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‘Brown is beautiful’: 5 Filipina celebrities and influencers who are loud and proud morenas

Morena is a term most commonly used by Filipinos to describe women with brown skin. It started out as a word that held a negative connotation, stemming from the idea that having Eurocentric features is the standard of beauty. But what began as something that one may want to get rid of is now a trait that shows and empowers true Filipina beauty.

Here is a list of celebrities and influencers who aren’t afraid to challenge restrictive beauty standards:

Nadine Lustre

Even as one of the most sought-after actresses of her generation, Nadine Lustre started at a rough patch in entering show business. In a recent vlog, she revealed that she used to experience discrimination at go-sees and auditions when she was younger, mainly for her brown skin, citing that producers preferred to cast mestizas. She also proved her “President Nadine” behavior once again when she slammed a basher who told her to lighten her skin. In response, she said, ”i’d like to keep my skin color thank you very much.”


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A post shared by 小宮希美 🤍 (@nadine)

Angelique Manto

Angelique Manto remains unapologetic about her authentic Filipina beauty, drawing her to win 2nd Runner-up in the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 competition. She takes pride in her skin color as a content creator as shown in her #MorenaTries YouTube videos, where she tries on cosmetic products and experiments with different makeup looks to see if they would suit morenas like her. As an icon of “hubadera” fashion on Instagram, she definitely does not hold back on flaunting her bronzy glow.


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A post shared by Angelique Manto 🌪 (@angeliquemanto)

Bianca Gonzales-Intal

TV host and model Bianca Gonzales-Intal is surely one brave advocate of her brown skin when she spoke up about embracing one’s self amidst an ad that went viral in the past. The said campaign promoted that fair-skinned people had an “advantage” over dark-skinned ones, enforcing the idea that being fair is “more attractive.” She took to Twitter her thoughts on the highly-criticized ad, tweeting, “Hindi po kami kawawa, maganda ang kulay namin.” As a mother of two morena daughters, she said that she would teach her children that there is nothing shameful about being brown.


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A post shared by Bianca Gonzalez Intal (@iamsuperbianca)

Ry Velasco

Ry Velasco is a beauty and fashion content creator that “kikay” girls can look up to. Her morena-friendly fashion style is absolutely cop-worthy, whether it be a combination of neutrals or an array of colors. Her recent collaboration with a makeup brand was an ode to her fellow “morena girlies,” showing that she is a representation of morena charm in the beauty scene.


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A post shared by Ry Velasco (@ryvlsco)

Ayn Bernos

Content creator and entrepreneur Ayn Bernos is known to be very vocal when it comes to her advocacy for promoting body positivity. She is the founder of Morena the Label, a clothing line and soon-to-be NGO, that celebrates the beauty of sun-kissed skin. As a former delegate of Miss Universe Philippines 2021 and content creator, she certainly knows how to wisely use the platforms she has in order to spread awareness of colorism and, ultimately, challenge it.


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A post shared by Ayn Bernos [ah-YEEN] (@aynbernos)


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