Nadine Lustre: In Control
Growing up is always difficult, but it becomes more challenging when you do it under the spotlight of Philippine showbiz. Teen actors who try to become men and women in their own right are often met with jeers and taunts, almost as if it’s insane for them to have their own opinion—never mind that these opinions center on their own bodies, own projects and own art.
Unfortunately, society has a bad habit of claiming ownership over celebrities, and throwing their opinions at them whenever the opportunity presents itself. Too skinny, not skinny enough. Too outspoken, too silent. Victim, wrongdoer. Too modern, too feminist. So this month, we talked to someone who knows what it’s like more than anyone: Nadine Lustre.
With a decade-long career under her belt, Nadine Lustre has seen it all: the bashers and the supporters, people who take advantage and people who offer genuine happiness. She’s been through roads she thought she had to be on, and is finally at a place that gives her peace.
Make no mistake about it: this is her story now.
But once upon a time, Nadine was unable to keep the naysayers at bay. She admits struggling with her mental health as the negative comments and headlines took their toll on her. “I was working a lot, so I ended up doubting myself. I ended up downing myself so much because I was so tired, and I wasn’t even thinking straight anymore,” she says. “Everything that people would say, it was starting to get to me, especially the bashers [who] would always comment on my skin.”
But Nadine’s learned to take care of herself, both inside and out. She mindfully chooses her partners, just as she mindfully lives a vegan lifestyle. While the latter allows her to give back to the environment, the former allows her to give back to herself.
One consistent partner in her arsenal is SNAILWHITE. Nadine is an avid believer of good-for-the-skin habits, like moisturization, and gentle exfoliation. Everyone knows she loves the sun, but studio lights and long hours mean Nadine needs a skin partner that works as hard as she does. Moisturizer and lotion are vital to her, knowing that they help keep her skin healthy and hydrated, and the SNAILWHITE Body Booster SPF30/PA+++ does just this.
Nadine also resonates with SNAILWHITE’s ethos of Daring Your Body. Because while she continues to push herself, Nadine prioritizes what she wants to do—and makes sure she takes care of and gives back to her body, too.
“What I really learned in the past couple of years is that I respect my body. Like for me, it’s my temple,” she says. ”If my body isn’t as fit, it’s my body responding to my lifestyle.”
She goes on to explain how she’s learned to be thankful for what her body allows her to do: singing, acting, surfing, weight-lifting, yoga. Nadine no longer forces herself to workout—though she does it often—when her body and mind say “enough.”
Looking back, Nadine doesn’t describe her early career days much differently from her peers. “Back then, I kinda had to follow work and just let people manage me. And the thing is, when you’re starting, wala kang choice eh (you don’t have much of a choice). You have to, of course; you want to be successful, you want to build a career, you want to build your name,” explains Nadine.
“I think I’m at a point where I’m able to choose my projects, which is good career-wise,” she continues. “I’m really grateful because if I don’t want to do something, I can just say no.” She explains that it’s not about declining projects for the thrill of it, or just because another one is sure to pop up. “If it’s a project na di pasok sa values ko (that doesn’t align with my values), I don’t accept it. Or if it’s work that’s too demanding and time-consuming, I don’t accept [it].”
Having learned to say no, and having the privilege to say no, is one she’s grateful for. It’s helped her grasp that seemingly elusive concept of work-life balance.
But the fact is that Nadine Lustre has no plans of stopping. The last few weeks, especially with the release of Overgrown, have proven that she isn’t going anywhere. If you think about it, she’s really only just beginning her journey.
“This is something that I really want to do,” shares Nadine. “I just like what I’m doing. I love going to shoots, I love chatting with people. I like expressing myself, I like being creative. I like acting, I like singing.”
The 29-year-old creative admits she could be doing something else, something out of the spotlight, but she’s in this business because she likes it—and more importantly, she has the passion for it. And while she doesn’t consider herself to be in competition with anyone but herself, it’s still pretty stiff competition.
“[Every project] has to be something different from the stuff that I’ve done before, and it has to be a step higher,” Nadine says. “It has to be something that I consider perfection.”
Overgrown was no exception. Months after Nadine Lustre recorded the track and heard it back, she listened to that voice inside herself that said something was missing—and she looked for it herself.
“I approached a friend of mine who is a producer here in the Philippines, and I asked if he could add in something to just give it a little bit more. The end part of Overgrown, the drumming,” she explains before riffing off.
“Flash, I was saying all my graces / Now I'm watching the lights go on / And my name rise up, like someone famous” and “Wasn't easy, won't pretend / Learned a lot about myself / Lot of scars, can't you tell / I learned to think before I talk, I think I made it” are some of Nadine’s favorite lyrics from Overgrown.
She explains that these lines encompass her journey. How she started to manifest her career, and how she was suddenly seeing herself on billboards and magazine covers. She made it and her career has taken off, but it wasn’t easy. “People think celebrities are superhumans [with all] the glamour; they’re untouchable; they don’t have any problems,” begins Nadine. “[The lyrics] remind people [that] I’m human.”
It’s taken a while, but Nadine Lustre finally knows how to slow down. She understands its importance and is prioritizing her own peace. And this means working on projects that fuel her, partnering with brands that align with her, living a lifestyle that gives back, and following the instincts she’s honed over her decade-long career. It might not have always been the case, but she’s in control now.
She’s transformed from an overworked teenage actress who would fall asleep on the makeup chair to a household name who is professionally and personally fulfilled, from a dreamer to doer—not to mention award winner. And as this creative enters her 30s, there’s no doubt she’s in the driver’s seat.
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