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Reviving the Golden Goddess, Maggie Wilson is Ready to Reignite Her Wanderlust

Updated: Oct 4

From inspirations to aspirations, Maggie Wilson has the world as her oyster—full of dreams yet to be achieved as a globe-trotter, designer and mother—one country after another, one cause after the other.


Words by Cristille Cruz Cabral


One’s success can be attributed to the grandeur of possessions, a much-coveted title for notability, number of social media followers, or even net worth, but for beauty queen-turned-entrepreneur Maggie Wilson, it is the total opposite, it is the intangible.



“I am a firm believer in investing in experiences rather than spending on material things,” she says.


There are three noticeable elements upon a quick look on her Instagram feed (@wilsonmaggie) which exude the spirited life she’s living in—her travel diaries with the beach and the tropics as her consistent backdrop, her artistic side in her home and décor design venture alongside the philanthropic projects significantly reflecting her being, and her loving son, Connor.


It is quite close to an ideal life, to some, with such vibrance from different facets that make her very fitting to be the Autumn 2021 cover star of XPEDITION Magazine, with the cosmopolitan city of Dubai as the setting of this Filipina-British beauty in the midst of a scorching summer heat, while her elegantly toned physique is being embraced by the internationally famed fashion designer Furne Amato’s couture masterpieces, embellished in golden hues and queen Cleopatra-inspired accents. Her charm and cheerfulness had set the overall aura during the entire photo shoot, radiating with calmness but infused with a spell of sophistication in every move.


Adding to the scene with the global stature of Dubai as the host of reputedly the greatest show in the world “Expo 2020” with October as its kick-off month—welcoming thousands of tourists from across hundreds of nations, it is a perfect timing for such a well-travelled personality to be on the spotlight.


Albeit the current pandemic may have changed the way people used to explore new places, the luscious desire to travel of each and everyone still remains the same, and in the case of Maggie, travelling has always been her inner treasure that no money can trade with.




“Travelling, learning about new cultures, trying new cuisines, and meeting new people are all eye-opening to me and these are experiences that bring me so much joy. The value and knowledge that I get from travelling are something that I can pass down to my son or future children and can never be taken away from me,” said Maggie.

Wearing many hats (or crowns, more appropriately)—be it being a mum, a businesswoman, a celebrity influencer, and a social advocate, motherhood could have been her most fulfilling calling yet. This proves to be true when she was asked about her most prized possession.


Having heard it from a celebrated maven of design and wellness who (almost) has it all—from jaw-dropping looks to a flourishing company, and a beautiful family, one would expect an answer on getting acclaimed for a noble achievement or a digit-based property to the question. Humbled by her response, it was surprisingly a silver ring which her son, Connor, made for her way back when he was aged eight.


“He was very proud to have made it for me. It’s so special to me that I wear it everyday. He even checks every now and then if I’m wearing it and I tell him that I always do. It puts a huge smile on his face and that for me is priceless,” says Maggie.


Simple yet meaningful. Simple yet priceless. These statements best inculcate the definition of success for Maggie.


She must have travelled to 45 countries and have been immersed into unimaginable experiences to date, but she is yet to tick off the most thrilling adventure from her bucket list—

which is the global expansion for her homegrown brand, Acasa, a multi-dimensional company for creating spaces and curating homes as a haven of memories and adventures with their expertise in interior design and local talent empowerment.


INSPIRED BY TRAVELS, INSPIRED BY WONDER


Even at a young age, the mélange of independence, strong will, and passion was innate to Maggie. Having spent most of her childhood years in Saudi Arabia, she decided to move to the Philippines at the age of 14 and trailed a career path in the entertainment industry as an actress, model, and TV host. “Growing up, I was competitive but also very shy. Being on my own and working at such a young age has made me stronger both mentally and emotionally. Success doesn’t happen overnight. I had to start from the very bottom and worked my way up the ladder, which is why I became very good at adapting to new experiences and environments,” Maggie says.



It might have been a blank start from before, but her faith and confidence have kept her motivated—from pursuing her passion to solidifying her mission. In 2007, she was crowned as Miss World Philippines and from that moment on, her eyes have been geared towards nowhere but the top, all the time.


As her career as a celebrity and host entailed her to journey within rich traditions, breathtaking escapades, and culinary delights like her ‘Amazing Race Asia’ triumph with fellow beauty queen Parul Shah in 2016 and her hosting stint in the travel show ‘Beached’ with Marc Nelson a few years back before the pandemic hit, Maggie learned the essence of travelling—which is to be more compassionate when it comes to understanding each other’s differences.


Like her anecdote on a quick but memorable three-day trip to Cuba, where she hopped out of the plane from her dream destination and had gone back home as a very different person with a hopeful (and better) perspective on life.



Inspired by her travels, from swimming with sharks in the Caribbean to running on Middle Eastern sands, being the first Filipina to finish the Antarctic Ice Marathon and much more, Maggie introduced her brainchild Acasa to the Philippine architecture and design scene. Since its inception in 2018, the popular interior design hub provides a hybrid of service-oriented customizations for homes as well as a lifestyle platform, such as an online shopping website for décor and furniture, ACafé serving scrumptious treats in a cosy dining destination, and Acasa Living featuring a YouTube channel for tips and tricks on home design.


