Eleven women on how they became kikay and owned it

While some people still insist on using it as a derogatory term or deride women who wear makeup, we PV girls choose to own the term “kikay”. It’s just not about looking good for the sake of looking good; we’re serious about taking care of ourselves in the best ways we know how. Some of us got into makeup as young adults, while others have been finding ways to get our beauty fix while we were still kids!

So we asked a few women how they discovered their love for beauty and how this passion led some of them to where they are today. From teaching other women via video tutorials to building their own beauty empires, find your next beauty inspiration in their stories!

 Rissa's cover photo by Eloisa Lopez for Entrepreneur Philippines

Rissa's cover photo by Eloisa Lopez for Entrepreneur Philippines

Rissa Mananquil Trillo, co-founder of Happy Skin Cosmetics, model and beauty columnist

When I was young, the dresser of my all-pink room was constantly filled with the latest moisturizers, eye creams, sunscreens, face masks, perfumes and other kinds of miracle lotions and potions. At thirteen, I was already slathering anti-cellulite cream on my thighs! Although I really didn’t need it, the thought of having my thighs look like orange peel didn’t exactly sound like a sweet idea to my adolescent mind. 

There was even one Christmas break I spent with a half-burnt face. One entire cheek was literally scabbed and burnt to crisp! I thought I could play derma doctor on myself and wipe away the miniscule whiteheads that seemed as big as the moon to an adolescent like me. That’s what I got for experimenting with products NOT meant for the face.

So yes, like other young girls at that age, I was curious and conscious about my body and appearance. But while my Povedan classmates were studying their ABCs in Spanish, I was understanding my AHAs as well. They collected Sweet Valley Twins books to read but I also had my face buried in Vogue’s Beauty Encyclopedia.

I was so kikay that I later bagged the role as host for a beauty TV show called “The Kikay Machine!”

 Nybie Ng and Angela Nepomuceno

Nybie Ng and Angela Nepomuceno

Nybie Ng, makeup artist

Honestly I was not considered as one of the kikays during my younger years. My siblings were all boys so I wasn’t immediately drawn to makeup but I was interested in the arts. In grade school, I joined a theater group where I first learned how to do makeup for performances. I became the go-to makeup person in my high school and even did my own face for graduation.

I ended up taking a college course that I wasn’t really passionate about but I finished it and got a job as a medical technologist. I saved up my salary to enroll myself in the Center for Aesthetics Studies, taking classes on weekends even as I also juggled work and school. I had a tough time but I was happy with what I was doing. After graduating from makeup school, I was lucky to find clients and did makeup stints between my shifts at the hospital. Sometimes I wouldn’t even get to sleep but the work made me happy.

As I got more gigs, I decided to leave my job and take risk to be a full-time makeup artist. It was hard to let go of the assurance of a monthly salary for work as a freelancer but I told myself that I didn’t want to be a 40 year-old wishing I had made the switch when I was younger. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! It’s been six years since I took that crazy step, and I couldn’t be happier with the job I have now. My passion and love for my job now fuels me to do my best every day and with every client. I hope to empower women and to bring out their beauty and confidence through my makeup skills.

Angela Nepomuceno, model and beauty blogger

I grew up watching my mom apply her skincare regimen and do her makeup every day before going to the office, so I guess I was born to be kikay. My interest was intensified when I decided to enrol in a makeup school while I was still part of the corporate world. From there, I became a makeup artist and my blog turned into a beauty blog!

 Joyce Sola and Sharmaine Reyes

Joyce Sola and Sharmaine Reyes

Joyce Sola, makeup artist and beauty vlogger

While watching America’s Next Top Model, I told myself, “One day I’ll be famous, successful, and beautiful just like them.” I started collecting makeup, clothes, and accessories to create my own style. I went on to study photography and makeup artistry to pursue my passion. And now I’m a beauty vlogger and a professional makeup artist!

Sharmaine Reyes, medical student

Believe it or not, I used to wear all the baggy clothes that boys wear. I once even went to Boracay wearing jogging pants just because I didn’t want to wear sleeveless and shorts. Haha! But then I got a boost of confidence when I joined Miss Pharmacy and then Miss University of Santo Tomas back in college. I felt the need to look presentable in front of other people. Baka sabihin nila, "Ay, yan ba yun? Parang ‘di naman nagsusuklay." Since then, I wanted to improve on how I present myself to other people. It’s not about being maarte. It's about bringing out the best in you and showing it to other people.

Quennie de Leon, medical student

It's almost impossible for any women not to be kikay once in their lifetime. It’s cliché but I used to try my mom's clothes and heels when I was little. I was also fond of conceptualizing my daily hairstyles even when I was just 5 years old! I have fond memories of collecting Total Girl magazines, getting my first makeup kit, having my first mani-pedi session, going on mega shopping sessions, learning how to do my eyebrows, and many more that indulged my love for beauty.

Razel Eusebio and Nina Nuguid

Razel Eusebio, model

I used to be naive about making myself beautiful. I always wanted everything to be simple. When I first started modeling, I didn't know how to put makeup on, how to dress properly, and how to look presentable. I became super kikay when I felt like I had to. Every other model that I worked with knew how to look and be confident, so I decided to learn how to better take care of myself, too. I enrolled in a makeup school, and from then on, I knew how to carry myself properly and gained more confidence!

Nina Nuguid, blogger

I'm not really super kikay so I think the right question should be, "When did you start taking care of yourself?" The turning point for me was when I was about 16 years old. I was chosen as class representative for Ms. UN and I didn't want to put my batch to shame by losing the competition. It was certainly humbling when I got brutally honest and asked myself if I was presenting the best version of myself. And that, I guess, was the start of something new and beautiful.

P.S. I won first runner-up!

Ally Munda, model

If I were to choose a word to describe myself, it probably wouldn't be “kikay”. I grew up as the only girl in the household and it turned out as you expect; I think the only time my teachers stopped scolding me for my hair looking messy was when I cut it to a pixie. I've never been good at makeup, pretty things, or traditionally feminine gender stereotypical behavior but I love my skincare! I'm very particular about always washing, toning, moisturizing and protecting my skin. Since I started modelling, I've become more focused on keeping my skin healthy.

 Jackie Go and Princess Jo-anne Malana

Jackie Go and Princess Jo-anne Malana

Jackie Go, model and blogger

I'm not super kikay but I do admit that I like pretty things and things that can help me achieve my best look. So sige na nga, kikay na din! Hahaha! Well, I was tomboyish growing up and it was only when I started doing TV commercials in early 2000 that I got exposed to a world where physical appearance is a currency. Since I worked with amazing makeup artists and stylists, I eventually learned a thing or two from them. After I got married and had kids, I became more conscious when it comes to dressing up and looking presentable. That fueled my curiosity for anything about beauty, and now I have a lifestyle blog where I love talking about it!

Princess Jo-anne Malana, cultural dancer

It all started when I discovered my talent in dancing. I was a cultural dancer when I was still a student. When performing, we had to look presentable. At first, I didn’t know how to apply makeup but I learned little by little with each performance. Then one day, I noticed that I was already enjoying putting makeup on, especially when other people compliment my look. It transformed me in a good way and made me feel more confident as I performed.

Even with small and humble beginnings, we can become women of beauty and grace, who are passionate about what we do, and striving hard to become even better. Making ourselves look and feel beautiful is as much an act of confidence as it a source of confidence. So the next time someone calls you “kikay”, say thank you and be proud of the fact.