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Sarah Lahbati Is Proof That The Modern Woman Is Beyond Stereotype

In the age of oversharing, this social media-savvy star strikes the perfect balance between her analog life and digital pursuits.

by Karen Mae De Vera | Apr 16, 2019

Sarah Lahbati is in control of what defines her, whether off- or online. She's made one thing clear, though: She's more than her social media following.

Scrolling through Sarah Lahbati’s masterfully curated social media feed is giving us strong mermaid energy. There are rows of vibrant images featuring local and international landscapes, OOTDs that deserve to be on an editorial spread, picture-perfect family photos, and wildlife shots. Sarah has also started blogging where she does a deep dive into what goes on behind those travel shots and her everyday life.


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Sarah believes that the advent of technology has been a great help in redefining a woman’s role and identity. “We’re all connected because we get to talk about what’s happening in our own country rather than just being [a passive observer]. [As we actively discuss an issue], we [get closer to] finding a solution. [However, we need to be careful because] there’s so much information [available that it becomes difficult] to sort through everything.”

By creating her own online content, Sarah felt that she was able to carve out her own identity and personally reach out to her fans. But what does having a prominent online presence mean for her offline persona? Sarah has been doing the balancing act of keeping her privacy while sharing her vulnerabilities, passions, and pursuits to legions of followers. Not an easy feat. We find out how she handles being more than the sum of her parts as we unpack the three important aspects that you need to know about this actress-slash-blogger.


Sarah Is the Self-Aware Modern Woman

Sarah exudes an effortless summer style as she sauntered around the pool area with the ease of a beach goddess. We can’t believe it’s only been a year since she gave birth to her second son, Kai. Sarah reassures us mere mortals that it was a gradual process, “[People might be thinking,] ‘Oh, she recovered after four or five months.’ But actually, I’m just starting to bounce back now.”


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Sarah admits that it took her a year to get back to her old self both physically and emotionally in terms of juggling tasks and doing sports or dancing again. She did healing yoga a month after giving birth and then hit the gym three months later. She then moved on to brisk walking, which she found difficult at the time, and body weight exercises such as planks and pull-ups. Gradually, she used weights then tried jogging. But just like many of us, she has trouble with cardio and maintaining her gym routine. She confides, “I don’t like running or anything to do with cardio. [Laughs.] I’d rather dance or swim. I find the gym boring but I feel the need to go at least three times a week with my trainer to feel stronger. Or else, I’ll get sick and won’t have enough energy. [Working out] makes me feel good afterwards so I just blast my favorite music so it’s not as boring.”


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The struggle is real and we couldn’t relate more. She explains, “Of course, I might have lost weight easier since I’m still young at 25, but at the end of the day, it’s how you feel inside. You have to take care of yourself, your body, mind, and soul. Eat healthy but don’t deprive yourself of your favorite food when you’re craving it. It has to be all connected so you can feel like yourself again. Healing it is very important. Don’t rush the process!”


“I [no longer] feel the need to prove myself to anyone not because I feel perfect already. I wanted to take my time and enjoy being a mom [the second time around.]—be happy in the moment and not think about losing weight or other peoples’ opinions.”

Sarah confessed to being more conscious about her appearance while pregnant with her first child, Zion. “I gave myself so much pressure to go back to work. It didn’t help me. I would look at all these Victoria Secret models and be like, ‘I need my abs to be ripped, blah-blah-blah.’ [Looking back,] I [sounded] insane! It’s so toxic to [compare yourself to other people].”


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She adds about overcoming her insecurities, “I [no longer] feel the need to prove myself to anyone, and not because I feel perfect already. I wanted to take my time and enjoy being a mom [the second time around]—being happy in the moment and not think about losing weight or other peoples’ opinions.”


It’s a busier time now that there are four of them in the family but, as Sarah gushes, her smile widening as she talks about her family, “There’s more fun, more love to give and receive.  Sometimes, it gets crazy for sure but it’s a beautiful thing. I’ve grown and matured so much [from this experience]. I’ve been given so much support from Richard [Gutierrez] (who she fondly calls Chard) and our parents, so that makes it so much easier for me.”


She’s embraced motherhood fully and even touts herself as a “soccer mom” since Zion started playing football. (Just chilling with other parents during games while drinking wine.) She adds, “Time is a luxury! I hate being away from my kids so when I have work, I try to bring them if it’s close by.”