Acasa specializes in modern tropical design, which has been a hit with like-minded individuals who intend to bring the outdoors in, especially when the widespread Coronavirus forced people to stay in their homes and utilize spaces as instant vacation abodes for relaxation and peace from the world's challenging situation.


Sustainability is a vital part of the businesses ecosystem; they support local communities through product innovation using locally sourced materials and, more importantly, promote Filipino artisanship to the global market.


"We have solid plans for global expansion. With the aim for Acasa to be established in the European market by the close of 2022," says Maggie.


Her constant love for a sun-soaked ambience and never-breaking relationship with anywhere sands-and-seas have been the best answer to why the Indonesian island is her choice for the next Acasa Villas and even the place where she might settle in the future. She said: "I am hopelessly in love with the ocean. Its beauty, mystery, and complexity bring me so much peace and intrigue. I live a fairly fast-paced life that whenever I get time off work to travel for leisure and relaxation, I always find myself by the beach. I've recently acquired some properties in Bali. I just love the vibe that the island gives me, so I would probably end up retiring and settling over there."







BACK TO BASICS


Purpose. The purpose of travelling, the purpose of designing, the purpose of motherhood, and to somehow sum it up, the purpose of living—have been found by Maggie. Her years of experience have taught her the art of living life to its fullest potential. It indeed requires a great demand for effort to discover your meaning. Though there were hurdles down the road, she remained strong and even coming stronger. But for someone like Maggie who has a lot on her plate, how does she make it so seamless?


There is no perfect life, after all. But one thing that lets her live a life less complicated and a lot happier is simplicity. From her fitness routine to beauty regimen, fashion choices, and daily habits, she sticks to the tried and tested that work well for her.


About her diet, she says: “Intermittent fasting is one aspect that I practice when it comes to maintaining my shape. On weekdays, I try to fast for around 16 to 18 hours. In the hours that I do eat, I eat pretty much anything I please. I don’t believe in strict diets and restricting myself from eating the food I enjoy. I love my carbs. I’m also a much happier person when I’m not deprived.”


As she is a self-confessed foodie, the well-loved Japanese restaurant in the UAE Sumo Sushi & Bento Dubai sent Maggie a delicious package of The Fashion Meal by XPEDITION Magazine Editor in Chief Josh Yugen, a traditional bento concept featuring authentic flavours of sushi, teriyaki, signature seafood bites, side dish staples, and the signature drink Yugen Berry.







On taking care of her skin, while sunblock is her holy grail beauty product when travelling, seeking the help of a skin expert is vital to Maggie. She says, “As different weather conditions do affect my skin, I always carry an entire skincare set with me. My regimen is quite straight forward, nothing too complicated. It consists of facial wash, toner, moisturizer and sunblock. A few days before my flight, I make sure to get my hair colored, and my lashes and nails done. If I’m staying in a city for longer, I also make sure to find a hair and nail salon and even a good skin clinic where I can do a facial to help keep my skin in check.”


And her fashion sense? It’s a brilliant blend of bohemian chic, gypsy tales, and mermaid dreams in the classiest stance it could be, who just got out of an adventure and ready to take on another without hesitation. Comfort is of utmost importance to her. Neutrals in whites, blacks, and earthy tones (with an occasional play of electric colors flashing on some red carpet outfits) dominantly rule her #ootds, harmonized with timeless pieces that you’ll always see her with—Cartier bangles, Audemars Piguet watch, Golden Goose sneakers, Gentle Monster sunnies, black designer bags by Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga, with her YSL stilettos and The Row blazer that match almost everything. And of course, her black bikini from Indah Clothing for basking under the sun.


GIVING BACK


Now destined to live a dynamic life, Maggie is looking forward to slowing down when the right time comes for her to depart from the fast-paced norm that she is so used to—in between her endeavors and businesses that she hopes to be established and successful in a span of years and another could be welcoming a new bundle of joy. “I want to be more settled in my family life. I look forward to doing more projects that give back. Sometime in the next 10 years, I would like to have more kids. By then, my son Connor will be an adult, which is such a crazy thought and concept to me right now. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it,” she said.





“Helping as much as I can in spreading awareness and raising funds for charities close to my heart is something that I enjoy doing, as I feel that I have been so blessed and it needs to be shared. Philanthropy isn’t just about giving monetary donations, but also sharing knowledge. Working with good causes keeps me grounded. I also instill this value in my son. I involve him in a lot of the work I do with the organizations that I support,” she added. Maggie works with social organizations that have core advocacies on children, whether it’s for providing education or raising funds for medical missions.




Great things never come from comfort zones, while little progress every day will eventually become bigger someday. To Maggie Wilson, travelling has made her a better person (a successful one even), and it is because she does not do it just by and for herself—she makes a difference to someone else’s life with her inspirations and aspirations. “Investing in people is one of the best legacies anyone can leave behind. Knowing that I’ve contributed to helping someone reach their own success in life, to me that is priceless. In the hopes that they too will pass on what they’ve learnt to the next generation.”