“Philosophy: How you climb a mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain. And, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. In the end, it all comes down to one word. GRACE. Its how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light.”—Amazing GRACE
Two friends, Teresa Herrera and Rajo Laurel, who share a similar passion for travel and fashion, had a vision, and within a short time, started Isla Resort Collection.
RAJO’s love affair with fashion began at the early age of 11. He studied art at the famed Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and later underwent further studies at the prestigious Central St. Martin’s in London. As a young designer, he was awarded Air France’s Young Designer of the Year (1994), Most Promising Designer of the Year (1996) and The Loop’s (Editor’s Choice Award) Favorite Designer (1998). He has also won awards at the ASEAN Young Designers Competition (Singapore, 1993). Known for his daring vision of design, Rajo has staged many fashion shows, most notable of which were his daring Optical Illusions show (Philippines, 2001) which introduced Philippine fashion consciousness to the avant-garde. His Habi show (Philippines, 2004), held at the residence of the British Ambassador to the Philippines, showcased the best of the Philippines’ textiles. He also displayed a Premier Collection created specially for the Young President’s Organization Gala that was held at the Araneta Coliseum (Philippines, 2005).
Teresa, on the other hand, was immersed in the world of dance and art at an early age of 5. Always in search of an outlet for self- expression, she experimented with many different mediums of art both visual (including painting, sculpture & photography) and performing. By the age of 18, Teresa was introduced to the world of fashion and she found herself traveling the globe working as a professional model. As one of the most sought after faces in the fashion world, she has graced the covers and pages of many fashion magazines including, Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar HK, Marie Claire HK, Elle Magazine HK, Mega Magazine, FHM, Uno Men’s Magazine, and Manual Magazine. In addition, she has appeared in notable advertising campaigns such as, Neutrogena, Shell, Carefree, Avon, and Nokia. With her background in and flair for fashion and design, Teresa serves as the Creative director of ISLA.
Combining their experience and passion, Rajo and Teresa’s vision is to bring to life collections that reflect the beauty, serenity and purity of the island lifestyle.
“Every time we leave home and go to a new place, we open up the possibility of having something wonderful happen to us. When we move out of the familiar here and now, we set in motion a series of events that bring about changes at the very root of our being.”—The way of the Traveller
LOS ANGELES, California — It’s hard to meet Teresa Herrera without feeling like a major underachiever. Having graced countless magazines and ads all over Asia as a professional model, become an accomplished actor in Los Angeles, and in recent years, teacher of a unique brand of yoga (one that lets you dance!) and hosting the local franchise of the television hit Project Runway for two seasons, it makes me question: What’s her beef with free time?
When she does have some time off, though, she doesn’t laze around watching DVDs like the rest of us. This girl lives it up by traveling to the most exotic locales counting Croatia and the Caribbean as her favorite spots last year.
After living in Manila for two years, Teresa however has recently packed her yoga mat to relocate to her first home, the City of Angels: LA, where she signed on with a brand new management to explore hosting opportunities and maybe enter the world of producing. That’s not saying, though, that she won’t be back upon our shores. With the right project (a third season of everyone’s guilty pleasure, perhaps?), she’ll be on the next flight over to resume her commitments.
She drives around the big city in an eco-friendly Prius and picks me up to check out artist haven Venice Beach and nearby Abbot Kinney Road where she talks about hooker heels, cake decorating and why she cried yesterday.
THE DIALOGUE: Your image has launched countless products in Asia and beyond. If you could change one physical feature, what would it be?
TERESA HERRERA: My ears. I was a naughty kid growing up and my dad always pinched my ears whenever I was in trouble. (Laughs)
The downward dog got everyone’s imagination going. For you, which yoga pose still makes you say “Ouch!”
Koundinyasana: one leg twisting, arm balance.
What’s a random skill or habit that most people don’t know you possess?
Cake decorating! I grew up in a bakery and can decorate a five-tier stacked fondant wedding cake with my eyes closed!
What would be one thing you won’t be caught wearing?
Hooker heels. You know, the Lucite, clear plastic ones that scream you need to find the nearest pole.
Do you agree with the saying “First love never dies”?
Absolutely! It will always be that pure ideal that you compare most relationships to. “We were young and innocent then…”
What advice would you give yourself, 10 years ago?
Have more fun! I was very focused and serious about pursuing a career so that I opted out of most of the fun going on around me.
Honestly, how do you feel about Heidi Klum’s voice?
I like her! She’s so cute and bubbly.
What mantra do you live by?
Keep it real. Keep it simple.
Last year you were aboard a yacht in Croatia and swam under the Caribbean sun. Where is your next exotic destination?
Maldives, summer 2010!
So many girls nowadays labels themselves as “models.” In your opinion, who has what it takes among the new crop of emerging girls?
Internationally, I would have to say Chat Almarvez of Ford Models in New York. She is at the right place, at the right time, delivering the right goods! Plus, she’s Pinay!
