Perhaps not many people know that KC Concepion has put up a jewelry business (made-to-order, limited-edition pieces) inspired by her Lola Mita (that’s how she calls her maternal grandmother, the late Elaine Gamboa-Cuneta). She studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and is taking a similar course (online) at a school in Dubai (graduation put on hold due to the pandemic). She still plans to take up a specialist course.
“It was from my Lola Mita that I inherited this passion,” KC told Funfare. “I love the whole idea of adornment. My Lola was a fashionista. It was from her that I first heard words like Lakai, onyx, emerald, sapphire. She always talked to me about her wardrobe kasi fashionista nga siya, eh. She lived in a world of fashion and design. As a kid, my favorite playground was her closet and dressing room in Dasma.”
She called her business Avec Moi (French for “with me”) because every time she wears a ring (or other pieces of jewelry) that her Lola had given her, “I feel like she is always with me. I love that name, Avec Moi, and I want people who buy my jewelry to also get that ‘with me’ feeling, that I am always with them every time they wear the pieces, and the people who are given my Avec Moi items to feel the same way.”
KC has decided to donate part of Avec Moi earnings to victims of calamities such as those hit by recent typhoons. She saw for herself the plight of the victims when she and Ruffa Gutierrez accompanied chemist Pinky Tobiano to Cagayan (and neighboring places) to distribute relief goods.
So fond is KC of her Lola Mita that she considers her “my best friend, my biggest fan, my soulmate,” adding, “I really miss traveling with her.” On one of her Lola’s death anniversary commemorations, KC posted a tribute to her on her YouTube page: “You used to show me the view of the sea from our airplane window every time we would fly together. You always said, ‘Look at the sharks!’ Even if we were so high up in the air, I really believed that I saw the fins of the sharks peeping from the waters…I miss you beyond words and think of you with so much joy every day…”
Aside from her business, what keeps KC busy is her role as the first National Ambassador Against Hunger of the United Nations’ World Food Programme. She has also been named the new ambassador of the World Wide Fund for Nature/WWF Philippines.
As the UNWFP ambassador, KC had the chance to share the stage with US Pres. Bill Clinton in 2008 to present Clinton’s foundation’s commitment to feed more people in impoverished countries.
On Oct. 17, 2019, KC was formally launched as an ambassador of WWF Philippines, one of her dream organizations. She expressed her enthusiasm about joining the Panda Family in a video posted on her YouTube page: “It has been my long-time dream to support an NGO that focuses on protecting and improving our environment, our planet and our wildlife, and in turn creating a better world. And finally, that dream is now a reality. It humbles me to be part of an amazing family whose goal is to protect Mother Nature at all costs.”
Meanwhile, as an advocate of food security, KC sets an example by planting her own herbs at her balcony and making sure that no food goes to waste, and also lending her platform to encourage the public to practice sustainability in their own kitchen by running special episodes of her online show Kitchen Collabs.
KC has been living alone, seldom going out (except on a rare occasion when she had dinner with her dad, Gabby Concepcion, at a Japanese restaurant in Makati restaurant after missing each other for months).
Asked what she has discovered about herself during the lockdown, KC said, “Definitely, it’s very important that you know yourself kung hanggang saan ka lang. You cannot expect more than kung ano lang ang kaya mo. You have to know your limitations. Lahat ng tao may hangganan, may limits. I realized now that I can do anything by myself, that I can stand on my own and I am able to support myself physically and mentally. Ang laking bagay na pipiliin mo lang ang mga taong papapasukin mo sa bahay mo. There are some people who are talagang toxic.”
So how would she know that somebody is toxic?
“Parang kung ang feeling mo ay ang liit-liit mo na…so get out! Yun lang. I am speaking in general ha, because there are people na talagang mamahalin ka unconditionally. Doon ako sa pagmamahal na ‘yon… ‘yung love and light. You can do only so much as a person, di ba?”
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