After all the ruthless bashing that Toni Gonzaga received when she was chosen as one of Pond’s “Most Beautiful Faces,” the skincare brand has definitely made its point: That a woman’s beauty goes beyond physical features, and encompasses the person she has become through her story of struggles and triumph.
“Ito ang pinaka pangit na naging model ng Pond’s… Dati mga dyosa ang Pond’s Girl, ngayon pwede na yong kagaya ni Toni… Hindi po kami basher ni Toni, nagsasabi lang kami ng totoo na hindi maganda si Toni Gonzaga…”
These were among the nasty comments posted on the celebrity’s Instagram account following her announcement that she was chosen to be part of such a distinct group of women that have been chosen as Pond’s Girls of their respective generations.
What Toni’s online bashers were unaware of, however, was that the actress, host and singer was chosen for the iconic title precisely because of the transformation she had undergone over the years.
On July 10, Toni was officially welcomed into the Pond’s family with a gala at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City, and she admitted, “Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I could be a Pond’s Girl. Because before, when I would line up to audition for Pond’s VTR commercials, ang dami talagang magaganda [there were a lot of beautiful women].”
She continued, “And I kept thinking, kailan kaya ako malilinya sa mga models at mestiza? Kailan kaya pwedeng Filipina beauty ang mag-endorse ng Pond’s?”
Finally, Toni’s time has come.
According to Mian Datu-David, Unilver Philippines’ marketing director for skin, the reason why the company launched Toni as their newest endorser was because they want to inspire Filipino women to embrace their beautiful stories of transformation like her.
“Every woman wants to be beautiful. But a lot of Filipinas think that beauty is unattainable. They think that beauty is the birth right of a celebrity, or something that is accessible only to the rich,” David explained.
Because of this prevalent misconception—proof of which are the sentiments of Toni’s bashers—many Filipinas refuse to believe they are beautiful.
“A lot of Filipinas who aspire to be beautiful simply give up. They are content to believe they are ‘ordinary’,” added the executive. “But we won’t give up on their attitude because we want to inspire women to believe they can be more beautiful than they ever imagined.”
How will the skincare brand do so? By showing women that behind every beautiful face is a beautiful story. And Toni’s is the perfect example.
Her online bashers may not believe it but Toni used to be insecure about her looks as well. During her endorsement launch, she recalled how more than a decade ago, she would always feel discouraged whenever she was among beautiful women.
“Every time I would line up at auditions and see all the beautiful girls, I’ll ask my dad, ‘Paano tayo makukuha dito? Ang daming maganda.’ Thankfully, my dad always reminded me, ‘Anak hindi ka papasok sa industriyang ito dahil maganda ka, papasok ka dito kasi may talent ka.’”
And so Toni did through her breakthrough commercial with a softdrink commercial. “Fourteen years ago, I started out as a screaming fan of Piolo in a TVC. And after so many years, I ended up starring in a movie as his leading lady. It has definitely been a beautiful journey,” Toni shared.
Toni also thanked three people in her life who have always seen her for her “beauty”—her mom and dad, and boyfriend, director Paul Soriano, who also happens to be a Pond’s Man.
“So today, I couldn’t be any prouder to be part of the beautiful roster of Pond’s girls, who share the same dream to inspire Filipinas that they too can be more beautiful than they ever imagined,” Toni related.
Similar themes of transformations resonated with the rest of the chosen “Beautiful Faces.”
For young girls hoping to make their mark in showbiz, Julia Barretto is an inspiration as she carves to be her own woman beyond her famous surname.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith is also an inspiration for finding the strength to step out of her sister’s shadow and shine on her own.
Beautiful journeys are also the stories of celebrity moms Cheska Garcia-Kramer who felt more beautiful when she had her children; as well as Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach, whose family life has made her bloom even more.
Completing the beautiful faces for Pond’s latest campaign are Heart Evangelista, Nicole Andersson, Kryz Uy, Tricia Gosingtian, Laureen Uy, Patricia Prieto, Kelly Misa-Fernandez, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Agoo Bengzon, Apples Aberin, Tweetie De Leon-Gonzalez, and Hindy Weber Tantoco.