In life, people will always often pass judgment without knowing the actual truth. No one understands this more than Heart Evangelista Escudero. In this chapter of her story, she teaches us how to swing things around and just bat your eyelashes, nary a wisp of care at what others may think.
Whether you like to admit it or not, you can easily pass judgment on the next person, even when you have zero knowledge of who they may be, what they are going through or what stories are swirling in their system. I cannot blame you, because despite an overriding sense of morals and propriety, nestled in the depths of the human condition is a desire to cast people in a certain light, shove them in boxes they are hardly aware of, and even force a conviction that is far beyond what they actually are. Whatever the case for this delusion, it somehow makes one feel better not knowing the other end of the social spectrum, which only stacks up the frequency and magnitude of such inconclusive verdicts.
For example, to the onlooker, the life and times of Heart Evangelista Escudero is the stuff of fairytales, what with the published and shared details of her life are dictionary definitions of glitzy and glamorous. With nary a crease on her enviable selection of fashion to an absence of even the littlest hair sticking out, she always appears graceful, put together, with a touch of red lipstick and a fanned out set of lashes, which doesn’t budge one bit as she carefully wipes off the excess of her beauty look that day.
“I actually didn’t want to have anything done on my lashes,” she confesses as she gently guides the makeup remover around the periphery of her eyes. “Because I lost all my lashes before at a different establishment years back. So, I didn’t want to do that, but the thing with Néw Lounge, which is the only place I trust and go to now, is you don’t lose your real lashes. They’re still there and they really take care of it.” After gliding along the sensitive area once more for good measure, she flicks the ends of her lashes and gives me a coy flutter to further prove her point, as if sensing the thought bubble sticking out of my head. “You really have to know where to go. Give it one try and then when you try them once, let them naturally come off, and you’ll see your real lashes. That’s what I did and my real lashes were okay. You just need to try, that’s it. It’s actually really good talaga. I tried it one time and honestly, I got addicted. I never stopped, I never took them off, and I super loved it,” she says with principle. “I only used the [protective] goggles on the first day when I showered after the session at Néw Lounge. As for aftercare, I don’t use so many oil-based products, although even If I do, it actually still lasts. I also don’t use liquid eyeliner, so there’s less rubbing, less wrinkles.” With Néw Lounge, she adds, “there are so many more services to choose from, all of which focus on your peepers, such as the Eyelash Shampoo, Spike Volume, Brace Lashes, and madami pa,” referring to the LED extensions that will come with the opening of Néw Lounge Shangri-la The Fort and Bonifacio High Street. Also in the works is an Eyelash School, a partnership with Maki Miura, an eye lash expert who developed the aforementioned Brace Lashes.
Let it Be, She Says
By this time, there is not a hint of makeup on her immaculate and incandescent skin, just a natural glow radiating like a glinting sun-draped surface, and of course, her exceptionally detailed and defined lashes. Setting aside her used wipes, she looks up to me, and asks in an apologetic tone: “What were we talking about again? Sorry, I got so carried away,” she giggles.
“Ah, yes, judgments,” she continues, clearing her throat and looking squarely at me, to which I wince a little. “People assume I have it all put together or that this is all just an act, when really, there is so much more going behind the surface.” True enough, as intrinsic as passing judgments are to human beings, it doesn’t give one permission to create an entire narrative based on nothing but their pride and prejudice only. While she has grown leaps and bounds from a woman who was once so consumed by what others had to say and think, anxiety still rears its ugly head on her and manages to dig its sharp talons into her spirit.
“It really is normal. Even when I’m in the middle of my painting, and I feel like I can’t get it right or I’m in the middle of it all and I feel like, ‘Okay, I can’t continue.’ Everything is a struggle and that’s just how life is. It is really a struggle, but it’s just how you deal with it and how you carry on. Nobody’s life is perfect, and I feel like, the more that you’re blessed, the more that you are tested. So yeah, I am definitely nowhere near any kind of perfection.”
