Annika Prieto-Valdes on Her Mother, Tessa
September 17, 2018
Annika Prieto-Valdes first appeared on the May 2013 cover of Lifestyle Asia with her mom, Tessa. It was a spontaneous moment captured by Arlu Gomez as she stood by the doorway watching Tessa being photographed for the Living issue. The girl named after golfer and LPGA champion Annika Sorenstam, had shared some of the spotlight with her media personality parent even in her early years. They had done a television commercial and were featured together in print releases, which she had obliged to. She, herself, does not crave the attention, and is comfortable to be in the shadows but accepts that the occasional spotlight is part of being Tessa’s daughter.
“My mother is the paradigm of gregarious extroversion, and I have always admired her energy and vivacity. I am definitely not as outgoing as she is and have a harder time opening up to new people,” says Annika. “However, I do think my mom has passed on certain indispensable qualities to me that I am extremely grateful for. I like to believe that I am just as kind and caring towards other people as my mom is.”
A Strong Bond
Their mother-daughter dynamics are not out of the ordinary with a fair share of the occasional skirmish. “We argue about the densest things,” she had said. Still, underlying their relationship is an open line of communication that nurtures respect and affection, despite the angst of teen years. The third child in the family’s birth order unhesitatingly affirms that she and her mother have a strong bond. She appreciates how despite Tessa’s frenetic schedule, she makes sure to stay connected with her family.
“The times I cherish the most are the tiny moments where my family and I can just be with each other,” she says. One particular memory stands out. “On a Tali Beach getaway before heading back to California, my parents and I took the boat out to watch the sunset one last time.” The combination of cotton candy skies and good company made the day just about perfect. We did not even really say anything to each other. Just enjoyed each other’s company. It was one of those strange, ethereal moments of self-reflection where you realize how truly grateful you are to have such caring and supportive parents to back your every endeavor.”
Quick Change Artist
Watching how she juggles her work and advocacies with nurturing the relationships at home impresses on Annika. It conveys what are essential and important to Tessa, which invariably filters to her own value system. “I try to model myself over how thoughtful and altruistic she is. Her constant joviality is something I admire tremendously,” she shares. Annika also jokingly says she admires the speed of her mother’s dressing up. “I love Halloween, and the occasional fancy party is always fun. Though I would not be able to do it days in a row,” she says. “How my mom goes to event after event, switching costumes here and there, is unfathomable to me. It is how she trains for her triathlons.”
If Annika ever feels any pressure to live up to her parents, it is less because any pressure on their part was put on her, and more of her own thinking. “I want them to be as proud of me as I am of them, and I guess that’s where all this internal stress of living up to them comes from,” she reflects. “Yet all these things are vulnerabilities I have cultivated myself because my parents never put pressure on me to be anything other than who I truly am.”
When Annika was growing up, she candidly confesses to being a less than stellar child. “I was honestly spoiled rotten,” she says, remembering her childhood room filled with Barbie dolls and Game Boy games. “I definitely would not want to babysit six-year-old me.” But all of that was a natural part in the journey of growing up and discovering herself and her position in the world. “I like to think I have become a better human being since then. I am not as materialistic as I used to be and am self-aware enough to not feel entitled to every new toy out in the market.”
Read the full cover story of Juliana Gomez and Annika Prieto Valdes in Lifestyle Asia’s September 2018 Edition, titled the Red Charity Gala Issue. Buy the issue directly from us and have it delivered to your doorstop by sending us a private message on our Instagram account @lifestyle_asia or Facebook page. The September issue is also available in your nearest bookstore or download the FLIP100 app for a digital version.
Photography by Yukie Sarto
Gowns by Rajo Laurel
Makeup by Jason Delos Reyes for NARS Cosmetics and Luisa Crespo
Hair by Mark Rosales and Marvin Lee Estaquio
Special thanks to Margarita Fores
Shot on location at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Quezon City