Bianca Gonzalez isn’t afraid of keeping it real. In celebration of her 40th birthday, the actress—who has time and time again empowered her followers by embracing her morena skin and blemishes—chose to keep it au naturel in her boldest photoshoot to date.
On Instagram, Bianca posted a series of photographs lensed by BJ Pascual, showcasing her bare and beautiful face—a refreshing departure from her usual glammed-up look in her hosting stints.
In a lengthy caption, she narrated how the project came about, which stemmed from a conversation with the renowned celebrity photographer. She asked him if he could shoot her portraits sans any styling and makeup, to which he gamely agreed. “'Beej, I turn 40 this March and I wanna shoot a portrait that’s very raw, no make up or styling, literally this is me ang peg,' I told BJ. He answered, 'Game!! That would be amazing.'"
Bianca wanted to take inspiration from the legendary Richard Avedon, who was known for his minimalist portrait style. “I’ve been modeling since I was 17 years old and so every professional photo I’ve had has me in full make up, hair, and styling. I loved doing all that, yes! But I've long wanted to have a very raw portrait of me—like those I’d see in Richard Avedon’s work—and I was never really sure if I could pull it off. Baka mamaya, I’d set up this fancy shoot, only to have photos I’m not happy with.”
This isn’t the first time that the host has pushed back on unrealistic beauty standards. Still, she admits that it’s only recently that she has gotten confident about her “imperfections.”
She shared: “I’ve been proud of my morena skin for many years, yes, but it’s only now that I’ve fully embraced and accepted all my body’s flaws and imperfections, peklats, dark knees and all. I still get conscious about it at times, but I’m no longer tough on myself about it. In this stage of my life, I feel confident to step in front of a lens with no makeup on my face. Literally, just me."
To prepare herself for the shoot, she used a lip oil to smoothen her lips and a hairbrush for her tresses. Bianca also made a special request to BJ to not edit out any of her lines, eyebags, or sun spots, capturing her real-life complexion in its natural glory. “Thank you @bjpascual, you are a creative genius, and I love you! These are officially my favorite portraits because you captured ME,” she wrote.
Bianca concluded her post with a quote she learned from renowned makeup artist Lala Flores: “Ang happiness, hindi napo-Photoshop.” She shared, “That has stuck with me ever since. And I guess now, the reason I want to have these portraits taken is not just because I fit a certain standard of what is 'beautiful' in my mind. It’s really because I AM truly, genuinely HAPPY.”
You look amazing, Bianca! Happy birthday.
This story originally appeared on Preview.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.