GRADUATION day marks the end of one chapter in one’s life and the beginning of another. It’s the culmination of one’s efforts, and a triumph over
months of struggle and stress.
It brings feelings of happiness, relief and accomplishment. This day holds a sentimental value to every graduate and is often looked back to with fondness and memories of the emotion-filled milestone.
Now imagine not having a graduation picture. Without that photograph to see or hold, the memory of a great day could easily be forgotten. Some people print as many copies of that photo to give out to family members and friends like trading cards.
The sad reality is, a graduation picture is a luxury not everybody can afford. So, what happens to the memories of students who don’t have graduation pictures?
With “Project Tassel,” there’s no need to worry about the expense of a graduation picture package. It is run by a talented and mission-driven group of people.
INQUIRER 2bU interviewed Project Tassel’s creator, Yuki Tansengco—a fashion blogger who thought of the idea and sought the help of other professionals to make it a reality.
What is the aim of this project? How is it helping the community?
Project Tassel aims to empower students from less fortunate communities by providing them with a complete graduation photo package—which includes hair, makeup and photo shoot—all for free! Graduation photos symbolize an important milestone, both for the parents and their child, and serve as a tangible thing that shows one of the greatest accomplishments a student can achieve. When parents see graduation photos, they can’t help but be proud.
[The graduation photo] is like a pat on the back of parents for working hard to get their children to where they want to be and for the kids who studied hard to get a step closer to where they want to be in the future. We place importance on that and don’t want to deprive them of a simple graduation picture. That’s why Project Tassel was created.
What inspired you to create this project?
Back in college, I didn’t have a graduation picture, and I regret it to this very day. I saw disappointment in my mom’s face when she asked for it and I bluntly told her, “I didn’t take one.”
I didn’t find the price reasonable once I reviewed the graduation photo packages. I may not have understood it back then and I’m sure my school had a logical reason behind it, but I found it expensive and unreasonable that you could not get the grad photo sans the yearbook.
I just wanted a nice, clean graduation photo to look back upon—in digital format and a hard copy to frame. Sadly, that option was not available back then and I regret it. So, I’d like each kid to have the opportunity to have one in which [lack of] money would not be a hindrance.
What were the problems you encountered while creating this project?
Just like graduation, the road to Project Tassel also came with challenges. If you want the best outcome, you’ve got to work with the best. Working with the best re- quires tapping really talented people but, obviously, they don’t come cheap. (And they really should not!)
For the 2015 batch, we were lucky to have on board professional photographer Laya Gerlock who studied in New York Institute of Photography for six years; make- up artist Ham Viloria who was trained by MAC Cosmetics; and hairstyling expert Alex of Blo Blow Dry Bar.
Our shoot was assisted by Jubcy Sebastian and Jay de Guzman. This is my passion project so I am immensely thankful they in- stantly said yes to my request. They are super talented and bonded instantly with the kids!
What would you want to do with this project in the future?
In my previous projects I have worked with Gawad Kalinga; and GKonomics con- nected me to its first elementary school, Caring Jesus Educational Foundation in Pandi, Bulacan. The students and teachers are close to my heart so I thought of them as my first batch. In the future, the Project Tassel team would definitely love to work with more schools. I’d also like to tap other talented photographers, makeup artists and hairstylists who’d like to pay it forward. We’d like to be a community that shares time, talent and treasure to those in need—and will do a great job!
To make this project sustainable in terms of financing, we will partner with Blo Blow Dry Bar for a whole year-round graduation special. The number of students who’ll get fixed by Blo for graduation will also be the same number of students we’ll sponsor for Project Tassel.
That’s the goal. We’d like to take thou- sands of photos, shake lots of hands and tell the students, “Job well done. You look great and will kick butt in the real world!”
Graduation is a very important milestone in every student’s life that should be re- membered and cherished. Help us connect to more communities by nominating a school close to your heart or an artist who you think would like to work with us for hair, makeup, photos and printing. Please e-mail [email protected] with the name of the school, date of graduation and why you’d like to nominate them for Project Tassel. Cheers to new beginnings!