I first met Victoria through my sister Sabrina, and what struck me most about her at first (other than her gorgeous hazel green eyes!) was a sense of seeking under her bubbly veneer. And in that sense, a kindred spirit – which made me feel comfortable enough to open up to her about whatever I knew then of sensitivity and energy.
Victoria is a doer – she holds a long list of projects and credits to her name, something that’s de rigueur for her family. Speaking to a colleague in Manila during a work trip earlier in the year, I mentioned Victoria on the off chance that we had any Filipino friends in common, and she went: “Oh yes. Everyone knows who the Herreras are.” And to be sure, they are an accomplished family, with forays into fashion, print, entertainment and other high-profile endeavours.
But a side of Victoria that isn’t perhaps as readily apparent is her sensitivity – a facet of her that she now consciously weaves into everything she does. And that manifests as an intention for mindful living: creating from within, while staying centered and compassionate in an often challenging world. So here we are a little more than a year after that fateful conversation – I’m really excited that she’s agreed to share what she has found on her journey so far!
Get to know Victoria
Victoria is a TV & Event Presenter, model, writer and founder of Change Clothes.
On being an empath
How has discovering that you’re an HSP/Empath changed things for you? Perhaps in terms of how you see life in general or how you see yourself?
Hi Kerrie, first of all, I had no idea I was an empath until our conversation last year regarding energy and picking up energy/emotions from other people. How you described it was exactly how I was feeling! After our conversation, I started to do intense research on empaths/empathy/energy and I feel like I “woke up” to these ideas and became much more aware of myself and my environment. Whereas before, I used to think everything I was picking up was all “me.” I felt a little crazy.
I honestly thought that I had intense mood swings or was overly emotional. Now, I am more aware of how I am feeling, and I check myself to clarify if this is truly my emotions or if I am picking up something from another person/environment.
Life changed because I feel more aware of other people’s energy when I am speaking to them, or the energy of a place when I am traveling or attending events. I am also much more aware of the energy I give to another person (without draining myself of course).
For example, if I feel insecurity in the room, I try to just give out kindness and love to the people around me. I am more aware of how I can authentically connect to other people in a conversation, if I am working, or interviewing someone. I literally feel how they feel and it helps me understand them better.
I am no longer attached to emotions because I can identify how to let them go if they aren’t mine. I feel like the whole world just became clearer for me, and much more honest for me. Learning that I am a HSP/Empath has made me feel much more at peace because I learned how to understand myself better.
So far, what are the best things about being an HSP/Empath, and what are some of the challenges?
What I love is being able to “learn” people without needing too many words. Just being around them, watching, observing, feeling… I feel like I can see who they are without them needing to explain it. I feel really blessed to be able to just connect fast with people.
I also think having empathy makes you a more compassionate person. When I thought I was emotional, I thought I was just so “sensitive” in a bad way. I thought, maybe I should care less? I’m too sensitive. I cry too much! Haha..
But now I see my sensitivity as a gift. The world can be so shallow, selfish and superficial that maybe a little compassion for other human beings is what it needs. I hope to, at least, add more care and compassion into the world with the work I do. Maybe just be able to help ease another person is how I can be of service, even in small ways.
It is a challenge to not judge anyone, even if I really feel really uncomfortable around them. Sometimes when I meet people, I can instantly pick up their “vibes.” Even if I feel their intentions aren’t so good, I try to just remain polite, civil, and nonjudgemental.
It’s also a challenge for me to not stay in one emotional state for too long. Sometimes when I feel overly connected to a social cause, I find myself lost it in. I’ve learned to step away and let myself breathe. I can’t solve everything but I can do the best I can with what I have now. I’ve learned to always jump back to my happy feelings and to fill myself with what gives me joy.
HSPs/Empaths tend to feel really deeply – how do you manage those emotions when they become overwhelming? Is there any outlet you turn to?
Darling you are so right… We feel deeply… Love deeply, think deeply, hurt deeply, give deeply… It’s such an rich life don’t you think? To be deep and intense in these feelings gives you a heightened sense of being alive.
I feel so intensely all the time – that the trick and challenge for me here, is to not get attached. (I’m still working on that!) I am trying to let things flow through me instead of getting stuck in those depths.
When life is overwhelming, I just find ways to be alone and give myself space to process things. I need personal time. I need ME time so much. I like to clean my room, write my thoughts out, go to the park and run, meditate, go to yoga class. I try to be around nature, the trees and the beach help me feel peaceful. I feel so relaxed around nature. Any activity where I am just alone with myself helps me regain balance. Some days, I just light a candle and sit quietly on my couch.
Also, I pray a lot. I don’t normally talk about this, but prayer and meditation is a must in my daily schedule. The world spins so fast some days, work piles up, and I pick up everything from everywhere I go and everyone I meet. At night I tell myself to let it all go. I empty myself to allow more space for new, amazing things to enter my life.
What are some of the things you do to take care of yourself?
