Singer, host, and actress Jennylyn Mercado has gone a long way since her Starstuck days, and as someone who has always been open about the challenges she's gone through in life, she has become one of the most relatable celebrities of her time.

Recently, she has marked another milestone in her career: beauty brand Max Factor has chosen her as its first Filipina endorser, and one of the faces of their new campaign, YOU X MAX FACTOR, which aims to inspire women to break free of unrealistic beauty standards and to accept and love their own uniqueness.

“I’m so grateful na ako po ang napili ng Max Factor,” she giddily said during the project’s recent launch. “Thank you, I’m so happy!” She also said a few words of wisdom that guide her busy yet very fulfilling life:

On being a single mom

“Being a single mom is really hard but worth it siya kasi, ‘pag nakikita mo ‘yong anak mo na mabait, mapagrespeto, mapagmahal, matalino parang ikaw lahat 'yon eh di ba, pinalaki mo siya ng mag-isa so ikaw yong [nag-instill] sa kanya no’n so para sa akin, I’m very proud na napalaki ko ‘yong anak ko ng ako lang mag-isa.

“Happy ako na tayong mga babae hindi natin kailangan ng someone para maitaguyod ang anak natin at mapalaki natin ng maayos.”

On self-care

“I make sure na meron ako kahit papano ng time to pamper myself and para alagaan din ang sarili ko, kasi sa trabaho namin bilang artist, ‘yon ‘yong  kailangan mong trabahuhin—you have to be beautiful para sa harap ng camera. Kailangan healthy ka, hindi ka nagkakasakit, siyempre. For yourself and your son na rin.

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“Kailangan drink lots of water, eat healthy—I just want to share this story. Nagkaroon ako ng fat deposit kasi there was a time na panay oily ‘yong kinakain ko. So lumabas siya sa skin ko, sabi ko, Ah totoo pala na kailangan mo ring alagaan ‘yong mga kinakain mo, ‘yong mga pinapasok mo sa body mo kasi lumamabas din siya sa katawan.”

On contentment

“Oo [kontento na ‘ko]. [What got me to this point] siguro, ‘yong company ko, ‘yong mga naka-circle around sa ‘kin. Sobrang laking tulong. Siguro kung wala sila hindi ko rin kayang mag-survive. ‘Yong mga taong talagang nagmamahal sa ‘kin. Like ngayon, wala naman na akong mommy, wala naman na akong daddy, but sina Tita Becky, ‘yong manager ko, she’s like my second mom. Kapatid ko, ‘yong anak niya… Sila ‘yong mga taong hindi ako pinabayaan, and I think hindi ako makakarating dito sa kung saan ako ngayon kung wala rin sila, kasi talagang grabe ‘yong support and love nila sa ‘kin.”

On being authentic

Ako kasi as much as possible, trabaho namin na ipakita ‘yong character na gustong palabasin ng network and gustong makita ng mga tao, but kung mag-cu-cut ang camera— ako ‘to eh. Ilalabas ko  kung ano ‘yong ako, ipapakita ko kung ano ‘yong ako, hindi ako makikipagplastikan. Hindi ako magtatago ng kahit ano, basta, be yourself, be true to yourself, and importante ‘yong relationship sa mga tao sa paligid mo.

On fear, heartache, and loss

‘Yong tatlong ‘yon is a reality that we have to deal with. Pinagdadaanan talaga ng lahat ng tao ‘yon. You have to face it, you have to conquer it. And siguro maraming mga oras na maganda ‘yong kinalalabasan. Meron tayong mga problemang pinagdadaanan… but marami rin tayong natutunan. Dumarating siya sa buhay natin, daraanan natin siya, but ‘yong kakalabasan noon… Mas powerful ka na. 

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“I remember the movie—‘yong recent movie ni Alex Gonzaga—Nalimutan Kong Kalimutan Ka‘yong line ni Jerald Napoles: ‘Kaya naging gano’n kasakit kasi nagging gano’n din kasaya.’ Kasi tayong mga tao, talagang grabe tayong magmahal. So ‘pag nasaktan tayo, gano’n kasakit kasi binigay natin lahat.

On passion, love, and joy

Well, in-embrace ko ‘yon. Every moment na may dumarating na blessing, positivity, happiness, talagang gina-grab ko ‘yan. Ine-enjoy ko talaga. Life is short, so every moment kailangan talagang i-feel mo siya.

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