Even after almost three decades into her career, Jolina Magdangal is still a Philippine Pop Culture icon.
In an industry where most stars lose momentum over time, Magdangal’s prominence has never faltered. Across multiple mediums and art forms, the multi-hyphenate has become a beloved figure across audiences of all generations, one that encapsulates the very best of the Filipino identity.
Regardless of what people may remember her for throughout the years, the only thing that’s always mattered to Magdangal is being herself.
“Nako, lahat nalang sa mga gusto kong gawin noon, inenjoy ko talaga (Gosh, I just did anything and everything that I wanted to do, and I enjoyed them all),” she shares to Billboard Philippines with a playful laugh.
No limits or obstacles hindered Magdangal from doing whatever she wanted, which allowed her to be completely true to her identity — both in her music and self-expression.
The amount of hit songs and acting performances that Magdangal has under her belt is just a small reminder of how much she’s accomplished over the years. Others have even cited her as a style icon, noting her innovative fashion choices in the 90s which have now been revived as inspiration for aspiring creatives.
From her peculiar outfit combinations to her musical discography, Magdangal is proud of all the work she’s done in her career. In setting herself apart from the rest, she’s become recognized as a trendsetter whose (ongoing) legacy remains a large influence on the next generation of artists.
When asked about these young talents, the respect and appreciation are mutual for Magdangal. Her own observations of the future of Filipino music are optimistic, with her praising how much these artists get to show themselves in their music.
“May ibinubugay talaga yung mga bata ngayon, at pwede nilang sabihin na sila mismo yung gumawa ng kagandahan na ito. Walang mga rules sa pinaggagawa nila, kaya nagagawa nila ang gusto nila sa sarili nilang depinisyon [Kids today get to contribute so much to the industry, and they can proudly say that they are the ones creating the beauty of their music. There are no rules to what they are doing, which is why they get to craft whatever they want in their own definition],” she mentions.
Even if she doesn’t realize it right away, all the traits and characteristics she admires about these emerging creatives are actually products of her influence on the culture. Which is why it’s no surprise she’s dubbed the “Queen of Pinoy Pop Culture”.
“In a way nakakahonor rin pakinggan [yun] kasi ibig sabihin may naiambag talaga ako sa kultura [In a way, it’s an honor to hear that because it truly means that I was able to contribute to the culture of our country].”
While Magdangal finds herself honored by this sentiment, it doesn’t mean she’s reaching the end of her career anytime soon. Though she already has an impressive body of work for us to celebrate, there are still so many avenues in which Magdangal finds ways to express herself and share her talents with the rest of the world.
While enjoying the experience of motherhood is Magdangal’s focus right now, her ‘90s pop culture moment has yet to find its ending. As time marches on, she remains a shining star in the industry, and her journey continues to inspire generations to come. There’s still so much that she has to share with the world, so who says she’s going to stop now?
A version of this story appeared in Billboard Philippines’ pop issue, dated Oct. 15, 2023.