I’ve only recently learned the importance of “taking care of yourself.” I feel like before I used to give out so much energy to other people or to my work, that I would forget to give energy back to me. I would feel so drained and tired all the time. I would think pampering myself was “vanity” and that I didn’t want that or other people to think that of me.
Now I understand that pampering myself was a form of self-love. I wanted to treat myself better and really just be “gentle” with my self. Because how can I give more if I feel empty?
Nowadays, I just love the idea of pampering myself! I feel refreshed and rejuvenated, and so full to do more things. I usually get a massage, go to the spa, get my hair and nails done. I also love baths. When I check into a hotel, I get extra excited about the bathtub that sometimes I don’t even care about the city I’m visiting. I also love candles. I love scents. Using aromatherapy in essential oils or candles really uplifts my mood and makes my environment feel more peaceful and full of love. Add a glass of wine and a good book and you can leave me alone for hours.
Spiritual question time – do you ever think about why HSPs/Empaths exist in this world?
Of course! I think about why on earth would God put people like this on earth. It can’t be so that we can just cry at every emotional situation right!
My mind keeps coming back to the word compassion. I feel like adding more compassion to our world is of great value. Helping people feel connected to other people, instead of feeling alone. Sometimes when we feel pain, it’s scarier when you think you’re all alone in the world. Having someone reach out and just be there with you, or assure you that it’s going to be ok is of great comfort.
I hate seeing people in pain. Whether it’s an emotional heartbreak or physical pain, my heart hurts too. I once saw from afar a child trip on an escalator and I just wanted to run up to him and kiss his hand! Like I can’t explain it but when he cried I seriously felt a jolt in my chest. Reaching out to anyone in pain and sending them love and compassion just feels like the right thing to do. Everyone needs a little healing you know.
What are some of the projects you’re working on now?
I’ve been working between HK and the Philippines. Work is picking up so much right now! I’ve been hosting for a lot of shows, working with a lot of brands, and I am going back into writing. Now that I feel I know myself better, I choose to write about things I am deeply passionate about. I try to focus on just sending out positive energy to everyone I meet, and every event I work at.
You juggle multiple roles in your career – I remember talking about this before, there’s this constant hustle to land gigs – what have you learned from this entire process? How do you handle the uncertainty?
I’ve learned how to TRUST. God/The Universe/This higher being, whatever you want to call it. My spiritual life improved so much the past year that now I don’t look at things from a material or lack perspective. I see abundance everywhere. I have so much faith in co-creating the life I want to life. I just focus on having good intentions, having the right energy, being happy, feeling love and sending out positive energy. I don’t think of competing or the lack of work anymore. I just want to be myself and do work that helps people.
Instead of filling your mind with thoughts of worry and scarcity, know that you will be fine! TRUST that everything will happen at the right time! Whenever I feel doubt I now say, “I trust that I am being taken cared of.” Or “I trust the path that I am on.” Having more faith really helped me feel secure and grounded.
And suddenly, my life turned around and I feel the happiest I have been in years. Work (and mind you, the right type of work) just flows towards me without me and I am always grateful and humbled by it.
Focusing on being of service also helps. I took my focus off “me me me” and decided to just be a good person who helps other people, and hello, then came the money!
On her inspirations
What’s been inspiring you lately?
First off, it’s people. I’ve been meeting the most energetic, inspiring, and fearless people that being around them makes me forget my limitations. I have had intense conversations filled with laughter and lessons that make me feel happy. Also, talking to old friends who have gone through so many brave changes is inspiring to me. I am happy to see people live their journey so honestly and authentically. I feel really honored to be a friend and to be part of their journey.
Being in a new city, discovering new things also inspires me. I love discovering things that aren’t hyped up by the media yet. It’s like discovering little secrets in the world. I appreciate very honest things. Like a handcrafted bag made on an island, or a special recipe in a restaurant handed down in the family. I love the stories behind things or places, and feeling the honesty and sincerity come up in the story really inspires me. It makes me want to write about it.
What are 3 books/sites that you recommend – anything that has opened your perspective recently?
Websites: I really love YourZenLife.com by actresses Teresa Palmer and Phoebe Tonkin. If you haven’t yet, check out the videos of Teresa Palmer called “Tez Talks” on Youtube. I love how even though she is an actress in Hollywood, she opens up about struggles, spirituality and growth. She has no pretenses at all and is really authentic in her videos.
I also love the websites of Marie Forleo, Gabrielle Bernstein, Danielle LaPorte, TheDailyLove by Mastin Kipp, and any interview by Oprah. Sometimes I just click on any related video of Oprah. I learn a lot from her.
Books: I love all books by Paolo Coelho. I seriously just get what he says (or maybe he gets me?). Read his books the Alchemist, Warrior of the Light, or my latest awesome read, The Manuscript found in Accra.
I also love the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I read a lot of books and I could go on and on about what books shaped my mind and perspective…