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It's Heart Evangelista's World and We're All Living in It

by Owen Maddela | Dec 11, 2019
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Showbiz royalty, social media sweetheart, international fashion figure, beauty guru, happy missus, Vogue 100 lister: It feels like Heart Evangelista won 2019 and we’re celebrating with her.

"How come Harry Potter never happened for you?"

Heart Evangelista lets out a giggle when I asked about her alleged audition for the part of Cho Chang in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It’s a rumor she’s already denied a couple of times before—the role went to Asian-Scottish actress Katie Leung—but bringing up and making fun of old (and fake) news has become something of a just-for-laughs exercise between our cover girl and yours truly.


Heart Evangelista for December 2019

To Heart’s credit, she is a good sport when placed in a situation where she has to revisit her highly-publicized past. The trooper that she is, she is comfortable when discussing and picking up lessons from certain episodes in her public life, including but not limited to ill-informed wardrobe decisions, facepalm-inducing career moves, artista friendships gone sour, and tabloid-level break-ups with ex-boyfriends.

"Whatever happens in your teens or twenties are challenges and obstacles that prepare you for the journey."

In her style guide-cum-personal memoir Styled with Heart where we worked together on the chapter openers, she wrote about how such life episodes, along with lighter, happier ones, turned out to be catalysts in the evolution of her personal style. Her perennial issue with height resulted in a love for nude platform heels; mental photos of her dad in white linen suits made her take on all-white dressing herself; and a family squabble that resulted in her painting hobby gave way to a prêt-à-porter collection bearing her signature strokes.

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Of that so-called Harry Potter audition—or any other international opportunity she could have had at the onset of her career—she says, “Sometimes, I wonder how come this or that didn’t happen when I was in my twenties or when I was single. But I guess I’m more mentally prepared now. [To] kids out there, I just want you to know that all the great stuff happens when you’re older—and whatever happens in your teens or twenties are challenges and obstacles that prepare you for the journey.”


A few months shy of turning 35, Heart is enjoying work and life more than she’s ever had. This chapter, which she fondly calls her second wind, is marked by her transition from being a full-fledged artista to an international celebrity who is, among others, an actress and an influencer.


“No one bashes me anymore for being who I am, and if they do, I’ve grown immune to it...It has prepared me for greater things, I believe; so now it all makes sense.”

Whereas a string of telenovelas, a Sunday noontime show gig, and box-office draw were the critical success factors of her earlier career, Heart now thrives in an era of multiplatform storytelling where an engaged community is as essential as, if not more than ratings or other quantitative, old school indicators. And just as corporate workers in the city are now enjoying the benefits of working from home or the neighborhood coffeeshop, Heart is right at home shooting fashion and beauty tutorials for her YouTube channel from her well-appointed attic or hamming it up for Instagram right on Europe’s cobblestoned intersections when she’s not scheduled to tape for GMA.

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“I think what is so beautiful about everything that happened was it all kinda fell on my lap,” she shares. “And you know I’m really a planner, but I never really had a manager on-standby or a PR representative to orchestrate strategies for me. What I have is a lot of friends.”

“And these are not just the type you only see in parties,” she quickly follows up. “In the industry, I’ve met people at certain points in my life and when this all started to happen, they all just started to be part of it.” She was referring to colleagues-turned-friends from the fields of TV, film, fashion, beauty, publishing, retail, and advertising who have given her a leg up when she maneuvered her career towards digital.

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She adds that being comfortable in oneself has become paramount in this new career model, especially since she is often operating as herself and not working a character. And how else can a self-confessed arte girl build an empire out of arte things but by celebrating her arte self?


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“No one bashes me anymore for being who I am, and if they do, I’ve grown immune to it. I went through a period of depression and anxiety when I used to get bullied (first in school and later, online) but in a way, it actually completed my story. It kept me grounded. And it has prepared me for greater things, I believe; so now it all makes sense.”

Nude pumps, P2099, CHARLES & KEITH, Power Plant. Hoop earrings, price unavailable, PAUL SYJUCO, The Peninsula Manila.

