Andi Eigenmann talks about leaving the artista life behind, in exchange for a quiet life by the beach, where she feels she has found true happiness.
Into The Sun With Andi Eigenmann
Kara Ortiga (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2018 - 12:00am

‘I asked myself constantly: Does this really make me happy? Then I realized, I don’t think it’s for me. It’s not that I wasn’t happy being in the industry, it’s just that I wasn’t happy making myself believe that this was the life for me.’

MANILA, Philippines — Andi Eigenmann saunters into the coffee shop on a particularly warm Monday morning, with not much but the clothes on her back and some of her necessities. There’s no car in tow, no driver, or an overeager manager — it’s just Andi, with her freckles delicately dotting her sun-kissed skin, curly amber hair just gloriously flowing about, and what I swear is the warmest disposition.

She is radiating pure personal happiness — the kind that self-help books or Himalayan salt lamps or healing crystals will have a hard time accounting for (I mean, I’ve tried). Because when someone is truly happy, they just glow… and on this Monday, Andi is all positive vibrations.

Perhaps it’s because she just recently literally KonMaried her life, letting go of luxuries she didn’t think she needed anymore, including the showbiz lifestyle, all in exchange for a quiet life by a beach in Baler, where she has been living for some time now.

Daughter of acclaimed film performers Jaclyn Jose and Mark Gil, and having graced the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 for Ma’ Rosa alongside her mom — she was born into acting royalty. Though she admits, being in the limelight wasn’t always easy.

In October 2017, Andi made news cycles when she responded to an Instagram commenter who said she was “masungit” when she declined to pose for a fan photo, which struck a nerve with Andi — did she really need to be bothered by this? So she said she was “quitting” the showbiz life, (not to be mistaken with the craft of acting work, of which she does enjoy). “After really experiencing everything for myself firsthand, it was then that I asked myself constantly, repeatedly, for about two years before I made that decision: do I really want this? Do I really need this? Does this really make me happy? Then eventually, I realized,” she says with a slight pause and a surrendered sigh, “I don’t think it’s for me. It’s not that I wasn’t happy being in the industry, it’s just that I wasn’t happy making myself believe that this was the life for me.”

“It was really hard (growing up in the spotlight) because there is the pressure and the expectations that people have on you that you never really asked for… and I feel like as much as it was me that placed myself here, I wasn’t really given that much of a choice. I was born into the industry, so it was the norm for me for a long time. I wasn’t really given room to go out there and figure out for myself what I wanted to do.”

The fame, the fans, all of this unwarranted attention — she concluded, was just bogging her down.  “The time that it was getting really hard for me in the industry, I was always part of a controversy, it always had something to do with my love life. At first I thought that, oh it was (my love life that was the problem). So I had to let that go so that I could be happy. But I realized that it wasn’t really just the love life… it was the fact that my life was so public and so out there — and that’s what I couldn’t handle. I didn’t want that and I never asked for it,” she says especially of the public scrutiny. “Then, ‘wag nalang. Whatever, I’m just going to stay out of the limelight. I’m just going to do me.”

And finally, this massive move from city to beach life seems to be a part of the truth that she has come to realize, to escape to a place where she can be at peace with herself. And the realization didn’t just come from herself, it came from her daughter, now six-year-old Ellie.

“Ellie has taught me many things. It was actually her that opened my eyes to the reality that life isn’t about all of these luxuries or having a lot of money. Because my goal became seeing her happy. A mother has to be able to give herself something, and to be whole as a person, to be put together as a person for her to raise a child well. She was the one that taught me that even if life is simple, even if we don’t have much and all we have is each other — it’s not impossible to have fun. We go to the beach, we don’t need technology, we don’t need toys — we just have nature and each other.” She does say that while the move has been good for herself, she makes sure that it’s a life she doesn’t force upon her daughter. That Ellie can grow up to decide for herself whether she wants this life or not.

It’s probably hard for one to piece together: how a person who seems to have it all would give it up for a much simpler life in the province. Andi explains, “To me, happiness is not about the fame or the money… it’s about being content with your life. Knowing how to accept change and embrace it. I was once there. People admired me because at a young age I had achieved something any girl would want to achieve at that age… but it didn’t last for me. Because that was not my idea of success. It may be someone else’s, but it’s not what made me happy.”

Today, she is content in Baler, tending to herself and surfing. But maybe in the next month, she says, you’ll find her in Siargao, possibly building a business or finding work in the bustling town to provide a more sustainable life for her and her daughter. She is dating someone new again (that is all she will divulge). In short, the path is open and uncertain, but it’s definitely far from the limelight.

So, to being an artista, she bids au revoir ­— but she leaves with no regrets.. “I did enjoy it…I have no regrets. But I also have no regrets just because I would not have realized this, and I would not have been able to give myself the life that I have now if it were not for that,” she says with certainty, eyes glimmering with so much excitement.

“And I would not trade my life now for anything.”

Photo by Shaira Luna

Makeup by Mikka Marcaida for Laura Mercier

Hair by Francis Guintu

Styled by Samantha Tidalgo

Shot on location at Lola Cafe

ANDI EIGENMANN
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