Tastemaker Tuesday: Isabella Thorp
Posted on 20 October 2020
Tell us about yourself!
I am 52 years old, I was born, raised and lived in Manila, Philippines until I moved to the US in 1990. I am married and have 2 adult children from my previous marriage –Matthew, 28 and animator based in LA and my daughter Alexandra is 26 and lives in DC. I have three step son’s, 2 are married and Michael, the oldest has blessed us with 2 grandchildren. I am having the best time being Gigi (glam gram) to my “grands”.
I started @confessionsofasuperager 3 years ago before I turned the big 50 to show women that midlife didn’t signal an end to “being fabulous” … and that you can embrace your midlife in style!
Co-founders Louisa and Alessandra bonded over their shared roots in the Philippines. Can you tell us a little bit more about your ties to the country?
I lived the first 20 years of my life in Manila. My immediate family, mom, brother and sister, along with a very large extended family and most of my close friends live in the Philippines so I travel there often to visit. I spent Christmas there last year.
What piqued your love for fashion?
I would say growing up and having three fashionable, elegant and uber-stylish women, my Lola’s (grandmothers) and my mom influenced and piqued my love for fashion. One of my fondest memory as a child was shopping with my Lol Miay for fabric and then taking it over to her dress maker where we would collectively design a dress, a blouse, a skirt together.
How has your Filipina heritage influenced your day-to-day routine?
I haven’t lost aspects of the Filipino culture despite being here in America for 30 years. I still make corned beef and garlic rice topped with a fried egg on occasion and will have the smell of garlic, soy sauce and vinegar as I cook adobo wafting through the house which my very American husband will say “what in god’s name is that smell?” I am also happy to say I haven’t lost my Filipino accent which rears itself when speaking with my family and friends from back home to which my husband will say “who the hell are you?” I sound completely different when talking to my American friends.
What does the word “Mestiza” mean to you?
A woman of mixed descent.
What are some of your favorite aspects of Filipino culture?
Respect for elders. Filipinos don’t call someone older than them just by their given name - for example being that I am the eldest grandchild, all my younger cousins call me “Manang” followed by nickname “Isa” as a sign of respect. Filipinos love to give nicknames – I have three that my family and friends still call me by – Isa, Beng and Bengay (beng-guy).
I love Filipino hospitality and it is nothing short of the best. When you visit someone in the Philippines and walk into their home, not only can you expect to be greeted warmly but you will also be expected to eat which brings me to “Merienda” a meal between breakfast and lunch and or between lunch and dinner. While I love Merienda, it’s not a practice I follow here in the US!
Who are some of your favorite "Mestiza" fashion icons?
Isabel Preysler, Heart Evangelista and nobody wears a “terno” quite like Imelda Marcos
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
The fact that I have a Filipino-American heritage as well like your co – founders, Alessandra and Louisa. I also love the story behind how the brand came to be.
What are your favorite Mestiza pieces?