what i communicate

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

During puberty and my early 20s I mainly wanted to distinguish myself from the rest. I think this was partly part of my personality and partly in being a twin. I had a strong need  of developing an own identity. I wanted to be different with my clothes. I didn’t wear well-known brands (those years everybody at school had Levi’s pants and Nike shoes) but liked colourful clothes and strong contrast.

I had shawls/scarfs (cotton handkerchiefs with different prints and long shawls with painted prints) and also home-made earrings, made with beads and rubber. I didn’t wear make-up; to me beauty was “Puur Natuur”. I wore sailing clothes for a while to identify with the people in that world (for example sailing coats with brands like Gaastra, Helly Hansen and Musto).

My idea of beauty was influenced by movies. I thought Leonardo Di Caprio (Titanic) was beautiful. For me the ideal beauty image was long, blond hair (I’m blond), a small waist and long legs (I don’t meet those requirements). It didn’t mean that I didn’t feel attractive/beautiful. In general I was content and didn’t spend a lot of time on outer beauty, but studied and developed (creative and musical) talents and spiritual (church) activities.

What does beauty mean to you now?

I enjoy beauty in/of: materials, nature, art, theatre, but also in diversity of people. Outer beauty for me has to do with radiance. A strong personality radiates power: a passionate person with a vision on a certain project/goal; someone with compassion for the weaker in society; people with great faith; a dependent/open child; a burst of laughter…a treasure inside that reflects a twinkle in the eyes or a loving act. This is also how I want to express my beauty.

Besides that, I like to wear clothes that I like. At festivities/celebrations, I wear something special and pay more attention to my hair and make-up. I think you can accentuate inner beauty by taking care of outer beauty.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty changed over the years?

The difference to me is especially the calm and the depth I found in the meaning of beauty and finding my identity, in knowing  who I am. At first it was a desire to distinguish/accentuate my uniqueness. Now I experience the freedom to choose what I really like and make my inner beauty stronger. I found it’s not whether you follow fashion/trends or put on make-up, but it’s what I radiate and how I appear to those around me. A beautiful impression is defined by my physical appearance, but more importantly, by what I communicate.

What I want to communicate is: love, peace, happiness, power, integrity, wisdom, reliability. That’s beauty for me. My belief in God helped me to think differently. I´ve appreciated sermons and books about identity (for example, who am I in Christ). My education and contacts with fellow-students/friends and how/what they think about this has helped contribute to a different view.

A period of “rebelling” against the mainstream with regards to outer beauty (i.e. media) and a clear choice in difference of clothes and hairstyle concerning my twin-sister helped me to find my uniqueness and by doing that, choose what I really like.

Lieske, 30

The Netherlands


Filipina Twins – Part 3

If different, why have your ideas about beauty changed over the years?

Pacita: Well, the make-up has changed and improved. And one thing, I just love perfumes. My mother too loved perfumes.

Teresa: And I did too. But it was too expensive. I just couldn’t afford it.

P: Before I got married, I became a stewardess for Northwest Orient Airlines, based in Japan. I got tired of acting and I had made enough money, so I told my mother that it wasn’t my cup of tea. I was an independent actress because I would refuse to go to bed with the producer or director so I could be in a film. So if people knew that Pacita Francisco had a film going, it was because of her acting and nothing else.

T: We were brought up very strict.

P: My rule was that I wouldn’t have anything to do with people that I work for. I’d rather go out with people that I didn’t work with. That was my standing rule. Another thing my mother always said, “If you’re going to accept being an actress, make sure you give 100% or nothing.” That stuck in my mind.

Pacita on her wedding day

T: The only man in my life. I was 15 when I married him. He was 24. I got married young because of the War. We thought we were going to die.

P: My father had to write a letter of consent for the priest because she was a minor.

