Why is it easier to focus on our flaws than to celebrate our uniqueness? Sometimes the things we don’t like about ourselves, are the very things that make us beautiful. Beauty shines from within and our bodies are here to express the wonder and greatness that lives inside all of us. We were given one body to live in this lifetime, and it is important we love and celebrate our body and the amazing things it is capable of. No one is saying it is easy, we all battle with insecurities about our own appearances, but just know that you are not alone.
Andi Eigenmann has a conversation with Grounded about how she struggled with hating her body her whole life and is turning things around with new habits and a new perspective.
Andi has been in the entertainment industry since she was 15. She remembers how she admired Drew Barrymore and wanted to be just like her. She finds herself distancing herself from showbiz and being closer to the ocean these days. It is obvious that Andi is confident in her own skin, but Andi tells us how it wasn’t always like that.
Andi: People around me in the industry would constantly tell me that I have to achieve a certain body. They would constantly tell me that I need to have a body like this actress and that model. I always felt ugly.
Grounded: What are some of the negative thoughts you had about your body?
Andi: I always felt ugly because I wasn’t tall enough, or I didn’t have a nice butt, or my legs are so short, my arms are so fat. And now, I have stretch marks on my stomach.
Grounded: Andi explains how most of her time in the limelight, she had dealt with feelings of anxiety, depression and anger. In her early 20’s she experienced depression.
Andi: From when I was 20 up until 25 years old, I was so depressed. I just never paid attention to it, which is why I believe life seemed to just completely go downhill from there until I made a conscious effort to slowly point out the toxicity in my life. It wasn’t easy to remove it- I felt like because this is the life I know and have been living for awhile that there is no other choice but to live with it. I felt like I was bound to get stuck in that toxic place and that scared me. Nobody else would acknowledge my sadness. I was told that I am lucky or that I have it all.
Grounded: Andi is now 28 years old but had her daughter Ellie at 21.
Andi: I was at the peak of my career when I got pregnant with Ellie. I was still dealing with body image issues. I felt like it was all over for me and that life was downhill from there. Of course that was because I hadn’t yet realized what a great blessing Ellie would be to me. I feel like the challenges were mostly within myself. I feared many things- not being accepted and not being good enough.
Grounded: How did your self-image affect the way you deal with relationships including the one with yourself?
Andi: I’ve always been hard on myself in terms of the way I looked. I don’t remember a time in the past where I was proud of my body, yet at the same time I wasn’t motivated to work hard or to achieve a body I actually wanted. I don’t know if it is because I didn’t appreciate the pressure or if it is because I somehow gave up on myself subconsciously since I knew I was never going to be as sexy or skinny as any of those models that had “the body.”
Grounded: The toxic lifestyle that Andi used to live is not too unfamiliar to many of us. However, she tells us how the small decisions are the life changing ones.
Andi: Oh man, I used to smoke a lot of cigarettes. It was a habit because I would feel restless at shoots. I also never knew how to sleep before midnight and wake up before noon. I spent most of my nights being out with friends allowing myself to “have fun” as a way to keep myself happy. I also loved McDonald’s and ate a lot of pizza. Ever since I made the big move, I became a morning person. Not only did I start waking up early but I stopped smoking and drinking and I only eat real food! I don’t even eat meat anymore. I never expected to go this far from where I came from, but I am proud of myself and I am sure this is where I want to stay. It’s for my daughter too.
Grounded: Andi’s priorities have shifted. Her life consists between being a surfer in a Philippine surf town and being a full-time mom in the city.
Andi: Now all of my days in the city are solely about Ellie and fulfilling my duties a mom. I don’t even have a nanny anymore. It’s hard but I like that I am the one that is molding Ellie into becoming an independent and responsible person.
Grounded: Yes, Andi has come a long way, but it is Andi’s challenges and struggles that have shaped her into the strong and confident mother that she is now.
Andi: It used to be about survival to me. I would tell myself “just make sure to get through the day and it will be alright”. I had no idea how long I had to survive, which is what made it hard for me.
Grounded: Andi can still remember a habit that she allowed to possess and control her, and how the happiness she was searching for, was there all along.
Andi: I used to like sleep so much. I feel like it was a way of coping with myself because I wasn’t so happy with my life. Now as a parent, I don’t fear prioritising my own happiness in order to make my daughter happy. That’s the key to being the best mom I can be for her. I wasted so much time looking for that happiness for myself rather than enjoying my time with Ellie. I have now learned to love myself and I can say that I am genuinely happy because I am content with what I have.
Grounded: Once Andi started accepting her body, she learned how to love herself.
Andi: It started with accepting myself the way I was. I let go a little bit after taking a step back from showbiz. I spent years having people do my hair and make-up, and telling me what to do with my face and body that I ended up equating self-care with being shallow and vain. But when I put myself away from the limelight by living simply by the sea, I realized that what people were giving me was actually advice in caring for yourself, not an act of being vain. It is when I placed myself in an environment where I did not feel pressured to look perfect that I started taking care of my skin, my body, my hair, my face. Now it’s actually effortless to take care of myself because I am doing it for me and not for anyone else’s approval.
