Women Of Influence: Toni & Alex Gonzaga

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“Very different talaga kami,” Toni Gonzaga-Soriano says. “I think ‛yung similarity namin is [pareho lang] kami ng set of parents.” She turns to her younger sister Alex, laughing. “Isa lang ang mommy at daddy natin pero personality-wise, [weʼre] very different.”

Tsaka face. Pangit siya, maganda ako,” Alex quips, and they both laugh.

As funny as how that exchange ended, it is enough of an illustration of how solid the relationship between the Gonzaga sisters are. Even as they stand strong in their own personalities, they allow each other the freedom to be who they are, and their obvious love and support for each other have helped them weather the difficulties of being showbiz personalities as they continue to make waves in the media.

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While both are successful actresses and hosts, they each have their own approach and style. Alex attributes this to the experiences theyʼve had growing up. “Mas marami siyang experiences na naghulma ng pagkatao niya,” Alex says of her older sister. “Kasi na-bully siya, tapos at an early age, nag-audition na siya [for roles], so na-expose na siya sa rejection. Ako, sa school lang ako noon.”

But while their paths getting to success took different twists and turns, the sisters share the same views when it comes to defining the modern Filipina.

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She stays true to herself

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It may be 2019 already, but while there is definitely more awareness about observing womenʼs rights now, there is still a long way to go before societyʼs gender-based standards truly become more equitable.

For Alex, the modern-day woman can face challenges better by first accepting who she is and staying true to herself. “Kung sino ako nung bata ako, ganun pa rin naman ako. Naging better lang: na-shape na yung character and nag-improve na as a person, pero kung sino ‛yung talagang ako, ‛yun pa rin,” she advises.

   “You really have to accept who you are. Don’t let other people tell you, or don’t let society dictate who

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She is independent and empowered

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Along with staying true to herself, the modern Filipina is also empowered to define herself and her life. “A woman in this day and age should be strong, level-headed, passionate, driven, and have her own dreams. She should not allow other people, especially men, to dictate and define who she is in society.” And while sheʼs happily married, Toni believes in a woman having her own agency. “I personally donʼt believe that another person can complete you; a woman has to be complete [by herself].”

She supports and is supported by others

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Self-sufficiency isnʼt everything, though, as women are definitely stronger when they work together and lift each other up. For the Gonzaga sisters, they luckily don’t have to look far to get support.

“We are very blessed to work in the same industry where we get to talk about our experiences and what we have been through along the way,” Toni reflects. “Everybody goes through that phase na you feel very insecure. I think when you go through that stage in your life, itʼs very important to have that support system… to have that one person that you can go to and be real and vulnerable and just open up what you truly feel about yourself.”

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“I think itʼs very important to not keep [those feelings] to yourself… A lot of things can go on inside your head and if youʼre not processing those thoughts properly, it can hurt you in the process. Thatʼs why itʼs important to verbalize or discuss [what you feel] with someone.”

As for Alex, their relationship also reminds each of them who they are and what they believe in, especially in the face of challenges that test their characters. “Sometimes, parang nag-i-iba or nagiging negative or bitter ka. Ang maganda sa amin ng ate ko, ‘pag negative siya, ako ‘yung positive. ‘Pag negative ako, siya ‘yung positive. So we always remind each other, we help each other out.”

Parang yin and yang,” Toni adds.
Parang soulmates,” Alex agrees.

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