Skin is beautiful, no matter what color it is, and this month celebrates a movement that encourages morenas to embrace their own color, regardless of what the media tends to portray. Front and center of this Morena Movement is our very own Morena Muse and August 2018 #CalyxtaGirl, Gabbi Garcia, who arrived on set an hour earlier than her call time, dressed casually in jeans and a white tank top, with her long, black hair left down and her exquisitely petite face free of makeup.
Even in her dressed down state, she radiated a youthful charm and a kind of soft-spoken beauty that turned heads as soon as she entered the restaurant of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Quezon City. At 19 years old, Gabbi already exudes a confidence that tells you how much she embraces herself, despite confessing that she did feel a little insecure about her skin color when she was younger. But all that has changed, and with this self-acceptance comes a more empowered woman ready to inspire others to do the same.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your childhood? We heard that you used to be called Bochoy when you were younger?
It’s Batchoy. (laughs)
You were also part of the student council in grade school and high school, so can you tell us a little more about how you grew up?
When I was a kid, I used to be super chubby. That’s why I was called “Batchoy” or “Ba” for short, because I was this chubby, little girl, and I was a bibbo kid. I had a happy childhood. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it was really happy. My parents really supported me in all my activities during my childhood days, like joining different contests and talent searches. They never pressured me to become an honor student or whatsoever, which I appreciate. I believe that if you’re a kid, you shouldn’t just be centered on academics. You should be a well-rounded person—and my parents trained me to be one. But even then, they didn’t pressure me to become an honor student. I see to it that I have good grades in order to repay them. And so, every year I would end up being part of the pilot class—of the top 50 of the batch. And then I even ran for Student Council when I was in Grade 3 up to 2nd year high school. It was just a well-rounded and balanced life for me during my high school and grade school days.
Did you have insecurities growing up?
Yeah. When I was a kid, one of my biggest insecurities was actually my skin complexion. It’s different now, but before, I remember when I would go to Go Sees or VTRs, they would always, always get the mestiza one or the one with the foreign blood. I would always be shortlisted, and I would always end up not getting the project. It came to a point where I questioned—how come they always identify the beauty of someone based on skin complexion, wherein you have to be mestiza? It’s like you have to fit in to that whole idea of being a mestiza in order for you to be casted in commercials or whatsoever. So I had a little insecurity when it comes to me being morena. But as I grew up, I appreciated it even more because it made me different.
How does it feel being called Calyxta’s Morena Muse?
I love it! Actually, every time I’m called a Morena Muse or part of the Morena Movement, as they say, because all of the girls who message me on Instagram and on my DMs, it makes my day. It also boosts my confidence to speak my mind more about it, especially when I did the post about body positivity and the Morena Movement. It’s nice because here in our country, most of the girls are actually morena, but being a mestiza is also beautiful! You being a morena shouldn’t be a hindrance of you being confident about yourself.
How can you encourage and empower other morenas to embrace and be proud of their skin?
First is you should accept whoever you are. You should accept all your flaws, and everything follows—because you can’t really be confident if you, yourself, are not confident. Right? How will that reflect? So, yeah—just accept and look at the brighter side. You’re different. Everyone’s unique in their own way and that makes you special.
If you could give 10-year-old Gabbi a message, what would it be?
Enjoy your childhood. Enjoy the fact that you’re in school and just be thankful. Live your everyday life to the fullest because you’ll never know what you’re going to face when you become an adult. (laughs)
As our August 2018 #CalyxtaGirl and one of Maybelline’s IT Girls, get an extra 5% off any Maybelline product for the entire month when you use the code: CALYXTAXGABBI.
Cover Story By: GRETCHEN GATAN
Art Direction: MARGAUX CORTEZ & MING BAGAFORO
Editorial Assistant: MAAN FERNANDEZ
Editorial Intern: MARY VERESSE UBERAS
Videographer: RYAN TIZON
Photographer: CHARISMA LICO
Makeup: JASON DELOS REYES
Hair: MARK ROSALES
Stylist: JOHN KARUNUNGAN, JM GUMATAY AND HILLARY LEE OF @STYLEDITGROUP
Special Thanks to: LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR, QUEZON CITY