How I met Ziggy's mother? We first crossed paths during Saleng, my first benefit gig for Traveling Bonfires. The spoken word artists weren't in cue yet but we gave in to this lady's request to share her just-written poem to the Conspiracy crowd. With my long history of nocturnal exploits, I understood the urgency when she stated she had to leave for work that evening. Ok, ok. Open mic muna!
Our next series of benefit events for breast cancer awareness would not have been as memorable without her participation and generous support. Elli Isaac agreed to model, together with a breast cancer survivor, for the nude sketching session. The artworks from the renowned artists of Artventures@Conspiracy were exhibited during the benefit gig entitled Alab ng Dibdib. This time, Elli served as the host.
However, I wasn't able to return the favor by attending the book launching of Ipuipo sa Piging - Mga Tula at Isang Bidyula wherein her poetry was included. Again, graveyard shift got in the way. What amazes me is how we end up seeing each other in random events like the 2nd Manila Skafest and NU 107's farewell "party", among others.
Lornadahl: We Pinays are bombarded with reminders that "white is right". Have you always been convinced that brown is beautiful?
Elli: I'm not really into skin color. But yeah, it's common to tag those white ass chicks to be really pretty.
Lornadahl: If you grew up thinking that only the mestizas are beautiful, how did you make a major mental turnaround and embrace the skin you're in?
Elli: It's my skin. It's me. Random people comment they love my skin color and I look like I just came back from the beach. Isn't that a luxury?
Lornadahl: So you never grew up thinking you're less attractive because of your skin color? You're lucky!
Elli: Do not get me wrong. I get oh-so fugly days most of the times. But it has nothing to do with my complexion.
Lornadahl: Did you ever try whitening products, too? Any rants and raves to share?
Elli: I'm not really into beauty products. I learned using makeup only a year ago when I modelled for a friend's make up class. I'm the type of woman who wakes up, smokes a cigarette, takes a bath, towels dry, fits in some clothes and leaves the house.
Lornadahl: I used to think that being morena is limited to black outfits. I hated how I looked in white, pink, yellow and orange. How about you? Any colors you find unflattering for our skin type?
Elli: I try any color. Earth colors are still the best. I have to admit that my favorite color is pink and I love wearing it now. Just stop yourself wearing anything neon unless it's for a high fashion shoot.
Lornadahl: Ouch. I had an episode of wearing neons in public. Haha! Don't you think it's a cool statement that non-celebrity morena women can feel like they're on high fashion shoot, too?
Elli: Of course! There's nothing wrong wearing what you feel like wearing, as long as you're able to carry yourself well. It has nothing to do with the people around you. As long as you're able to please yourself, you're good to go. Also, remember that when you're at your weirdest, you're wearing your true self. So just be yourself.
Lornadahl: Can you tell us what is your fashion style?
Elli: I like wearable clothes. Clothes that I could walk with, run with. I'm not into wearing heels. I'm into slippers, sneakers, and flats. My wardrobe is mainly composed of sando's and skirts too. I'm not into wearing jeans. I can't seem to find a perfect fit.
Lornadahl: Why is it hard for you to find jeans? Any particular problematic body part?
Elli: My hips and my waist seem to be not compatible with each other.
Lornadahl: Which celebrities serve as your fashion icons? Why?
Elli: I'm not good with names. And even if I am, I can't even name one. I'm not fond watching the boob tube nor checking magazines. I guess I have to say I have my hands up for Lady Gaga.
Lornadahl: Do you think Pinoy men prefer mestizas over morenas?
Elli: Seriously, men prefer a woman who resembles their mom.
Lornadahl: How would you feel if fellow Pinoys call you "mukhang katulong" or "mukhang pokpok" because of your skin color?
Elli: I seriously don't care. Paulo Coelho said: What others think of you is none of your business.
Lornadahl: Do you think you are/were treated differently because you're morena?
Elli: Color has nothing to do with how you're being treated. It comes with attitude.
Lornadahl: And you are a strong, outspoken woman. Who would dare to treat you differently, right?
Elli: Well, I've been getting comments that I'm intimidating. Fact is, a conversation starts with a hi, but don't expect it to come from me because even if I really like someone, I wouldn't start a conversation with him.
Lornadahl: Do you think being morena is better when you're slim? Would it also work for plus-size women?
Elli: I've been both so I don't think there should be a comparison.
Lornadahl: Do you confront people when they call you names (ex. baluga, kirara, etc)?
Elli: Well, the mere fact that I'm gaining attention is something. I just have to silently thank them that they're spending time talking about me.
Lornadahl: How do dark people want to be called?
Elli: I prefer sun-kissed. It's posh.
Lornadahl: What's your secret for that even skin tone? I'm envious!!!
Elli: Nothing. I just take a bath regularly.
Lornadahl: Do you also have a preferred skin tone for your romantic partners?
Elli: No. It has never been something I look for. I dig for the attitude and the outlook in life. I want someone crazy.
Lornadahl: What if your son asks you to try whitening products? What would you tell him?
Elli: Verbatim: "Sige, bibilhin ko 'yan pero kukunin ko sa allowance mo. Wala kang pambili ng meryenda mo for the next 15 days. Ok lang?" I bet he'll say no.
Lornadahl: Tell us about your tattoo.
Elli: The tattoo was designed by my coworker-friend Duane Pascua and was given as a gift while I was pregnant way back in 2006. It has been years of me wanting a tattoo that will define me as a whole. Then I realized that Duane's drawing was my totality. I was a walking abstract - often misunderstood even as a mother.
Lornadahl: Who's your artist?
Elli: PhilTag founder Nero Nievo is my tattoo artist. I only have one skin so it's better having the tattoo done by one of the best and pioneers of the tattoo industry.
Lornadahl: Do you still get insecure about your complexion? get intimidated when surrounded by mestizas?
Elli: Never occured to me.
Lornadahl: How do you deal with I'm-so-fugly/dark days?
Elli: This usually happens when I lack sleep so I sleep instead.
Lornadahl: There are so many morenas out there who still battle with skin acceptance. What would you tell them?..
Elli: I think there's a commercial that said: Embrace the skin you're in!
All photos were lifted from her Facebook account.
***End of the Interview***