Love Is The Word: Mari Jasmine Draws The Line Between Hers & Ours
Mari Jasmine sets the record straight: “Does [it] look like I’m trying to hide? Because I’m definitely not.”
In a world that glorifies social media and magnifies the intricacies of celebrities’ private lives (which oddly makes them more relevant), it’s a wonder why Mari Jasmine has opted to stay relatively quiet about hers. So when the opportunity came up to feature her for the month of February, of which we’re aptly highlighting Love is The Word, we took the ball and came out running.
Fortunately, Mari was very much willing to play.
Ivory high-neck blouse, JANN BUNCARAS, textured blazer, ANTONINA AMONCIO, rainbow ribbon earrings, FIRMA, and blue and white pointed slip-on flats, CHARLES & KEITH
Early on a Thursday morning, the multihyphenate knocked quietly into the makeup room of photographer BJ Pascual’s studio. She saw her team and joked about how they, for once, arrived earlier than she had. The clock hadn’t even struck 7:30 in the morning and the rest of us were still groggy and waiting for the coffee to kick in, and yet Mari walked in and quickly lit up the room. All smiles, her own coffee cup in hand, as she chatted a little and sat in her makeup chair.
It was, evidently, show time.
“It’s not all about what’s mine. There are things that need to be shared.”
Sheer ruffled jumpsuit, MOSES BERAMO and chunky high-cut sneakers, PEDRO
Hers vs. Ours
I knew walking into the interview that Mari isn’t one to share her private moments. Her previous sit downs with the media and a quick scroll through her Instagram make this clear. She’s been willing to share her adventures and misadventures with the world, but you only ever get sweet glimpses of her unfiltered—in this sense, anyway, because she’s beautiful without the skin-clearing help of digital technology.
“I’ve always been someone that values my privacy,” she explains. “I share so much of what I do on a public level [that] the things I really care about, I like to keep to myself.”
Easy enough to understand, isn’t it? We all like to keep things to ourselves once in a while. And as Mari expounded, she doesn’t owe anyone anything; we aren’t entitled to know everything about her. She doesn’t say this with an air of privilege, ungratefulness or even stubbornness; she says this so matte-of-factly that I couldn’t disagree with her.
This said, she did make headlines last year as she went public with a relationship she clearly holds dear to her heart. But why? Why this relationship and why during pride month?
“It’s not all about what’s mine,” she admits. “There are things that need to be shared.”
“Does it look like I’m trying to hide? Because I’m definitely not. “
Button-down blouse (worn as dress) and belt bag, TOQA, “For Walking” leather high boots, OFF WHITE, bejeweled choker, FIRMA, and gemstone stud and dangling earrings, FIRMA
A Platform For Good
Being in the public eye isn’t all about looks; it’s about having a platform that reaches thousands—a great percentage of which look up to and at you for help beyond “My Best Ukay Finds.” It was knowing she had this responsibility and coming to terms with it that pushed Mari to finally come out.
“Although I didn’t want to share something so personal, I had to ask myself: What are the ramifications?” she asks. “Does it look like I’m trying to hide? Because I’m definitely not. The optics would be wrong. And then I guess, for the first time in my life, I thought I could be doing so much good.”
At that point in time, her story didn’t seem to just be hers anymore. It wasn’t something personal that she could—or should—keep secret. She had a responsibility to claim, no matter the repercussions. Sometimes, you’re just entrusted with a story that you cannot keep to yourself.
The responsibility and importance of representation became clearer and clearer. Mari had her platform, her followers, her fans and the ability to give a voice to the less heard and seen. And even in a society that is as colorful as ours, there is still a need to represent people of all gender identities and sexual preferences. It’s a void that Mari wants to help fill.
Layered tulle top, DENNIS LUSTICO, paint-splattered denim trousers, OFF WHITE and glass ring, FIRMA
Mari will be the first to confess that she grew up in a pretty liberal environment, thus making it easier for her to champion, support and—eventually—be part of the LGBTQ+ community. But growing up beyond the backlash doesn’t make her immune to it. Even now (or most especially now), there are words thrown around that shouldn’t see the light of day.
As our conversation went, it was clear that the harshness of this messed up world hits Mari from both ends. Those of us that love the more traditional way need to learn when and how to be quiet. Meanwhile, the LGBTQ+ community, like any other, hurts itself sometimes, too.
“It’s hurts more when it comes from within your community. These are the people that you should be understanding the most,” she says. “[We hurt ourselves] when we don’t take active steps to educate ourselves.”
Fortunately for us, there are bills in the process of becoming laws to help spread this kind of education. The Anti-Discrimination Bill, for example, recognizes the LGBTQ+ as equals and ensures that their rights are put to a standard that meets everyone else’s. For things like this, Mari is grateful.
Indeed, misunderstandings are inevitable but ignorance is a choice—this goes for all of us; straight, gay, bisexual, binary or whatever have you. It isn’t that hard to live and let live. A little kindness and compassion, after all, go a long way and normalization is the logical next step.
So say whatever you will of her, but Mari has a good head on her shoulders and she’s willing to fight for what’s right.
“The community hurts itself when we don’t take active steps to educate ourselves”
Logo t-shirt, BALENCIAGA, velvet coat, STEPHVERANO, sheer wrap-around jacket, JANN BUNCARAS, metallic trousers, TOPSHOP and mirror chandelier earrings, AC+632
Love Is The Word
It may be cheesy but it’s still incredibly relevant to say, even in today’s society, that love is the word. It cannot be defined, fit into four enclosed walls and expected to arrive in a one-size-size-fits-all rack.
You go out there and you try, and you see which one works best for you. It may be something you never expected, it may be something you never even considered, but when things fit…everything else falls into place. And when it does, you can’t let it go—not for anyone, not for anyone’s opinions and not for anyone’s arguably outdated vision of love.
“Love is love. It can blur boundaries for some people.”
Velvet bralette, TOPSHOP, gray single-side sleeve, ANTONINA AMONCIO, linen blazer and trousers, KELVIN MORALES, gold hoop earrings, CISO & ZESA, and open-toe heels, PEDRO
“Love is love,” summarizes Mari. “It blurs lines for some people.” And one day—claiming it!—there won’t be a line anymore.
Photography BJ Pascual
Art and Art Direction Alexandra Lara
Interview and Cover Story Adie Pieraz
Fashion Direction and styling Nicole Blanco Ramos assisted by Emj Uson
Beauty Direction Cessi Treñas
Makeup Anthea Bueno
Hair Suyen Salazar
Location Studio BJ Pascual
Produced by Wonder