Solenn Heussaff: "In life you always have to learn. And the more you learn, the more you grow."

IMAGE Abby Mendoza

Solenn Heussaff, Filipino-French model/actress/TV host/painter/fashion designer, believes that learning has no limits: “For me, that’s innovation.”


Everything you wanted to know about Solenn Heussaff but were too shy to ask comes from the "goddess" herself whenever she speaks. Yet her status and image as a celebrity in various fields is well known, of course.

Solenn Heussaff emerged as the face of local clothing line Penshoppe and set a higher standard of beauty—her stunning face came with talent and skills.

It's extraordinary enough that she's a painter, fashion designer, professional makeup artist, singer—and now, since she entered showbiz, a budding television host and actress.

At the 2012 Gawad Urian, a prestigious annual film awards in the country, the Filipino-French 26-year old was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

A year since entering showbiz via the reality show Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Showdown, Solenn has already recorded an album, shot films Temptation Island and My Valentine Girls, and acted in primetime soaps Captain Barbell and Legacy. Now the former Channel V video jockey is the host of makeover show Fashbook.

The year saw Solenn on magazine covers— FHM, Preview, Women’s Health, Rogue, Cosmopolitan, etc.— and while she looked ravishing, even goddess-like, Solenn Heussaff, up close and personal, is not one bit intimidating.

SOLENN LAUGHS AT HERSELF. At the launch of Toshiba’s line up of new gadgets where she was introduced as brand ambassador, Solenn was candid, laughing at her own quirks and her awkward Tagalog.

In an interview with the press, one asked, “You now have everything. Ano pa bang mahihiling mo?”

“Anong… mahihiling?” Solenn asked, unabashed, for the word's English translation.

“What more can you ask for, Solenn?”

She giggled and then stated the obvious, “Na [gumaling] ako sa Tagalog!

“Yun ang pinaka-dream ko. Yun ang pinaka-achievement ko kung marating ako dun.”

Tagalog is clearly her waterloo. Even though Solenn was born and raised in the Philippines by her French father and Filipino mother, she attended a French school and after finishing high school, left for France to study fashion design.

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She must learn Tagalog, more so now that she joins the hosts of the most popular noontime show Eat Bulaga!.

“Practice yun para sa akin,” she says of her new project.

Very fun, mabait silang lahat! Tapos parang family sila. So, parang laro lang pag nagtatrabaho kami, ganun.

“So I’m really happy to be a part of Eat Bulaga! Sana mag-mainstay…” She pauses, laughs at the remark she just said out loud, “Mag-mainstay? May ganun?” And she giggles again.

ENDORSEMENTS. Among Solenn’s endorsements are Vitress, Argentina corned beef, Greenwich, Antonov Vodka, Asian Secrets... and the list goes on.

Being the face of several products is an achievement she has in common with her celebrity friends Anne Curtis, Isabelle Daza, and Georgina Wilson.

Does that spark competition among these beauties?

“Kasi friends kami, so there’s no competition naman between friends.” Solenn says that like any normal barkada, these projects give them reason to celebrate.

“‘Pag may endorsement sila Belle, Georgina, happy naman kami pareho… Tapos may free dinner from them later!”

BEST FRIEND ANNE CURTIS. Switching the topic to It’s Showtime host Anne Curtis, a dear friend of hers, Solenn comments, “Oo! Kaya nag-Skype ako with her mga three days ago. Happy siya [na] malapit na matapos yung movie nila.

“So when she comes back, puno din ang schedule niya pero we’re going to try to have a little come-back party para sa kanya.

“Bongga naman kasi may Hollywood movie na siya!”

In jest, she takes back a remark about missing Anne, who's the girlfriend of her brother.

“Pero kung wala si Anne dito, good for me! Kasi yung brother ko… he cooks for me na!"

The equally gorgeous Erwan Heussaff is Esquire Magazine’s Food and Wine writer, as well a food enthusiast and blogger on his own.

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Solenn adds, “‘Pag andito si Anne, wala akong food. So ngayon, may attention para sa akin!”

SOLENN THE ARTIST. More than being one of the most beautiful faces on television today, Solenn is an artist. Painting remains her passion.

Yung painting, hobby lang nung bata pa ako hanggang 18 [years old]. Pero ngayon, pag may time ako.”

Solenn mentions an exhibit she has long put off. “To tell you the truth I’ve been planning it for four years. Tapos every time nag-iinterview ako, I say, ‘O, next year’… It’s been four years na!”

She once planned to hold the exhibit for a cause. “Gusto kong mag-paint yung mga portraits ng mga artistas. Tapos I’ll invite the artistas, invite the press, tapos yung sale para sa charity.”

She is now rethinking the whole concept, worrying that if the celebrities fail to purchase their portraits, the aim of the project would fail.

Among the celebrities she plans to draw are the Gutierrez family, John "Sweet" Lapus, and socialite Tessa Prieto-Valdez.

“I did Anne Curtis a long time ago. Nasa bahay pa rin yung painting, yun ang first. Yung kay ‘Chard [Richard Gutierrez] I gave it to him din na.”

Any self-portraits?

“Ayaw ko na ng self-portraits,” she says firmly. “Kasi ako, I would not have my portrait in my house.”

She hates the thought of how it would look— “Medyo weird. Parang shrine! Ayaw ko!”

LEARNING & GROWING. Contrary to how she is perceived, Solenn is nowhere near perfection. She believes that an artist must keep innovating herself.

“People… they think, ‘Okay you’ve studied this or you have a Bachelor’s [degree] in this.’ Akala nila tapos na.

“Pero for me, in life you always have to learn. And the more you learn, the more you grow. For me, that’s innovation.”

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