Stars like Ivana Alawi and SB19 have come on Toni Talks to not just talk about their lives, but also impart lessons that we can apply to our own journey.
Toni Gonzaga has grown to be one of the best interviewers in the country right now. After two decades in the industry, she knows how to get to the core of her interviewee and get them to open up about their honest headspace and inner workings. This is something that is on full display in her latest YouTube series, Toni Talks. Every week, she talks to an interesting personality, and not only do we get to learn more about them, but we also get to understand their struggles and views on life.
Some of the guests on Toni Talks have included young stars who opened up about their past struggles and how they moved on from that. Not only were these conversations insightful, but they were also eye-opening in that even with the success they have achieved, they still face the same problems that we do. With that, here are five important life lessons we learned from young stars on Toni Talks.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO PRETEND TO BE SOMEONE ELSE FOR PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU
In this day and age, people think that a way for people to like or notice you is to act a certain way. You can notice this all over social media where people like to show just a certain side of themselves and never who they really are. It creates a culture where people think that being authentic won’t get you the likes or followers which creates unnecessary stress and anxiety.
This is something Ivana Alawi knows firsthand. On her appearance on Toni Talks, the 24-year-old star talked about all the rejection she faced starting out in the industry. She would audition for countless roles, but never get any. She waited 22 hours to audition for PBB and didn’t get it. When she first got into YouTube, her first videos were her doing makeup tutorials because that was what she watched and thought people would like. Those videos never caught on and it was only when she started being herself in her vlogs when people started to follow her.
Ivana said that she doesn’t care if her haters say that she is just a sexy star because she knows herself more and knows that the only thing she is showing is her real self, it just so happens she looks good doing it. When Toni asked her if she would change anything about herself, Ivana said nothing, because she is content with what she has.
Ivana Alawi may be one of the most popular stars of her generation, but she too has dealt with the problems that so many people in her generation deal with. Her story is proof that you don’t need to pretend to be someone else or act in a way you think people like. At the end of the day, your personality is what makes you unique, and that people will like you for you, not because you act like someone your not.
YOU CAN’T UNDO YOUR MISTAKES, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM THEM
As much as we want, making a mistake is nearly unavoidable. After all, nobody is perfect, and we slip up every now and then. But the problem lies when you let your mistakes define you and run your life. You become obsessed just thinking about them and your mind starts to get filled with regret about what you did. The truth of the matter is that we cannot undo our mistakes. We can’t travel back in time to prevent them from happening. But the best thing we can do is to learn from them.
This is the biggest takeaway from Zeinab Harake’s episode on Toni Talks. The 22-year-old YouTuber talked about her relationship with Darly Jake Borja Ruiz, or more popularly known as Skusta Clee, and their then-unborn child. Zeinab opened up that the two of them did have a rocky relationship, some of which made its way on social media, but that she’s learned from her mistakes. She said that she can’t undo what she did in the past, but she can turn them into lessons which made her realize that her family is worth fighting for. So, the next time you make a major or series of mistakes, don’t wallow in your sorrow and let it control your life. Reflect, learn from them, and grow as a person.
DON’T COMPARE YOUR SUCCESS TO OTHER PEOPLE
In the age of social media, it has become inevitable to compare your status in life to other people. It’s has become easier to see what other people are doing in their lives. There is a pressure that we need to show our best selves online and show people that we are thriving, even when we are not. We determine our value based on how other people are doing and in the process, we lose our sense of self-worth.
This was an issue Alex Gonzaga opened up about in her first appearance on Toni Talks. She said that she would constantly compare her success to that of her sister. She felt that she was only doing a good job if what she achieved was equal to that what Toni achieved. Even when Alex started her YouTube channel, she asked Toni to be in it because she was afraid that people wouldn’t watch. But now, she is content with herself and is happy with what she is doing. She found her purpose in life and she doesn’t need to compare herself to others to feel satisfaction.
Life isn’t a competition. You shouldn’t compare your progress to other people. People have achievements that you don’t have but at the same time, you have achievements that they don’t have either. It’s not really fair to compare your success to others because everyone has their own achievements and everyone has their timeline. It will never be the same. It’s always better to just focus on your path. Finding your identity and discovering who you are is something a lot of young people go through, and the process is not simple. Alex said that it took her 12 years to realize who she is. You may not find yourself immediately, but don’t give up. One day, you will find your self-worth and realize that all the challenges you went through were worth it.
REAL HAPPINESS CAN ONLY COME WHEN YOU’RE TRUE TO YOURSELF
You could say Jake Zyrus has lived many lives. We know the story all too well, but the most profound of it all was when he came out as a transgender man in 2017. This was where we were introduced to Jake Zyrus. His journey to discovering himself though was anything but easy as he detailed in his episode of Toni Talks.
Even at the young age of five, Jake already knew that he was different. He said that in grade one, his first crush was a girl. Growing up, Jake was struggling with living his life while dealing with his inner turmoil. That then negatively affected his mental health and he even tried to end his life three times. He added that he was hesitant to come out, because if he did, he was afraid that he would not be accepted. But then he realized that living his life then was a betrayal to himself, so he decided to transition. Once he did, he said that it was an easy process because he was ready to leave his past life behind.
If Jake’s story is anything to go by, it’s more important to be true to yourself instead of pretending to be someone you’re not. Coming out is not easy. Even in a time where people are more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community, you never know how people are going to react. Given recent events, Philippine society still has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to respecting and accepting the community. But at the end of the day, you can’t be truly happy if you aren’t true for yourself. If you’re still exploring and trying to find yourself, that is okay. It’s also okay if you aren’t ready to come out in public, as long as on the inside, you accept who you are. Because only then will you know true peace and be able to live your life that’s more authentic to you.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND NEVER GIVE UP
As cliché as it sounds, it’s a life lesson that rings true no matter how old you are. Experiencing hardship or challenge doesn’t automatically allow you to just give up, especially if it’s something you believe in. Take SB19 for example. They are one of the biggest Pinoy acts in the country and arguably the leader in the new generation of P-Pop boy groups today. But they didn’t achieve overnight success, far from it. In fact, there was a point where they nearly disbanded, which is something they talked about on the most recent episode of Toni Talks.
They said that they all left their company pre-debut because they felt like they were going nowhere. Only Stell stayed. He explained that he did so because he believed in what he was doing and that was what he wanted to do. The other members eventually returned and spent around three to four years in training before officially debuting. But even then they faced challenge after challenge.
Their first single, Tilaluha, was met with a shrug rather than applause. They talked about how only a handful of people would show up to their early gigs and street performances. The members used to buy their costumes in Divisoria. They performed at the side of a mall, at a Korean senior citizens day event, and they even served food at an event in a hotel before performing. Justin even said that he was already looking for others places he can work in before SB19’s disbandment. But that didn’t happen. Instead, their second single, Go Up, went viral and their careers exploded. Now, they continue to break records and receive international recognition.
The members of SB19 didn’t know that they would be where they are today. They even gave up their past lives for a chance to be in the group. Ken stopped his college studies, Justin was a student with honors from La Salle, Josh used to work at a call center, while Pablo worked in real estate. They gave that all up for a chance to live their dreams and now they are living it. SB19’s story is proof that no matter what life throws at you, don’t give up. Those hardships make you a better person and at the end of the day, it will all be worth it once you achieve your goals.
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