The Driving Force Behind Janine Gutierrez’s Advocacy Work

Janine Gutierrez is WWF Philippines’ national youth ambassador. Photo by Colin Dancel, styling by Neil Anthonie De Guzman, hair by Jay Aquino, makeup by Anthea Bueno

Vogue Philippines celebrates International Women’s Day through “Raising Hope,” in a call for nominations of inspiring women. In an exclusive interview with Vogue Philippines, award-winning actress Janine Gutierrez opens up about the challenges, experiences, and the importance of advocating for social and political causes in the Philippines.

With her expressive eyes and her acting skills, Janine Gutierrez has proven time and time again that she is an actress worthy of the recognition and platform that she’s given. Beyond her love for the craft, her career is mapped with projects she holds close to her heart.

Through acting, Gutierrez is able to see different perspectives, which allows her to deepen her understanding of various social issues. In the TV mini-series Sleep With Me, Gutierrez plays Harry, a queer late-night radio DJ who is also a wheelchair user. “Doing that role showed me how hard it is to be a wheelchair user in the Philippines. A lot of things are so inaccessible, hard, and not friendly at all for PWDs,” she says. “I also try to embody these different characters well, and I hope that those who see my projects have a renewed desire to be part of the change and to look into those social issues as well.”

“I’m really drawn to the roles that kind of speak to me, my values, and social issues that I think are really important,” she says. In addition to taking on these roles, Gutierrez also chooses to use her influence to raise awareness about such issues. “I hope that my presence also directs my audience to those causes and shines a light on these topics that are important to me and other people as well,” she says. She supports various causes: wildlife and nature protection, LGBTQIA+ community rights, and activism against gender-based violence.

For seven years, Gutierrez has also served as a national youth ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund Philippines (WWF Philippines), where she witnesses firsthand the effects of climate change on local communities. “What I’ve learned through my work with them is that Filipino farmers and fisherfolk are the most marginalized and climate change directly impact them,” she says. “The work that we do is people-centered and it’s towards uplifting our kababayans (countrymen) and protecting their livelihood as well as wildlife and nature.”

Beyond being an actress, Janine Gutierrez also a passionate advocate for social causes. Photo by Colin Dancel, styling by Neil Anthonie De Guzman, hair by Jay Aquino, makeup by Anthea Bueno

Based on her experience, advocacy work does not come without its challenges, especially when working in the entertainment industry. “Being vocal about the things I believe in, whether in advocacy or politics, has given me negative reactions,” she shares. “They say, ‘If you’re an actress, then just act. Why do you have so many things to say about politics?’” 

When faced with such criticisms, she keeps in mind a piece of advice given by Anthony Pangilinan: choose your own metrics for success. “There are so many factors that you might consider success, like how many followers you have, how popular you are, how much money you have, and how many people like your work, but at the end of the day, it’s you who makes your own metrics for success,” she says. “Choosing my own metrics for success has helped me drown out the noise and really focused me towards questions that I ask myself like, ‘Is this something I really believe in? Am I honest, and do I have good intentions?’”

In her advocacy work, Gutierrez expresses that education and awareness are the keys to creating change. “I think the hardest thing is to change someone’s mind,” she says. During the previous Philippine presidential election in 2022, Gutierrez actively campaigned for former vice president Leni Robredo. While participating in Robredo’s house-to-house campaign, Gutierrez was exposed to various opposing views. “I would hear comments that were so outrageous, like how some people still don’t believe that a woman leader can be better than a male leader,” she shares. Despite this challenge, Gutierrez recognizes the importance of these discussions. “I think that it’s really important to keep the conversation going and share what you know within your own circles,” she says.

In everything that she does, Gutierrez allows herself to be led by her values and always keeps her integrity in check. From sharing educational content on social media to directly supporting causes through business and on ground activities, she leads by example as an advocate. “It’s always about action over talk, so I try to have integrity with the things I believe in. Especially with how I live my day-to-day life,” she says. “It’s important to live your life with your beliefs at the core of your choices.” Whether it in her career or personal life, Gutierrez aspires to do more for others and looks towards the future with hopeful eyes.

Visit everyday this month for daily features on inspiring women, as nominated by the people whose lives they’ve changed.

BY DAPHNE SAGUN. Photography by Colin Dancel. Fashion direction by Pam Quiñones. Styling by Neil Anthonie De Guzman. Sittings by Andrea Ang. Produced by Anz Hizon. Hair by Jay Aquino. Makeup by Anthea Bueno. Lighting direction by Joey Alvero. Retoucher: Gabbi Constantino. Photographer’s assistants: Yel Dela Paz, Iya Perez. Stylist’s assistants: Geno Espidol, Jillian Santos, Kyla Uy. Production assistant: Bianca Zaragoza.
More From Vogue

Share now on:
FacebookXEmailCopy Link