Stumbling upon a profile of someone with a similar “Instagram aesthetic” might be just a passing concern for the feed-conscious youth, but it’s the element that keeps them on their toes. This is why technophiles are pit against one another online: with people needing to brand and market themselves a certain way and some even getting territorial over an aesthetic they’d like to believe is theirs and theirs alone. Now, the struggle for the influential youth on social media is this: how do you get along with the very community you try to stand out from? After all, a new day means a new social media star—to keep an eye on and compete with.
While it seems camaraderie is rare and the social aspect of, well, social media appears to be lost, there are class acts like Kaila Estrada, Elisse Joson, Janeena Chan and Karen Reyes. Today, they’re four of the carefully selected B.A.R.E. ambassadors that encapsulate the Lay Bare woman: beautiful, affluent, a risk-taker that advocates empowerment.
The competitive spirit on social media is of no concern to these ladies, who ironically grew up smack dab in the middle of the age of self-expression through tweets, status updates and those Instagram tiles. There is no meticulous plot to brand themselves online or otherwise; there are no add-ons to make them appear more interesting; there is no compensating talent, skill, dedication or passion.
This is the very mindset that drew the attention of Lay Bare, the first ever hair removal specialist in the Philippines that provides eyebrow threading and body waxing services using cold sugar wax. It’s a mindset that can be attributed to the many hats they wear: for Janeena, a host, singer and commercial model, for Karen, a well-rounded performer who sings, dances and acts, for Elisse, an actress, commercial model and student and for Kaila, a fashion model who walks runways as well as halls in her university. The investment in their dreams means serious business, leaving no room for drama or frivolous facades in order to increase their social media following for that matter. At the core of everything they do is an impeccable work ethic (something these ladies mastered early on in their careers), the old-school kind of graciousness with everyone they work with and gratitude over big things and small, whether or not cameras are rolling.
The elaborate plan for this crucial shoot included a five-hour car ride, a 15-minute trek into the woods, hair and makeup beneath the trees and even more trekking into the beautiful Malangaan Cave in Bulacan. But instead of sunshine, there was a downpour; instead of a trekking path between the caves, there was a gushing stream; instead of hiking, there was a lot of slipping and sliding, climbing onto rock formations, falling on mud and swimming—cameras, garment bags, equipment and all.
The torrential rain and rising water levels made it unsafe to shoot in what would have been such an amazing, lush setting. It was a 16-hour journey to and from Bulacan, and the team arrived back empty-handed. What was a breath of fresh air, however, was a gracious Kaila Estrada, who thanked and hugged everyone with a warm smile still painted on her face after coming along on a trying trip for a shoot that did not happen. To this day, people would joke about it and say: If I had been on that trip, I would have shown a little attitude. But Kaila Estrada is obviously not one of those models who just sits on “pretty”. She approaches life with a willingness to try different things, extremely poised and professional, and goes the extra mile. This was the moment the team knew they had to get Kaila again.
Exactly a year later, we find Kaila sitting pretty in her Banggo Niu ensemble just before walking the runway at the MEGAstyle x Lay Bare launch. She fondly recalls the Bulacan shoot saying: “You know, things happen. We didn’t expect it to rain. We didn’t expect to go swimming. But that was an experience! [Laughs]”
Kaila keeps to her regularly scheduled programming of juggling school and modeling. “Sometimes I have [a shoot or a show] at night, school the next day and then another modeling job in the evening. So I’d get dressed in the car and do my makeup and hair myself in school,” she says. “It’s really hard to decide on whether I go to school or take the job, but school will always be my number one priority.”
Growing up with actors as parents, one would think Kaila would have the same eagerness for show business, but she has a different plan for herself. “When I was a lot younger, I experienced the bad side of showbiz. See, when you’re an actor or a public figure, everyone all of a sudden has an insight on your life. It wasn’t something I was interested in because of the lack of privacy. And I’m a very private person; I like to keep my personal things personal.” Even so, there were several things she picked up from her folks and made useful to her own career. “The most valuable lesson I learned from my parents is that you can’t please everyone,” says Kaila. “When I was starting out, I would go to three castings in a day and never get anything. And I would always tell myself it’s because I’m not skinny enough or I’m not tall enough. And I’d ask myself: “Why am I even doing this?” Then my mom would tell me that you can’t please everybody. That’s the truth in show business and in fashion. They’re both cutthroat industries. Sometimes you get the job, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you fit, sometimes you won’t. You need to have thick skin to be able to survive. And you need to find your niche.”
Taking mom’s advice has paid off. Today, Kaila’s career is skyrocketing: She’s landing campaign after campaign, she’s all over the runways of the country’s biggest fashion shows and she’s being tapped by brands left and right.
Indeed, Kaila Estrada is one of the promising new personalities to watch in 2016 and it doesn’t require a long read of her résumé for people to realize this. She’s intelligent, well bred and a role model in the making. The taste of fame, however, has not tainted her one bit—in fact, it’s something she shrugs off.
Perhaps the very definition of a 21st century woman, Janeena Chan is a go-getting multi-hyphenate and proud of it. A quick visit to her Instagram, which boasts of a following of 31 thousand strong, allows us a glimpse into Janeena’s world of hosting, blogging and modeling. But just when we think we’ve got this doe-eyed 23-year-old figured out, she proves there’s more to her than the public knows.
