Keri and I attended Cream Silk Portraits at the Theater of Solaire last month. It was a very simple but powerful show, and we all came out truly inspired to be the best that we can be. As cliche and cheesy as it sounds, Cream Silk was able to inspire so many women that night, and it is our hope that we will be able to inspire our readers, too!
A short film by director Marie Jamora was shown, featuring #WorldClassFilipinas Toni Gonzaga, Heart Evangelista, Anne Curtis, and Lea Salonga. The film took us to an intimate journey of the struggles and triumphs of these four women. Personally, I got the most teary-eyed with Lea Salonga’s story — I think most of us did. And you will know why, when you watch the post-event video below:
Another one that we would like to share with you is the opening speech of world class prima ballerina, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. It was an inspiring speech about her journey to becoming a world class ballerina. It was a pretty long speech, but she kept the audience glued to our seats. We were all ears to her, and if you’re interested as to what she shared with us that night, here is the copy of her speech:
Tonight CREAM SILK will spark a movement to get millions of Filipinas to believe that there is no dream too big for her.
I am proud to be part of this movement; Truly, there is no limit to what a Filipina can achieve because she is world-class.
When my mom brought me to my first ballet class way back when I was eight years old, she never imagined that ballet would take over the rest of my life. Well, neither did I! At the time, ballet was something for me to do after class because I was quite the restless little girl who couldn’t sit still. I guess it worked both ways – I had all the energy I needed for those extra hours in the ballet studio… But it was also very hard for me to focus! So I guess the earliest lessons ballet instilled in me were discipline and concentration–two very important qualities to develop if you want to excel in any profession.
To my mother’s surprise, I stuck it out with ballet and at twelve,I danced in my first recital and went on pointe for the first time. I was 14 when I had the good fortune to watch a performance of Japanese prima ballerina Yoko Morishita, who came to Manila to perform in Swan Lake. Needless to say, I was blown away! Only then did I realize that it was actually possible to be petite and Asian — and still be able to achieve world-class status in this very demanding, western art form!
From that moment on, I decided I wanted to become a classical ballerina. Not just a good ballerina but the best ballerina I could ever be.
On my 18th birthday, while other girls my age were fitting ball gowns and heels for their grand debut, I was busy packing tights and pointe shoes. Priorities, right? The week I turned 18, I left the Philippines to study in the world’s toughest ballet school – the Russian Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, where many of the legendary dancers of the Kirov Ballet were trained.
For two years, I was drilled day in and day out by very demanding teachers who found my being Filipino a curiosity, to say the very least. No one in the Academy really knew anything much about the Philippines, nor have they seen a Filipina study or dance ballet before. Remember that this was during the Cold War – no Internet, no mobile phones, not even cable television. I was isolated in the heart of the former Soviet Union, learning a new language, a new culture, and practically living in the ballet studios even in the dead of winter. There were many nights I cried myself to sleep because of either physical pain from my tired, aching body… or simply from the pain of missing my family and friends back home.
But giving up was not an option. Sometimes, a being stubborn can be a good thing if channeled towards a positive goal. Just because something is difficult, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You just have to be determined, creative, and willing to make some sacrifices in order to achieve your dream. Because SUCCESS ALWAYS STARTS WITH A DREAM!
Just a year later, I saw my hard work starting to pay off when I was cast as the first Asian student to play the coveted roles of Masha and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school’s most awaited annual production of “The Nutcracker”…. If we had Twitter back then, my very excited tweet at age 19 would have been: “Just danced Sugar Plum Fairy/Masha in #Nutcracker at the Kirov Theater in St. Petersburg! #OMG #standingovation #dreamcometrue.”
Today, people call me the prima ballerina of the Philippines, and I am truly grateful for that honor. Especially because it did not come on a silver platter.My own journey to rightfully earning that title took years of performing all the principal ballerina roles in all the major classical choreographies, being a Filipina dancing alongside some of the best international dancers in the different ballet capitals of the world. Achieving this took a lifetime of persistence, patience, finding the right teachers and artistic collaborators, and basically believing that something that has not been done before is totally attainable if you set your heart and mind to it… Imagine what has not been done before — then just do it.
It also meant 100% focus and the willingness to do what it takes to excel in your craft. In his best-selling book “The Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule.” His theory is that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, the result of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. So if I started ballet at eight and has since practiced for a minimum of four hours a day, every single day, for the last 42 years, that means I had done this specific task for 61, 320 hours of my life – at the very least. And when I am not actually dancing ballet, I am either teaching, watching or talking about it. Exactly like what I’m doing now. J
Ballet was, is, and will always be, my first love. You need this kind of intimacy with your work in large proportions and then some more. To achieve in the arts, culture or entertainment industry, you need talent, creativity, credible mentors, a great team, good opportunities, ample resources – and lots and lots of love for your work.
In this incredible journey of Life, I have only one advice: “Follow your heart — it will never lead you astray.”
Never allow self-defeating thoughts take the upper hand. As long as you are grim and determined and you take calculated risks, you will surprise yourself at what you can accomplish – even if the odds are stacked against you.
Over and above all these, one thing I also have to share with you is that you also have to believe in a Higher Will governing your life. It’s not just about what you want, but also aligning yourself to a bigger plan and purpose that you were created to serve. Because it is this spirit of service that makes all your triumphs all the more meaningful and worthwhile. In whatever profession you choose for yourself, never ever lose your sight from the higher good. Success is always sweeter when it is offered for the glory of God, for the honor of your country, and hopefully, to move others to do the same.
In a very short while, you will witness the inspiring stories of 4 exceptional ladies who have gone beyond beautiful as masterfully captured in a film crafted by multi-award winning Indie Film Director, Marie Jamora. See how 4 remarkable ladies were empowered by their straight, soft and smooth hair as they capture the world stage with their confidence and exceptional ability.
Tonight, Creamsilk, the number 1 conditioner presents, “PORTRAITS: A Celebration of the World-class Filipina.”