I had the pleasure of working with Daphne when I was in my 20s and I always looked up to her as an achiever who was the ideal amalgamation of intelligence, elegance, and genuineness. She was (and still is) my inspiration. Through the years my admiration for her has only grown as I’ve observed her through different life phases as she timelessly ages and never apologizes for it.
“I feel great. I’m happy with the way I look. I am 47. I’ve had many battle scars physically. And those don’t get me down. It is important for me to look and feel good, because it sets the tone for my day. I work hard to keep my body and mind healthy.“
Daphne Osena Paez, 47
AGJ: What does ageing mean to you?
DOP: My Miss Universe answer is, ageing means wisdom, a wealth of experience and money, an acceptance of who you are, and finding your place in the world. But let’s get real. Ageing brings about so many physical changes. I first felt the difference when I was in my early thirties. That is the time when you realize that the crazy things (late nights, partying, risk-taking) you did in your 20’s take a toll on your little body. When you feel that your body isn’t the same as it was anymore – like that fist backache — it can make or break you. You can either stagnate and accept your fate, or you can do something about it and work to make your body stronger – through exercise, and good nutrition.
How do you feel about your age? Do you celebrate or fear your age?
I feel great. I’m happy with the way I look. I am 47. I’ve had many battle scars physically. And those don’t get me down. It is important for me to look and feel good, because it sets the tone for my day. I work hard to keep my body and mind healthy. I do Pilates at Options Studio two to three times a week. It’s done wonders for my posture and my breathing. I get regular facials at Belo every three weeks.
The past couple of years, I’ve invested a lot of time on my spirituality. I make time to attend talks and retreats. I find so much peace in praying. This is the part that is most rewarding. I know that despite everything I do and all my achievements, goals, dreams, nothing in this world is about me or for me. I believe in a higher being. And I strive to connect with God spiritually so that in all that I do, I will find direction and meaning. When I was younger, in my 20’s and 30’s, I worked so hard to achieve my goals. And I’ve managed to make my dreams come true. My mom would always remind me to pray and meditate. But when you’re younger, you can’t really focus on things like that. And I remember feeling lost and insecure. Now I still work hard, but it isn’t so much about my hunger to succeed, but to find more meaning and connection. I am going through a process that has left me unattached to my material things, my work, and even my dreams. I find it so liberating. Even though my brand is totally centered on me, DAPHNE®, it’s not literally about me. My work doesn’t define me. This is why my hashtag on Instagram is #daphneproject – because I am a work in progress.
Do I celebrate it? Not consciously. I try to be grateful for every single day that I am alive and well. I just start with that, and things fall into place. There have been moments when a new person I’ve just met would be shocked upon hearing my age. And I get a thrill out of that. It happens often when I am abroad. I am so lucky with my genes, I guess.
I don’t fear ageing at all. I embrace it. I pray that I will grow old. I pray for a long life. I look at my parents in their mid-70’s and all I see are grace and gratitude. It is such a gift to be ageing and be well in mind, body, and spirit. I am proud of the work that I’ve done and the work I continue to do. I am so blessed to be surrounded by love from my husband and children. There is nothing to fear – except maybe that the years are moving too fast. I love my life.
What do you think about the societal pressure on women to always look young? To in a way defy ageing
It’s an entire industry. And no matter what we say, there will always be that quest for the fountain of youth. It’s fun, to a certain extent. It can be empowering. But that can’t be all to a person. I think we can defy that societal pressure by being more than a physical being. We can create, keep thriving, and sharing our wisdom as we age.
I think with education and progress, and perhaps with our generation getting older in the digital sphere, we can start changing that notion. There are so many awesome and beautiful mature people who continue to achieve great things and innovate.
You’re in an industry that values youth above all else. How do you deal with it?
It never bothered me. I didn’t allow it to pressure me either. Even back when I was working on TV with you, I refused to let it be the currency that defined my worth. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I got my job because of my qualifications and education, and I moved up because of my skill. I never had a portfolio before getting a job in television. The first time I had to “model” and be photographed for a magazine shoot was about a year after I was already an F girl. I also figured that if things didn’t work out, I could always go back to my previous profession as an urban planner. I have a degree in Urban Studies and Art History from the University of Toronto.
I do remember one time though, a few months before F ended, we were asked to dress down a bit – like wear jeans and appear more youthful. We were also told to speak a certain way. I don’t know if it was because of the youth culture that the TV network was trying to win over, or because it was just a corporate strategy. I didn’t take it personally. I still stuck to my own style. I’m hardheaded that way. When F ended I came up with my own show, Urban Zone. It appealed to the grown up F girl – she doesn’t just buy shoes or bags, she buys real estate and decorates her apartment. With the work I do for TV and digital media, I just focus on telling my stories well. I don’t feel any pressure to look young or hip. You somehow just evolve.
