MANILA, Philippines - With Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach recently crowned Miss Universe, the beauty of the Filipina has yet again been put in the international spotlight.
“I believe that the Filipina woman is not only beautiful outside but more so in her inner self. Filipina women are compassionate, warm, endearing, hardworking, patient and God loving,” says entrepreneur Myrna Tang Yao, CEO of five corporations, including RichPrime Global Inc., the official distributor of the Barbie doll.
“Our company, run by women, embody these characteristics,” says Myrna, a women’s rights advocate.
CEO Myrna adds, “Barbie is possibly the only toy that has maintained its popular after 57 years. It has evolved to become an aspiration of what you want to become – from being a career person of different nationalities, to fairy tale princesses and powerful women.”
Through the years, Myrna has been part of the re-invention of the Barbie doll. “We already have a diverse doll selection, from the fashionista to an international spy, and the Filipina Barbie which I created with (noted designer) Patis Tesoro in the 90s.” In 2012, a Filipino doll was also included in the brand’s Dolls of the World series.
Incidentally – and fittingly – Mattel introduced a limited edition Mutya Barbie in February 2015, a Filipina pageant queen, as part of its Global Glamour Collection. “Our country is known for the talent and beauty of the Filipina… it is very relevant to winning the Miss Universe because this was the concept when the Filipina Barbie was produced in 2015,” Myrna says.
Myrna also collaborated with Ballet Philippines – headed by former Miss Universe Margie Moran-Floirendo – for a series of Barbies dressed up by noted local designers. The one-of-a-kind collector’s item dolls were auctioned to benefit the dance scholarship program of Ballet Philippines.
Myrna entered the male-dominated world of commodities trading, working for her father’s copra business. She set up RichPrime Global with 10 employees, and grew the business to a toy empire, which now manufactures, markets and distributes children’s toys, clothes and shoes of the top international brands. The company now has over 1,400 employees.
When she was just starting her business, it was Myrna’s dream to help the underprivileged through her work. Now that she is a successful entrepreneur at the helm of numerous companies and organizations, she considers it her responsibility to mentor other women entrepreneurs as well as advocate for women’s rights.
“My responsibility is to mentor and guide upcoming entrepreneurs,” she says. “I admire Go Negosyo headed by Joey Concepcion III for spearheading entrepreneurship in different sectors, including the women and youth.”
A Go Negosyo mentor herself, Myrna says, “Successful entrepreneurs should embrace mentoring and sharing their experiences to guide other entrepreneurs to become successful. There are many young people with potential who needs guidance. Their success will benefit our economy and our people.”