Wearing stunning pieces from Bulgari, the multi-slasher graces the cover of Lifestyle Asia shot by Mark Nicdao at the storied venue, a month before its inauguration.
“I just want to keep growing and learning. I am excited to see what I am capable of doing,” shares Solenne Heussaff. In the middle of the global crisis we are all living in, she finds the drive to broaden her horizons by knowing that humans have the capabilities to adapt.
The multi-slasher—whose roles toggles endlessly from mother, wife, and artist to actress, artist, and business owner, among others—is on the cover of Lifestyle Asia’s May 2021 issue, which carries the theme of “Building Community Spirit.” Her backdrop for her multi-page spread, which is shot by renowned photographer Mark Nicdao, is the Metropolitan Theater.
Owned and managed by the the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Metropolitan Theater first opened its doors in 1931. It was designed by Juan M. Arellano, who was also responsible for other Manila landmarks such as the Manila Central Post Office, the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, and the Legislative Building.
Having survived World War 2, the venue still has many elements of the Art Deco style that was prevalent during its heydays, and for which it has become known for.
The 35-year-old has faced difficult circumstances in the past year. She went through postpartum depression after the birth of her and husband Nico Bolzico’s first child Thylane Katana. Heussaff’s father, Louis Paul, was also infected with COVID-19 in July of last year. (He has since gotten better.)
Despite these, Heussaff leans into the comforting prospects of the situation. “There have been many silver linings like being able to really spend time with family, being 101 percent hands-on with my daughter, giving life a new perspective, and actually seeing what’s important and what isn’t,” she says.
Carrying the theme of Building Community Spirit, Lifestyle Asia’s May issue also feature business owners from different industries—Malu Gamboa, Rosanna Ocampo-Rodriguez, Chris Cachuela, and Toby Claudio—who remain resilient through these tough times. They are constantly thinking of ways to uplift the members of their team as well as figuring out how to evolve and serve the market they cater to.
A fashion spread featuring Kelly Mi Li, shot by Raen Badua in LA, is also in the issue. There, the Bling Empire star touches on #StopAsiaHate, mental health, and representation.
In March, Heussaff premiered “Kudiman,” her third solo art exhibit, at Modeka Art Gallery. Just like the exhibition’s title, her collection of paintings is a love song to Filipinos.
“I have always painted people I see on a day-to-day basis,” she says. “I take their photos and imagine what kind of day they have had.”
The collection opens with a piece called “The Beginning,” which portrays the abundance of life. The exhibit then flows to paintings that revolve around the disorder of living in Metro Manila and the cry for change as led by the younger generation. At its conclusion, Kundiman ends with “Paradise,” a painting about how there is hope in moving forward.
The exhibit derives through the union of Heussaff’s artistic process: taking candid shots of Filipinos in their communities, being informed of the country’s current state, and seeing real people for who they are. “Then things just flow together from there,” she explains.
Heussaff started her art journey at three years old through painting classes. She started working with acrylic, oil, then tapestry painting, a form of textile art. At 18-years-old, she developed her signature style and preferred techniques.
“Many people say my artwork is social realism, yes in a way because I paint from photos I take, but I also re-write a part of the person’s story. Which is why I like to paint people that I don’t know,” Heussaff shares.
Social realism is an art movement that sheds light on socio-political conditions. It sometimes critiques the power structure behind the shape of the working class’s quality of life. Varying from nation to nation, the movement depends on the current socio-political tensions relevant to the time.
The artist adds that friends have asked her to create commissioned pieces of themselves. But being acquainted with the painting’s subject would remove her ability to render an original story for them, and so she respectfully declines.
Heussaff is working on artwork for the renowned event Art Basel. While as an actress, she is auditioning for a role in an international film. Of course, among her top prioritizes is her health, so she can be the best version of herself for her family.
Heussaff has become a multi-hyphenate because she refuses to limit her abilities and the ways she can impact others. “I need to keep working hard,” she says. “I know things will unfold nicely.”
The full story on Solenn Heussaff is in the May 2021 issue of Lifestyle Asia.
PHOTOS BY MARK NICDAO
CREATIVE DIRECTION BY MARC YELLOW
STYLING MAITA BAELLO AND CLAIRE FERNANDO OF QURATOR STUDIO
MAKEUP BY LALA FLORES
HAIR FRANCIS GUINTU
SHOT ON LOCATION AT THE METROPOLITAN THEATER, THE MET IS OWNED AND MANAGED BY THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR CULTURE AND THE ARTS
SPECIAL THANKS TO SEC. BERNA ROMULO-PUYAT, RENE ESCALANTE, AARON VELOSO, CJ SERRANO, AND AJ BARBADILLO