Samantha “Grasya” Lopez was a popular dancer/model/actor in the Philippines when she decided to leave everything behind and try her luck in the Big Apple. Fourteen years after the move, and now an accomplished realtor in Manhattan, she shares some of her tips for not just surviving but graceful living in New York.
5. “Listen to yourself and know when to take a break.”
Despite loving and enjoying her position at Serafina, Samntah said that she got tired of it after 7 1/1 years: “Siguro mayroon akong 7-8 year itch. Yung Grasya ko, 7-8 years also. I started in 1994.”
She quit in March 2010, even without knowing what was going to be next for her. All she knew was that another adventure, another opportunity was waiting for her.
6. “Surround yourself with good people. Immigration lawyer? I prefer referrals from friends. Good friends can give you good referrals. They can also give you good advice.”
From 2010 to 2012, Samantha was back to showbiz in Manila, though still living in New York. Once the commute started taking its toll on her, she realized that she wanted to get bak in the New York work force.
“I told another friend that I was so bored that I wasn’t used to not working. I needed a job but didn’t want to go back to Serafina. I’m willing to learn something new,” she said. “My friend, who was handling VIP guests of hotels, suggested I get into real estate. She said one of her clients’ son is going to New York to study and was looking for a place to stay.”
That night, Samantha said she went home and did her research on real estate. Her first step was to look for a good institute to take a course and review for the licensing exam.
“I took the exam before Thanksgiving. I passed the school and State exam but I couldn’t really start right away. Wanted to start in 2012. First Monday of 2012, I walked into a real estate company to apply. It was close to our house. That’s when I started as a real estate agent,” she said.
7. “It will not always be perfect. There are bumps. But my mantra is that I’m thankful for struggles because it’s from those struggles that I gain my strength.”
Amid the roller coaster in her career, Samantha also felt a dip in her love life following her divorce from her British husband in 2014. She met the shoe designer, manufacturer and retailer in 2002. The pair got married in 2007.
Through all the successes and challenges, Samantha also shared how important her faith have been for her.”
8. “Faith has been my biggest weapon.”
A born-again Christian, she said that it was former “Eat Bulaga” host Toni Rose Gayda, who first introduced her to the Christian community.
“It got strengthened by Donita Rose who brought me to Victory, I also became close to Christine Jacob because of that. We went to singles cell group together,” she said.
These days, Samnatha religiously attends Sunday service and lights a candle for her petitions.
“I always believe, with prayers, of course. I never get discouraged. I believe in signs. That’s what I pray for. And you will know cause it will be smooth-sailing,” she said. And even it it’s not, Samantha shared her last tip.
9. “Always see the positive sign… the good side of anything.”
It was the first day of Spring when I sat down to catch up with this remarkable woman. And true to New York form, it was snowing heavily. But while others were trying to get off the roads and get indoors, Samantha suggested to take a stroll in the snow-covered Central Park, “It’s cold but it’s beautiful!”
She’s not just sharing her tips for graceful living in New York; Samantha is also sharing the beauty of the Big Apple through Nest Seekers International, helping people find their home in the City.
“For now, it’s me, New York and real estate,” she said. [END
Jannelle So-Perkins is a Filipino-American media pioneer, having created, produced and hosted America’s first and only daily talk show for Filipinos. After successfully running her show for almost 9 years, she left to take a break. Currently she’s preparing to launch her new project with Ecomedia, a division of U.S. mainstream media giant CBS. Connect to her on Facebook – www.facebook.com/JannelleSoOFFCIAL; Twitter – www.twitter.com/JannelleSo; Instagram – www.instagram.com/sojannelle; or email her at email@example.com.