Shaira Luna still kilig after years of professional work as lenswoman

Shaira Luna still gets ‘kilig’ after years of professional work as lenswoman

/ 08:05 PM May 11, 2024

Shaira Luna still gets ‘kilig’ after years of professional work as lenswoman

Shaira Luna. Image: Instagram/@shairaluna

Some people still remember Shaira Luna as the child prodigy in a TV commercial, but many are already aware that she has since shifted to photography. And she said that after all these years of snagging big projects with famous subjects, she still gets “kilig” (giddy).

The lenswoman sat with together with her fellow creative industry players who are signed up with Artists and Company Manila (ACM) at the agency’s 10th anniversary party in Makati City last month. There, they discussed what sets Filipinos apart from talents in other countries.


“I think what is also unique to the Philippines is that ‘kilig factor.’ Like, every time we have a super cute shoot, like, ‘kilig!’ I’ve worked with people from other parts of the world. But iba iyong kilig ’pag Pinoy (the giddiness is different if it’s Filipino). Celebrity or not, I’m always kilig,” Luna shared.


Makeup artist Xeng Zulueta, for her part, underscored Filipinos’ unique way of working with others. “I think Filipinos, marunong tayong makisama (we know how to get along with others). Everyone on set, especially this team, we’d say, ‘Okay guys, the client is a little bit stringent, or the client is a little bit shrewd, okay we know.’ But when we’re there, we are all smiles, we’re all ‘game, game, game, go, go!’ We all have a ‘pakikisama’ (camaraderie) and ‘delikadesa’ (a sense of propriety). So I think it all ties in with being hospitable, and we’re very accommodating,” she explained.

For set designer Justine Arcega-Bumanlag, photographer Paolo Pineda and filmmaker MV Isip, Filipinos have the ability to squeeze every ounce of creativity from very limited resources. Usually faced with small budgets, they are forced to be resourceful to be able to produce what their clients demand.

Makeup artist Cats del Rosario, for her part, cited the Filipinos’ eagerness to learn and be more innovative. “We’re always exposed with other things. But it’s beyond words, what we can do as Filipinos, and I think we really need to have a bigger platform for that, and have the opportunity to do that abroad as well,” she said.

Luna also said that as a Filipino photographer, she is already used to the harsh sun of the Philippines so that no other lighting conditions will make work that hard for her anymore. “So if you put us anywhere else in the world, biglang, ‘oh, sisiw to shoot (suddenly, oh, piece of cake)!’ So I think that’s an advantage just being creative in the Philippines,” she said.

And she had already taken her camera to other countries to work for foreign clients through ACM. The agency has pooled Filipinos in the creative field for a decade now to make it easier for them to book jobs here and abroad.

Zulueta said that as a creative worker, signing up for the agency also took the “nitty-gritty” of paperwork away, which gives them more time to concentrate on the actual work they have to do. It has also opened the doors to clients who require accreditation for those working on their projects.


New York-based entrepreneur Jed Root told that he chose to establish an office in Manila in 2014 because he saw the immense potential of Filipinos in the creative industry, but there were no business structures in place for them to harness that potential.

“I met a wonderful woman named Au Mauricio, who is a makeup artist, and also a businesswoman. And she introduced me to the business in the Philippines, and I was really impressed that there was a great pool of local creatives here. There’s this great pool of great creatives here. But this business didn’t exist here. So I thought, well, that’s great. Let’s do this,” he shared.

“Because what we’re doing is, be it a photograph, or a film, or whatever, it takes a village to make the actual end artwork. There’s the photographer, there’s the hair, there’s the makeup, there’s your talent, here’s your set designer, here’s your stylist, so it’s really a collaborative thing. And that’s one thing that’s really important to the business which I feel like Filipino people really have,” Root said.

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