Miss Universe Philippines 2020 candidate Ericka Evangelista of Rizal Province is a woman with a mission. And she is specifically on the path of teens – and in unleashing the great potentials in them. One at a time, or a class at a time if you will.
Growing up, Ericka never had the luxury and self-confidence to pursue her dreams. She wanted to take fashion design back then but had to listen to her parents to secure a more financially stable future. She took up Integrated Marketing Communications at Univeristy of Asia and the Pacific as her first degree. From there, she immersed herself in a corporate job for four years as a Business Development Manager. It was fun while it lasted. But at the end of the day, she realized that she was neither happy nor fulfilled.
Showing the illustration skills of Ericka
And so, she personally sent herself to fashion school to finally pursue her dreams while still employed. She took up Fashion Design at Slims Fashion and Art School. Everyone at work was supportive, even her bosses. The first-ever dress she made was for her regional boss, Marru, who is also her life mentor. And that started it all. A lot of people loved her yellow dress and it became 80+ custom dresses soon enough. Time came when she was earning good profits as a Designer so she decided to pursue fashion design full-time. She started her own retail line last August 2019 called Designer.Staples at Zalora PH. She was also able to win the Top Booker for Toast Wedding Fair, even beating Francis Libiran.
Ericka believes that wonderful things happen when you believe in yourself, chase after your dreams, when you are in sync with your community and family, and most importantly, when God is in the center of life. As a result, she became very passionate about uplifting the youth who suppressed their dreams due to lack of self-belief. She wants to go out to the teens who have been told that they’re not good enough to make their dreams happen and the youth who had to take the practical route in life for their family’s sake. She wants to let them know that they can also pursue their dreams, no matter what everybody else says.
Ericka for the #BaryaNiJuan Project
For this charity-driven young entrepreneur, the project started during the first week of ECQ. There were so many things happening left and right but people were starving and the frontliners were getting sick. She was feeling so low and helpless. Initially, she just donated to Caritas, Rock Education and Kaya Natin Movement and shared them on her social media accounts. After a few days, a lot of her friends were sending messages asking for help in producing masks and PPEs for the frontliners. Luckily, she was able to source and delivery of zippers, clothing materials etc. She was also blessed with a good hearted team (Canni, Per, Ashley and Jayson Padua) who volunteered to sew masks and ppes for free. They were able to distribute the first batch to PGH, Lung Center, QC Gen, Rizal Med and Cardinal Santos. She got so many messages for donations.
Frustrated that her group is small and resources limited, she luckily met Lucky Alabado and Walter Siy who are founders of the #BaryaNiJuan initiative. This charity initiative helps frontliners in getting PPE suits. Together with #BaryaNiJuan, she was able to open 2 factories, one in Malabon and one in Angono where she also got to help the livelihood of the “mananahis”. At first, they were only targetting to produce and dispatch 1,000 PPEs. But with everybody’s support and donations, they were able to hit P1,567,660 in donations, producing 5,548 PPEs and sending them to 112 hospitals from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (with the help of J&T, Cebu Pacific, LBC, Toyota Ph, Angkas as our official logistics partners). They finished distributing all of the PPEs last May 13! Whew!