MAY 30, 2019

Liz Uy’s Just Desserts

BY MARTIN YAMBAO
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ISABEL SANTOS

Liz Uy is a top stylist, an influencer, an entrepreneur, a mom to 18-month old Xavi, and most recently, the star baker and founder of a new cookie company called Mood Bake. Between prepping shoots for her A-list clientele, and jetting from Manila to NYFW, Milan, London, Paris and wherever fashion takes her next; Liz Uy comes close to the very picture of having it all.

I’ve been baking all my life. That’s been one constant thing, and you know, I’d bring them to my shoots and I’d let my clients try. And they just never stopped requesting for it: double chocolate brownies, peanut butter cookies, matcha. You name it, I baked it.

Her food venture went from hobby to actionable business plan in less than six months.

Fueled by her childhood obsession for the perfect cookie, a tour-de-force of an online social strategy (seriously, you saw her sea foam green boxes everywhere for a minute) and her little known degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from a previous life, Liz manufactured intense hype and demand for her soon-to-be signature chunky chocolate chip cookies – they’re chewy and butter-y soft, chocolate-y with a cookie dough-esque texture finished with a slightly burnt crisping at the top. Having set up shop at the ground floor of Greenbelt 5, Mood Bake has operated on a supplies-until-sold-out basis since opening last March.

Available at P99 per cookie or P990 for a box of 10, Liz Uy has big ideas and even bigger dreams in store for her food startup – or “Xavi’s younger brother”, as she likes to call it. On managing the multitudes of her different businesses (“it’s tough, I’m never not on the phone with someone”), to her favorite way to unwind, and how the idea of “having it all” changes year after year; this is how Liz Uy gets things done.

On her morning routine:

I’m usually up at six because that’s when Xavi wakes up. I mix up Pilates lessons or swimming, depending on my mood. I shower, I get dressed, I take Xavi to play school and it’s either the kitchen first thing for Mood Bake or I show up to an early call-time shoot. That’s always been my thing when it comes to work or commitments, it doesn’t matter if I just got out of an 18-hour commercial the day before or if I’m fresh from a long-haul flight: I’ll do my best to be there.

I’ve learned: it’s important to show up.

On keeping herself busy:

You know I always ask myself that: “why am I masipag?” [laughs], I guess I’m just that type of person, I love the idea of getting out there and just getting things done.

It’s funny because more and more, I’ve come to realize that my dream is to just, you know, not do anything. Like, if I could spend all of my time with my son I would, but – that’s not what happens [laughs], who knows. Maybe I’m doing all of this now so in 10-15 years that’s it, I’m done, and the rest is just cruise control.

On skincare as self-care:

Hydration. Super water lang talaga is the key to great skin. And sleep! When I skip one or the other, my skin changes overnight. Skincare as self-care [laughs], that’s why I always make time for visits to Dra. Aivee. It’s a happy place.

On her holy grail skin care products:

My forever fave is the La Mer moisturizing lotion. Not too thick, not too thin either – I like the consistency right in the middle.

On starting her new business:

To be completely 100% honest, Mood Bake happened organically. I’ve been baking all my life – that’s been one constant thing, and you know – I’d bring them to my shoots and I’d let my clients try. And they just never stopped requesting for it: double chocolate brownies, peanut butter cookies, matcha. You name it, I baked it.

On how it all began:

I have to credit my good friend Alex Gonzaga, she really was the one who encouraged me in the beginning. Can you believe it – I was just baking for myself in November last year and I said ‘yeah, fine, why not, I’ll try this’ and I baked non-stop for a month perfecting the recipe, sending them out fresh from the oven. And next thing I knew… May business na! Ang bilis actually, ako din [laughs], naloka ‘din ako sa bilis.

On the evolution of her makeup routine:

It’s true what they say, when you’re younger you’re obsessed with piling on all the makeup – and as you grow older, you just learn to become more comfortable with yourself and I can’t agree more. I used to wear eyeliner every day, no exceptions and I think –– it’s been two years since the last time I tried to line them.

These days, 5 minutes and I’m out the door. I use Laura Mercier for my primer, SPF and just a skin tint for a base. BLK for my brows, Sunnies Face Glowboss for light contour and highlights. And for lips? I love everything 3CE. Done.

On managing her different companies:

I’m never not on the phone. I’m never disconnected from my team – it’s true there’s Mood Bake now, my new baby, my second son after Xavi [laughs] but I’ll never let go of styling. I love the work and my clients too much.

On work-life balance:

It’s a struggle to be honest. What work-life balance? [Laughs], you know, the Mom guilt is real – if things were different I’d want 100% of my time with Xavi. When I’m at a job or abroad for work and my partner sends me a picture of him, I could literally see him growing up ­­–– I want to be there for him 24/7 just to get to know the person he is, you know? And I think he also needs to get to know me too. 

If I could, I’d spend 100% of my time with family but I can’t. I’m a busy woman. And a control freak. If I could, I would bake every single cookie that comes from Mood because I’m controlling like that. Gusto ko ako yung gumagawa just like the beginning, but yeah, I’m slowly learning to let go.

On winding down:

That said, if I don’t make an effort to make time for my partner, for my son or for my family – then I know nothing’s going to happen. What I do, I look for things for us to do and book it weeks in advance: it could be a play, an exhibit opening or a dinner out with friends. I can’t be kampante because otherwise…

If I have to put in the work for Mood Bake, for Stylized Studio, for my personal clients – I put in the same amount of effort, if not more, towards family. Quality time has to be there.

On how her priorities have changed:

Easily, two years ago, 12 months ago, it used to be all about me. I thought that was life. I thought my career was it ­­–– being selfish, reaching your peak – that was me then, and if you think that’s for you, it’s perfectly OK.

But yeah, you know, all that changed for me, I guess when I became a Mom. Night and day. My career used to be the most important thing in my life, but now – it’s family more than anything.

On “having it all”:

You know, if I lost my job tomorrow – I’m not sure if I would be sad [laughs], as long as I have my family with me. If I had to choose, I would prioritize them over anything in the world.

But since no one is asking me to choose, I guess you can have it all. I’m lucky.

On the one thing she’s learned as a serial entrepreneur:

It sounds corny but, believe in your product. Believe in yourself and pour everything into making sure that your product is great. If you 100% believe in your mission, it’s that much easier to sell it.

What’s next for Mood Bake?

New flavors for sure. Matcha, Cran-Oatmeal, Double Chocolate. Just one or all at the same time, [laughs], I’m still figuring things out.

The Mood Bake pop-up is available at the ground level of Greenbelt 5.

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