This aforementioned arte empire, replete with travels to the world’s fashion capitals and facetime with VIPs and namedroppables of every sort, is perfectly accounted for in a YouTube video she published in time for the holidays. It was her first giveaway promo and she turned to her own endorsements in filling up gift packages for all the winners: hair conditioner, day and night cream, cosmetics, eyelash services, feminine care, upmarket and mass market fragrances, travel and bedroom pillows, a glutathione supplement, barley and caffeine drinks, mid-range and high-end leatherware, travel gift certificates, gadgets and notebooks bearing her art, jewelry, and (of course!) corned beef. How she’s managed to land these deals, mostly for digital, events, and out of home within a year or two as a content creator has secured her place in that world’s upper strata, alongside the likes of Laureen Uy, Nicole Andersson, and Camille Co.

She is impressed with how these ladies get down and dirty when the need arises. “I love being around these expert content creators because I learn from them—and these are real world skills. They teach me to approach certain things that I wouldn’t even dare to, being from showbiz and used to certain systems in place.” Among these real world skills she’s learned from the pros is standing your ground if a brand keeps asking you to reshoot everything all the time.


Of Nicole whom she’s been to Fashion Week with, she shares, “She knows how I travel with so many people all the time and so she offers tips (on how to be more empowered) especially since I am not used to doing things alone. Nicole’s also offered to do a collab with me: Iiwan nya ako sa isang lugar and I’ll find my way to her,” she laughs.

“You really have to surround yourself with solid people that would bring out the best in you.” 


Her Crazy Rich Asians connection—galvanized by her face-to-face encounter with author Kevin Kwan at a Preview dinner in 2017—has proven to be hardworking in this self-declared second wind.

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The Harper’s Bazaar feature that ensued expanded her Parisian couture network and strengthened her credibility to endorse luxury and mid-market labels here and abroad. Meanwhile, the noise of her alleged inclusion in the movie adaptation of China Rich Girlfriend—as fashion blogger and daddy’s girl Collete Bing, rather fittingly—turned out to be good leverage for the international action movie she’s been shooting in China. Heart adds that she is due to return to China to finish the filming of the sequel, aside from attending the premiere of the first installment. She also hinted on a Hollywood release for the franchise, which makes for a mammoth follow-up to her last full-length film in 2014.


In between movie and social media commitments, she is also due to unveil her latest artwork through a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in the summer of 2020. A regular peek at her IG stories reveals some of what could possibly make the show’s final cut, mostly depictions of women of various colors, shapes, sizes, and lifestyles.

Throughout all these career milestones, she is grateful to belong to a supportive and complementary household, led by her husband, Sorsogon Governor Francis "Chiz" Escudero.

“You really have to surround yourself with solid people that would bring out the best in you,” Heart says. “I feel that Chiz helped me so much in this aspect. He allowed me to spread my wings and not just gently nudged me; Chiz pushed me out into the world and I appreciate that he’s like that with me. In a country like ours where there are certain expectations about wives—and there are much more for wives of politicians—but what he’s offered me is the opposite. When I got married, that was when I felt liberated, found freedom, and saw the world indeed.”


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Recently, it’s Heart’s induction into the Vogue 100 that’s cemented her reputation as a thought leader as well as all the work she’s put in as an actress, artist, advocate, digital content creator, and fashion and beauty resource in the last couple of years. Handpicked by the Vogue staff and personally invited by legendary editrix in chief Anna Wintour (she softly shrieked with me as she showed me Anna’s email), Heart now belongs to an elite group of creative voices from around the world whose POVs are deserving of fashion’s unofficial yet totally lucrative seal of approval: the AWOK.

It’s been a fabulous and outstanding second wind, don’t you agree?

Produced by Steph Sison and Jam Nitura

Photographed by Shaira Luna

Art Direction by Bacs Arcebal

Fashion Direction and Styling by Steph Sison

Beauty Direction by Nicole Arcano

Makeup by Memay Francisco

Hair by Jeck Aguilar

Shoot Assistant April Lozada

Set Design by Aren Dale Santos of ADSET Production

Words by Owen Maddela

Special thanks to Uratex Premium

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