T: But even with Papa’s letter, they wouldn’t. So my husband said, “We get married in court, and then we go to confession.” And that’s a mortal sin. So we did. I was married January 6 in court. I was 15, and he was 23 ½. Then we went to confession and “Oh! Que barbaridad!” And my mother said, “You are not husband and wife in the eyes of God.” So I had to sleep with her in the bed. Then the priest married us on the 26th. We got married in Church and after that, it was okay.

P: But they had to move out of the house because I was so innocent. I thought, “What is this man doing here with my twin sister? “

T: Pacita would always come with us.

P: I was the chaperone. (laughs) I took care of her, you see? I just couldn’t accept it. Then my mother really got worried, so she told my brother-in-law, “You and Teresa had better go because Pacita’s getting out of hand.”

And do you have any beauty secrets you use now?

P: Yes, when you clean your face at night, wipe away all the make-up and everything and just leave it as it is. This climate here is horrible for the skin. It’s so dry. People here have wrinkles because of the weather. In Asia because of the heat, natural oils come out. Don’t put any more skin freshener (astringent). Just leave it as it is.




Teresa Hampton’s regimen…


Bare Escentuals

Vitamin Skin Rev-ver Upper (“like a multi-vitamin supplement”)

Mineral Powder Foundation




Night time


Comforting Milky Cleansing Cream

Toner Freshener

Absolue Eye Precious Cells (under eye)

Absolue Night Precious Cells (for face)


She did not mention the cream for 50 times of scrubbing.

She thought that you wanted to follow her regimen, so she recommended you go to the mall to get the right color of foundation…

Filipina Twins Pacita & Teresa, Age 84 – Part 1

Teresa & Pacita's parents

I recently interviewed these twin sisters, both with amazing life stories. Their interview is divided into 3 parts…

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

Pacita: Me,being the eldest by five minutes, do you mind if I start?

Teresa: Sure.

P: Even long before the War, my mother was an artist in the sense that she decorated the home. She was the kind of a person that liked anything that was beautiful. She could decorate your house. My father was so enthused. He even bought her a dressmaker salon. Ladies would come and have their clothes done. She always dressed us up elegantly, even in school days. We were always outstanding. So from childhood, we were already very much exposed. My mother should have been the actress, not me.

T: One time I got caught putting a flower in my hair. So my mother cut my hair and then cut your hair. That was twins, but I was vainer than Pacita was.

P: But we never wore make-up there, because in those days, no make-up. I just wanted to look nice. I was what you call the little tomboy. Every time they looked for me, I was up in the trees. She was the more feminine one.

T: Pacita was always fighting my fights because I couldn’t fight. I was very sick. Funny because when I grew up and got married, they were all surprised that I was able to do things I never did before.

P: I thought I was going to be the strongest and look at me now. I almost died last year. I have cancer of the bone marrow. I guess the Lord wants me to be alive. The very next day after my blood transfusion, the doctor told me that it wasn’t going to be chemotherapy; it’s going to be tablets: the newest medical technology. Your hair doesn’t fall (much). I’m now one year alive. I still take the pills, but sometimes I wonder because so many of our younger friends are dying left and right, and here I am. It’s not that I’m questioning the Lord, but I tell myself there must be something I still have to do.

Whenever I would come here from Hong Kong where welived, I didn’t need to bring any clothes. My sister had already bought two of a kind. Maybe 15 years ago, we’d go shopping on Market Street. She’d go to one store and come out. I’d go to the same store. The lady looked at me and said, “But you already bought that. You just left, Madame.” And I’d say, “Oh that was my twin sister.” She’s (still) very active.

T: I teach step aerobics up until now…21 years at USA Fitness. But this will be my last year because now that Paci is getting better, we want to travel, and it’s about time. We’ll be 85 soon.

P: I was almost 21 when I got into film. That was in 1947. When I came back from the States, we celebrated our 22nd birthday, when I made that film. My uncle came to the house and told me, “Let me see all your pictures.” I asked him, “What do you want it for, Uncle?” “Oh, just give them to me. I’m going to submit these and you’re going to be a candidate for the national beauty contest sponsored by Philippine Airlines. I said, “Are you out of your mind?”

