“I’m a Filipina born and raised in East London, local to a culturally diverse area where I’ve continued to embrace others through learning about other cultures to understand different perspectives and celebrating them. I believe one of the most important things in life is connecting with others, I think I’ve always just had the desire to proactively be present in helping people. It’s only very recently that I started a career in Digital Marketing, that 9-5 Central London type life! Otherwise I have always worked for the community of East London. Specifically, a charity called Community Links doing outreach work as a Health Facilitator promoting the NHS cancer screening initiatives and as Lead Workshop Facilitator in colleges and a Mentor for the young people in the community with NCS (National Citizen Service) as well as other jobs like retail and bartending (That 0 hour contract hustle, 3 jobs on the go!), I always love everything that I do, I found it hard to drop one so I did it all woo! On top of all of that, I started my YouTube channel right after University 4 years ago as an outlet just to have fun. I had no clue what I wanted to get into & that’s why I chose to stick to all those part time roles so I had time to also film and edit YouTube videos on the side.
At the time, I thought I could make something out of my degree and implement it into my videos just so that at least it looked like I did my Maths and Psychology degree for something. So I incorporated research to help us understand human behaviour in order to help elevate each other to become the best version of ourselves, I’d like to think my videos did well! So well that I landed to be a finalist in a Vlogstar Challenge in 2019 which opened my eyes to the world of media with @media.trust which was in partnership with YouTube. Media Trust is a charity who works in partnership with the media/ creative industry and under-represented communities and young people. Here is where I managed to sign up to have a career mentor which led me to my new role within Digital Marketing.
It’s been a real journey from when I graduated until now. I’m really proud of myself, how I’m growing, learning about myself and moving towards wholeness. This of course includes identity; I love being from East London, as a Filipino we’re actually all here, Filipino land! Coming from an all girls Catholic secondary school, I’ve always been around the culture but of course growing up identity challenges occur. For example, the struggles of accepting and embracing fully of our culture, especially in school. This is something we’ve discussed on my podcast 22 Chismis (@22chismis) joined by Jenn/JT (@jennifergracet) and Giss (@gissellebarco) who I met in secondary school. We explore our experiences of being first generation Filipinos from East London, talking about the culture clashes, the challenges when it comes to our identity, whether we feel more ‘Filipino’ or ‘British’ and other fun stuff! This podcast means a lot to me because without it, I don’t think I would have embraced my Filipino culture as much as I do now. Especially through opening me up to a world of meeting other Filipino creatives and other British Asian creatives as well as incredible and memorable opportunities within this, which has led me to embrace it even more.
This feeling of belonging that had been long overdue, has definitely made me feel good, you know like that homely feeling. It makes me feel like I can make it! At first, it would just be me and only me seeing if I can make it but now seeing and being around others who are up there that look like me has really impacted the way I see my goals. I am honestly mind-blown as to how many Asian creatives there are. It’s also about building a network, a strong network of like-minded people who makes you feel at home. Literally, an instant connection, no awkwardness, nothing! I think that’s what I love, the feeling of belonging. It definitely impacts your mental health, it’s coming into play with your social identity. We have this stereotype with Filipinos where you either become a nurse, teacher, engineer or lawyer etc. but it just didn’t feel right for me. I continued to try but the only thing standing is my YouTube channel (even though I’m not consistent oops), so I guess content creating is for me! When it comes to content creation, most of the time I like to ensure there is a purpose and meaning in what I post. Social Media is a crazy place, I think it’s important to utilise the power it has for the better since it’s a platform we all use every single day. I want to at least add value in people’s lives when they consume my content!
When I saw Asians in Britain advertise the ESEA Photoshoot, I had to jump on! I believe it’s important to do whatever we can to support in raising awareness of the Stop Asian Hate campaign as well as representation! This was the perfect opportunity to show up and show out which clearly we did (wooo!). Our generation is a strong generation, which I believe we must continue to utilise to enable to create an impact, which I know this photoshoot will do. Of course, it’s more than the photoshoot, I hope this helps promote an empowering and inspiring aspect to it too. I’ve never been to an event where there’s just Asian creatives. It’s crazy how no one really knows about South-East Asians specifically. Most of the time, people just assume everyone is Chinese- ignorance is bliss. So I think the photoshoot definitely enabled us to embrace everyone from East and South-East Asia. It shows people who represent different stories and that we are not invisible.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done but I believe that every little helps and we have to be proactive about it. It’ll be a slow domino effect for sure so I’ll continue to use my small self and my loud voice to amplify BESEA representation, I hope you do too.