You probably know Celine Lopez as the young pixie princess who was once a serial slasher—fashion editor/newspaper columnist/fashion designer/brand ambassador/high-society’s It girl—name it, she’s been all that and more. You may think everything was handed to her on a silver platter, but really, this girl’s got talent, the unique and unapologetic kind fueled with such powerful creative energy that sets her apart from everybody else.
Back in the days: Celine on the cover of Preview June 2007
Accomplishing way too much early on can either make or break you, and for Celine, it was the latter. So a few years ago, the girl on fire decided to ground herself, step away from the limelight, go around the world and see where it would take her.
Spending a few years away from the crazy Manila scene did her well, as Celine, the party girl we once knew, came back recently with a brand new persona—call it maturity as you may, but for us, it’s just another facet of her creative side. After the success of her first stint as a movie producer with her film Metro Manila bagging the Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, she’s got another finished project on her sleeve: The Recorded History of a Girl. Yes, you read that right. She’s also a novelist now.
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Read on as the über chic globe-trotter talks about the inspiration behind her book, her current addiction (clue: Apple TV!), the places she fell in love with, and where she finally found herself.
First, your hair. What made you decide to grow it out?
It was basically a test on patience. When I turned 30, I challenged myself to be more patient. When you’ve been wearing a pixie for the longest time, it really takes a lot of patience as soon as it starts growing out, especially during the awkward in-between phase. Actually, most people are still not used to me having long hair, well, I’m still not used to it either but I guess I’m fine with it for now.
What’s your beauty routine?
It’s fairly simple. I love SKII. That’s what I use day and night. And then SPF 30 sunscreen and BB cream. I’m a big fan of BB cream. That’s pretty much it.
Describe your personal style. Who are your style icons?
I love Julia Roitfeld. I’m pretty obsessed with her so she’s probably the only one that I consider as my style icon. She’s got a very easy style—her look is so easy, effortless, and consistent. She’s very modern yet consistent and I think that’s really a mark of having great personal style.
So are you more into classics now and not so much on following trends?
Yes. I used to be very trendy and then I just grew out of that phase.
Is your style different now compared to your days as a fashion editor?
Oh completely. I think once you’re working behind-the-scenes in fashion you actually don’t get too much into the trends, you end up like forming a uniform. And I think that’s what trickled on after a while. Like now I’m miss leggings, ballet flats, and big shirt kind of girl.
What’s your latest fashion splurge? Is there a particular item that you collect?
I haven’t bought clothes in a while, it’s really weird. I’m really more into jewelry now. I recently bought a necklace and because I have a jewelry line, I collect jewelry now.
Who are your favorite local designers?
I love Dennis Lustico and Rhett Eala. For more casual stuff I like Maureen Disini and Boom Sason.
Celine Lopez through the years
Do you still go out and party as often as before?
Occasionally I do but I stay at home most of the time, Apple TV and everything. That’s my life now and my dog.
Take us to your daily routine.
I wake up at around 10am and check all my errands. I put it all on my diary, handwritten. My day depends on what I have to do. Some days are really crazy and some days are completely empty. Right now, I’m completely busy with the book.
Speaking of your book, The Recorded History of a Girl, describe it in three words.
Heartwarming, loving, and positive.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
It’s a work of fiction so a lot of it had to do with me daydreaming and imagining a life for this person. And that was a lot of fun. It’s almost creating a life, you know? Of course, fiction is always still inspired by real life, so yeah, perhaps some of it are inspired by my experiences, my friends, and a mix of other things.
How long did it take you to write it?
I gave myself four months to work on it but I actually wrote it in three weeks. The rest of the time I was like putzing around.
Did you write it in one location?
Yes, I wrote it in San Francisco.
Since the topic is about a girl writing letters, do you still write letters now, even if technology can get your message way faster?
I constantly write letters. I have all kinds of stationery. It’s a carry-over from my younger days, I think. I’ve always loved stationery; I’ve always loved writing notes.
So you’re not really into social media?
The thing that I like really is just Instagram. It’s so much fun but yeah, I’m not really big in the social media scene. I use my Facebook to promote stuff that I’m doing, but as a personal thing it’s not [a big deal].
What do you do to unwind?
Apple TV with my dog and no phones.
Any particular show you’re addicted to?
Oh my God, too many, it’s embarrassing. But right now I’m very much into documentaries so I’m at a documentary streak right now.
How’s your second movie coming along?
Metro Manila took five years to make so this one’s probably gonna take two to three years. But we’re already in a good stage one so I’m excited about it. The story’s something that a lot of people can connect with and it’s gonna be beautiful.
What are your top 5 favorite films of all time?
Oooh that’s gonna be really tough, man. Wait hold on that’s like the hardest question ever. [long pause] Age of Innocence, Out of Africa, All About Eve, Reality Bites, American Psycho. Phew. That was hard.
What’s on your music playlist?
The Great Gatsby soundtrack. I listen to it over and over and over.
What do you consider as your most important investment?
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t know. Maybe write more books, if this book doesn’t traumatize me. I’m so scared for it!
Now, let’s move on to one of your favorite things to do: travel. Walk us through these places and tell us what you love about them.
London has become a little bit like my second home. That was a city that I didn’t know very well when I moved there and I’ve been in and out of London and you can say I got lost there and I found myself there.
I love that it’s so multi-cultural. I love that it’s very international. You don’t really feel like a foreigner. It’s just so exciting in the arts and culture front. Everything about it is just so deeply unique and yet steep in history and I think that’s such a rare combination to find in their world.
San Francisco has always been a place where I went to when I was young. Our family has roots in it. It’s sort of like a haven for our family filled with nice warm memories.
It was wonderful living there when I was studying but I can’t imagine myself living there now aside from visiting. It’s a little too rough, too fast, too aggressive, too competitive. It’s all about being too cool. [laughs]
Oh Chiang Mai is amazing. It’s really a magical place. People don’t give it enough credit. For some reason, there’s a lot of mystical people who have converged in Chiang Mai and I stayed there for a month and I made amazing friends with all these great gifts. Some of them are Burmese monks, some are these great new age thinkers and it was such an interesting way to open my eyes to the other side of the world.
What’s your favorite city to get lost in?
Well, it’s actually a country—INDIA. I love it because it’s so different from everything else that we know in the world. I mean, it’s quite modern and everything but again their culture still overrides any kind of contemporary changes that we have in the modern world. So I love that. I love how they embrace their culture and I love assimilating into it. It was amazing.
Where’s your next stop?
I’m leaving for Mexico on Monday, August 5th. It’s my first time there so it’s gonna be exciting! I’ll stay in Tulum for a month. Tulum is another magical place so it’ll be like my Chiang Mai experience, too. Hopefully, I can have a few days with a Shaman and just do hippie things. I’m a secret hippie, really.
Love to travel? Click on the gallery to know what to bring to your next trip as Celine shares her top 10 travel must-haves.
Photography by Yayay de Castro
Hair styling and makeup by Ara Fernando