Now with my own brand, I do what feels right to me. I don’t allow myself to feel the pressure of attracting a younger market. I don’t even filter my Instagrams. I love my demographic. My readers and customers are wise, enlightened, and come with a wealth of life experiences. We don’t just talk about lipstick (though we love to), we talk about trips to exclusive destinations, and we share rich experiences that touch the soul. It’s very enriching. Besides, digital media is so democratic. We can all be on the same space. Having said that, I have no patience for Snapchat and other apps that the young people are into though. But that’s just a personal preference.
Age gracefully or with help?
Both. A good balance of both. I am so lucky to have my mom as my “life peg.” She is beautiful. Born beautiful with her olive skin, deep set eyes, and sharp bone structure. Mom was stunning as a young woman, and even more stunning now in her 70’s. I am excited to grow up to her age and more. She’s never had any surgery done – just because it’s not in her world in Canada. She’s very natural. But she has her simple beauty regimen. In my book, Chic: Tips on Life, Style, and Work, I share my moms’ biggest beauty secret. She sleeps with a piece of Scotch Tape between her eyebrows. It’s her natural Botox. It prevents her from forming frown lines in her sleep. A little help isn’t bad.
For now, my regimen seems to work. I just do a facial and Power Peel at Belo every three weeks. I don’t use any creams. I sleep with my face bare. But in the winter if I’m in Canada, I use a little moisturizer.
What would you say are the major values or principles that you live by?
It’s all about love. That’s all. Do everything with and for love.
Above all else, find joy in your home life.
Always be true to yourself. It’s ok to be different.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t burn out.
Accept the impermanence of everything – joy and sorrow, victories and disappointments, even youth…
Live each day with gratitude.
Don’t stop learning.
What defines your happiness?
Happiness is not having fear. Allowing yourself to feel and see joy in every little thing. If you have no fear, you have no worries. You feel lighter and more forgiving of yourself and others. You learn to live and just be. Happiness is a temporary feeling. It’s great to feel happy especially every evening when you go to bed knowing that you are loved and your loved ones are safe with you. But happiness can be robbed from you so easily, by stress or worry. It is joy that I aspire to have. Joy is that smile in your heart. It’s invisible but you feel it. My potted lavender plants bring me happiness. My husband and daughters give me joy. My heart still jumps every time I see them – when Patrick gets back from work, when I pick up the girls from school.
What would you say you know now about living a happy and successful life that you didn’t know when you were twenty?
That nothing will be solved with worry. That if you just get up and do your work well, you will go places. So don’t waste your time worrying. Life is so full of surprises. In my 20’s I had no idea I would end up marrying Patrick (a Filipino), let alone move and live here. I was a nomad. Millennials now talk about being digital nomads. I was an analog nomad. I left my home in Toronto. We didn’t have phones or emails. I allowed life to surprise me. I also worked a lot and learned new skills along the way. Nothing replaces the value of hard work. I say that to my three little women – Sophia, Lily, Stella. As young girls, with so many gifts, they have the chance to be amazing, self-made, successful, and happy women.
How can we help women, and society in general celebrate ageing?
I think what you’re doing is one step. Thank you, Amanda, for advocating this cause. I’d like to emphasize the importance of being in control of your body and your health. “Self-care” is such a buzzword in the lifestyle arena now. But we were fortunate to have been exposed to so much information about health and wellness – back during our years in F, and perhaps through our education – we were practicing self-care even before there was a word for it. Women have to take charge of their bodies. See a doctor at least once a year. Know the status of your organs – heart, lungs, breast, and reproductive systems. Everything. It is so disappointing to know that there are still a lot of women who don’t visit their doctors for annual checks just because they are afraid. We live in a society with greatest inequality. The gap between rich and poor is so wide. Health services aren’t always available especially in rural areas. There are women with no access to health care because of financial limitations. I see that the government is trying to do something about that with PhilHealth and other programs. But it is also a cultural issue, even with free health clinics not many women get annual health checks. There is fear. There is also this great female value of putting others first. But women and mothers can’t take care of others if they themselves aren’t well. We have to change that. We must encourage women to focus on their health and bodies first. And hopefully ageing will be a breeze and our biggest problem will just be that frown line.
What do the following mean to you?
Youth: A gift not usually appreciated by the young.
Aging: Wisdom. Grace. A gift.
IMAGE by Sara Black
Makeup: Jigs Mayuga
Hair: Teng Roma Salon for L’Oreal Philippines