A lot of Filipinos are naturally brown-skinned, but somehow, we (most of us, at least) were brought up to believe that "fair" or "maputi" is always better. Some of our titas say it out loud, while some movies not-so-subtly imply it. And while there's nothing wrong with wanting to have a fairer color, we love how these Pinay celebrities have chosen to flaunt their morena skin:
1. Bianca Gonzalez
In April 2019, the host reacted to an insensitive advertisement for a skin-whitening product by posting a Twitter thread. Bianca said, "There is no problem AT ALL sa mga gustong magpaputi. The problem is when whitening brands make us look 'kaawa-awa' dahil lang maitim kami. Kasi, hindi po kami kawawa, maganda ang kulay namin."
She added, "I grew up loving my brown skin because of beautiful women like Angel Aquino and Tweetie de Leon who proudly flaunted their brown skin. I looked up to them. I did not need to compare myself to fair skinned girls. It need not be a 'battle' of maitim versus maputi."
2. Bubbles Paraiso
Through an Instagram post in 2019, Bubbles declared, "When I was young, my skin color used to be my biggest insecurity because of how society defined beauty... But as I grew older I learned to shun that idea and love what I was born with. Nowadays I don't even mind that I get darker by the day because of my sport. And honestly, I wear my color as a badge."
3. Nadine Lustre
During a 2018 interview on Tonight With Boy Abunda, Nadine shared that her skin color was one of her biggest insecurities growing up: "I remember before 'pag pupunta ako ng mga VTRs for TV commercials. Mga chairs yan and then nag-aantay kami para matawag for the VTR and lahat ng mga katabi ko e mga mestiza. Pumasok sa isip ko na ang lahat ng naa-approve for the TV commercials are all the mestizas so like there was a point in my life na parang sinabi ko na sana mestiza na lang din ako so I can get projects and I can get like work also."
It even came to a point where she used (and drank) whitening products. Nadine shared, "Yes. I went through that because I was so insecure with my skin... But I realized that I'm unique and no one else has what I have so I became proud of it. I embraced it."
4. Venus Raj
In 2013, Venus told PEP.ph that she's happy to know that more and more Filipinas are embracing their natural skin color. "Before, parang hindi masyadong na-appreciate yung ganitong color, especially in the province na parang, pag maitim ka, nognog ang tingin sa 'yo... pangit ka. Pero pag maputi ka sa province, parang sobrang ganda mo kahit hindi naman. Yung ganun. And ako growing up, parang yun ang lagi kong naririnig na parang, 'Negra! Negra!'... yung ganoon."
Things changed when she started joining beauty pageants. "Noong nag-join ako ng beauty pageant, doon parang nag-start ako na ako din mismo, na-appreciate ko yung sarili kong kulay. Kasi usually pag sa province sumasali ako ng beauty pageant, lahat ng kalaban ko mapuputi. Tuwang-tuwa ako pag ako lang ang maitim! Kasi parang, that sets me apart. Lahat sila magaganda, lahat sila mapuputi. E, ako lang yung maganda na, maitim pa!"
5. Shamcey Supsup
According to Shamcey, foreigners appreciate the morena color more than we do and she recalled the time Ms. Angola won the Miss Universe competition. "Mas na-open up rin siguro sa mga girls na hindi mo kailangang i-change yung color mo. Maging proud ka kung maitim yung kulay mo. Kung maputi ka, e, di maputi. 'Wag ka naman magpa-tan. So, kung ano ka talaga, maging proud ka."
6. Jasmine Curtis-Smith
While talking about her new projects during the beginning of her career in 2011, Jasmine declared, "Yes, this is really my skin color. I'm olive-skinned, and I love it."
7. Gabbi Garcia
"Proud to be a morena. Sobra! Happy ako with my skin and I am identified as a morena, so wala nang tanong. I won't exchange that for anything," Gabbi shared during a 2017 interview with PEP.ph. "We are all beautiful in our own ways. It's about how you carry yourselves lang. And being a morena is a gift, like talagang Pilipinang-Pilipina ka so you have to embrace it."
8. Teresita Ssen
If there's one person who will never use whitening products, it's beauty queen and actress Teresita Ssen, also known as Wynwyn Marquez. During an interview with GMA-7 in 2018, she said, "Ako, personally, hindi ako nag-whi-whitening products. And ang daming nakaka-appreciate ngayon ng morena skin... Kung yun talaga ang skin color mo, 'wag mo nang baguhin."
This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.