Musician and Actor Nadine Lustre On Music, Fame And Mental Health
As we approach the third year of the pandemic, with the added stress, uncertainty and loss we’ve all felt still bubbling beneath the surface, now more than ever we need to be mindful of our mental health.
For Nadine Lustre, it starts with awareness. The actor, singer, activist and entrepreneur has long been vocal about her own mental health battles, in the hope of ending the stigma around the subject in her native Philippines.
And then, everything changed for Nadine. Her brother, who was also battling his own demons, took his own life, leaving Nadine to ask if there was anything more she could have done to help him.
In response, she’s doubled down, working with other public figures to launch startup MindYou, which aims to make mental health more accessible and cheaper in the Philippines. She’s also been increasingly forthright in sharing her own struggles with depression, to spread the message to people at their lowest that they’re not alone, that help is available—including a major revelation in this episode that she’s never shared publicly before.
In a candid conversation, Nadine lays everything on the table, discussing music, fame and the mantra that helps her get through the toughest times. Here are a few excerpts from the conversation. Click the audio player below to listen to the episode or subscribe via Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.
THE PRESSURES OF CHILDHOOD FAME
“I was such an introvert. I just didn't know how to talk to people because I never had that [typical] journey of meeting new friends and learning how to converse with people, how to socialise. So it was really difficult for me to connect to other people, to just talk to them and to make friends.”
“There was a point where I was having an identity crisis, just because I wasn't really sure if this person was me or if this was a character or an avatar that I was playing when I'm in front of the cameras.”
HOW WE CAN END THE STIGMA AROUND DEPRESSION
“It really has to start with awareness and educating people, making sure they know that this is a real thing and something that you shouldn't be ashamed of. Because growing up, it was something that I was ashamed of.”
THE POWER OF SHARING YOUR EXPERIENCES
“I'm not ashamed to share this with everyone, even though it's a bit triggering, because I know that people who are going through the same thing can relate to me, and I can actually help them by sharing my experiences, what I've gone through and the lessons that I've picked up along the way.”
COUNTERING THE NEGATIVE INFLUENCES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
“We all have to be responsible on social media. The standard of beauty is very different in real life versus on social media. It's totally made up. It's edited, not real. And the thing is, for someone who's growing up... imagine if it was the 13- or 14-year-old Nadine [struggling with mental health issues], browsing on social media and thinking ‘Wow, if this is the beauty standard, I'm so ugly.’ It really affects how kids think. So just come as you are, be responsible because social media shouldn't be this. Don't be ashamed of how you're living your life, your real life. Just be yourself; don't try to be anyone else.”
See also: 7 Entrepreneurs Creating Social Change In The Philippines
WHAT DRIVES HER TO MAKE MUSIC
“When I listen to [my favourite artists], it makes me feel loved. It makes me feel appreciated for some reason. I don't know if it's just me, but I want people who listen to my music to feel the same way, to be inspired, to feel like they're important or worthy.”
A MESSAGE OF HOPE
“I want people to hear this: life is beautiful and you're here to experience it. You’ll go through a lot of challenges in life, but those are just challenges. The thing is, when you go through all of these things, you look back and you realise why you had to go through it. You realise all of the lessons that you picked up along the way. There's so much that life has to offer. There are ups and downs. Those ups are good, yes, but the downs are essential to your growth. So just hold on and always look at the bright side.”
Quotes are edited for clarity and brevity.
If you’re struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please remember that help is always at hand. Check this list of suicide crisis lines around the world to get help wherever you are.
Listen to the episode and subscribe using your preferred podcast platform on the Crazy Smart Asia hub page.