Every story of genesis has its corresponding why. Before we begin with the story of NYLON Manila, we look back at our sworn purpose, and set out to be the space where you can be your most you.
To be completely honest, and perhaps just like most of you, the past few months have been nothing but an ambiguous stretch of time simmering in everything from stress to anxiety. The persistence of the pandemic aside, building a brand in the middle of it all is certainly no walk in the park. But aside from juggling the logistical, administrative, and creative aspect of being Editor-in-Chief, much of my self-inflicted pressure and persistence of perfection stemmed from the fact that as someone who has practically been sculpted by the industry, I wanted this story of genesis for NYLON Manila to really mean something. If anything, this isn’t a mere professional pursuit of passion—it is personal.
While there wasn’t necessarily a lack of things to say, having typed out so many fragments of words on my phone or written on random pieces of paper I could get my hands on, nothing felt right. And if anyone of you knows me, I can be rather emotional about these things—as with well, everything else.
It’s true what they say, the less you look for and force something, the more it comes to you. Just when I thought all hope was lost for this introduction to the space we are carving out for Nylon Manila in the grand scheme of the internet, the jolt of inspiration came through a message from a reader of an anecdote I had shared on the Filipina-formed and led Instagram ‘zine, Pinta. Asked to share a beauty ritual passed down from a loved one in the tradition of a pamana, I dug deep into my memories, as I usually do when at a mental stall. Unearthing a childhood scene of my mother painting my nails on a particularly gloomy day, in hopes of cheering me up, I shared how perhaps in that point unspoken, I was being assured that it was okay to be unlike the rest of the boys. This is also why whenever I fall into a spell of glum and gloom, a proverbial Eeyore with an overcast of gray clouds hovering on me, I fumble for a bottle of nail polish and paint myself to a space of happiness—sometimes with glitter, because why not?
As with every emotional endeavor in the context of the written word, I let it go as soon as the last punctuation has been set. It isn’t necessarily mine anymore, I whisper, as I figuratively allow it to escape my grasp and soar into the great unknown. Its origins to the dark side of magic aside, including the transphobic author now known as she-who-must-not-be-named, I always think of my work as a horcrux. For you muggle folk or those uninitiated to the world of Harry Potter, it is the act of splitting my soul into many pieces not in the vanity of immortalizing myself, but instead, to sow the seeds of the story to someone who needs it at a given moment of significance.
So, as I tapped at my keyboard, writing and rewriting possible permutations of what is shaping to be what you’re reading now, a response to my piece on Pinta was sent my way. Heartfelt and hopeful, the reader particularly took to my telling as she was reminded of her own pamana, one that was handed by a past love. In a narration of skincare and sickness, this connection through a hand-me-down of practice was sealed indelibly into permanence as a routine, standing to be a reminder to this very day. “Sometimes I get too tamad to do my routine, but then I heard her voice, and I just have to, you know? She was right. Even after she’s passed, she’d still be taking care of me,” she writes. “Best pamana I got.” Best believe I was a waterfall of tears after reading this.
See, telling stories will never be a function of performative pomp, posturing, and peacocking for me. What it is an exercise of catharsis, regurgitating all that is built and bottled up, and eventually realizing in a work that is decided and distilled. It is through writing that I navigate life, constantly learning and unlearning at every sharp turn. “Just imagine how many stories, articles you’ve written. You’re so prolific. I’m betting your words have brewed in people’s minds and hearts more than they’ve been able to tell you,” they tell me in between tears. Conversely, it warms my heart to know that what I do affects people in a heart-tugging way. Characteristically, I am welling up as I go back to their words and type out my own, but indulge me, because this only affirms that where I am and what I do is what I was meant for all my life. It goes without saying that I am beyond grateful to have the good fortune of having to do it in this capacity day in and day out. Despite being saturated with thrilling, vibrant visuals, know that when all settles to a calm, words are that latch and linger, consequently informing, and hopefully, inspiring the reader’s life as it constantly and consistently does mine.
It wasn’t that I forgot, but it definitely helps to be reminded from time to time why we are nudged into certain directions in life, even if seems such a steep mountain to climb. This was the resuscitation of spirit I needed coming into this introduction of NYLON Manila—and it stands to be a guarantee of what we intend to do from here on out. On behalf of the insanely talent and dedicated team on NYLON Manila, we are committed to the responsibility of content and conversations that matter, with stories and narratives that are relevant, responsible, and radical. Here, we are to underscore the identity of the youth as a generation to be seen, heard, felt, and taken seriously on all fronts in pop culture, fashion, beauty, and voice, shaping a future we can fully claim as our own. In this carved out space online and in the grand spectrum of opinion, we are championing the self-aware and self-actualized intersection of the energetic and engaged youth, where we will not only speak up, but actually shift perspectives.
As early as now, consider this as our pamana, a virtual time capsule and hand-me-down, which we hope to see grow into its own identity, ideally to be passed from generation to generation, much like Nylon magazine did back then for many impressionable youth now making their marks in the world. Now, it is time to set our own thumbprint in the greater narrative of life. Your stories are safe here, as are you to be who you are and want to be. Here at NYLON Manila, you matter the most.
And so the great work begins. Hello, NYLON Manila.