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Rica Peralejo: 'It was ingrained in me that *tough* is the best image you could put out there'

'I wanted to be cool more than I wanted to be pretty.'
Rica Peralejo opens about how society and the entertainment industry affected her beauty ideals and body insecurities.
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) INSTAGRAM/RICAPERALEJO
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In a GRWM video, Rica Peralejo gets real about her body insecurities, how her experience in the entertainment industry affected her beauty ideals, and what she learned about getting (and letting go of) breast implants. 

Rica's initial idea of beauty

"I wanted to be cool more than I wanted to be pretty...Parang it was ingrained in me that 'tough' is the best image you could put out there. And that's kind of who I am, actually." It's something Rica is still working on right now: She doesn't want to be the kind of person who needs to have "walls" anymore. 

At 12, she learned about makeup because she became an artista. Rica shares that being part of the industry was tough because of the intense focus on a person's body: "So much of our body was involved in the entire process because they always say to us na, 'Hindi ka puwedeng tumaba kasi 10 pounds lagi yung gine-gain mo 'pag nasa harap ka ng camera.'" She went through so many diets—and eventually developed anorexia—and did excessive workouts. "I would not eat and get so thin and still when I looked in the mirror, I would feel so fat."

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One of the biggest ways Rica conformed to the beauty standards people set for her was when she got a boob job at 18. "When I was trying to recall why I had it, I really cannot remember anything, like any reason. And all I can remember was it was gonna be very useful for my career back then because they wanted me to transition from teeny bopper to sexy-sexy na." She regrets getting it done but clarifies that she isn't judging people who want or have implants. "Procedures that kinda medyo alter the way you look in a very aggressive way—think about them not only twice, thrice, but many, many times."

Rica's body insecurities & how she feels now

In her 20s, Rica received compliments from makeup artists about different features—like her eyes and her skin—but that she remembers focusing on her insecurities. For example, one of her earlobes is "folded" at the top, and growing up, her parents told her to cover that ear. "For the longest time, guys, hindi ako makapag-ponytail. Laging nakalaglag yung buhok ko. I was made to believe [that] it was a defect..." 

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She continues, "Sa beauty journey ko rin kasi, you have to understand that I existed in a time when there were certain representations for certain types of beauty...I never considered myself pretty [or beautiful]." Like many of us, she also had thoughts about wanting to look more Western, which was the standard of beauty. 

Now, at 40, Rica shares that she doesn't worry about the world's definition of what beautiful is anymore. She's also very careful about the type of content she puts out there, making sure she gives "a dose of encouragement, hope, reality, and an appreciation of self...Sobrang image driven lahat ngayon and it far extends into other things, not only to your face and to your body, but also where you live, where you go, the things you have...At the end of the day, beauty and body image, it all boils down to identity."

Hear more about Rica Peralejo's experience with overcoming her insecurities below:

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