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Sarah Meier: No Filter Influencer

Fashion Styling ELDZS MEJIA

By: Chryssa Celestino

You can’t forget Sarah Meier.

The six-foot, half-Filipino, half-Swiss teenager you first saw on TV back when hair braids and the Spice Girls were all the rage. She was the girl who would pop up on the afternoon program, talking about tracks you’d find yourself burning in a CD and looping till your player skips them. Quirky, eloquent, young—Sarah was both the MTV VJ millennials deserved and the poster girl for an era hyped by teen angst and pop group fanfare.

But things have changed. The ’90s throwbacks have fizzled out. MTV is now less of a home to the cult that loved Daria than to the teens that binged on My Super Sweet 16. Today, the cool kids shaping a generation are the Insta-famous, the social media-genic crowd that wows on feed alone. On the other side of the spectrum lies Sarah—now 34, Metro magazine’s editor in chief, occasional model, seasoned host, mom to preteen Kaya—where she plays tastemaker behind the pages she produces.

“How did I get here?” she asks me, rhetorically.  It was a Monday in July when I met Sarah at the Picasso Boutique Hotel. She arrived on time—you’d think she’d be fashionably late by occupation—in a shirt-and-bottom ensemble, accentuated by sparkly shorts and a long blue scarf. She carried an aura of celebrity, if only for her commanding height and oversized vintage shades.

“Do I deserve to be here? Do I have what it takes?” she asks again. Her voice simmers down to an audible whisper.

Sarah has been leading Metro since 2015. While an industry rookie, she has been steering the magazine toward radical changes, from covers shot on mobile phones to a more personal and less commercial discussion on beauty. After all, she was the epitome of it—the white girl of the ’90s who could have peddled whitening products for money, the spunky It girl who also chose not to.

“I was a bit of an ass for doing so because it’s like priorities—I turned down so much money when my family could have really used it. But from a moral standpoint, I couldn’t… If the storyboard portrayed me as somebody I really didn’t believe in, it was like, no, sorry,” she recalls.

Throughout her career, Sarah’s charm had always been about standing out. But it was only when she left for the US for a short-course education on publishing and advertising that she tapped her true self—one that dresses less safe, acts loosely, and has become more open. Motherhood has stripped her of all the things she knew, helping her realign priorities and reassess her purpose. Away from the public eye for quite some time, Sarah got to switch roles. Now, she’s the observer of things and trends around her and became more of herself and less of her on-screen persona.  

Back in our table in Picasso, Sarah keeps doubting. “My mind is constantly in a lot of self-talk,” she admits, “when I’m by myself, I’m constantly criticizing myself a lot throughout the day… I took a strengths test, and I found my biggest weakness is positivity. But my number one strength is recognizing the value and talents of other people.”

Randz Manucom, associate fashion editor at Metro, sees this for himself. “She’s a boss who cares for your wellbeing,” he says in an e-mail interview, “her professionalism is inspiring and not intimidating. She doesn’t impose but for some reason, you just want to impress her all the more.”

But apart from her work ethic, Sarah’s inclusive manner of collaborating rubs off on the team well. “With our issues, she asks for our opinions all the time and constantly comes up with ideas that are new and from a different perspective—one that’s cerebral but somehow emotionally attuned,” Randz says, “She grounds our fantastical ideas about fashion all the time.”

“You have to allow yourself to have crazy, out-there thoughts,” Sarah beams, talking about how she cultivates creativity, “When you’re in an environment or you’re with people who try to box you in too much, you’re not in a space you can safely develop. You have to form a team or an environment where it’s okay. Your no’s are celebrated.”

In industries like fashion and beauty, where imperfections and differences can be glaring, we’re lucky to have someone like Sarah who acknowledges them. When everybody else tries to make you look like a thin mannequin, she advocates being yourself as the best version of who you can be. While we don’t work in the same office space, having her voice, opinion, and outlook resonate from the newsstands is comforting. You do you, she seems to scream.     

Sarah has it all—a career, a family, a workplace to call home. It’s now not so much about becoming her, but more about achieving as much as she did. “I think women can have it all but just not at the same time,” she thinks, “It’s important for women to understand that you have that checklist, don’t try to bundle it all and squeeze it to like this segment of your life. Look at the entirety of it. Take your time for you. Grow yourself as an individual first.”

Like self-discovery, self-care is an important notion in Sarah’s narrative. She goes to the gym every morning and tries to eat clean (read: no soy and gluten) throughout the day. Sarah’s personal upkeep also includes a religious ritual of cleansing (mostly with Kiehl’s), toning, and moisturizing (care of La Mer). Succumbing to hydrotherapy as her ultimate beauty habit, she also swears by Bobbi Brown concealer, Make Up Forever HD Foundation, K-palette Eyebrow Liner, and a few other trusted names like MAC and Eye of Horus.

Standard influencers are only as good as their feeds. When the hype goes, so do they. But Sarah has promising longevity, thanks to a legacy she can’t help but leave. Whether in word or action, it’s hard to forget who she is—even harder to miss what else she can be.



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