However, Sarah still finds time to take care of herself, forging her own career path, and having an identity outside of motherhood. She makes sure to have quality time alone and as a couple with Richard. They’re planning their upcoming nuptials, “You just wanna get married with the love of your life and don’t care much about the other details. But of course, we have so many people to consider since we both have big families. We’re taking it one step at a time.”


The couple even left for Thailand a few days after the shoot. Sarah exclaimed with accompanying laughter, “Mommy needs her me time! Whenever I feel stressed out, I take a break and not think about anything else. I remind myself to be grateful for what I have now to avoid complaining.

Sarah Is an Intrepid Adventurer and Nature Lover

Sarah Lahbati considers herself a water baby who loves the sand, sea, and sun. She doesn’t mind having salt-soaked hair after spending the day at the beach—she actually loves it. She was trained by her father who is a scuba diving instructor, and spent a lot of her time in the water at a lake near her home in Switzerland where she grew up. Sarah developed an active, outdoorsy lifestyle at a young age thanks to having supportive parents who never kept her cooped up indoors. “I took up karate, ballet (I didn't like it!), scuba diving, and skiing. I always loved traveling and trying new things.”



Sarah enjoys lounging about in stylish swimwear and having a fashion moment for the ’gram. But when it’s time to start exploring the deep blue sea, she’ll quickly suit up in more athletic gear. With her derring-do attitude, Sarah wouldn’t be out of place in a Lara Croft type of situation. However, she’s not a stranger to experiencing the jitters when attempting a new sport like free diving in Fiji. “It’s not easy at all! You have to hold your breath and go underwater. You’re not supposed to eat a lot beforehand [which proved difficult for me as an avid snacker.] I asked the Fijians ten thousand questions such as ‘Is this safe?’ ‘Has there been any incident here?’ and so on."

After Sarah overcame her nerves, the experience was well worth it as she was able to swim among the humpback whales. She gushed, “[The calves are already half the size of a room so you can imagine the mom. The adult whales are] like a bus! The calf was so playful and would dance along beside me. Chard took so many pictures and you know, after that first jump, I wanted to do it again!”


Everyone in her family shares that adventurous streak. Richard is into sports, traveling, and of course, the sea, as they’re both licensed scuba divers. Zion and Kai are natural-born swimmers (well, more on splashing about for the younger one since he just turned a year old) who are well acquainted with the aquatic life as they constantly tag along with their parents to the beach. Their fondness for summer is quite apparent in the amazing vacation shots featuring her fashionable moments, family photos, and the sea life.


Somehow, no matter what’s posted on Sarah’s social media, it always looks like a full-on production number. We asked what makes up the perfect #extra photo and she quickly replied, “A good photographer!” (Of course, referring to her fiancé Richard who’s the man behind the lens) She laughs then continues, “The location, the photographer, what you’re wearing, and how you pose. Sometimes, it’s actually better to just have fun with it. Don’t be so stiff!”

“Nothing beats the Philippines. We have the best islands! There are so many things to do, people to meet, and locations to check out."

She’s been encouraging Richard to publish his photos or hold a charity exhibit and adds, “Chard is an amazing photographer but my wish for him is to have a book featuring his shots of underwater animals. Not just, you know, my OOTDs! He’s so much more than an Instagram boyfriend. He has a good portfolio that hasn’t been uploaded. It’s on his laptop, his SD card.”


Sarah may have traveled the world over but one of her happy places remains to be our country. “Nothing beats the Philippines. We have the best islands! There are so many things to do, people to meet, and locations to check out. I love Malapascua for the sharks, El Nido, and Siargao. I wanna visit Siquijor soon!”


The self-confessed foodie also makes it a point to discover new treats and track down old faves during her travels. “Every time I return to Geneva, I have a kebab because I miss them so much. I used to eat them after school [when I was younger and] it’s so yummy! When I was in El Nido, I found chocolate-covered cashews made by the Kuyonon women. I love finding these snacks from everywhere!”

But more than promoting awareness to the beautiful beaches of our country on her social media feed, Sarah is also discussing her environmental advocacy. She wants to give back and help the community whose livelihood relies on the places that she frequents. Sarah confides, “Whenever we travel, we always hear the same problem about waste management. For example in Siargao or El Nido, people just dig up the sand and throw the trash there, which is bad for the ocean and the people who live there.”



