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Jasmine Curtis on Her Love of Indie Films and Being a Role Model

By Chin Ann Obiedo
• Updated
Jasmine Curtis on Her Love of Indie Films and Being a Role Model
Read about the indie darling’s refreshing perspective in life.

An award-winning actress, a successful host, and an all-around sweetheart, JASMINE CURTIS-SMITH embodies the traits of a woman worth emulating. At 25 years old, she has more than proved herself to not just be a tantalizing beauty but also a bonafide role model.



In her early days, it was inevitable to hear Jasmine’s name without being tied up to her older sister’s achievements as one of the biggest stars in the country. But the Maledicto actress never let that hinder her from doing her own thing. While her older sister is dominating mainstream media, she slowly but surely found herself making a name in the independent scene. One of her early achievements was bagging a Best Supporting Actress award at the 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival back in 2013 for the critically-acclaimed movie Transit. That path to excellence continued on as she thrived in her succeeding movies, winning Best Actress categories in more recent films like Baka Bukas and Siargao.

With her body of work mostly comprised of indie films, her inclination to be a vocal advocate of the film industry only grows deeper. Her dedication to elevate local films is laudable and she’s not one to shy away from speaking her truth when needed. Recently, she shared her sentiments about cinemas opting not to feature local films in favor of more mainstream foreign movies. She cited, “It’s not a matter of how many people will see it, it’s a matter of giving us a chance to share. How can we improve and be proud of our own films when people who are trying to improve it and invest in it don’t even stand a chance?”

The Fil-Aussie stunner may be candid but she speaks with eloquence and substance. She's always one to impart shards of wisdom but what separates her from most of her contemporaries is that she is never too proud to take mentorship from others too, even with her success in her career. In fact, she welcomes them. She admits, “I feel like everyone has been a good mentor to me because when you’re open and you’re just willing to listen and allow yourself to process information, whether or not you wanna hear it, it’s a way of mentorship without really having the formality of sitting down and saying, ‘Help me through this.’” 

When we met Jasmine on set, she was sporting comfy sweats and an oversized jacket, without a stitch of makeup, and greeted everyone with a cheery smile. The actress is just nothing like what you would expect from a star of her tenure. She just has that warm aura that instantly mesmerizes you. You can't even tell that this is the very same person that has been on the receiving end of a lot of hateful comments online about her outward appearance. Her naysayers can rest easy because even after all the unnecessary body-shaming comments she's been through, she remains unfazed as she shows everyone how to overcome negativities in her best way possible: take the high road and live your best life. 

We have an insightful chat with the indie star as she shares how her beauty philosophy has changed over the years, the best thing she learned from her sister, and being a role model to young girls.



I think I’m done with the phase where I’m just thinking about me in a project. Now I think: Does it have a good cast? Okay ba ‘yung director and story? ‘Dun na ko sa holistic view when it comes to choosing what I want to be part of or auditioning for. I just wanna be able to always find good stories to tell, something that’s worth being a part of.

What's your criteria in choosing projects you want to be a part of these days?
I think I’m done with the phase where I’m just thinking about me in a project. Now I think: Does it have a good cast? Okay ba ‘yung director and story? ‘Dun na ko sa holistic view when it comes to choosing what I want to be part of or auditioning for. I just wanna be able to always find good stories to tell, something that’s worth being a part of. 

You've always been one to champion the local cinema. How do you think it's growing in the modern age?
I think right now, it’s scary because there’s a bubble. But I feel like there’s always going to be a bubble in every single industry anyway. It’s just a matter of learning how the audience is consuming movies these days. There are so many different outlets for films to be shown now. And for us to cater to our audiences, we have to teach ourselves to recognize the differences. 

Instead of us rallying cinemas that refuse to show local films, now we can find other ways to show these movies. We’re only just maximizing different platforms now, with networks putting up their own digital content. There’s a lot going on but at least there’s a lot to choose from, whether they’re looking for different types of representation or something that feels closer to home. There’s a conflict but it’s a good kind of conflict that we just have to refine.

You voiced out on Twitter urging everyone to support local films because some cinemas denied block screenings of Maledicto. How important was it for you to send that message to the public?
It’s very important that these outlets recognize the responsibilities they’re supposed to uphold. All we want is at least one local film in the cinemas. We’re not asking for too much. It was more of us saying we’re putting in our side,but why are we having trouble in our own backyard? We’re not trying to compete. We know that the fight will always be hard when it comes to showing alongside international films at the same time. It’s not a matter of how many people will see it, it’s a matter of giving us a chance to share. Sariling films natin ayaw, so pa’no na? And then people would complain about Filipino films. It’s a cycle. How can we improve and be proud of our own films when people who are trying to improve it and invest in it don’t even stand a chance? People need to know that this is happening.

Aside from the big screen, you've also graced the local television—a contrast to indie from mainstream audience, respectively. And you recently just bagged a role in the Philippine remake of the hit K-Drama Descendants of the Sun. Can you tell us more about your character and how you're preparing for it? 
I'm going to be playing the role of Moira whose original name in the series was Yoon Myeong Joo. I’m actually binge-watching the series to study the material—to similarly imbibe her stance, her attitude, but also bringing my own.

I give a lot of time to myself. Just choosing to be alone is enough for me to recover or give me that space to just breathe.

Who are some of the women you look up to in real life?
My mom definitely and, by default, my sister. (Laughs) They’ve both been my examples growing up. I’ve learned a lot just by observation and it’s led me to how I think and make my decisions now.

