From the pedestal of privilege, as accorded by her public persona, Liza Soberano is stepping down and seeing how else she can help the people and the world. By speaking out and standing up, there is a lot of hope for what is to come from Liza The Brave.
Liza Soberano likes to keep herself busy, and for good measure, too, because all things considered, it can get easy to feel paralyzed and consumed by all the doom scrolling on social media or just the overarching helplessness and hopelessness that has become more challenging to assuage as time trickles by. The business of entertainment aside, she is hands-on with her existing entrepreneurial endeavors, with two others that she’s tight-lipped but nonetheless excited about, and also, she likes to occupy her day with everything she possibly can, which includes, among other things, doing the grocery.
“I like doing chores. I enjoy cooking and all that. I think that’s kind of like my way to keep myself or my mind off of whatever it is that’s going on, because I think like last year, during the peak of the pandemic, I came to a point where like, I was just on my phone every day, reading and watching the news. And it became pretty toxic for me,” she says from the other end of the standard of communication these days, a Zoom call. While it certainly doesn’t match the charm of a conversation in real life, you can have a good sense of when it is more than just your typical repartee, especially at a time of fatigue where we are sensitive to social cues both said and otherwise. Here, you know Liza Soberano is all in, leaning in on the screen when she is highly engrossed or leaning back and catching the light of the mid-afternoon sun outlining her silhouette when a deep thought hits her.
“I felt like I couldn’t do anything about all the bad things that were going on in the world and I felt for some reason that it was kind of my responsibility as a human being to be able to contribute or to be able to do something about it,” she says, her genuine grace and grit coloring her words. “But the problems just seemed too big that I felt like, I don’t know…I honestly thought that the world was coming to an end.”
And Then She Speaks
She wasn’t the only one feeling so, because at some point, the rest of the world was at wits end on the uncertainty of the crisis, as well as of the responses and management of the crisis that followed. But somewhere along the lines, Liza Soberano was yearning to do something more. In an industry where the unwritten rule is to keep quiet as much as possible so as not to ruffle any feathers, there was a growing sense of responsibility to her. Now more than ever, she wanted to speak up.
“So, with everything that was going on, I couldn’t just take seeing people that were disadvantaged or the minority be trampled upon and not do anything for them. I know that we always say that every voice matters, and ideally that should be the case, but in reality, it doesn’t. I don’t think it does because the people only listen to who they want to listen to most of the time, and unless you have a huge platform with so many listeners, honestly, the people that have power don’t really pay attention,” says Liza Soberano thoughtfully. “They couldn’t care less, so that’s why I feel like as a celebrity as someone who is in the public eye, it’s our responsibility to at least be the voice of people who cannot really voice out their opinions or be the voice of people that aren’t heard.”
With this steely resolve, Liza Soberano started mustering courage within herself, speaking up when and where she could. From the causes that are personal to her and even the political, the actress has been making headlines for something that was for the most part, outside the pleasantries of her public persona.
Liza The Brave
“I was honestly inspired by Ate Angel Locsin. I admire her bravery and how much she loves the Philippines and the Filipino people. And I always knew deep in my heart ever since I was young, before I became an actress, I wanted a job that could help people. And the job that I have right now does help people by entertaining them, giving them something to you know, watch and hang on to, because I have a lot of fans that are always telling me that I’m the only thing that keeps them sane or I’m the only thing that keeps them happy and and hopeful—and I’m more than happy to do that. But I feel like at this point in my life, I want to do so much more than just entertaining people I want to actually physically be able to help them.”
Naturally, this mature shift to really question the status quo, while admirable, especially for someone deeply entrenched in the system of the hush-hush industry, made a lot of people uncomfortable. While she does acknowledge their right to feel the way they do, Liza Soberano asserts that she is done being afraid and is dead set on living life on her own terms. “But not only that,” she is quick to append her train of thought, “Like other issues may be political or just about bashing in general, I think it’s very important for celebrities to do that so that people know too that they can’t just step on all over us or they can’t just say things about us without proof or evidence, because there’s a lot of people that also post blind items and stuff that a lot of people on the internet sometimes, they believe it right away and that’s unfair. So, I feel like if you believe that your what you’re saying is honest and true. Don’t be afraid to speak up about it.”