Grounded: When asked about God, Andi answers how believing in a higher being has taught her how to surrender to life.
Andi: Yes I believe in a higher being. I believe that we are all here to serve a purpose, and knowing that keeps me inspired to find mine. It teaches me to accept when something doesn’t go my way it just means it’s not meant for me, or that it isn’t the right time.
Grounded: Andi comes from a family of artists. Her mother is Jaclyn Jose, a respected actress in the industry and she even bagged the Best Actress Award at Cannes Film Festival in 2016 for the movie, “Ma Rosa”. Her father is a well-loved actor in Philippine cinema. He passed away in September 2014. Andi shares with us how she dealt with losing him at a young age.
Andi: It’s always about looking at the bright side of everything. I would like to have my dad by my side forever, but unfortunately losing those we love is inevitable. I know that since losing him, there will always be a hole in my heart that can’t be filled by anything or anyone else. But there are also memories that I can always look back to, lessons I learned from him that I can always live by. Even though it hurts to never get the chance to exchange stories and laugh with him or hug him, I know he’s there with me in spirit. I know he’s proud of where I am at in life. That’s enough for me to get by.
Grounded: Happiness is not the result of having it figured out. Andi is a perfect example.
Andi: I always tell people that just because I can say that I am happy with my life, it doesn’t mean I have gotten everything all figured out. I’m still a work in progress just as we all are, and I am also still getting to know myself more and more each day. With that said, since I’ve made this big change in my life, I’m also still figuring out how to gain stability in this new world that I decided to be in. All I have ever really done is act, and so far that is all I know that I am good at. And so everyday is about discovering what else I can offer and maybe make a living out of. I’ve been looking back at my aspirations as a kid to see if maybe it can still work again for me. I would also really like to settle down and maybe allow my family to slowly grow.
Grounded: Andi explains how not loving her own body stopped her from doing things that gave her joy.
Andi: I used to love dressing up but I feel like what discouraged me from really going for it was that I never embraced my body type so I ended up sticking to jeans and shirts just because that was the safest thing to wear. I’m thinking about trying to dress up again, but I want to wear things that will celebrate all body types. I want to help inspire those who might be struggling with body issues like I did to be confident in their own bodies and wear whatever they like.
Grounded: Being a celebrity, Andi has quite a following. She has over a million followers on Instagram, making her influential— or for the lack of better words, making her an influencer. A term that some may cringe at, but is (arguably) considered a job title these days . Being an influencer means checking into social media on a regular basis. We are curious if living with fame all of Andi’s life has made her immune to the negative effects of social media.
Andi: Social media definitely gives me anxiety! What’s ironic about Instagram is that I love the app so much and it has been a good avenue for me to share parts of my life that I am proud of. I like how I can use my voice to inspire others and I always like to keep it real. But at the same time it also causes me to feel really sad or frustrated because people online can be really cruel. I actually receive hate messages for merely being happy with my life and the people I love. Anything and everything that you post can be so easily twisted. I just always tell myself that you can’t please everybody, and that Instagram isn’t real life. What matters is the people around me, the people I love and the people who know and believe that I am not the person these strangers are making me out to be. It is also why I don’t post on Instagram Stories all the time and I only post one photo every once in awhile because I try not to drown myself in it.
Grounded: We believe we are all addicted to our phones and social media not as a generation but as people. What are your thoughts on social media and that our children are now growing up with it?
Andi: I think we are addicted to social media and that more often than not, it has taken over our lives. Social media is a useful way to get points across or for our voices to be heard, but it can definitely be used the wrong way. I have a 7 year old daughter, and one of the reasons I would like for us to be based away from the city is because it is a good environment that allows kids to actually want to be outside. It makes us want to want to play, to want to live in the moment, and take notice of our surroundings more than staying indoors in front of technology all the time. Social Media in moderation.
Grounded: Just like everything in moderation. What does living authentically mean to you?
Andi: Living authentically means living a life that makes you happy, by staying true to who you are. Not having to apologise for those who disagree, just as long as we aren’t hurting anybody along the way. It’s accepting that life will never be perfect, but loving it anyway.
Grounded: Andi’s way of living a lifestyle that is Grounded…
Andi: Being Grounded means being very much a part of this wold and one with all creations. It’s treating everything and everyone around you with the same respect and love you have for yourself.
Grounded: Andi shares her thoughts on wellness and gives advice.
Andi: Keep your head up. This life is yours to live. Never let anybody take control of your own life, and your own happiness. We always have a choice, and it is up to us to choose the path that we take as we go on this wonderful journey in life. Always remember that its normal to go through bumps along the way, what matters is how we deal with it, and always getting back up.
Grounded: Andi is committed to her life between the city and the beach. When it comes to projects, she has steered away from acting on shows and is now focused on film. She admires Audrey Hepburn for her ability to be real and relatable despite being a big celebrity. Other people she looks up to are Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham and Paris Jackson. When asked about literature that she loves, she shares that she is inspired by the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Let’s break the image of beauty that mainstream media has conditioned our minds to falsely believe in. Beauty comes in different shapes and forms, but we are most beautiful when we shine from the inside out.