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Sarah and Richard have recently teamed up with WWF to collaborate on projects that could alleviate the problem. “We still have to sit down [with WWF] to discuss future projects that will hopefully take place this year and several years down the line.”

In the meantime, Sarah has been taking little steps using her social media to remind her followers the best practices in proper waste management. She urges, “We need to start becoming more aware kasi sayang. We have such a beautiful country! We just have to take care of it more.”

Sarah Is Taking Control of Her Online and Offline Career

The actress made the conscious decision to take a break from show biz. However, given the right opportunity, something meaningful and purposeful, comes knocking she’d be more than willing to return. She muses, “Maybe something female-driven, an action movie, a cool concept, a weird romantic comedy—you know, something unusual.”


When asked about the long-circulating rumors regarding the Darna reboot casting, she shares she would be open to playing Valentina or any other badass character in the movie. On the non-show biz front, she’s also planning on attending business school or pursuing fashion in the long run.


Sarah has currently been building her social media channels and writing on her personal blog. Sarah explains, ”I wanted to connect with my fans on a deeper level. [My usual online posts back then consisted of just] photos and captions. [Interactions were limited] to leaving the occasional comment. I wanted to reach out more and so I started writing and posting videos.”


With the help of a team, she started sharing her experiences as a young expecting mom (while pregnant with Kai). After giving birth, she expanded to lifestyle, travel, beauty, and fashion. She’s glad that followers could relate to her on a personal level. “I just want [my readers] to be inspired to start something new, push themselves harder, and be a better version of themselves. Even just the little things like trying a new fashion to deeper topics.”

She even made a series on her blog called “Empowered Women I Love.” When we asked what it takes to be that kind of woman she answered, “Courage, confidence, and passion. Whenever you wanna do something, [you just go for it.] You have to believe in yourself and trust your instincts. It’s a mindset. It all boils down to your work ethic, your passion, your creativity, it’s up to you to push yourself.”


“For us actors and actresses that have a following, we have to be responsible for sharing something that’s inspirational and encouraging. You have to think about the consequences of every post, especially with kids following your feed."

With the current heat on social media personalities in the news, it’s important to learn what it truly means to be called an influencer. Sarah emphasizes the importance of creating purpose-driven content especially if you’ve amassed a large following. “For us actors and actresses that have a following, we have to be responsible for sharing something that’s inspirational and encouraging. You have to think about the consequences of every post, especially with kids following your feed. Of course it’s nice to post about mababaw things. Nobody said you couldn’t do that. It’s okay to have fun but you just have to find the right balance and still spread positivity with every post.”

Having such a strong online presence, we wondered if Sarah experiences difficulty resisting the persuasive pull of social media saturation. She answers, “When we travel, I live the moment first before I share it. I used to be guilty of posting everything! If my son looked happy I’d be like, ‘Hi! Smile, please!’ then documenting everything. Eventually, I got so tired [and so I stopped doing that.] I just wanted to learn how to pause and be grateful for what I have. So, live first then post later!”



The blogger doesn’t let the digital screen command her attention and takes control of the situation by setting boundaries. She’s given herself a time limit where she can only use her phone from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. This also helps her sleep earlier since she’s not up all night obsessively scrolling through images of clothes and new vacation locations. “It’s about finding the right balance and giving yourself a break rather than posting every single victory and cup of coffee.”

While Sarah does live the enviable, curated lifestyle, she doesn’t let her social media following define her nor allow the addictive quality of approval indicators to be her only source of validation. Technology is a means to spread her love for exploring and taking care of the environment, making lasting memories with her loved ones, and making a difference. “We need to remind ourselves to just experience everything instead of just posting all over social media. Step back and be in the moment. Otherwise, you’re living almost artificially.”


Produced by Maura Rodriguez

Co-produced by Isha Vallés

Photographed by BJ Pascual

Styled by Danae Dipon

Makeup by Jelly Eugenio

Hair by Mycke Arcano

Assisted by Steph Sison

Stylist's Assistant Justine Benitez

Shoot Assistant April Lozada

Nails by Luz Fortuno of Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon


Special thanks to Mrs. Malu Esguerra

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