The industries of fashion, beauty and lifestyle run on creativity as its currency. Demands of the job go beyond the usual work hours. Just the same, staying relevant requires constant research, immersion and a willingness to evolve. For FORBES Style and Beauty Contributing Writer, Bianca Salonga, “Lifestyle journalism will always be a constant.” When she is not chasing deadlines for publications, she works closely with sustainable and purposeful brands. Her role as a communications consultant for incubator businesses is best summed up the term, brand storyteller. Crafting narratives, whether for brands or her Forbes page, are what fuel Bianca’s days. And the to-do list often seems endless. When asked how she stays motivated and inspired, she responds, “The only way you wont burn out is to fill your days with things that feed your soul.”
- What keeps you busy these days?
There has never been a dull moment despite being on lockdown for over a year now. Most days are dedicated to work as a communications or copy consultant for incubator brands. In between Zoom meetings and creation of content for these inspiring new labels, contributing work for FORBES fills my plate. It has also been such a resource when it comes to polishing up on global trends and movements in fashion, beauty and wellness.
- How did you come to find your current career or life’s work?
Writing has always been inherent. As a student, essays were preferred over fill in the blanks or multiple choice exams. By the time I had to intern, a summer spent working for a teen magazine seemed the natural choice. It’s been an enriching and exciting journey since. Lifestyle journalism will always be a constant. It fulfills the need to create and connect with readers. It is also a useful platform for supporting and showcasing inspiring brands in beauty, fashion, design and wellness.
After taking up my MBA in Paris, I returned to launch the Philippines’ first online platform for local design. It was a concept that arrived way ahead of its time, but it would later help me in my work as a consultant for incubator brand’s with soul and purpose. Working alongside such amazing entrepreneurs is as much a creative exercise as journalism. Often times, they even intersect.
- What is it about your work or career that you enjoy most?
Every single thing--high and lows included!
Waking up to over a 100 emails each morning. Chasing deadlines day in and out. Planning content calendars. And writing about things that light up the soul. Working with purposeful brands aligns you with people and teams that inspire you endlessly. This immediately translates in the work you churn out.
- What do you consider to be “hazards of the job?”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by too many ideas, deadlines, to-dos or plans all unfolding simultaneously. There are mornings when I jump out of bed hoping to accomplish several things all at the same time. The key is to take it a step at a time. Breathe. Trust that all will fall into place.
- For women who aspire for similar careers, what would be your advice?
Branding and journalism, especially when done simultaneously, demands a lot—mentally, physically, emotionally. The only way you wont burn out is to fill your days with things that feed your soul.
Surround yourself it people who inspire and uplift you. They are more valuable that any pay check you can ever get.
Indulge in self-care, health and fitness; not material acquisitions that lose its luster over time.
Keep an open heart. Listen with intention instead of speaking mindlessly. There is always a lot to learn.
Finally, always do things only with love. The rewards they yield are far greater than you can ever imagine.
- What are the career milestones that inspire you to break the glass or mold?
They year I decided to focus on writing for Forbes and consulting for incubator brands was the start of a fulfilling life. It was by that time the I truly found my voice, niche and audience. Turning this corner reinforced that when you do what’s good for your soul, there is no way you wont succeed. This is what continues to inform and inspire the work I presently do.
- How do you balance work and family life? What are activities that enable you to bond with family?
I come from a family of workaholics so the line between work and rest has always been blurred. When my parents, sister and I bond, we often talk about our current projects. So in that respect we spent family time while exchanging ideas and sharing insights on career.
We also spend most of our days in our home by the mountain ridge. By sunset or early in the mornings, the cool breeze and picturesque view prompts us all to pack up our work stations and enjoy the moment. I also have two very active dogs, Whisky and Coco, who know how to demand for time and attention. They are adorable reminders that it's time to pack up the mobile office.
- How do you unwind or rewind? Any favorite spots in your current city that you consider as your me-time haven?
If it can be helped, work ends as sun as the sky turns golden. Sunsets commence either with a refreshing gin and tonic or a delicious Vinyasa flow. Email, text messages and news feeds are muted by 10PM to make time for a relaxing bath, evening meditation and a lymphatic massage.
On weekends, my family and I try to discover new dining concepts outside the city. A current favorite would be Farmer’s Table in Tagaytay. We are adventurous folk who enjoy new flavors and long road trips.
- How would you describe your personal style?
Relaxed and polished. I like easy silhouettes that allow for movement. My wardrobe has recently welcomed more vibrant hues, which has been so up-lifting. Whether it be a summer frock, a day suit or athleisure wear, it’s important that every ensemble look crisp without being to contrived.
- What for you makes for a good investment piece?
Jewellery. Growing up, a pair of stud earrings, a new pendant or charm bracelets were wrapped in boxes as rewards for job well done at school. This association between hard work and jewelry as the fitting reward has stuck with me since.
- What do pearls mean to you?
Understated luxury. When I was taking up my MBA in Luxury Goods, my French professor (who worked in Yves Saint Laurent and Dior) told us on our first day in university:
“To understand French luxury, take a look at the nouveau riche. If you want to pass this course, do not follow what they do. A Hermes bag is only impressive if it is vintage--handed down by your mother or grandmother or sourced from an exclusive specialty shop in Palais Royale. The same goes for furs. If you want to make a good impression, wear pearls to brunch and order a bottle of Romanee-Conti Grand Cru. True French luxury is not interested in bling, logos or bright shiny things. We care about heritage, quality and workmanship.”