This was soon after the War. Liberation…1945, and this was in ’47. But he said, “No, never mind. You can borrow clothes, shoes, everything.” So I went along with the joke. I thought it was a joke. Before I knew it, it was all over the newspapers, including my photograph. I could not back out. So I decided “Alright, I’ll try.” I never imagined I was going to come out in 2nd place, because everything was borrowed. It was exciting.

Miss Guam, Miss Japan, all Asian girls…we had to walk around the judges in our dresses. At that time, nobody had any other clothes – it was after the War. We were nicely dressed in stockings, shoes, it was all borrowed. We had to walk as models do now, but in a more reserved way. In those days there were no low-cut. Everything was very modest. Only the silhouette. So we paraded. Not even bathing suits, just the dress. Then we had an interview with question that they would rate.

This happened in the Manila Hotel, the biggest hotel, where General MacArthur and all the big dignitaries stayed. United Philippine Artists shareholders were there. They thought that I should have won Miss Philippines. They gave me the contract to become an actress overnight and help make a film in Hollywood with the most famous leading Filipino actor Rogelio de la Rosa. He was like the Robert Taylor of the Philippines.

With my background and because I had won Miss Luzon (and these people thought I should have won) I was offered the contract. It was like a fairytale. I was nothing and then the next day, I was everything. We were between life and starvation. We lost everything (in the War). I wanted to give my mother a nice home. When they told me how much I was going to earn, I thought This is it. I’m not doing it because I want to be an actress. I’m doing it because I want to have a better life for my family. That’s why I agreed.

The name of the film was “Ang Vengador”, in English “The Avengers”. I did the Philippine version and actress Sigrid Gurie did the English version (she had recently done the film “Marco Polo” with Gary Cooper). We had famous actors. It was the story of the son of Monte Cristo, in a Filipino version. It was filmed in Hollywood in the studio where Arch of Triumph and Body and Soul were filmed. It was very good in Hollywood. They treated me like a queen.

When we left the Philippines, Glenn Ford flew over Hawaii to greet both of us. We flew to San Francisco and the ambassador of the Philippines took care of us. We went around and flew to Los Angeles and the father of our ex-President Ramos who was then the ambassador to the Philippines, he took care of us there. I stayed at the Wilshire Blvd. Hotel, next to the Schwab’s Drugstore. I took lessons with Anthony Quinn and Robert Mitchell. They were teaching acting and helped me along, since it was my very first time. I really didn’t know anything about acting. Maybe I had grown up that way in the Philippines…it wasn’t that difficult to learn (laughs).

T: Our mother was in zarzuelas in Spanish and she was an opera singer in the Philippines. My brother played the violin

P: It was in our blood. And we did a lot of dancing. Even after I left the movies because I married my husband, when we came back to Connecticut, I went to the Yale School of Drama for two years. I was in films for 10 years. They offered me films here (in the US) but it was always second or third part, whereas the people in the Philippines would tell me, “You’re going to be top actress. Why should you get a second part? And you’re going to get just as much money.” I didn’t want to leave my family. After the first film, I went back. Glenn Ford wanted me to be his co-star in a costume picture they made in ’47-48, but I did not accept. We became very good friends – Susan Hayward and Glenn Ford – and I told them that I did not want to be away from home. I had already lost my father and my brother (in the War).

When I was in films, I learned how to put on make-up…theatrical make-up and then street make-up. I was told that when you’re away from the cameras, don’t go out with this mask on. They taught us how to wear street make-up and night make-up. I was very interested because when I went back, all the actresses wanted to know the latest make-up technology.

Then the famous brands were Max Factor and Revlon. At that time it was the old style. We still went for foundation. You cleaned your face first and you didn’t wear moisturizer. Actually you used cream at that time. You wiped it off and then you put your foundation. There was no such thing as eye-liner. It was more natural. Of course on the set, then they did really line your eyes. The flood lights drain all your make-up so you need to put a lot on your face. To highlight the nose, you put lines on the side.

To be continued…

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