As of 2013 AUG



Thursday, September 5, 2013

Daily drug store makeup look.

Watch me get ready in under 20. This is my everyday look! 

You can visit my channel at

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My dirty little secrets. Battling BDD & Anxiety. Official COMING OUT blog.

Warning! This post will be terribly long. I want to call it my "COMING OUT" blog. You will find out the disorders I've been suffering from and dealing with for awhile. Think my life is all peachy from what you perceive in my pictures? Not everything is as it seems.... seriously.

BDD, short for Body Dysmorphic Disorder, is a mental illness that is characterized by an excessive preoccupation with either a real or imagined defect, which can be either physical or minor, that others cannot see. Many people who suffer from BDD have an exaggerated or distorted view of their appearance, and are obsessed with even the most minor flaws in their skin. It can be a certain facial structure, the texture or color of their skin, and even their weight or how their hair looks. Other people usually cannot notice what those of BDD believe is wrong with them, because the appearance issue that person is obsessing about is usually very small. This disorder has also known to be called "imagined ugliness", but because since the concerns of these people are very real, it can magnify the tiniest imperfection they are stressing about.

This disorder is very personal to me.
Want to know a little secret?
I've been battling BDD since I was 14 years old.
I believe this disorder was cultivated through the pressure and influence of not only the media and society, but my family and culture as well. Do you know how difficult it is to attend family parties and the first thing your aunts say to you is "Whoa, you're getting fat", or "Look at your butt - it's getting too big". Kind of funny when you get insults from your peers stating that you have a flat ass - yet you're family members tell you the opposite. The pressure of growing up within an asian household, or Filipino in particular, can be quite overwhelming at times for a developing teen.

Living with BDD has affected my relationships, friendships and social preferences. I cannot count the amount of friend's I've lost because I refuse to associate myself in large numbers of people, or even only one person aka social anxiety/agoraphobia or even social phobia. I remember as a teenager, at times I would feel so ugly about myself that I try to avoid going out and letting myself be seen.  I would hide under my bangs and walk around with my hand on half of my face. I hated having my pictures taken. I wore a lot of layers to hide the excess skin on my stomach. I would constantly complain about the shape of my body, and make serious considerations of undergoing cosmetic surgery to alter my image. I have had experiences where I faced playful ridicule, but it hurt me so much that I stayed away from those groups of people who found amusement in that humor.
I'll always remember staring into the car passenger mirror and trying to force myself to accept what was reflected back at me. I used to carry CD's because they were more discreet that pocket mirrors. I would pretend to be checking if it had scratches on the back of the CD but in reality, I was actually using it as a mirror. I constantly checked if my lips looked ok, if there was anything in my teeth, if my eyes had bags, how dark the bags were, I was constantly checking on my hair and fixing it non-stop. It turned into an obsessive thing, until it got to the point where I knew I would never look any different, and I'd turn the mirrors around. It got to the point where I just completely avoided mirrors because I was so dissatisfied with what I saw in it. I hated myself. I hated myself for being ugly.

People may look at those who suffer from BDD to be fishing for compliments or looking for attention, but it is clearly the opposite. In reality, victims of BDD are so sensitive to playful ridicule that they literally have no social life. They believe they are so ugly that they refuse to go out in public because they are so dissatisfied with their appearance. I've become a victim of this disorder and suffered its crucial symptoms for many years.

Now although there are many factors regarding BDD, the actual cause is unclear. This is because BDD is a somatoform disorder, which is a condition that includes physical pain and symptoms relating to psychological factors. Symptoms like these can't be traced to a specific physical cause because the medical test results for those of a somatoform disorder usually end up normal or do not explain why they have these symptoms. One possible cause of BDD is a chemical imbalance in the brain. This usually occurs in depression, those who are bi-polar, and schizophrenia. It is also hereditary. Obsessive compulsive order plays a big role in the leading factors of BDD because a person practices rituals that can preoccupy so much of their time, it's uncontrollable. Since those with BDD usually worry about their body or weight, an eating disorder is a probable cause as well. Generalized anxiety disorder is another assumption because this condition involves worrying that is so excessive; it disrupts your life and causes anxiety. Having this disorder makes you more susceptible to BDD. Even simple things such as physiological, behavioral, or cultural factors play a role in causes towards BDD. It is because the victims feel that they have to live up to a family standard or social standard or a high expectation regarding personal appearance of success that seems unrealistic or unobtainable.
Want to know another secret?
I was recently clinically diagnosed with anxiety at the beginning of this year. 
Now I want to make it clear that I've been struggling to overcome BDD for many years, and am finally at the point where I can say that I'm content with my progress. BDD only does half, if not a quarter of the damage it did when I was a teenager.. BUT it did leave it's imprint on me in which I am currently dealing with now.

