Watch out world because Ayn Bernos @aynbernos is an absolute star and is taking over the Phillipines one inspirational message and shirt at a time. Bernos was a former Auxiliar in Madrid and proud Filipina who has recently moved back to the Phillipines!
We won’t argue that the Philipines is a top vacation destination. From its beautiful beaches, mountains and delicious cuisine, it offers something for everyone. However, behind the vacation fantasties, there’s a tough truth that she’s lived all her life as a brown girl: colorism.
“I don’t remember any specific moments where I realized that colorism existed in the Philippines, Bernos said.
“I do remember, however, microagressions that I would also encounter.” Bernos said.
According to Bernos, people would tell her that she looked like her mom but was the “lesser version” because of her skin color.
“Some people would even tell me, I could be prettier if I were whiter. Straightup. Another one was,stop sunbathing, you’re already dark.”
It wasn’t until Bernos was in her fourth year in college, that she confirmed (what she already knew) her “suspicion” about how people with darker skin were treated. She analyzed Filipino ads and the results were heartbreaking, according to Bernos. She went on to say that theres a standard of beauty that has always existed but never examined, just normalized. Her perspective changed when she entered her fourth year of University and she was asked to write a lingustic analysis.
I decided to do a study on philipines whitening ads and that was such an eye opening experience for me and it inspired me to dig deeper.”
Things started to really change when Ayn graduated and went to London for a summer. It was then that she realized that there was another world out there that existed that appreciated her for exactly who she was.
“Everyone kept saying how much they loved my tan and that was just something I had never heard growing up in the Philipines. I was being seen and appreciated for who I was. These moments singlehandely shifted my entire being!
“When i came back home, I had this renewed sense of self that I didn’t experience growing up and that gave me the confidence to start my own Youtube channel and I said you know what, if the media isn’t going to represent us, I’m going to represent myself and people who look like me, Bernos said.
Her Youtube channel then grew into a clothing line called Morena, the label. So, it all started. Bernos created Morena, the label. She has shirts that feature sayings that Philipinas would never want their “tita” or family to hear them say. I like my tan, tita. Normally, a Philipina would never be able to say to her family. Most of our families want us to be whiter. Getting out of the Philipines was a huge life changing shift for Bernos.
“I love the Philipines, it’s my home but when I left the Philipines, I found that there was a bigger world out there. A world that embraces people like me and people like me are just as beautiful.”