It’s been so much fun getting to know our #CalyxtaGirls, Hannah Pangilinan and Janina Vela, as they walked us through how it’s like growing up in this modern age of the Gen Z culture—from talking about what they love the most about it, to how they keep up with the challenges that come with living in such a fast-paced time of everything digital.
As October comes to a close, our favorite vlogging duo leaves us with powerful reminders on how to stay true to yourself in a world where everyone is constantly browsing and seeing #Goals, #LifeGoals, #RelationshipGoals, and whatnot. “Don’t find your identity online,” Janina shares, “There are people who find it in their followers, in the number of retweets and favorites—don’t get me wrong, I feel good when I have a lot of favorites and retweets, but there are days when I tweet something and nobody pays attention. Basing my security on things like these, that’s how you really lose yourself.”
As for Hannah, being truthful, honest, and authentic to the people who look up to her is very important, especially on social media, “Don’t be afraid to show that you have made mistakes, to tell people what the real truth is because sometimes on social media, it’s so easy to make yourself look perfect. And when you do that, you are unknowingly creating this unattainable image to those people who are looking up to you.”
Don’t miss out on #HANINA’s last cover story where they share about how they use their young voice to make a difference, the art of going on social media breaks, and staying true to yourself in this online age.
There’s a tendency for the older generations to underestimate the voice of younger ones, simply because they’re younger.
Hannah: Yes, that’s true.
What you can say about this? Have you experienced this in any way?
Hannah: I think that yes, there may be a tendency for older people to underestimate because we’re younger, but then I think we should also freely accept the advice that the older people do give to us because they are more experienced, and they graced this world first than us. So, they kind of should prime us for whatever the world has to offer. We should listen to them, but at the same time, yeah, I have been underestimated by older people who are looking at us like, “Oh, I didn’t know you were that young.” But when they look at the things that we’ve done and the people that we are able to reach, I think that’s the best way to counter that. Don’t bad mouth them or take it against them that they look at you that way—instead, just show them why they should look at you differently.
Janina: Yeah, I think there’s a balance to everything. So, there’s a balance to that, we’re listening like, “Okay, maybe we aren’t being realistic.” Or maybe, “Okay, there’s something that I can learn from them because they have lived longer…” (laughs) And they have more wisdom, because wisdom comes with experience and I could have all of the knowledge in the world but if I haven’t experienced these things…
Janina: You know what I’m saying? (laughs) But for me, it’s also an avenue to exceed their expectations, in a sense that it gives us more room. It could push us because us being underestimated, it could either stop you from growing where you’re like, “You know what, they’re right. I can’t do this.” Or it can motivate you like, “You know what, you think I can’t do it, but I know that I can.” It’s your choice on whether you’ll use that to encourage or discourage you. But for me and Hannah, obviously, it’s always been to encourage us.
How do you keep social media as a healthy space and what do you do when social media tends to be a bit toxic?
Hannah: Well, Janina and I take regular social media breaks, which I think are very essential especially for influencers who have their whole life on social media because sooner or later, you can start really believing the lies that social media has on you. With us being YouTubers, the comment section is something that’s very toxic. Again, like what I said a while ago, if you’re not confident in yourself, it’s so easy to be swayed by what other people say about you. So it’s important to really step back every now and then, maybe take a week off and just turn off the voice of the world because that’s just not healthy after a while. It can be overpowering and negative, and too negative. And something that’s very similar between our channels and our platforms is that we really want to keep it positive and we want to spread a good message of empowerment and confidence, instead of making it an avenue to talk about tea or bash others because a lot of people take advantage of their platform to use it against other people. But instead, we should use it to help people.
So, Janina, what about you?
Janina: I believe in freedom of expression, but I also believe that especially as influencers, I always ask myself, “Is this beneficial for the community?” Because of course, I have so many opinions that I’ve never shared but I’ve shared to Hannah, and I feel like there are things you don’t really have to share on social media. But there are things that of course, because I have to vent, and I am human, I have to share with my friends and family who will be like, “You’re being stupid. Just suck it up.” My mom always asks me, “What’s the good purpose of this tweet? Of this post?” And I think about that, and if there is none, maybe I don’t have to post it. Maybe it will just garner more, not even hate on me but hate on the world, like more hateful conversations, and Hannah and I, we never want to be people who create more…
Hannah: Drama. Because there is so much already. Why would you want to add on to that?
Janina: Yeah, so we’re always about love and positivity, and that goes into our opinions, tweets, and the videos that we post.
Hannah: But we’re not perfect! We make mistakes also.
