Monday, 11 February 2013

Interview with Fiona Solis

Monika: Today I am going to chat with Fiona Solis, a model, and businesswoman from the Philippines. Hello Fiona!
Fiona: Hi Monika!
Monika: What are you doing these days?
Fiona: As for now I am preparing for the upcoming commercial, photoshoot, and beauty pageant.
Monika: You are a successful model. Could you say a few words about your modeling? 
Fiona: Thank you for that. I am really having fun right now as a model. I am grateful for the things that are happening right now.

In lingerie.

Monika: Together with Angel Montero and ErikÄ… Fox, you are a group of friends and beautiful models. Did you do any projects together? Are you working on anything now?
Fiona: We had a movie and commercial together. We did a travel show and comedy film together. Currently, we are working as real estate agents.
Monika: Where did you grow up?
Fiona: I was born and raised in Ormoc City in the Philippines. Right now I am residing in Cebu City, the Philippines.
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Fiona: When I was a kid I knew that I was different. I acted differently from others.
Monika: For most transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college, or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Fiona: I experienced a lot of discrimination it hurts like a bullet but I'm proud to say that I've faced it like a man.

Modeling shoot.

Monika: At what age did you transition into a woman? Was it a difficult process? Did you have any support from your family or friends? Did it have any impact on your job situation?
Fiona: My support comes from my family and friends. I have a very concrete and very solid support system that is why I was able to face that moment of adversity with my head up high.
Monika: Did you have any problems with passing as a woman? Did you undergo any cosmetic surgeries?
Fiona: I haven't had any difficulties in passing as a woman because I knew since I was a kid that I want to be a woman. I had hips enhancement and breast implant. 
Monika: We are living in times of modern cosmetic surgery that might allow transitioning even in the late 50s or 60s. Do you think it is really possible? What kind of advice do you have for transgender ladies at such an age?
Fiona: Yes it possible. It's their own choice; if they already feel the need for it, then go for it. as long as it will make them happy there's no reason for them no to have enhancement.

In a forest.

Monika: At that time of your transition did you have any transgender role models that you could follow? What was your knowledge about transgenderism?
Fiona: I don't have any role models. I believe that God made us with his image and likeness. We are unique in our own little way. Transgenderism is not all about physical attributes; it is a certain moment when you feel that you are fulfilled as a woman.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Fiona: I don't have any. Everything went in my way smoothly.
Monika: What did you feel when you were finally a woman?
Fiona: I am extremely happy and totally contented with who and what I am today.
Monika: Have you ever been married? Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Fiona: No, not yet. Love inspires me to live every day and that is the reason why I am happy.
Monika: What do you enjoy most in being a woman?
Fiona: Beautifying myself. It feels so good to be beautiful.

At the stairs.

Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in the Philippines?
Fiona: It will be a long discussion of the society to fully accept transgender persons. But I am happy because I know it is gradually happening.
Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out in the USA. Unlike in the previous years some of them have the status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modeling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you have similar transgender celebrities in the Philippines?
Fiona: Bebe Gandanghari! She is a model and a local celebrity here in the Philippines. Right now she is doing fantastic as an actress.

Modeling shoot.

Monika: At the same time sometimes we get horrible news about transgender women being killed or beaten. How can we prevent it?
Fiona: On my personal view, we need to have a law that protects transgender women from cases like that.
There should be a fair, sufficient, and effective implementation of the law for the problem of transgender injustice to be resolved.
Monika: Do you follow politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Fiona: Yes, I am active in supporting lobbying campaigns. Definitely, transgender women could make a difference in politics because we normally go beyond. We don't set mediocre goals; we always strive for excellence.
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants? Could we get rid of this label “transgender” and have only pageants for both non-transgender and transgender girls? 
Fiona: No. Beauty cannot be measured through gender or sexual orientation. It is a matter of how you inspire and influence people.

Style and beauty.

Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Fiona: Yes, I like fashion. It usually depends on the occasion but then again, I always make sure that I am comfortable with what I am wearing.
Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Fiona: Yes, I am.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Fiona: Yes, I have but I haven't published it yet. But I have a film together with Erica Fox and Angel Montero that talks about our lives.
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Fiona: Yes, I am happy. Happiness is not about fortune. It's a mental attitude. I am totally contented with what I am right now.
Monika: Fiona, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Fiona Solis.
© 2013 - Monika Kowalska

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