You’re not 19 forever






Nineteen-year-old Gil Cuerva peeks out of a natural canvas teepee from Qurus and uses a toilet paper roll for his telescope. He wears a Joey Samson jacket, H&M boxers, and a newspaper hat.

The worst part about being 19 is that everywhere I go, I’m always known as ‘the kid’ or I’m everyone’s ‘baby,’” model Gil Cuerva tells us. “I feel like people tend to not take me seriously because I’m still young.”

Young STAR shares the sentiment, and a birth year with Gil. Nineteen years ago, this section was born out of the desire of Lifestyle editor Millet Mananquil to reach out to young readers and build something in the paper to appeal to her kids. She found young people to write for young people and guided them along with the help of her trusty team. Through the years, the core team may have changed and the section may have been relaunched a few times, but the goals remain the same.

Pillow talk: Pajama set, Ziggy Savella

We’ve always been big promotors of youth empowerment, whether it’s encouraging healthy discourse with polarizing think-pieces, or putting the spotlight on talented young underdogs. We’ve taken some hate tweets to go with the fan mail, some shade to go with the “Likes.” But what we’ve always encouraged is exploration—an opportunity to find your way in a world that might be getting faster and faster, an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. That’s what you get, after all, when you have a section of a national broadsheet run by fresh grads and newbie editors.

For our last few anniversary issues, we’ve made a point to look back. This year, we’re insisting on looking forward. Our cover boy Gil Cuerva is a junior in De La Salle University, balancing a thriving career as a model for youth glossies and brands like Team Manila, with classes as a double major in Communication Arts and Advertising Management (“both courses are practical,” he says). He’s a fresh face on the scene but we’re betting that he’ll be around a long while.

Interest explorer: Jacket, Joey Samson; boxers, H&M.

Meanwhile, our “Fresh Produce” feature comes back for the fifth consecutive year with a hand-picked selection from the cream of the creative crop. Young STAR’s tagline goes “Youth and their passions minus the bull” and as with every year, we cut through the B.S. of the “daughter of” and “son of” reportage so prevalent in local lifestyle media, and put together a list of young talents who might just make you believe we’re living in a meritocracy.

Under the blanket: Blanket, Muji; shorts, Ziggy Savella.

“The best part about being 19 is knowing that I still have a lot of time ahead of me,” Gil says. “I’m not as concerned about where I’ll be in five, 10, 30 years from now as much I am about the journey leading up to that.”

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