Photographer and Project Headshot Clinic creative director Niccolo Cosme shares his perspective of a Filipina in this exhibit.

MANILA, Philippines — Beauty in resilience. This was how photographer Niccolo Cosme wished to portray Filipinas in his recently held exhibit “World of Women” at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall in Mandaluyong City.

Featuring 30 wonderful Filipinas from diverse backgrounds and parts of the country, the exhibit was staged by SM Supermalls in celebration and culmination of Women’s Month in March. Names included Miss World 2015 Megan Young, mother and daughter Vicky Belo and Cristalle Belo, former beauty queen Abbygale Arenas De Leon, and Bantay Bata director Jing Castañeda, among others.

Clad in white, each one is set against a background of pink, crumpled paper. The result is a portrait of femininity and resiliency.

“My idea of the pink paper is femininity. But it is crumpled because you will find beauty in resilience. This is my perspective of a woman — being a non-woman,” Cosme told

“When I was asked to do this project, I was very excited because women’s rights and empowerment are very close to my heart. Growing up as a kid, there were so many wonderful women to look up to. I am surrounded by a lot of beautiful and inspiring women in my life,” the photographer and creative director of Project Headshot Clinic added.

Stories of joys, struggles

The exhibit features the likes of Miss World 2015 Megan Young, mother and daughter Vicky Belo and Cristalle Belo, former beauty queen Abbygale Arenas De Leon, and Bantay Bata director Jing Castañeda, among others. Cagadas

Cosme has always been aware that behind every empowered woman are stories of both joys and struggles. These very stories are what made the exhibit even more meaningful.

“Portraits without stories don’t have the weight. So this year, I made it a point to interview them one by one. It’s very important for a photographer to sit down and exchange energy,” Cosme noted.

Among the many stories that made a mark to him include that of Eleanor “Lynn” Pinugo, founder of Mano Amiga School in the Philippines, a school that provides education to students from poor communities and lets their parents pay for whatever amount they can.

The photographer also shared the story of Katrina Gumabao, a plus-size Filipina model who has already walked the runways of Paris and New York Fashion Weeks. “She has a plump and healthy physique. She’s all about body positivity,” Cosme noted.

He was also touched by the courage of Maria Lourdes Bernadette Zaragosa-Banson, who is currently battling cancer, as well as by Muslim Honey Sumndad-Usman, who is teaching peace to children of war-torn Marawi through her Teach Peace Build Peace Movement.

“I believe these beautiful stories should be put out there to inspire and empower more women in the Philippines,” Cosme said.

The exhibit opening saw performances from two SM Woman ambassadors, singers Rada and Frenchie Dy. Cagadas

The SM Woman

SM had once again honored women on their special month with empowering celebrations and exciting activities just for them.

SM Woman gave “What Women Want” with the best of the best offers starting with up to 50-percent off on great selections, buy-1-get-1 deals, and gifts from participating brands. The much-awaited Women’s Sale on all Wednesdays of March returned, offering ladies up to 70-percent off on exclusive deals and fabulous finds.

There were also the Ladies’ Wellness Camp for tips and hacks from style gurus on wellness, nutrition and fitness, and fashions shows featuring 2018 spring/summer collections from The SM Store and Coco Cabana.

“What’s new (this year) is SM Supermalls’ World of Women digital activation wherein we chose some beautiful ladies to celebrate all ages, sizes, shapes, backgrounds and professions of the SM woman,” said Grace Magno, vice president for advertising at SM Supermalls.

“SM and Niccolo joined hands to showcase how 30 remarkable women have made a difference in the lives of Filipinos through their chosen professions and advocacies,” Magno said.

For exclusive news about SM Supermalls, visit or follow SM’s official social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and get insider access to all the fun happenings at SM Supermalls nationwide through SM’s Viber Public Chat. #WorldOfWomenAtSM #EverythingsHereAtSM

Source: The Philippine Star