Turning Dreams into Reality: Valerie Tan

Being judged is something we constantly experience. What makes this harder to deal with is when the people from your own community — the people who you expected to support your endeavors — are the ones you receive the most discouragement from. Despite that notion, there remain a few who choose to pursue their passions and charge through the challenges they encounter. For GMA News to Go segment host and beauty blogger, Valerie Tan, she finds herself fortunate to have supportive parents.
A graduate of St. Jude Catholic School, a Chinese school, she does, consider herself to have grown up in a seemingly traditional Chinese family. She goes on to note that she would be in school six days a week and still have additional extra-curricular activities. Though this may sound intimidating to others, she is still grateful for the fact that her parents allowed her to pursue her own interests.
When asked about her current occupation, she shares a little more about herself. “I’ve always liked being on-the-go, meeting new people, seeing new places, experiencing new things. I’ve always been outgoing so my inclination has always been with the arts.”
Her decision to pursue her passion, however, came with its own challenges. Despite auditioning for TV stints multiple times, she would get rejected because of the intense competition in the industry. This didn’t stop her, and she didn’t back down from the challenge. She continues, “Even if you get the job, you don’t quit getting better so it doesn’t really end with getting the job. You continue persevering.”

Some children discover their passions for the said “hobbies” but are scared of pursuing them.

Typically, in a Chinese family, the arts are meant to be recreational activities for children that can help develop some of their skills, but most of the time, they are not encouraged to actually pursue them as a career choice. They are usually meant to only be hobbies; however, some children discover their passions for the said “hobbies” but are scared of pursuing them. They are aware of the risks and challenges they will have to face when they venture to a realm of unpredictability.

Had not her parents been as supportive as they were, she believes that she would have still gone after her own passion for around one to two years “to get it out of [her] system and see how it goes.” If it still didn’t work out, she would finally venture to other “more traditional” options that she knows she would still enjoy doing. She states that with the changes through time, the meaning of success has grown different from the past. Venturing into business is not the only option to become financially stable and successful anymore, and that’s what makes the modern age exciting. According to her, no matter what your career choice is, you can have a chance at success, “as long as you have diskarte.”

Venturing into business is not the only option to become financially stable and successful anymore, and that’s what makes the modern age exciting.

As mentioned earlier, some people in a Chinese-Filipino society have certain expectations when it comes to their fellow Chinoys. Sometimes, this is what hinders them from chasing after what they really want. They fear disappointment. In being able to handle other people’s expectations of her, she instead comments on her gratitude towards having a supportive family. She values her parents’ opinion and happiness over all others. “Anyone else’s opinion matters a lot less compared to that of my parents.” Being in an industry where standing out is especially tough, there can be struggles along the way in building one’s own identity.
There are many Chinoys out there who are struggling to even break away from being a Chinoy stereotype. Taking this into consideration, she believes that in pursuing what you really want, one should have the yearning and the drive to chase after it. One should also be wary if the opportunities you take are equal to your skillset. “Make sure you are good at it. Then never stop pursuing it,” she adds.

Written by Nicole Sean Chiang

Photograph provided by Ms. Valerie Tan

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