When the Lifestyle Asia team sat together to discuss the upcoming wedding issue, we decided to focus not just on the celebration, but also on life after as well. It was a no-brainer to put Heart Ongpauco-Escudero on the cover. It’s been four years since the actress, artist, and social media maven married Senator Francis Escudero at their much-discussed Balesin wedding, and she gamely posed and discussed life after their fairy-tale vows.
When he proposed, she happily said yes, but was apprehensive about the future. Marrying a politician comes with a whole host of considerations she wasn’t sure she could handle. “I thought I had to change the way I dress, my lifestyle, even my workload but he was totally opposite,” she says. “I got to express myself even more because he pushes me to see the world and do things I’ve never done before, to step out of my comfort zone.”
While the wedding went without a hitch, the one thing Heart wishes she had was her family there, and her father to walk her down the aisle. “Three months after the wedding we all became okay, so it would be nice to do that part again,” she says wistfully. “I really wouldn’t change it though, because it was something I needed to do for myself—to walk down the aisle alone. It was a momentous event for me to stand up for myself and for someone I truly believed in.”
Today, everyone that truly matters in their lives has moved on and are happy and supportive, most especially her stepchildren, Quino and Chesi. “We have a modern family,” she says proudly. “They were around 5-6 when we all started living together, and now they’re 11.” In the beginning, there were initial challenges to deal with, with Heart and the kids learning to get a feel for each other. Heart credits her husband with helping everyone through the process. “My husband was amazing in how he handled everything and how he made me understand and open my eyes without pressuring me and forcing me, so then it was easy for me and the kids to adjust to each other,” she says.
After two decades in the public eye, it suddenly seems like we are in the midst of a resurgence when it comes to Heart, beyond the Philippine sphere of influence she has held for the majority of her career. During Crazy Rich Asians mania, author Kevin Kwan profiled her on Harper’s Bazaar, and she was included on the fashion title’s best-dressed list for the year. A long-time mainstay on the Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks for a few years now, she is currently the face of French luxury handbag label Sequoia Paris. “People ask me if I have a PR company, how I did it, who I spoke to,” she says. “It’s a surprise but I must say it just all fell on my lap. It was just an opportunity. When it comes to my career I don’t overexcite myself, I just enjoy what’s given to me, and again at the end of the day I’m just grateful,” she continues. “Everything else is just a bonus.”
Art Direction by Marc Pagdilao
Stylist Danae Vernisse Dipon
Stylist Associate Justine Benitez
Stylist Assistant Azelle Estacio
Makeup Albert Kurniawan
Hair Jeck Aguillar
Shot on location at Sofitel Philippine Plaza
Special thanks to Ira Lesaca
Read the full cover story of Heart Ongpauco Escudero in Lifestyle Asia’s April 2019 Edition, titled “Life After the Wedding.” Download your digital copy on Magzter and Flip 100, or purchase your print copy on Lazada, Shopee or your nearest bookstore. For orders, email [email protected]