The forms of anxiety that I have are agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
Anxiety has caused a disability in my life. I know some of you may find that term a bit extreme to describe it but those who currently suffer from these conditions will agree that it is an on-going battle to deal with life. I've considered even getting a service dog to help me deal with the situations that are difficult for me to face on my own.

Agoraphobia has been the one form of anxiety that is the most challenging to deal with. It affects my everyday life and relationships with other people. I believe that my agoraphobia was triggered by my BDD apart from my anxiety. For those who are unfamiliar with agoraphobia:
"Agoraphobia is characterized by anxiety in situations where the sufferer perceives certain environments as dangerous or uncomfortable, often due to the environment's vast openness or crowdedness. These situations include, but are not limited to, wide-open spaces, as well as uncontrollable social situations. It is a condition where the sufferer becomes anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Triggers for this anxiety may include wide open spaces, crowds (social anxiety), or traveling (even short distances). Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public." - Wikipedia
This condition in particular has affected me in ways I wish it never did; work, relationships, friendships, etc. If only you guys understood the mental preparation I have to put myself through before I agree to meeting up with a friend for coffee or meeting with a possible client (photographer). I began to disassociate myself with people, even old friends. I don't pick up my phone, I stopped replying to text messages. I barely travel anywhere aside from work or to grab a bite to eat. Anxiety has practically ruined my life. It became a struggle to wake up in the morning knowing that I have to talk to someone new later on that day.

Now I don't want this to drag. I primarily wrote this post in particular to inform and educate you all about these life changing disorders. So let's wrap it up.

I didn't know I had anxiety until I went to see a doctor because I had been having trouble breathing at night. I would hyperventilate and it would difficult for me to sleep because it felt like I was choking. I felt like I wasn't getting enough air in my lungs. My chest felt tight. It felt like I was having a heart attack, and sometimes like I was dying. Little did I know... I actually suffering from constant anxiety /panic attacks! My doctor ran breathing tests, asthma tests, even blood tests to check my thyroid.. which all concluded as negative. It was clear that I was dealing with anxiety and didn't even realize it. Another main symptom of anxiety is insomnia. I had suffered from insomnia for as long as I can remember and always thought it was because my sleeping schedule just sucked. I also always felt tired, no matter how much sleep I got. I was fatigued practically 24/7 - another symptom of anxiety.  Everything began making sense from then on. If I do not take my prescribed sleeping pills, I'll fall asleep around 9AM.

So to make this long story short, I had been clinically diagnosed with these anxiety disorders. I am currently on two forms of medication to help me get by the day but they can only do so much. It is a struggle I continue to deal with and can only overcome with a "change of lifestyle" as my doctor says. But there is just simply too much stress for me to deal with in order for me to do so. I'll need a vacation -- a long one, and some good white wine. As far as BDD, those who suffer from it experience much shame and embarrassment. I hope now that you are all slightly more educated about the disorder, will be more sensitive to other people's feelings. You have no clue what they are going through in their life. You may not take them seriously because their preoccupation with their image makes it seem like their just a typical person with self conscious or self esteem issues. What you don't realize is that people who suffer from BDD face extreme struggles to accept self-love. The constant fights in the mirror of what is reflected back never ends. You eventually get so tired of trying to change who you are or what you see, that even suicide becomes an option. Constant reassurances from loved ones sometimes aren't enough. Body dysmorphic disorder is a real disease that many people suffer from. It causes anxiety and other problems that are dangerous to ones health, but sometimes drugs or other forms of therapy aren't enough to help those who are affected from these illnesses.

