This article has been updated to include the statement that Rissa Mananquil-Trillo sent to Preen.
In Happy Skin’s eighth year, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo announced that she is leaving the makeup and skincare company she co-founded and where she served as chief brand officer.
After marking Oct. 18 as the brand’s birthday, she wrote on Instagram, “Today is also the day I’m announcing my exit from Happy Skin. This is a decision I thought long and hard about. It takes a lot of strength to leave something I poured so much of my life into.”
While she did not give a reason for leaving, she noted, “Shared values are so important. Doing a good job has always meant so much to me—not just a good job, but doing it with integrity. It never made sense to me to compromise what I believed in because that meant compromising my respect for myself, too.”
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“The final step I took was to seek the advice of some of the country’s respected business leaders. Turning to them proved to me that no matter what generation you are from, right is right and wrong is wrong,” Mananquil-Trillo went on to say. “I understand during a time like this, I’m in a privileged position to walk away from something that no longer aligns with my values. But it’s time we all made better choices.”
When asked for clarification on this last statement, she told Preen, “I was in an environment I no longer deserved to be in.”
In response to the exit, Happy Skin said in an official statement released to news outlets: “While Rissa has not been working with Happy Skin since March of 2020, we will always be grateful for her contributions to the brand. We wish her well on the journey ahead of her.”
Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez remains the CEO of the company, as well as that of beauty brands BLK Cosmetics and Seoul White Korea.
Addressing Happy Skin’s response, Mananquil-Trillo wrote in a statement sent to Preen, “I continued to fulfill all of my obligations to Happy Skin until the day I exited and made the decision to divest all of my interests in the company.”
Happy Skin began after Yuengtian-Gutierrez invited the model and beauty columnist to become her business partner. Mananquil-Trillo agreed to work together after trying out the prototypes for the makeup line.
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She once talked to Preen about the brand’s impact and the challenges it has faced, considering that it entered the makeup market when it was dominated by international brands. “It’s become social currency to wear something from a local brand or from a local designer that not many people know about. It’s an exciting time because more people have pride in local talent, and I would like to think Happy Skin contributed to this change in culture from prizing what’s imported to genuinely loving what’s local and paved the way for so many homegrown cosmetics brands entering the market today.”
The homegrown local beauty brand has grown global since its launch in 2013. With a number of celebrity and brand collaborations under its belt, it has become a household name in the Philippine beauty industry.
What’s next for Mananquil-Trillo? She told us, “I received so many messages after I posted about my exit telling me that ‘It’s the end of an era,’ but I’m excited for what’s next. I will continue to use my platform for things that matter to me—women empowerment, gender equality, sustainability, and helping startups and aspiring entrepreneurs.
More than that, I feel the same fire in me again. The same fire when Happy Skin started and I was dreaming about a game-changing brand. And it feels good. I have bigger dreams not just for my future but for the next generation. I have been fortunate to have been closely working with UN Women the past two years championing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) for gender equality. I will continue to advocate for entrepreneurship and its vital role in helping women reach economic independence and empowerment.”
Photo courtesy of Rissa Mananquil Trillo’s Instagram
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