“She’s a Superhero:” We Ask Men About the Women They Look up to

“She’s a Superhero:” We Ask Men About the Women They Look up to

And it makes for an incredibly heartwarming tribute



In the typical fashion of kindergarten events, a school program may involve students taking on charmingly idealistic topics. The children assemble onstage and are asked, one by one, questions like: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “who do you want to be like?” A large chunk of this looks onward. Hopeful and insightful. And in cases like the mestiza, strawberry blonde and bright-eyed classmate I had who said she wanted to be a yaya, it’s in large part endearing.


Children may say the darndest things, but it is nice to see the intimidating duty of growing up shown to us this way again. To see what uninhibited dreams can do, what hope can ignite and what a perfect role model can move a kid to do. Even through to young adulthood (or, rather, most especially through to young adulthood), it matters to have someone to look up to. In grinding into adulthood, however, this calling somewhat takes a backseat.


Kids, we suppose this is what happens when we’re full-grown. But just because we no longer assemble––festive stage decorations, song numbers, frilly Sunday dresses and all––doesn’t mean we should relinquish talks of aspirations and role models. We, in fact, think this would be a fantastic thing to revisit.


On that note, and as we keep the Women’s Month celebration rolling, I spoke with five talented, multifaceted men about the women they look up to as grownups and asked them to share why.



Gino Nacianceno, @vote4gino
Creative Marketing & Multimedia Manager

Reflecting on this question, I couldn’t think of anyone other than my mom. My parents separated when I was really young, and while I had a strong relationship with both my folks, this fact makes her imprint on me more pronounced. She single-handedly ran our household, took care of our day-to-day needs and together with my dad, made sure my brother and I had every platform to be our best selves. They say that it takes a village to raise children and I completely agree. All the strong women that my mom pulled into our lives––our aunts, her childhood friends, her church mates––it’s through them that I learned to face life with joy, kindness, and grit.



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Renan Pacson, @renanpacson
Fashion Designer

I was in the sixth grade when I heard “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears for the first time. From then on, she taught me [through her lyrics] things like “all I need is time, a moment that is mine” and this was during my confused phase in life. She taught me to be “stronger” during tough high school days, too. My notebooks at the time were usually filled with imaginary of Britney Spears outfits and I guess that’s how I came to realize that I wanted to become a fashion designer.



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Ace Libre, @aalibre
Musician, Never the Strangers

For me, it would be Julia Cameron. Through her book “The Artist’s Way,” I’ve grown more comfortable in my skin as a creator. Cameron taught me that my inner artist is inseparable from my overall person and that loving myself is key to living a creative life. I’m now more forgiving of myself when I get stuck in a project, and more generous in rewarding myself when I progress. More importantly, I’ve developed a deeper understanding of other people’s struggles and journeys.



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Chips Beltran, @chipswithdips
CEO of UPeepz and Coach of VPeepz dance team

There are three women I look up to in my life: my mom, my sister and my girlfriend.


Ruby Palma, my mom, is my rock. She raised her kids as a single parent and contributed to society by molding the gender-development scene in Quezon City. Calling her rock-solid is an understatement. After suffering a mild stroke a couple of years back, she became a ranked (lt. col) reserved officer a little over a week she was released from the ICU. What’s truly admirable about her is that even though we weren’t as financially blessed as other families when we were growing up, she invested in her children’s grit and passion. I owe everything to her: my education, my success, my values…especially what and who I am now.


Then, there’s my sister, Phoebe Beltran-Almazan. My sister is––and forever will be––my backbone. She’s also been the breadwinner of the family. On top of that, our cheerleader and cook and the honor student everyone aspires to be. I am fully convinced that she’s a superhero.


Lastly, there’s Alyanna Manuel, my girlfriend and inspiration. Everything I do (my work, dancing, business) has to go through to her [laughs]. I admit I work twice as hard and hustle more than I should because I want to provide the best future for her. She deserves it. Being a business partner of world-class talent and world-champion groups, I know I can be a pain in the ass. [Laughs] But her endurance and efficiency are unlike anyone else’s. In this industry where everything is literally a competition, you need someone who is steadfast and gumptious, optimistic but realistic. I don’t even know how she balances work, school, business, dance and a boyfriend. [Laughs]



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Ian Francisco, @ianfranciscoph
Fashion Filmmaker

[I look up to my] friend, Mikee Pascual. She was a former officemate of mine and together, we worked for a travel magazine. One thing I learned from her and I remember this from an assignment from two years back is to just live and to not worry too much. She reminded me: the next time you admire people for their courage, take the time to also think about how courageous you are…if you will only let yourself be.


I admire her because she knows how to make the most out of life. She's not afraid to push boundaries; she’s always eager to learn. She’s part of what inspired me to do what I really want, which is fashion filmmaking. She has always believed in me and what I can do. And now, even though we’re pursuing our own careers and we’re on different paths, we always try to uplift each other together, along with other friends, in order to survive in the industry.



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RELATED: Three Filipino Men Share Their Thoughts on Toxic Masculinity



Any women in your life you’d give this kind of shoutout to?



Art Alexandra Lara

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