Her extraordinary life: Myrza Sison of Cosmo magazine


This is a first in a series of interviews with amazing women I have been inspired by, who have made courageous choices and are living extraordinary lives.  

Myrza Sison, Editorial Director of Summit Media and editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, was my obvious first choice.  I remember how I was jumping up and down in excitement after I had first met her.  She was the editor of a magazine that showed Filipinos what a well-made publication looked like and she was living an amazing life, filled with travel, surrounded by talented people and doing what she loved.  As we worked together, I got to know her better as we went on many crazy adventures.  One of my favorite things about her was her “join lang ng join” attitude which had opened many doors for her and proved how a positive attitude can take you places.

I interviewed her for this blog last June but decided to hold off until I got my website redesigned.  But even if the interview was six months ago, I have a strong feeling that her answer to question #1 would still be the same as it’s almost the end of the month, which is when her editor’s letter would be due.

1. What are you currently doing?

Right now? Writing my editor’s letter for Cosmo. Eighteen years later, it hasn’t gotten any easier—it’s still like squeezing blood from a stone, and once I finally submit it, I always feel like I turned in crap. But nothing beats the feeling of readers telling me they love reading it every month and that it changed their life in some way. Or when they make and post memes out of something I said in the letter.

2. What’s the most courageous thing you have ever done?

Marry Andrej Wisniewski without thinking twice, despite once vowing I would never marry. It is also the smartest and easiest thing I’ve ever done.

3. What was the most challenging part about it? How did you get through the challenge?

As I said, it was very easy to do #2. Maybe the challenge, as for any married couple, has been adjusting to each other’s personality differences: I’m Type A pessimistic worrywart, he’s a calm, “chill,” and ever-cheerful optimist. Imagine what happens! But love always makes everything all right. (Insert cheese here.)

4. How do you deal with overwhelm?

Still dealing with it! Any tips? One day at a time, I guess? Help!

5. How do you motivate yourself when life gets blah?

Dark chocolate with chili followed by 100 burpees. Kidding! About the burpees. Oh and escaping in a good movie, which hopefully elicits in me an enlightening insight or two about life that inspires me to make it more exciting.

6. What are your self-care rituals?

Travel, working out, a weekly mani-pedi, a massage when I can squeeze it in, my derma’s magic hypoallergenic pore refiner.

7. What three things are you most grateful for?

Andrej, my health, my family’s health.

8. If you could give advice to yourself five years ago, what would you tell her?

“Buy the damn Argan oil!” We were in Marrakesh for our honeymoon in 2009 and my husband booked us on a tour of the Toubkal mountain, which included a side trip to a little house where women were making Argan oil products. It was hot and I was tired so I dismissed it as a tourist trap, just ignored the whole experience and refused to even give it a try or even buy a tiny vial. Little did I know that Argan oil would boom internationally in a few years as a miracle beauty product! Looking back, the experience and my (lack of) reaction to it was a metaphor for opening my eyes and mind and absorbing new experiences without being so quick to make any judgments.

9. What are your favorite:  

Books? Too many to mention. Can I name my favorite authors? Jhumpa Lahiri, Miranda July, Elizabeth Wurtzel John Updike, Roald Dahl, Milan Kundera, Umberto Eco.

Movies? Slice-of-life, wala lang French movies. Great films with strong female characters: Loved Marion Cotillard in Deux Jours, Une Nuit, Julianne Moore in Still Alice, Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Movies by Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater.

Blogs? Don’t really follow any, but I probably should! Oh, my sister Yasmin’s blog about her son’s autism spectrum disorder, journeyonthespectrum.blogspot.com always makes me cry.

Quote of the day? “The distance between dreams and reality is discipline.”

Instagrammer/Instagram account?
Padma Lakshmi, Iza Goulart, Lena Dunham, Murad Osman, Little Baby Animals, Dogs of Instagram

Fashion: @giizeleoliveira @manrepeller @anna_dello_russo @whoworewhat
Fitness: @izagoulart @kayla_itsines @sachafitness @nicolewinhoffer @tracyandersonmethod
Food: @nao1223 @stupideasypaleo @cookinwithmima @myhealthydish_

Go-to/no-fail outfit?  Used to be dresses, but I’m bored with them now. So, lately, jumpsuits! Whether they’re tie-back plunging-halter style for night or airplane mechanic-style zip-ups for day, they always give the wearer instant 70s, uhm, panache (I have to giggle slightly when I use that word). With sky-high heels and bug-eye sunglasses, they make me feel as if I were Lauren Hutton by day, Bianca Jagger by night. Even if I’m just in Makati. And even if going to the bathroom is such a production number. Hehe.

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