Supermodel Rissa Mananquil-Trillo’s ‘Read My Lips’ is quite inspirational - GulfToday

Supermodel Rissa Mananquil-Trillo’s ‘Read My Lips’ is quite inspirational

Rissa Mananquil 2

Rissa Mananquil-Trillo interacts with her fans at the Emirates Airlines Literature Festival in Dubai. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

So, a business book could be an easy read. Neither overwhelming—nor—intimidating by jargons and graphs.

Highly recommended: “Read My Lips.”


Indeed, you read it correctly.

The title is “Read My Lips”— interestingly becoming more interesting since as you flip the 135 pages bound with the aquamarine, straw and harvard crimson, down go more of the tints of green, yellow and red alongside a spread of graphics and – a mom’s love letter to her children.

Yes. “Read My Lips,” with the addition “What It Takes To Build A World-Class Homegrown Brand” tag, published by Summit Books of the Summit Publishing Company Incorporated in May 2019.

That was a year after its author, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, added another feather in her cap. Not only did she gifted her husband, lawyer-businessman-sportsman Paolo Trillo and their young brood with her Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree diploma from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Metro Manila; but, also having become the first, in the history of the international management school and research institution, accredited by the US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, to turn her thesis into the first business book in the Philippines by a Filipina – by a woman.   

You see, Rissa grew up knowing the ropes of newspaper publishing. She is one of two daughters of veteran journalist Millet Mananquil who dabbled in fashion trends column writing while she was busy in the catwalk, elected as president of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines, and among the supermodels of Benetton. Through all these, she metamorphosed into a multi-awarded entrepreneur.

Rissa Mananquil 3 The top-model-turned-entrepreneur reveals her journey to building her beauty brand. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today

That entrepreneurial streak already in her since childhood, the wife-mother-career woman co-founded in 2013 Happy Skin, the answer to all the dermatological concerns she as a mannequin, alongside of other Filipinas, had to go through because of the imported cosmetics and beauty products they were used to use.

The first five years of Happy Skin were noticeable not only to the Philippine business community but also to publishers.

So from the February 4, 2023 “Emirates Airlines Literature Festival,” publisher June Pauline Sandoval, in answer to Gulf Today’s enquiry, said they wanted Rissa to write a business book because they saw the progress of her cosmetics and beauty care line, an embodiment of values not only aspiring entrepreneurs or business persons must possess – but everyone.

The publishing was offered at the time when Rissa was already working on her thesis. She was encouraged and guided by her professor. Thus, in her book appreciation page: “A special and huge thank you to capstone gatekeeper and mentor, Professor Titos Ortigas, who suggested the book be my capstone – a first in the history of AIM.”

Hence, why is it ‘Read My Lips’?“One of our most iconic products was our lipstick, which we called lippies. The title of my book, which is half a business manual and half a memoir, is a tribute to the brand’s signature product. It is also a play on the idiom ‘read my lips,’ which means to listen carefully to what someone is saying. This is because I wanted my book to be as candid as possible about starting a business. It is not only glamour, ease, and flexibility. Entrepreneurship is a craft that demands many sacrifices, but when done with integrity, it can be transformative and fulfilling for countless lives that go beyond the entrepreneur’s.”

The book could be read within five hours with interruptions, of course. Fortunate are those who get the chance to grab it too.

Why?For Rissa took the time to include in it, immeasurable wisdom from “names in (Philippine) business you wish you had a minute with” via “MBA in a Minute” – Chapter 4 – and Filipino women who have made a mark on their own respective fields for “beyond just looking pretty, (The New Beauty Tutorials – Chapter 8), features (them) who have redefined and changed the conversations on beauty.”

One such remarkable persona is Socorro “Nanay Coring” Ramos, responsible for the immense growth of Philippine literature from the 1930s because through her ingenuity and tirelessness, the “historic” National Book Store chain provided Filipinos the luxury of reading literature for, of and by Filipinos, as well as foreign publications. Complete that with organ and piano sheets this writer devoured on.

On Rissa’s question regarding the relevance of print in a digital era, Nanay Coring said: “(You know), whether it is print or digital or any other format, the thing that really matters is (what you are saying). I think most people today are too young to remember, but they used to say that radio would kill print. And then it was television that was going to kill the radio. Then e-books were going to kill the printed book. But look where we are today. We still have radio. We still have television. And we still have the printed page. I don’t think they will go away. The only question that matters is: ‘What are you printing? What are you saying? If your newspaper, magazine, or book delivers good content, then for sure you will survive even in today’s digital era.”

On Nanay Coring’s legacy for “a generation of digital natives: “Maybe not so much a ‘legacy,’ but just a reminder that they should still read. Even if it seems like you can find everything in a video today, it is still beneficial to take time to read a little every day. It can be a book, a newspaper, a magazine or even something on your computer. Don’t forget that reading is still the basic foundation of education. And a good education is something that we will all always need.”

Rissa’s open letter to Enzo, Celestia and Audra?

“Because I wanted to emphasise certain values for them and their generation. Society prefers to quantify success and define it in terms of numbers, but I hope to share the idea that many of the things we treasure are actually intangible.”

Related articles