Shair Luna, Jewel Clicks, and Ishie Toledo

I update  my Instagram account (please have a look) more than this blog. If this was a real job, I would have been sacked. But I have a feeling that you’re the most patient of readers (thanks so much!).

Anywho, today, I thought I’d share about my first and closest encounter with Shaira Luna. Remember her?

I’m willing to bet, we all do. She was the child prodigy in the 1990s Promil commercial. And now, she works as a fashion photographer and she loves it. But not everyone is happy about what she ended up doing.

That’s not what most people (parents, usually) thought she would become. As a gifted child, people had high hopes she would pursue loftier and academically-inclined professions. In their opinion, she didn’t. (Or shall we redefine “lofty”?)

Shaira Luna On Finding Your Passion

I won’t forget the flicker in her eyes. She was describing how much she loved taking photographs. I forgot what she said exactly but I felt she was sincerely happy.

While narrating the ‘persecution’ she has gone through when she fell short of society’s expectations (the drawbacks of being a public figure), she was saddened just a little bit. Raise your hand if you know what it’s like to be famous and misunderstood. (I would only know what it was like to be misunderstood)

Yet fearless as she was (and is), she didn’t flinch. For sure, she was affected by what she heard. It also didn’t help when her family thought the same – they were quite disappointed, to say the least. 

But nothing could stop her from searching for her happy place. That’s how she discovered her passion for photography.

Photographer – From Amateur to Professional


Shaira didn’t get a formal training in photography. She went out there taking pictures of anything – concerts, food, people, or whatnot – and studied for hours how to get better at it. She picked up inspiration from many places and being incredibly smart and curious, she found them anywhere.

She shamelessly told everybody that she was open for business. That was how she started in freelance photography. It wasn’t a get-rich-quick story, but gradually she got to where she wanted to be: a full-fledged fashion photographer. You can check out some of her work at

I should’ve recorded the entire session so you could hear everything directly from her. But I was so absorbed while she was sharing her story.

Shaira is such an inspiration to break free from the shackles of social norms and do what feels right for you. It is disrespect of others if you impose your will on them. It is disrespect of yourself if you let others dictate what you should do with your life.

For me, here’s the takeaway: No matter what you do, there are people who will either support you or undermine you. Or, there are those who would be busy with their own business. So why not just do whatever excites you? We could all really use a little less meddling to focus on what we do best: becoming a better version of ourselves.

What dauntless story would you like to share now.. or sometime in the future?



By Issa

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