Jessy Mendiola isn’t new to the cruelty a career in showbiz brings. She’s been bashed, hated on, and body-shamed more times than she can count, but she has never been one to take negativity to heart. Once, she graciously addressed her detractors by saying, “My body may not be perfect but that will not stop me from being confident with myself.” Now, she is hailed as FHM’s Sexiest Woman for 2016 and she has never even considered feeling vindicated.

“’Vindicated’ – that’s a very strong word,” she said during a recent FHM press conference. “I take it as self-love… I think it’s about time we welcome something different. Para sa akin it’s nice that someone like me who is very curvy won to represent a different kind of sexy. I think there are all types of sexy, so I’m not vindicated; just very, very grateful that they picked me.”

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For Jessy, being sexy is more than just following a very narrow standard of beauty. “It’s the journey of accepting myself… how I look, no matter what my size is. When people come up to me and say 'you’re so sexy,' it feels unreal. It’s the way you carry yourself.” She also added what being sexy is to her, “Hindi lang siguro siya physical appearance… I still think it’s about your personality and how [you] carry yourself. I think that’s sexy – when you know yourself and you know that you are strong enough to stand up for something.”

Being FHM’s Sexiest Woman for 2016 comes as a huge responsibility for Jessy, who explained that it's her chance to show everyone what self-acceptance is all about. “It is the perfect venue to send a message across to people. Being sexy is not only [limited to] one look. Let’s all be healthy. Let’s all be the better versions of ourselves.”


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And for women who feel ugly because of how they look and what their size is, Jessy has words of encouragement:

“As long as you are happy with your body, as long as you feel healthy, and you feel active, there’s no reason to be sad about it. Kasi who else will love your body but you? And it will show. Kakalat 'yon sa lahat ng tao na, ‘Ah, she likes herself as she is.’ Ang hate comments, ang bashing, sandali lang naman ‘yan eh, but when you’ve come to accept yourself, they will [also] accept you.”

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