And this isn’t the first time Liza Soberano is speaking up. In an act of growing bravery, we’ve seen it on Twitter over some time and as she mentions in confidence, in more insular but highly significant instances in her life. This, she says, she has been working on more for herself than anything. “We were always taught by everybody who has more experience in the showbiz industry to be careful with what we say, to be careful what we post about on social media. So, I was always very cautious and conscious about everything. Every little thing that I would say or do, and I guess that cautiousness led into me thinking that my opinion and whatever I say didn’t really matter because before, when I was younger, I would get bashers, [and] I was the type to really answer back, clap back. I was really into that,” she shares. “For some reason, they made me feel bad about, you know, reacting to certain things. And that’s when I realized that no matter whatever I say, there’s always going to be people that will agree and disagree with me. But what matters most is the people that I’m helping out even if I’ve looked like I’m the bad guy.”
Rising To The Challenge
It’s hard to imagine Liza Soberano as a bad person, not perfect, as we all are, but bad? Highly unlikely. So, with the realization that she will always figure herself in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, she mustered the courage to just forge ahead with whatever she feels is right by her and for the greater good of the people. “Growing up, I was always the yes girl. I would say yes to everything in fear that if I said no, if I turned down someone, or if I didn’t do what they wanted me to do, that they would no longer like me,” she relates. But as she matured and owned her ability to influence, Liza Soberano understood that there was more to her and the privilege that she has been accorded by her rise in the industry.
“I realized that I have so much privilege as an actress. And in a way, I kind of earned that privilege, but what use is that privilege if I’m the only one benefiting from it, right? If I’m so privileged and I see everyone around me hurting, suffering, and you know, being mistreated, then what use does that privilege have? I might as well use it so that more can benefit from it,” she says with much conviction. Now, this is no mere lip service, because it is no secret that she has long supported and actively worked with women’s rights and mental health groups and organizations such as Save The Children, where together, they have campaigned for many things, the passing of the bill to raise the age of legal consent in the Philippines among them. “It’s just realizing the power that I have and how much change that I can bring upon the country. That’s what excites me because as long as I know that what I’m doing is right and I’m helping more people out then I don’t mind using that power and speaking up.”
Now, Liza Soberano is not only rising to a different challenge, one that puts her in a plane that will incur a lot of hate as much as there is love, but more importantly, owning her power. As she should, point blank, period.
A New Hope
In the process of understanding and owning her voice, Liza Soberano had to learn how to say no, whether it be in the projects she wants to work on or whatever else she believes in beyond the privilege of show business. While this is part and parcel of growing up, it proves to be of an extra challenge, especially with all eyes on you. But while she still gets scared from time to time, what with the responsibility and really, power she now holds, for the most part, Liza Soberano is standing up with her head held high. Now, if she makes a misstep or a mistake, she is perfectly okay with that. “Hey, I’m not good at everything,” she acknowledges. “But I still have the capacity to learn.”
With so much room to explore and discover, Liza Soberano looks wistfully in the glare of the sun outside her window, her now air-dried hair framing her fresh face oh-so carefully. Circling back to what she has learned so far, she finds herself compelled to talk to her younger self. “I would tell a younger Hope to not be afraid and don’t say yes to everything. Actually, that’s one thing that I learned over the course of the pandemic,” she says, her face now nearly pressed on the screen for emphasis. “Like I said earlier I was a yes girl I was afraid of rejection judgment and I just was a people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me and that means doing anything and everything they asked me to do, even at my own expense. And so I would tell my younger self, just not to be afraid be who you are. Be authentic. And learn to say no.”
Realizing that she was meant to do and be more than what she has been used to, how has Liza Soberano been settling in this newfound superpower? “I’m just happy that I’m able to live life now.”
Isn’t that there is all to it, really?
Creative direction and cover story ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Photography BJ PASCUAL
Fashion and beauty direction, styling LYN ALUMNO
Color by MATTIE GRAFL of KOOP STUDIO
Set and production desgin ROCKET DESIGN STUDIO
Videography KIERAN PUNAY
Video editing and concept 7640 Inc.
Senior Multimedia Artist KENNETH DIMAANO
3D Renders by YSA CANLAS
Brand associate ELYSE ILAGAN
Special thanks to OGIE DIAZ, IAN BUENAVENTURA, PERRY TABORA
Shot on location at AVIRE TOWER
CONTINUE READING: THE NEW FASHION FLEX: LIZA SOBERANO REVEALS THE FUTURE OF PERSONAL STYLE