On International Women’s Day, dozens of women showed up at Dove’s My Hair My Say Gallery to celebrate their vibrant hairstyles. Bloggers, stylists, and other creative professionals joined the event at Greenbelt 5—with each one sporting a different ‘do and expressing her own definition of beauty.
Among the featured Dove girls in attendance were Teena Arches, Michelle Fernandez-Castillo, and Darla Mamuyac. They sat down for a panel discussion and shared their thoughts about breaking conventional beauty standards, being confident in their own styles, and flipping their hair at the haters.
Since high school, the vlogger, makeup artist, and plus-size model has been experimenting with hair color. “I loved researching celebrity looks and I had always wanted to try something different with my hair,” she recounts. “I started out with subtle brown highlights. The following year, I had the courage to try red and orange highlights.”
Today, Teena sports a rainbow look: Her hair gradually transitions from magenta to orange to green to blue. She recalls a time she dated a guy who insisted that she get “regular” hair and tone down her look. “Obviously, it didn’t work out. I won’t change myself for anybody. This is who I am.” But her ex isn’t the only one who has criticized her hair. “I hear things like, it’s too weird, too much, not appropriate,” she shares. “Okay, but it’s my hair. Let me be. Just because you think it isn’t nice doesn’t mean I have to agree with you.”
Teena’s sheer confidence makes her a natural role model, and she has advice for women who want to try new things but are discouraged from doing so: “Don’t let other people hold you back. There is only one you, and if you think [a new hairstyle] will help you express yourself better, then go for it!”
Currently the digital experience and GTM director at Globe, Michelle proves that you can be a high-ranking professional and still sport a wild hairstyle, like her neon pink bob. “I’ve been told that my career will move a lot faster if I just looked traditional,” she shares, looking back at her earlier years in the corporate world. “There was a time I was called in and told, ‘Matalino ka, pero ang itsura mo kasi—distracting.’” Instead of snapping, she continued to work hard to show that performance will always outweigh looks. “I understand that there’s a certain professionalism one has to exude, but at the end of the day, your work and your performance speak for themselves.”
Michelle has dyed her hair red, blue, pink, and blonde—and she won’t quit experimenting anytime soon. “If you’re confident in expressing yourself and showing who you are, then there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s your hair, it’s your look. You’re most beautiful when you are yourself.”
Thinking of baring it all and going bald? Take cues from model Darla. “I used to have really long hair. Everyone told me it looked unruly and that I’d look better if I cut it short,” she recalls. “I took it a step further and shaved my head! When I did that, everyone told me to grow it back. One guy even stopped talking to me after I went bald.”
Growing up in a small town in Bacolod, Darla faced a lot of criticism for her hair, beauty, and fashion choices. “I would get good grades in high school, but my teachers would always reprimand me for the way I styled my hair. My classmates would also tell me to grow it back, but who are they to tell me how I should express myself?” Despite this, she’s kept her cool and continued to do what she wants without lashing out at anyone. “It’s not always about responding or clapping back,” she says thoughtfully. “Sometimes, I just shrug off their comments. You’ve got to choose your battles.”
At 21 years old, Darla has already done numerous collaborations with photographers and local clothing brands and has sported all kinds of hairstyles in different shoots. “I think of hair the way I think about growth and change,” she shares, “Sometimes I’m wild, sometimes I’m reserved. People aren’t just one thing. We can be many different things—and changing up your hair is very reflective of that.”
When it comes to standing up for your own beauty standards, Teena, Michelle, and Darla prove that you can cut, color, and wear your hair proudly—no matter what others might say. This is exactly what Dove’s My Hair, My Say campaign promotes: that women can stay true to themselves by expressing their individuality through their hairstyles and hair color. Dove encourages women to pursue the hair they want without the fear of judgment, and at the same time, without the fear of damage. Dove featured their full product range at the event, which are formulated to help keep hair smooth and damage-free.