For a little over 30 minutes, I have come to learn about Life and Beauty as Joanna Pettet sees it. A British-born actress, Miss Pettet still pretty much resembles the glamour of old Hollywood. With her straw hat covering her shoulder-length blonde hair, thin white sweater with some Parisian word printed in red and black colors, black pants and pair of beautiful black shoes, she truly looked elegant. At 5’8″, she towered over me, yet she wasn’t slouching. She stood up to meet me and walked with grace. At 69, one can never look as good as she does. Through the light tint of her sunglasses, I saw brown eyes staring back at me. Soulful. If there is a way to describe her, it would only be approprite to call her a CLASSIC BEAUTY…

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She talked to me about being stranded in the Philippines when Gregorio Honasan and other members of the Philippine militia attempted to overthrow Corazon Aquino out of Malacanang. Though the movie they were shooting was, as she worded it, bad-script, and her stay in Manila wasn’t a wonderful experience, she spoke of it with genuine smile on her face. I knew it then that she was reliving her younger days. Though I am not a Hollywood fan, I would be a total hypocrite if I didn’t find her celebrity status interesting. As she chronologically went through the years of her acting career, in my mind I also started writing up my summary about her. Her life. Her Passion. Her Journey.

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I learned she lost her only son a decade or so. As she spoke of him, I saw her shed a tear. That moment took me back to the day I saw Mama when I went home for my brother’s funeral. I saw in her eyes the kind of pain that no words can describe. A seemingly ceaseless pain that can truly break a heart, yet a feeling that one holds on to as a catalyst for remembering a love lost. Humans are true masochists at will. No matter how hurtful the memory is, we still chose to look back. I can almost guarantee that anyone who lost a loved one finds happiness through the painful memories of the past. Yes, it does give a rather dull form of happiness but who cares anyway? Not me. Not my Mother. Surely I can tell neither does Joanna Pettet.

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Withdrawing and walking away must be hard for someone who devoted her entire life entangled to the allure and charm of tinsel town. She said Hollywood is getting younger every minute, and at one point in time she saw her self standing in front of a 24-year old young lady as she read her resume. She said, holding on to the beauty she once had is no longer a reality. Physical appearance, she stated truthfully, was her only investment. And whatever she meant by that, I didn’t dare ask another question. I think I understood what she was saying. It is a cliche but beauty doesn’t really last forever.

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As I walk towards the glass door, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. I, too, am getting older. Soon, my hair will start falling or worst will it turn grey. I might gain more weight and will never lose it. It is the enivitable truth! The chance encounter I had with Miss Pettet is a clear manifestation that the greatest tragedy about youth and beauty is that both are ephemeral, a byproduct of a conformist conspiracy. Television, beauty companies, the fashion and the movie industry conspire to make us all believe that we should look a certain way just to belong to a superficial society corrupted with egocentrism and hipocrisy.

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In the end, life fades… and the beauty and youth become just a memory amongst other things that other people may recall about you. If one believes that there is more to the self than mere physical appearance, then one is ought to leave an intangible mark that even death cannot banish. Whether the journey comes to an abrupt end or a foreseen one, it will eventually cease should we like it or not. As for me, I am chosing to be remembered not by my physical appearance years from now, but by the choices that I make, the roads that I traveled, and lessons that I learned…