hauls to continue sharing her creativity to every hopeful fashion stylist out there.
The unapologetic sneakerhead
Scrolling through All Star Rachelle Ruth’s Instagram would make anyone extremely jealous of the incredible amount of sneakers she has. Her photos that show off her kicks and streetwear aesthetic really project the kind of person she is: fierce, powerful, and creative. She shared that the reason behind all those traits is simply because she is a woman.
Rachelle explained, “I rarely see girls doing what I do because they are afraid of being judged, especially in our country.” Not all women are as proud and confident as she is. In a society where archaic traits are still being portrayed in the media, which then can also be reflected in real life, we still tend to hide behind the shadows. This is why she believes that her main contribution as a woman is to inspire girls to also be brave enough to truly be themselves without worrying about what other people may think of them.
Having been a content creator for a while now, Rachelle definitely knows what makes her look and feel good. One of the things she believes makes her stand out from the crowd of other creators is that she can turn a simple outfit into something that can make everyone take another look. “Most of my family say that I have a vision every time I see a piece of clothing–that I can envision right away what would look good on this and that,” and her photos can ultimately vouch for that in an instant. Through her looks and other kinds of content she creates, she proudly expresses her true self. It’s important for her to do so because she believes that anything and everything can take a wrong turn if she’s being someone she’s really not.
This inspired her to finally come out of her shell despite having grown up in a conservative family in the province. From struggling to wear what she wanted, which she admitted was incredibly difficult for her, she now has the courage and freedom to dress however she pleases. This all adds up to her embodying the Create Next mentality that not everyone does as she’s unafraid to be who she is in her stylish and striking streetwear outfits. Being happy and content with herself is how she makes sure that she gets to create real and raw outputs, which we undoubtedly saw during the entire production process, whether she was modeling in front of the camera or directing Luna from the sidelines.
She’s a meow-del, duh
A self-proclaimed androgynous model and cat lady, All Star Luna Mingming is truly one to look out for. Her distinct look, magnetic eyes, and crazy poses capture everyone’s attention whenever she’s doing her job. With various modeling gigs under her belt, one may think she’s got it all figured out at such a very young age. That could be the case, but it definitely didn’t start out that way.
According to Luna, she always stuck with and preferred baggy and more comfortable clothing over feminine pieces like dresses, tank tops, and skirts that her friends would always wear. It wasn’t until she started modeling that everything changed. Just like a lot of us, Luna’s fashion sense and how she presents herself varied as she grew older. “I learned to embrace different sides of me, and I realized that you can be feminine and masculine at the same time.” This realization fuels her passion to influence others to never be afraid to show their truest selves, and, “To always honor and celebrate themselves for what makes them different.”
Working in an industry where other models can be seen left and right, Luna continues to stand out by always being up for the challenge to try anything, especially if it’s something she hasn’t done yet. She explained that she’s always down to do something new or conceptual, even if it’s outside her comfort zone because it’s what makes her express true self further. During most shoots, Luna feels like she’s just a mannequin being dressed up, so being part of one where everyone has a say in everything is always an exciting experience for her. “Shoots where everyone in the team is putting on a collaborative effort, and everyone’s work is translating in the output are the shoots that I love doing. It’s a chance for everyone to create and share their art,” and she’s certainly right about that. Throughout the shoot she produced with the other All Stars, she was able to express herself freely not just as a model, but also as a creative who had all these wild and fun ideas. She shared, “There’s always a way to share a little piece of you every time you work. It’s a chance to show what you can do, what you’re made of, and sometimes, to see how far you’ve come.”
For someone who’s only in her early 20s, Luna truly has some wisdom that makes her exude an old soul persona. Not only that, but she also embodies the Create Next mentality, which can always be seen when she’s working with different people on and off the camera. She shared that while she continues to inspire and be inspired by other people who also express the same Create Next mindset, she still doesn’t have any idea on what’s to come, and that’s okay. “I don’t really know what’s next for me because the universe continues to surprise me; but one thing’s for sure, I am me, meow.” Indeed.
Having an all-female production may seem unheard of, but these Converse All Stars made it happen. This mentality and behavior spans every single one of them as it fueled the inner fire within themselves. Having this way of thinking got the team to create eye-catching looks and photos, which they all thought of from start to finish. The Create Next mindset empowered them to challenge themselves, as well as prove to everyone that a production created by a team of women is something that shouldn’t be questioned in any way anymore. Instead, it should be supported, encouraged, and respected.
It’s not everyday that we see young women take charge of something, especially in a male-dominated industry, but All Stars Andy, Mik, Rachelle, and Luna prove that it’s high time we let them and their fellow next-generation creators take the lead.
MEGA Team JANN PASCUA, PEACHES GARCIA, and EL PEREIRA
BTS Photography KIERAN PUNAY of STUDIO100
Makeup GUILLANO VALENZUELA and DANIELLE LEONARDO for SIGNATURE BY GUILLANO
Hair MAE CASTILLO and CRISELDA VALDOZ for SIGNATURE BY GUILLANO
Shoot Coordination LOUIS ESGUERRA