I think we first met when I was in grad school at USC and she was in undergrad, but we didn't become friends until she worked at SIPA with Mike. It was obvious we'd become friends because a) she loves food, as she states in her interview, b) she loves the Dodgers and Disneyland as much as me and Strawberry Farm Boy, c) she's my Baby-Sitters Club buddy! I don't know how we started talking about BSC, but we nerded out over the books and how she identified with Stacey and I connected with Claudia and our nicknames for each other were formed.
Ish would talk about how she wanted to work somewhere that changed the world. She's a smarty pants grad student at Columbia's SIPA program (ironically another SIPA). This summer she's working as an intern for the UN Environment Assembly, which is the area that focuses on on climate change policy. The internship takes place in Nairobi, so she's going on safaris and random bush parties.
I could go on more, but check out her interview and meet this funny gal yourself! Follow her on tumblr at 1belle.tumblr.com!
Isabelle Lacson, online identity: 1belle (I'm Filipino-American so 1=isa, thus 1belle. Does anyone understand me yet...)
Affiliations (arts org, fun things you do, etc) :
Currently: Columbia SIPA, the United Nations and the City Government of New York. Formerly, I was in the Philippine government. And I'm a Trojan for life! I'm currently in Nairobi, Kenya, working with the UN on a project on improving early warning systems for climate change hazards in Africa.
I travel, eat, talk too much, read, do yoga and play with my iPad on quieter days.
I also have a blog because I lack attention. http://1belle.tumblr.com
What's the one word you are guilty of using too much?
"Text." I have started to replace normal "goodbye" with "text me" or "I'll text you." And sadly, in my texts, "LOLZ" is too common.
How did you end up doing what you are doing now?
Hustling hard? Haha, but, fine, seriously. My career goal has always been "to help people." So, I've always kind of done that! I never had a private sector job as a result, and have been happily hopping around the public sector for 8 years. It was 3 years ago when I was typhoon-soaked in Metro Manila, feeding an equally soaked little girl hot soup in a makeshift tent that I started focusing my life on natural disasters, disaster risk reduction and climate change. I also recognize that I had a lot of help along the way to end up here: teachers, mentors, supervisors, family and friends who acted as cheerleaders, colleagues, staff members, people who challenged me, people who abandoned me, people who dissed me online, people who lied, cheated, stole, lovers, haters... they all made up part of my story.
Which member of the Wu-Tang Clan best describes your personality?
I like that one Method Man + Mary J. Blige mix of "You're All I Need To Get By"... it makes me do small dances. So, Method Man.
Dogs or Cats, who wins? Why?
Not because I own 2 dogs (Lucy and Linus), but because I really hate cats and their ugly faces, and want to punt all of them off a bridge, DOGS4EVER.
What is the best part of any given day for you?
After I take a shower at night, I have my "me time." I let myself do whatever I want - sometimes, I catch up on TV, pop in a movie, read articles on my phone (despite what everyone says), blog or start overthinking for the next day/the rest of my life.
This one is quite old, but it made me laugh the hardest.
Case in point:
In a zombie apocalypse who would you want on your survival team?
I heard somewhere that a dentist is essential, so I would probably bring my lady dentist. She's tiny too, so I would eat more of her rationed food (because I LOVE food and would need more of it because I'd be capping zombies 24/7 and we'd just keep her alive for dental benefits). I'd also have a metallurgist to keep making bullets or fashioning metal weapons (in his spare time, he can make me some nice apocalyptic-era jewelry). I'd also take Anthony Bourdain because he could cook faster than me and keep me entertained with his stories. Also, from his Instagram he does some martial arts, so that would be helpful. Lastly, I would take myself, because I practiced surviving an apocalypse during Manila's first zombie run. Practice makes perfect!
What is the last thing you searched for on google?
Been going over the Philippine government's situation reports for the latest typhoon, Rammasun/Glenda for a report. I know. I'm lame.
If you could talk to your high school self, what would say?
You will gain weight and live away from your high school city for 6 years, but that doesn't mean that people will forget you and not recognize you in the mall. This is what growing up together means.
What is the best thing or meal you ever ate?
It has a great story, actually. I went whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, for the third time, I think. I was 15 or 16. I didn't feel like having breakfast, which turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life. After 3 hours and 7 huge rapids, I semi-fainted in the raft because I was so weak from the paddling and life-saving swimming. They hauled me to land, where I threw up nothing but water (most likely injested from going down the rapids). A few meters from where I liqui-barfed, my family had lunch brought down the ravine. There was rice, liempo (grilled porkchop), grilled eggplant and tomatoes, bagoong, green mangoes, fried fish, grilled prawns and of course, my favorite sauces suka (vinegar) and patis (fish sauce). We ate classic Filipino-style-no utensils and on plates lined with banana leaves. I guess you can say it was a typical Filipino meal, but to me, it was the best meal, ever.
Now, I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
What is a memorable project that you are working on or have worked on?
In my previous job in government, I wrote a lot of speeches for my boss. Each one was memorable for me, even the bad ones. I enjoyed watching and listening my words comes alive - I would feel sort of like a movie director or a composer. Though I never memorized my speeches on purpose, I would always know what rhythm, tone or feeling I was going for with every word. I would listen for the pauses, watch the reactions and hope that my message resonated somehow. And when I would write in Tagalog, it was like writing my own poetry. I would always request to watch the speech delivered live - it became like my requirement because I was obsessed with orchestrating the perfect delivery. I started writing speeches again a few months ago for the Philippine Ambassador to the UN, and it's still like making magic.