Man. Well, that was exhausting.
If you've read down this far, I want to thank you for taking the time to do so. You don't know how much it means to me :)

BTW, I'm loving the emails I've been getting from my followers!
If any of you have any questions, you can always leave a comment on my post or talk to me directly at

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nobody likes you when you're 23.

 Many people always criticize the life of a model. How easy it must be to just take pictures all day, to just stand and pose in front of a camera, to just look beautiful all day… but it is really not as pretty as it seems. I came into the modeling scene somewhat clueless. I mean, I understood and accepted the struggles I would come encounter with, especially in regards to the expectations that this industry has for models. When I started getting critiqued more and more as the days went on by fellow models & professional photographers, I had to constantly remind myself that I came into this with a purpose

There was a cause to this madness I got myself in. "Redefining beauty, defeating the standards", I kept telling myself. No matter how annoying it got to hear it over and over again, it was my motivation to shake off the hurtful yet honest words. 
There is a website I am a part of that has a forum section where you may ask for advice on modeling, photography, general industry/discussion, and of course critique. I grabbed my (nonexistent) balls and apprehensively accepted for all to tell me what I could improve on, what pictures to get rid of on my portfolio, and just an overall critique on my look. One forum thread in particular struck me though. It was something along the lines of "What are the chances of you getting agency signed on a scale from 1-10?". I was intrigued by this thread because well, I have absolutely no desire to get signed or contracted by an agency. I thought what the hell, can't hurt to ask.. maybe they'll actually say something good! Lets face it, I just don't meet the requirements as an agency represented or editorial model. But man, the reply I got on that thread was quite shocking! 
I already knew I was short enough, at 5'5" my best chance of surviving was to focus on the commercial market. I'm also obviously not 'skinny' enough… sorry I'm not sorry about that though, because I love sushi and Korean BBQ too much. But ONE comment that the original poster mentioned that kind of irked me was "At 23, you are too old". WAIT, it was more like "You are far too short, and at 23, you are too old." Hm. I would have never expected that. I really never took my age into consideration. I mean.. the height and weight I understand because you need to fit "sample sizes", but why should your age matter? I mean goodness, half of the strangers I meet think I'm 18. I got carded playing slots in Atlantic City and still get carded for drinks - which I used to get offended by. But I don't think I've ever been so taken aback by someone telling me I'm too old! 

Well. I guess Blink 182 was right. Nobody likes you when you're 23.

Now that's just among many other things I've been told about myself. "You photograph rather chunky/boxy", "You look quite thick in this picture", "This angle makes your legs look really short", "You should focus on different angles and poses to make yourself appear taller and skinnier", "Your face looks kind of awkward in that picture". Need I go on?
- Yeah, it gets pretty ugly.
But I knew what I was getting myself into. Sorta.

Eh. I'll make it. As much as these people can be so discouraging sometimes, I have to think about all the other people I'm doing it for. This is for the minority. Let's laugh it off. I'll keep on trucking.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Lately my insomnia has been out of control..  I don't know if it's my anxiety or because I haven't been taking my sleeping pills. Meh, in the meantime I managed to waste time playing around with some pictures from a shoot with Kelvin Martinez.

Kelvin's original edit:

One of the most laid back, enjoyable shoots I've had in awhile (after Drew!). It's always refreshing to work with a photographer who doesn't tell you to stand up straighter, arch your back more, or suck in your stomach so you're belly looks "flatter" (yeah a photographer bluffed w/ me just so I wouldn't get offended, can you believe that?! I get it - I ate too much before the shoot, whatever). For once, I was able to pose however the freak I wanted, smile as much as I wanted (seriously, I'm not allowed to smile in about 95% of my shoots), and laughed till my cheeks couldn't take it anymore. Of course Kelvin requested an occasional "Now give me fierce", but I loved every minute of it. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Drew Ignacio Media

I just have to give a sincere thank you and applause to the amazing Drew Ignacio for taking the time to bring me in his studio and put up with my noob ass for over 700 shots. We accomplished 6-7 looks and I am more than satisfied with the results. Drew Ignacio is not only amazing, but he is extremely talented in his craft. He directed me the whole way through, remained patient and encouraging as I battled with my insecurities to even get in certain outfits and poses.

