Alessandra “Sandra” Pineda may not know it but she inspires me. Though we have only personally hung out a couple of times during work-related events, her Facebook posts, besides articles she has written for cosmo.ph, has motivated me to be a woman for others—always looking out to spread positivity among women.
About a month ago as I was yet again scrolling through my, I came across an article that read, “I am leaving home to study abroad at 26.” A personal dream of mine, I rushed to read it and wasn’t surprised to see that it was penned by Sandra.
You see, in a country that is still conservative on the whole, this kind of bravery is appealing, not to mention, encouraging.
From the get-go, Sandra has always been a breath of fresh air. As former assistant managing editor of cosmo.ph, Sandra has been given the opportunity to influence women through articles that not just focus on dating but also feminism, women empowerment, and body positivity.
Through the many pieces she has written in the four years she was with the publication, Sandra has contributed to women who don’t back down and are always up for the challenge in the pursuit of becoming better versions of themselves.
Her life has always reflected that of a go-getter. Armed with a Communications degree from Ateneo De Manila University, Sandra always knew that she wanted to be a writer but initially pursed a PR job with Summit Media. Her experience with the magazine made her realize that she wanted to be a writer, so with the help of her editor-in-chief, Frances Sales, she took the leap of faith and learned. After learning the ropes at OK! Philippines, she was given the opportunity to further pursue her writing through posts for Cosmo Magazine before finally being handed the assistant managing editor post for cosmo.ph.
The self-confessed athletic tomboy easily recalls her early days with the magazine, “It was the dream brand, but for a while, I struggled because I never saw myself a Cosmo girl. I came to college in shorts and sweats and slippers! I was an athlete. I didn’t care about my clothes! I was never fashionable! You remember Andy Sachs from The Devil Wears Prada? That was me!”
It’s safe to say that Sandra was definitely enjoying the life in Manila with an enviable job and even started dating someone seriously when she decided to take the leap of faith, leave the country, and explore the world and what it had to offer. She went on to say, “It obviously wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. But it was a struggle, because I knew I wanted to do it, but at the same time, I thought I was just too old for grad school. I mean, I was 25 when I finally decided and applied!”
She then adds that it has always been a dream of hers to do so, “I’ve always wanted to study abroad. I blame it on my mom, who really encouraged me to do it ever since I was a kid. I was also very fortunate, because cosmo.ph’s editor-in-chief, Jillian Gatcheco—my boss and mentor—attended grad school in New York University. She was ridiculously influential in this, and I blame her, too, for getting me this far.”
Kidding aside, she believes that her fantastic support group is what truly encouraged her to simply cross her fingers and go for it, even if it meant leaving everything behind, for the time being.
As of writing, Sandra has already settled in Oxford, ready to take up her Digital Publishing degree with a big smile on her face leaving Manila with the empowering thought that as long as you’ve got the courage to begin, life can truly take you anywhere.
She ends, “It’s cliché, but if there’s still something in your life that you have to do, just go for it—regardless of your age and how stable you are in your life. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll do it. No one should stop you. I’ve heard so many negative comments from people telling me ‘Oh, you’re too old,’ or ‘You should be focusing on your career,’ or ‘You should get married!’ And while I know they mean well, I’m not there yet. Who are they to tell me what to do? It’s my life and my future, and I should get a say in this.”
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