Liza Soberano is her own woman.
Her definition of beauty, for example, is not insubstantial.
She begins, "Just because society creates this image in our minds that perfect is the new beautiful means that we have to follow that.
“We don't have to let that image in our head overtake our insecurities."
The young actress was recently launched as Johnson and Johnson Philippines' Camp Courage senior scout.
On her new role, the teen star remarks, "Ako talaga, 'yan ang gusto ko.
''Parang Emma Watson, I really wanna make a difference.
"I believe I was born to make a difference to help people and encourage them kahit papaano."
She feels that as a young celebrity, she is duty-bound to provide encouragement to fellow teens.
However, she admits feeling overwhelmed at times with this responsibility.
"Before, parang ako yung nanonood sa mga taong nag-iinspire ng mga teen girls to overcome their fears, and now, ako yung nagsasabi.
“It feels great kasi, I know how it feels to be in their situation."
TEENS' STRUGGLES. On January 4 next year, she will turn 18, which will also signify her exit from the teen stage.
For the benefit of her teen fans, Liza recounts the usual challenges of teenagers.
1. Succumbing to the pressures of society
She warns about its downside, "It makes us become who we're not.
“For me as a teen, there's so much going on.
"We are all unique, we are all different in our own way, and we can stand out and be beautiful on our own."
2. Getting confused
This is normal, she says.
“You're trying to find out who you are, who your friends are, who are the people who will stick by your side.
''Processing all this takes a lot of struggle."
3. Looking for a role model
Speaking like an ate, she describes the "young ones" as "the ones that need guidance and they need someone to look up to nowadays."
So the choices teens make will have an impact on the kind of person they will become.
''I'm not saying you have to look up to me, but at least I am helping and it's up to you if you want to."
CONQUERING HER FEARS. Liza is all set to join the three Johnson and Johnson Philippines brands—Modess, Clean & Clear, and Carefree—in advocating confidence-building among teens by equipping them with information and tools to face their fears as Camp Courage goes around the country.
The Star Magic talent shares how this message about courage and not letting things get in the way of one's dreams resonates strongly with her.
"I know how it feels to be a regular teen girl. I'm proud that I'm able to make a difference to help other people out. That's really what I like doing."
Despite her stardom, Liza admits confidence didn't come naturally to her.
"Just because I'm a celebrity doesn't mean I was confident my whole life.
"I get nervous because of experiences before, so when I come out on stage, I'm trying not to get stage fright."
She recalls such an experience during a recent awards night, when she struggled because of poor vision.
''Nakalimutan ko dalhin yung contacts ko. Sobrang malabo yung mata ko.
"Minemorize ko naman yung script and every thing nung nasa backstage ako, memorize na memorize ko na."
She adds that the DJ who co-hosted the segment even complimented her on how good she was at memorizing her lines.
Liza elaborates, "So, I thought, 'Sige kabisado ko na, kaya ko na 'to. '
“Paglabas ko sa stage, lights and all the people, bigla akong nablangko.
''Siguro mga five minutes ako sa stage, wala akong sinabi, nakatingin lang ako sa kanila. Sabi ko pa, 'Sorry po ha, nakalimutan ko yung sasabihin ko.'"
When she finally remembered her lines, Liza says she spoke with a crack in her voice.
"Alam mo yung naiiyak na ako habang sinasabi ko yung dapat kong sabihin?
"'Tapos pagtakbo ko sa backstage, nagpunta agad ako sa CR [comfort room], where I promptly threw up.''
While that experience challenged her, Liza admits stage fright has been her daily struggle.
Armed with more confidence now, she proudly declares, "I have to do it because it's work and it's also what I love to do."
Thanks to the workshops under Star Magic and constant practice, she's now out of her comfort zone, and has learned to talk and what to say in front of people.
"Ako, iniisip ko talaga, gusto ko yung ginagawa ko, so I better give it my all.
''Minsan lang magkaroon ng opportunity in your life, and if you're not gonna give it your all now, when is it gonna come back to you?"
''BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.'' Now much wiser because of experience, Liza adds, "By being yourself when you're answering questions, you're able to answer truthfully.
"But if you're not yourself and you're pretending to be someone [else], that's when you get nervous.
''It's easier when you're yourself, and for me, as an artista, I have to face people everyday."
Her newfound confidence has also given her more freedom and spontaneity in interpreting a script.
"At least, alam ko na how to talk on my own.
''I use my words, if nablablangko ako, if I can't remember the script.
''I use my own words, try to say it the best way I can without saying anything wrong.
"And I pray."
Her message as a Camp Courage senior scout?
"First and foremost, be yourself, because that's the best you can be.
''It shows your uniqueness, how you're different from everybody else, and that will make you stand out.
"If you're like the rest, nobody's gonna notice you."
If he rschedule permits, Liza will join Camp Courage as it goes around the Philippines to talk to 400,000 Filipina teens in 500 schools, and holds workshops and other activities that will help young people conquer their inner demons.