I remember one look in particular that was extremely challenging for me. I walked on set in my lingerie and telling myself 'ok, I can do this'.. after all, both my photographer and personal assistant made me extremely comfortable from the start. But it wasn't until I was directed to get on the floor and pose sitting up that I really began to fight myself from backing out. Now you would think that sitting up is not a big deal right? ...WRONG. When you have a body like mine, stretch marks and extra skin from my pregnancy... sitting position is not exactly the most flattering way to expose your body, especially in an outfit that reveals your stomach.
My stomach has always been my most vulnerable flaw. I felt inferior behind the camera. All the great shots we previously took ultimately meant nothing once I envisioned in my head how bad this look was going to turn out. I whined, I almost cried, I fought with Drew about how I didn't think that it would be a good idea.. but rest assured, him and my personal assistant both reminded and reassured me of how beautiful I was, how I looked fine, and how everything would be okay. Soon enough, the set was over and it was on to the next...

I just have to really emphasize how important it is to have a great team and support system on your side. For anyone who is getting into modeling, bring an escort, a personal assistant, and work with a reputable photographer that you are comfortable with. It was almost like having my own personal cheerleaders rooting for me the whole way through.

Thank you, Drew, for an amazing first experience. You have allowed me to step behind a camera, bright lights and all, and feel beautiful, as every woman and man deserves to. It was truly a humbling experience and has motivated me to continue this journey. 

Visit Drew Ignacio's website at for more pictures of his work. He is also a wedding and event photographer, so if you are looking for someone to capture those special moments for that special occasion, please book him -- you won't regret it, I promise!

You can see more of the pictures from the set in my portfolio available upon request. Leave a comment with your email and I'll be glad to send you a link. :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

and I'm still..

Today was one of the most liberating days I think I could ever experience as woman.  A woman who has been fighting her reflection everyday, confined to a body full of scars and skin that has caused so much insecurity and struggle since the mere age of 14. If only you knew what it was like to live in my skin. And as shallow as that sounds because yes, "someone has it worse than you do", everyone fights their own battles, mine have always overcome me.. I've always lost. I've always been "not skinny enough" or "not tall enough" or "you're not fat.... you aren't skinny either" "your stretchmarks aren't that bad, just rub cocoa butter!" Those reoccurring statements have always hit close to home. They may not mean much to you, but they do to me and the many women who have had to deal with the pressure of the media to obtain a certain look or standard of beauty to become accepted in our society. Beauty has lost its true meaning and has now become a conformity. Since when do we have to 'conform' to beauty? Since when did beauty lose its image? I think we've just been so screwed up from what's been portrayed to us as 'accepted' or 'beautiful', that we forgot to appreciate beauty in all it's essence and purity. We no longer take beauty as it comes, only for what it can offer. Well I aspire to change this false perception of beauty -- the size "0" and the flawless skin. I aspire to redefine beauty and prove to the world that women like me can be beautiful too. My dress size can range anywhere from a 4-6, I wear a 27 in jeans, I have stretchmarks and my skin is loose from my pregnancy, my shirt size varies per brand, style, cut off, color...  and you know what? That's OKAY. Waking up this morning and going to bed tonight have ended in such drastic measures. I woke up scared, hesitant, doubtful of my first official photo shoot. As soon as I walked on set and stood behind those lights and camera, I had to remind myself that I am beautiful, and someone will appreciate me for this. Behind that lens and being on set, my insecurities suddenly left. It was if I channeled in a different person. The person I've been chasing for so long. The person I've wanted to be, wanted to look like, wanted to be accepted as. That  person was confident.. fearless.. beautiful. But later on after all the outfits were gone and the set was finish, I walked out the studio and went home eager to take off the hair and makeup. Washing my face and the mask that I put on to conceal all my flaws and imperfections were once reflecting back to me. The battle ensues. Nights over..... and I'm still chasing Kelly.