Which film made an impact on your life?
The Godfather, Part 2. It taught me a lot about business, dealing with people, and how to always protect yourself.
Who do you follow on Twitter?
All the fashion magazines: Vogue, Elle UK, French Vogue and Status. Also, the news: CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Seantourage.
They say it’s the most important meal of the day. What did you have for breakfast?
Egg sandwich! I’m a big breakfast person.
You always seem composed and poised. When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday! I was watching the documentary, The Cove. I was really saddened by how people choose to be ignorant when it comes to depleting the world’s natural resources (dolphins in this case). It makes me really angry and I feel for the animals. I’ve been a diver for over 14 years and I’ve swum with these amazing creatures and it was magical.
You board planes more than the average Jane. What’s a staple in your suitcase?
Most of the time, I travel with the basics: jeans, T-shirts, cocktail dresses, awesome shoes and, of course, a bikini. You never know which beach or boat you’ll end up on.
It’s time to use the “f” word. Who are you a fan of?
In film and television: Anne Curtis because she’s such a good actress! I’m really impressed with her. I also love Oprah, Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett. In fashion: Alexander McQueen, Nicolas Ghesquière, Jerome Salaya Ang. In music: Jay Z, Die Antwoord, Bass Nectar, The XX. In art: Francesco Clemente, Barry Mcgee, Shepard Fairy.
What do you indulge in during your “cheat days”?
Dark chocolate, Sprinkles cupcakes, good red wine, Pinkberry frozen yogurt, Krispy Kreme, pizza… I keep all these goodies on rotation.
What’s the worst thing a guy can do on a first date?
Talk about crazy ex-girlfriends. Major turnoff! It makes me think, “Hmmm , what did you do to make her crazy?”
What do you love about LA that we don’t have in Manila; and what do you love about Manila that you don’t have in LA?
In LA: I really love my lifestyle here. I love that I can go hiking in the morning, do my meetings and shoots during the day, have dinner then attend an event all in one day. I have a wide range of interests and I like a lot of space.
In Manila: I love that my friends and family are just a text away! And I can take off to go diving for the weekend!
How is the dating scene different in both cities?
I’m not a “dater.” I know what I like — when I see it, I go after it.
You’re a Hollywood-trained actress. What do you like most about hosting?
Hosting is more like improvisation, it’s very spontaneous and in the moment. Acting, however, requires a little more prep time.
Who has the sexiest brain for you?
A man who can sustain my interest.
Who do you think have nice bodies?
Rodrigo Santoro and Monica Belluci.
You’re a California girl at heart and grew up in LA. What is the most Filipino thing about you?
I’m a family girl! I love, love, love hanging out with my family and miss them very much when I’m away.
UNDREST. is a Los Angeles-based luxury lingerie, lounge, and swimwear brand established in 2007 by Maria Paz Navales. Known for their comfortable fit and fine fabrics that include 100% California Grown Supima Cotton, exquisite pure silks, and cashmere, the entire line is produced in-house in their 8000 sq. ft atelier/warehouse located in Los Angeles, CA. UNDREST. is produced in the same manner as that of a true atelier, through a team of production sewers that are located steps away from the design room, and not thousands of miles away! It is modeled to be in the spirit of a “true” Atelier, where as in the days before mass overseas production became so prevalent, the designer thought up their creation and then had the garment patterned and sewn in the room next door
The Undrest By the Sea. Flagship Shop opened in Venice Beach, CA in early May 2010. The swim shop houses the entire Undrest By the Sea. swim collection, alongside a few of Maria’s favorite seaside brands from around the world!
Its definitely your one stop shop for your summer beach essentials!
“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”—Arundhati Roy
First Friday of every month during the summer, Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice fills up with all of the best food trucks in LA! My sister Rosario and I stumbled upon it by accident last month and now I’m hooked! This is the best time to come down, hang out, and check out alot of different cuisines from all over the world. ( There are at least 40+ food trucks around). So. Much. Fun!
when: First friday of every month
location: Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Come before 6pm otherwise, its impossible to find parking!
Here are some of my favorites:
Best Hot dogs!
my favorite, Sweet potato fries!!!! yummy!
Vizzi Truck, fresh california cuisine. You’re entertained while you wait 15-20min for your food!
Electric Daisy Carnival, is the worlds biggest dance music event which packed over 135,000 people over a two day festival! This years line up was stellar and it defenitely goes down on the books as one of the best music events i’ve been to so far!
play: surf, wakeboard must see/ experience: luang prabang, laos new discovery: wakeboarding! favorite things to do while travelling: photographing, eating local cuisine
Whats your next dream destination: Bhutan
Fashion and travel photographer never ceases to inspire my with his images. I always enjoy working with him because of his very laid back style. These are some of my favorite images he’s done…Blending travel and fashion!