Speaking of your mom, it’s obvious that you’re very close to her. How did she inspire you to become who you are today?
She’s been through so many difficult things in life: raising my brother and I in Australia as a single mom and having a lot of health issues when we moved there. But just seeing her push through it— persevere, and rise up— that’s given me enough strength and realization that if she was able to do that during that stage of her life, then whatever I’m going through right now is nothing compared to what she went through. It doesn’t invalidate what I’m going through, but it makes me feel relieved that this is still just 25% compared to her struggle.

In your line of work, your schedule can tend to be very hectic. How do you maintain mental wellness and good health in your routine?
I give a lot of time to myself. I’m such a homebody. When I don’t have work, I rarely contact friends to hang out. I’m not really the type to invite for movies or for drinks. I only go out if there’s an occasion. People actually get shocked when they see me out. (Laughs) I feel like that’s how I compensate for all the times I’m at work and I have to go all out with the socializing or making sure I make the right connections and presenting myself carefully. Just choosing to be alone is enough for me to recover or give me that space to just breathe. 

What are 3 things you consciously practice to be happy?
One, I have to always voice out my thoughts. My boyfriend helps me out a lot with that and I think having someone that you can unload on is so essential to have. Second, eating what I like, not depriving myself of the things I know I need. Third, just always calling my mom. That keeps me happy.



Beauty is a form of empowerment because you get to show your individuality in terms of how you want to beautify yourself for the day, whether you want to go bare or full makeup. When you get to showcase your individuality, you’ll feel more complete as a person when you go out. Whatever comes your way, you’re just ready.

Let's talk beauty! What tips and tricks have you learned from years of being on the makeup chair?
Blush goes a long way. Even if you’re tired, you’ll still look like you have life when you have blush on. And always remove your makeup no matter how tired you are. 

How is beauty a form of empowerment for you?
Beauty is a form of empowerment because you get to show your individuality in terms of how you want to beautify yourself for the day, whether you want to go bare or full makeup. When you get to showcase your individuality, you’ll feel more complete as a person when you go out. Whatever comes your way, you’re just ready. 

I used to think na maganda kapag smokey eyes palagi, that it makes you look hot and attractive. But turns out, you grow into your own makeup. You learn what looks work well on you overtime.

From a teenager to a young adult, how has your philosophy on beauty evolved? 
Before, I thought there was only one look and it was the smokey eye look, just with different colors. I used to think na maganda kapag smokey eyes palagi, that it makes you look hot and attractive. But turns out, you grow into your own makeup. You learn what looks work well on you overtime. I think now I’m at a stage where I just know the appropriate look every time I need to fix myself. It kinda makes me feel in character for whatever it is I’m going to attend so it helps me that I am able to now shift and adjust.

You love that natural no makeup-makeup look. What products do you usually use to achieve that?
Cheek tint, Glossier Cloud Paint, a BLK highlighter that I use on my eyes, Lucas Papaw for my lips and lastly, I curl my lashes then put on mascara. 

She always pushed me to give my 100%. Don’t do it if you’re half-hearted about it. She’s so committed to whatever she’s doing even if it’s crazy or scary or new and difficult, she’s just there 100%. The grind was just so different during their time. I think that’s what gives me awe when it comes to looking at her and what she’s accomplished.

You talked about being body-shamed on social media and it's never easy to go through something like that. How did you focus on yourself and learn to love your body along the way?
I used to ask a lot of people questions like, “Am I too thin?” or “Do I really look anorexic?” because my doctor wasn’t really telling me anything negative, so what can I do? I would always just get affirmations from people that as long as I’m happy and healthy, then don’t think about it too much and don’t let it eat you up. Although it is easier said than done because sometimes I can’t help it. I’d still mull over it, I would torture myself over what other people had to say. I couldn't take it so I just stopped opening Instagram at one point. I took it hard at first but having other people's support allowed me to eventually get over it and not mind what people had to say. 

What's the best thing you learned from your sister, Anne?
She always pushed me to give my 100%. Don’t do it if you’re half-hearted about it. She’s so committed to whatever she’s doing even if it’s crazy or scary or new and difficult, she’s just there 100%. The grind was just so different during their time. I think that’s what gives me awe when it comes to looking at her and what she’s accomplished. What she went through, it’s something else. Also, have someone other than yourself that you’re doing it for you just so you don’t get burnt out. In terms of beauty, she always taught me that less is more. I never used to believe her because I wanted to play around with makeup when I was young. But now I understand that that sentiment is true.

I used to ask a lot of people questions like, “Am I too thin?” or “Do I really look anorexic?” I would torture myself over what other people had to say. I couldn't take it so I just stopped opening Instagram at one point. I took it hard at first but having other people's support allowed me to eventually get over it and not mind what people had to say. 

What do you feel about being a role model to young girls?
I like it because I get to influence fresh minds and kids who don’t have everything figured out yet. It’s easier to teach them good things and to impart without forcing or bribing them. It’s just all about how you present yourself and how you connect with these kids. It gives me the opportunity to give back and help shape what I hope these kids will become. But it’s also a lot of pressure because sometimes, as an individual, you wanna go out, have a drink, have fun, but I think it’s just about setting it in moderation and still being responsible. 

I like it because I get to influence fresh minds and kids who don’t have everything figured out yet. It’s easier to teach them good things and to impart without forcing or bribing them. It’s just all about how you present yourself and how you connect with these kids.

What’s an advice you’d give to your younger self that you think other young girls should also hear?
Just keep going. Just cry it out but keep on going. That’s the only way you can improve.

What's next on your to-do list?
Finish the furniture in our house. We’re still doing the final touches but it’s somewhat there. Other than that, just the films and the series that are about to happen.

 

 

Photographed by Kitkat Pajaro

Styled by Cath Sobrevega, Kristine Landingin, and Riri Verano

Makeup by John Pagaduan

Hair by Kierlo Velasco

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