At this point, there is no detail she spares when talking about her life, because more than proving naysayers wrong, which she hardly as the energy for, she wants to show instead that one can hurdle those perceived insurmountable challenges and circumstances. “Once upon a time, I was holding on to a world where all they cared about was how you look, or if you’re thin and tall enough, or you’re taller, and where you have to be whiter. Of course, it’s a part of a bigger, more complicated whole, but I felt that I wanted to be accepted for my soul, for who I am. And when my looks fade and all of this passes, I want them to still see me, and I felt that that was through my painting,” she illustrates. “Even when it got too much, I remember asking Chiz: ‘Why does it keep happening to me?’ I have anxiety, but sometimes life has a funny way of throwing things at you over and over until you learn your lesson, because you can do it, and if you overcome it, trust that you can do so with anything”
This is, of course, easier said than done, and no one knows this more than Heart. So, what does she do when confronted with a situation too much to bear at the onset? “First, I cry a lot, then I really throw a tantrum by myself. Then I start to question my existence, my purpose and I just start to get really deep until I realize that I’m so down there and there’s nowhere else to go but up. When I start to just relax, I feel like I start to levitate, then I’m just in a Zen place, and I don’t feel anything. I guess you become numb and then you realize that being numb is more of like you’ve developed your immunity to your problems and you say ‘Okay, you know what? I’m ready to face the world, I’m ready to accept more punches from this world,’” she says. “And then you reach this certain level of again. Okay, I can do more. But it’s just really a cycle, so it really toughens you up.”
Before she knows it, she’s fine again. And you know what, you very well can, too, she assures. “I’m still at it. I think I’ve overcome certain things, but there’s always going to be something new, and after that, I don’t think that I’ll be afraid of anything else anymore.”
Bats For Lashes
Heart Evangelista Escudero cannot pinpoint exactly when things shifted to an introspective level. It could be with the many entertaining, engaging and enlightening conversations she’s had with her husband, Chiz, some of which are archived on her success of a YouTube channel, or it could very well be some random moment when she decided to just be.
“Honestly, I’m a super planner, but lately, I have no plans. I think I stopped making plans,” she admits. “I just stopped because the moment that I let go of my plans and I started to just take it a day at a time, that’s when I got surprised. All these sweet surprises started to come, so I don’t want to plan anymore. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Sometimes it gets stressful or you start to feel fear again na there are so many things—amazing things-—coming, but is it just for now? Is it just a trend? But then, if by tomorrow all of this is gone, then I’m just going to paint. I don’t quite remember who said it, but something I keep in mind each and every time is that whether they like your painting or not, you just have to keep painting, because one day, there’s going to be that one person who will love your work, and then it just starts again. That’s what I want to keep doing and then eventually it’ll all make sense completely.”
The secret, according to our muse is that “You just have to keep doing what you love to do and you really have to be brave to discover more of yourself. Don’t be so stuck with one thing because I feel that that’s what happened to me,” she reveals. “I was so in love with my acting, and really, it ate at me, and I felt that I wasn’t good enough. That’s when I started to paint—but then when I started to paint, I didn’t expect that so many things will happen to me as an artist. I took that risk, not even just one step back—I took a thousand step backs from what I loved to do and I rediscovered myself. I feel that there’s so many years and so much life to live that you don’t have to obsess about one thing. You have to stop chasing that one big dream because the more you do, the more elusive it’s going to be. So, just chill and keep doing what you’re doing and don’t panic. I know it’s hard, but just try to calm down and it’ll happen. You’ll be surprised, the universe will just magically present itself to you when you’re ready.”
There lies the beauty of life, especially for Heart Evangelista Escudero. Just when drear and despair begin to asphyxiate you with its nasty grip, draining the wind out of you, that’s when you take control of that assumed last breath and you bring yourself to fight back—for no one else but yourself. Regain the joy and color you think you’ve lost and you will eventually and willfully take control.
“It’s my story, my life. I may look the same probably all the time, but I walk differently. I feel that I carry myself differently, not because I’m mayabang or not because I’m above anyone or whatever. It’s because I know my weaknesses and I’m proud of it, since I know my strengths, and I feel like that has made me more confident,” she asserts. “I’m not going to force anything or force people to like me. I’m just going to continue to be me,” she says. “Look, even the way you talk, the way you walk will change, but therein lies your beauty, and that will never change, no matter what others think or say. It’s your story.”
She is completely right, of course. And this is no agreement of blind faith by any means. Whatever our personal expositions are, no one has the right to crack it open and deface your chapters without your permission. Now more than ever, it is time to take back the reins of your story, and continue telling it as you were destined to, just as Heart has. And if someone swings another round of judgment your way, then you can just bat your eyelashes at them, and see if they still care, because clearly, you don’t. Just as Heart Evangelista Escudero has taught us.