Janina: No, I’ve had so many tweets. The reason that I can talk about this is because I know that I’ve had so many dumb tweets in my life.
What advice can you give on how to stay true to yourself and not your identity in this online age when we’re constantly browsing and seeing #Goals, #LifeGoals, #RelationshipGoals, and whatnot?
Janina: Don’t find your identity online.
Hannah: Or from the world itself! Because you can also find your identity in something that is stable and something that will not change, which is…??? (looks at Janina)
Janina: You know a lot of people, they sometimes find it in their followers, or they find it in… “Oh my gosh, my tweet got so many favorites.” And don’t get me wrong, I feel good when I have a lot of favorites and retweets, but there are days when I tweet something and nobody pays attention, nobody minds it. But just because nobody minds it, then I’ll feel horrible about myself? See? Basing my security on things like these, that’s how you really lose yourself. So finding yourself in God and knowing that in the Bible it says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” and that God has a plan for you—these are things that have been in the Bible for years.
Janina: Have been for years and will be forever, and so with social media where there are new tweets every day, there are new Instagram posts every day, and people are posting more and more opinions—these things change. It’s not very sustainable to base your security on that.
Hannah: Yeah, I think we should just know what is true and for me, like what Janina said, know your worth from something that is not going to change—verses like Roman 28:28, “All things work for the good.” For someone who might feel uncomfortable or who might not have faith for that specific day, I can be like, “No. Maybe this hurts right now. Maybe I feel like this right now, but it’s going to be for the better in the future.” So knowing what the truths are and not getting that from the world is so important because you can be fulfilled by the compliments of other people, but you should be secure in yourself and in somebody else bigger than yourself.
Janina: But I guess, for people who don’t really understand what we’re talking about when we say get your security from God, I feel like God has put people in your life that He can speak through. So for me, that’s my parents, that’s my family, or you to me. Where I know that when I’m feeling down about myself, I know that the words that are coming from their mouth, the encouragement that they’re speaking to me, the compliments—those are the truths that God has put in me that sometimes I forget or sometimes I get blinded by. My grandma says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” And I feel like that’s so true because, like what we were talking about a while ago…
Hannah: Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are!
Janina: Yeah! Not letting yourself get lost in the wrong crowd. I think surrounding yourself with the right people is very important to not get lost.
Last question—how do you use your voice to influence and empower others?
Especially the younger followers who look up to you.
Hannah: I think you should be transparent and really be truthful about what you are going through, and to just really show an authentic side of you. For example, don’t be afraid to show that you have made mistakes, don’t be afraid to tell people what the real truth is, because sometimes on social media, it’s so easy to make yourself look perfect. And when you do that, you are unknowingly creating this unattainable image to those people who are looking up to you. “But why don’t I look like that?“, “Why is my life not perfect like Hannah’s?“, “Why don’t I have all these amazing things happening in my life?” because I always say this, “We compare our behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlights.” Because we only see the good parts on social media. So I think we should be those people who do change that and will really let people know what it is like. So on my vlogs and stuff, I really am transparent with my audience. I’m like, “No, I had a difficult time today. I went through these struggles.” And if it helps even just one person to be authentic and to be honest, I think that’s what my purpose is.
Janina: Oh, my glob, I don’t even know what to say anymore because I feel like that’s it. I think that’s what differentiates us from other influencers and other inspirational people—it’s really the authenticity and the rawness, which Hannah always asks me, “How do you do that? How are you so truthful?” But I think, again, truth is such an important thing for us. If we’re not speaking the truth about the world, about what’s going on, even about ourselves, which is what has pushed me to post videos about when I was bullied, about my anxiety…
Hannah: About her crushes! I seriously don’t know how she did that.
Janina: (laughs) I think what goes on in my head is that I was able to overcome this, but there are people who are still going through this, and it would be so selfish of me if I didn’t share the truth and the way to overcome it. I feel like we have duties, not even as influencers, but as human beings! As Filipinos, as people in this world, to help other people who are going through these things, and I feel like that’s another reason that God allows us to go through these things—to help people.
Hannah: 1 Corinthians 3:16, I think that’s the verse, it says that Lord lets us go through difficult things so that when we are comforted by those people who love us, we can give comfort to those who are going through the same thing. And I love that verse so much because in the midst of struggles, then I am empowered. Then I’m like, “Okay. This struggle, I’m not just going through it for myself, I’m going through it for those people who might go through it in the future.“
Be sure to check out the rest of #HANINA’s cover stories for October 2018 here: