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Not just another pretty face

Newsflash: Liza Soberano feels just as ugly and self-conscious as the rest of us

Portrait by Noel Pabalate

Video by Jay Bustamante

 

With a face like her—aquiline nose, high cheekbones, bow-shaped lips, and the coveted mestiza features—you’d think the 18-year-old teen superstar Liza Soberano has everything going for her. Wrong. The 18-year-old teen star’s slow rise to superstardom (she started her career at 12) she didn’t owe to her good genes but to hard work, perseverance, and a lot of workshops in acting, speaking, and even just talking to people. She used to be so shy she couldn’t look people straight in the eye, much less talk. And when you’re Liza Soberano-pretty, you can’t really enter a room without turning heads. Her struggle was very real. She was almost too pretty for primetime TV. we

When she landed her breakout role as the modest and hardworking strawberry farmer Agnes Calay in the primetime rom-com TV series Forevermore, Liza curled her hair, darkened her skin with makeup, and spoke her lines with a thick accent. In her first blockbuster movie, where she starred alongside screen partner Enrique Gil, Just the Way You Are, she played the nerdy transfer student Sophia Taylor who had bushy brows, blunt unruly bangs, and braces. Much like other half-Filipina actresses who came before her, Liza had to prove to everybody—TV execs, producers, viewing public, moviegoers, and future fans—that she was more than another pretty face. And she did.

Now that she’s proven herself worthy, she has moved on from awkward roles, finally getting projects that were not written to downplay her pretty features. (Such is the double standard of the entertainment industry, no?)

In the 2015 film Everyday I Love You, she played the fun, travel vlogging Audrey, who got tangled in a bizarre love triangle with Gerald Anderson’s Tristan and Enrique’s Ethan. In her current primetime series Dolce Amore she plays Serena Marchesa, who’s practically an Italian princess/heiress who isn’t afraid to get what she wants and follow her heart no matter how far it takes her.

Outside showbiz, she is “critically acclaimed” for her beauty, as she placed sixth on the “Annual Independent Critics List of 100 Most Beautiful Faces 2015,” which included South Korean pop star Nana Im Jin-Ah, DC’s Wonder Woman Gal Gadot, and top model Jourdan Dunn. And more recently, she had officially joined supermodels Jourdan Dunn, Gigi Hadid, Emily Didonato, and Adriana Lima as global ambassador for Maybelline New York and the newest Maybelline Girl.

So you could only imagine our surprise when she not only appallingly refused the observation—held by many—that she is way prettier than Instagram Queen Selena Gomez (see her Instagram/@lizasoberano) she also confessed she feels ugly quite a lot. “I feel ugly every day before I put make-up on,” she says so genuinely and apologetically it’s hard not to believe her. “When I was younger, I was so shy I couldn’t even look into people’s eyes. When I became an artista and became more confident in my own skin, I got over it quite bit. I had to train myself how to approach people and how to stay calm in front of people,” she says. 1

Aside from finding confidence from within, Liza also credits her glam team for making her feel good and beautiful sans self before, during, and after taping or filming.

“Throughout the years, I’ve grown up in front of the camera as a model and an actress and I believe makeup plays an important part in building the confidence to feel beautiful. I believe that women should feel confident innately, and makeup helps women, like me, because it gives us the extra boost that we need,” she adds.

At 18, Liza is one of the most bankable young stars in showbiz with a slew of endorsements, blockbuster movies, most watched TV series, and legions of loyal and adoring fans. And she has barely scratched the surface of what she can do as an actress and a model. I mean, the girl still feels ugly every day. Wait till she unleashes her inner Beyoncé for the entire world to see.

“I want to expand. I want to be able to explore more of my skills. Acting wise, I want to try a different genre. I want to explore more of the modeling world also because I love modeling. I love Gigi Hadid! I want to be able to put up my own businesses someday,” she says. “I’ve set a lot of personal goals for myself and no matter the obstacles or even if I doubt myself sometimes, I will make all of that happen.”

And you can, too. As the newest Maybelline girl, Liza seizes the opportunity to inspire more young Filipinas to define their beauty, express themselves with confidence, and make their mark in life. “Never allow anything to stop you from doing whatever it is you want to do. If you want to become an actress, a model, a singer, or whatever it is—it doesn’t have to be these huge jobs that everyone sees what you’re doing—but it must be something that makes you happy. Something that will help you achieve whatever it is you want in your life,” she says.

On days when, just like Liza Soberano, you feel just a tad bit worse for wear, swipe on some lipstick, put on mascara, or do whatever beauty fix you may need to lift your spirits. There is such a thing as beauty shaming all over the Internet—hounding girls who post makeup tutorials on YouTube and social media. But those are just talk. Put on all the makeup you need to help you start off or get out of bed in the morning, because only when you feel good about yourself will you, according to Liza, “become confident enough to really get to know yourself when you’re in front of them all.”