“Actually, I started out singing,” she confesses with a laugh. “And it wasn’t just in English. It was English songs, Filipino songs and Chinese songs.” While she credits singing and child modeling as her points of entry into the watchful eye of the media, Janeena now recognizes hosting as her core and the field that allowed and required her to learn the ropes of make-up. “When you have field work or shoots where you don’t have a glam team with you, you need to know how to put makeup on yourself and how to enhance your features,” she says, thinking back to her early hosting days.
These days, Janeena shows up on set completely camera-ready, with her makeup completely set and done on her own. But while the young host has come to grasp the ins and outs of makeup, she stresses that foundation, eyeliner and all our cosmetic product picks are just the tip of the iceberg. When asked to share her ultimate beauty tip, Janeena firmly says, “If you love makeup, you have to love skincare just as much—or even more.” the host never turns a blind eye to the fundamentals.
This same appreciation for the bare necessities transcends Janeena’s views of vanity and translates to the way she views contemporary women like herself. Equating beauty to being a genuinely good person, taking risks to the everyday unpredictability that comes with jobs like hers and likening empowerment to taking the initiative to conquer the little things in life—we say this down-to-earth up-and-comer has even greater things coming her way.
There’s no doubt that Elisse Joson’s fans are completely charmed by the promising starlet, but the reason why is a challenge to pinpoint. Could it be her viral fast food commercial and her ability to tug on the heartstrings of netizens everywhere? Could it be her girl-next-door look that can immediately transform into sophisticated glamour? The actress, with an enviable Instagram feed and a fashion sense that understandably turns heads, leaves the public eye with plenty to love—and everybody wants to know more about her.
Whether it’s the version of her on screen, well on her way to healing a broken heart with a burger in hand, or the ambitious, heinously humorous girl off screen, this much is for certain: Elisse Joson is just like any woman her age.
On the set of our cover shoot, she is a spirited breath of fresh air. Even without a full face of makeup, Elisse radiates. Style comes as second nature, too. She dotingly talks about her style and beauty heroes, namely Olivia Palermo and Kendall Jenner.
A part-time fashion design student and part-time celebrity with a spontaneous afterthought, Elisse reveals that she’s more than just that: “I also sing in the shower when no one’s watching and dance in front of mirrors in closed rooms.” It’s this honest-to-god relatability that has Elisse’s admirers–us included–enamored.
Unfazed by the glory that her famed TV commercial hauled along with it, Elisse continues to cherish the little things. As an influencer coming into her own in the spotlight, she celebrates her personal definitions of being a beacon of beauty, affluence, risk-taking and empowerment: possessing a good heart, defying personal limits and carrying herself with confidence.
For influence to seemingly fall onto the lap of a teenager could either mean a tricky ordeal, a wasted opportunity or a chance at brilliance. Not everyone can handle this kind of responsibility with poise, most especially at a young age, but there are a few who manage. 19-year-old Karen Reyes is one of them.
Karen entered show business with an intention to just try her hand at entertainment. It’s in her adventurous nature to see risk-taking as part of the ordinary, after all, something to make life more meaningful. In 2012, television viewers got a first glimpse of the star as a housemate on Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 4. She was a natural: came from a humble background with no pretenses (or filter for that matter) and paid no attention to the fame that came with joining the reality TV show. It’s the checklist of what makes an artist extremely appealing to viewers, fulfilled. And it came as no surprise when she turned out to be a crowd favorite and emerged as the show’s Second Big Placer; perhaps the only surprise was that she didn’t bag the Big Winner title.
Four years later, with her follower count bumped up to 211,000 on Twitter and 749,000 on Instagram, Karen proves to be the same girl that first stepped foot in the house of Kuya. As daunting as it may seem to grow up before the eyes of the public, this is something Karen manages to use to her advantage; it’s a way for her to keep herself in check. She uses Facebook and Twitter to converse with her fans. On Snapchat, she shares candid moments of life behind the scenes. She isn’t self-conscious about the type of Instagram profile she has either. This is her space for fun. And though she looks great in every photo she posts, her time is never consumed perfecting some flat lay or selfie; she’s a natural beauty who knows not to take vanity too seriously.
Though public scrutiny is coupled with people picking her personal life apart, prying into her love life and questioning just about anything, Karen remains focused on her work as a Star Magic talent, learning how to dial down the noise and sticking to her values.
Blooming talents with budding careers and rare gems in their industries, Kaila Estrada, Elisse Joson, Janeena Chan and Karen Reyes were brought together for the first time ever by Lay Bare. And what a wonderful cause for celebration: “Lay Bare has reached greater heights having just celebrated its 10th year in the business,” shares Lay Bare founder Monique Hilario. “And with that, our brand constantly strives to provide something new and innovative, similar to what the ambassadors have done in their respective careers.”
Clad in ensembles by Banggo Niu, the four MEGAstyle June 2016 cover stars were honored in the #MEGAstylexLayBare launch party in the Palace Pool Club, in celebration of Lay Bare’s 10th anniversary, too. It was a toast to real, radiant beauty, where friends, family and industry insiders dared to be bare ready (smooth, glowing, hair-free skin was part of the dress code, of course) in their best neutral ensembles.
Text Nicole Blanco Ramos and Cessi Treñas. Photography Yukie Sarto of Studio 100. Art direction Alexandra Lara. Styling Nicole Blanco Ramos. Makeup Pia Reyes of MAC Cosmetics (Kaila, Janeena and Elisse) and Eman de Leon (Karen). Hairstyling Mong Amado (Kaila, Janeena and Elisse) and Julius Villanueva (Karen). Nails Jenny Rose Onio and Lea Naranja of Triple Luck Brow and Nail Salon