People thought she would become a doctor before she turned 20—she thought so, too—but she dropped out of college, picked up a camera, and went on to become one of today’s most prolific photographers in the country.
Shaira Luna, considered a “gifted child” and one of the “Promil kids,” grew up living according to the expectations of people around her. She was a child genius after all. So it was understandably not easy when she decided to drop out of college.
“It took a lot of courage to step back because all eyes were on me,” she shared, but she knew “it wasn’t the path I wanted to get on.”
After shifting to different courses, she left De La Salle University to finally pursue photography.
Luna started with a basic 4-megapixel point-and-shoot digital camera, which may be limited but she said was enough to tell her stories. She studied photos in magazines, then started taking photos of band performances. When she was starting, she said she hardly turned down a job.
During her talk a few years ago at DLSU, she shared how she did nearly all kinds of projects: “I tried portraits, I tried food. I would shoot events, birthdays, binyag (Christening), fiesta, liga ng basketball (basketball league). Wala akong pinalampas. Minsan libing din (I didn’t turn anything down. I even did a burial shoot).”
That was 13 years ago. Now she focuses on her strengths. She does portraits and cinematic photography, among others.
What she is today, where she is now, she said, did not happen overnight. “It was a long process,” she mused. Her drive and openness helped her on her journey.
“I really tried to absorb as much as I could from people I met. I was open to learning; I even tried graphic design,” shared Luna. Until today, even with projects—both professional and personal—left and right, she still seeks to learn new things.
She believes it is important to “always open your eyes to different things.” “Every single day I’m on Google, Tumblr, Pinterest—always trying to learn something,” she related.
And when you’re open to learning, keep at it. “Keep moving, keep persevering. It’s not always easy, it’s not always pretty, it’s not always fast. You have to persevere. You’ll gain confidence along the way.”
When she was talking about the cardiovascular system in her spiel in that milk TV commercial, perhaps no one had the inkling she would be the photographer that she is today. Hers is a story of a champion made after constant practice, a story of a champion who blazed her own trail.
Shaira Luna joins the roster of Bally’s champions for its Champions are Made campaign.
In April, the Swiss luxury fashion house launched the campaign coinciding with the relaunch of its iconic sneaker Champion, which was first launched in the ‘90s. The sneakers were worn by Swiss tennis stars Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset on their way to winning the Grand Slam at the French Open in 1992.
Leading the campaign are Netflix’s “Sex Education” star Ncuti Gatwa, model Maeva Giani Marshall, and Royal Ballet School’s principal dancer Matthew Bell. Together, they showcase Bally’s spirit of determination.
The relaunched Bally Champion is recreated like-for-like in its original form with additional derivations in ‘90s pop-color combinations. It features new EVA technology and breathable mesh lining for cushioning and comfort; the tongue is embossed with Bally’s archive tennis logo, giving it an instant vintage appeal.
Wearing the sneakers during the launch, Luna shared how to be a champion.
“I thought champions only existed in sports, especially since I’m not an athletic person,” she shared, “For me, champion is exceeding your expectations with the work you put in.”
When asked what she wanted to tell people who are doing something they don’t want to do, she said: “You really need to be brave and make a choice to change.”