• Crystal White

#KwentongPilipina: Cara Paguio

Breaking Traditional Beauty Standards

“The modern Filipina is someone who’s not afraid to be whoever they want to be. Historically, Filipinas were ascribed to a certain role in society. Their only role was to become great mothers and housewives. But today, more Filipinas are daring to experience life outside these conventional roles. What I admire the most about Filipinas is they don’t allow old standards to define their future and they’re brave enough to chase their own dreams.”

Cara Paguio is a marketing trailblazer and an entrepreneur. She works as the marketing manager for Shoreditch Food Inc., a food group who handles the restaurants Señor Pollo and Cal-ci. She’s also a fashion entrepreneur who co-founded the apparel brand, Guppy.

History and the Self-Image of Filipinas

Cara: Our identities as Filipinas have been shaped by our history because we’ve been colonized by a lot of different nationalities. As a result, we’ve adapted the different beauty standards our colonizers had. I think right now, our beauty standards are skewed towards Western beauty standards. This is evident in our media today, as we still consider fair skin, long hair, and a sharp nose as the standard for being beautiful.

However, I feel like we’re slowly seeing a shift on how millennials see beauty. We’re becoming more open and accepting to different kinds of beauty, especially when it comes to complexion. I feel like this is because of the cultural change social media has brought about, where we’re able to see a more authentic view of people.

Finding her truest Filipina Glow

Cara: I think a lot of Filipinas today know how it feels to be teased for their complexion, because having dark or brown skin really makes people look at you differently.

Growing up, one of my biggest insecurity was my skin since I was the darkest one in my family. I get teased a lot with “oh you’re so dark, you’re not pretty.” and it hurt. Sometimes, the people around me won’t say it directly, but I can still feel it in the way they look at me.

However for me, I have come to terms with my natural skin color. I’ve accepted the brownness of my skin and I find it beautiful. I also think that for our country, being brown is perfect. It makes me stand out in a crowd and I’m not afraid of that.

Authentic Filipina Beauty

Cara: I don’t think one can ascribe a single beauty standard to the modern Filipina. I mean historically speaking, we’re a mixed-race country and we’re very diverse. Also, I don’t think our beauty can purely be measured by aesthetic. I think you can measure the beauty of Filipina by her belief and confidence in herself because if she truly believes that she’s beautiful, it’ll shine on the outside as well.

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