Elisse Joson: Embodying Womanhood in Her Many Roles

Elisse Joson talks about being a first-time mom and how she redefines what empowerment means for her daughter Felize.

Modern Parenting March cover Elisse Joson and Felize de Leon
Elisse’s outfit by The Closet Culture and Felize’s outfit by H&M. Elisse’s eyelashes and nails by Lunch Break Beauty

Understanding Elisse Joson’s motherhood journey first begins with knowing her roots in showbiz, love, and ultimately, raising her daughter Felize with reel and real-life partner McCoy de Leon.

When Elisse first came into the scene, she was one of many upcoming actresses under ABS-CBN. It was not until a stint on Pinoy Big Brother that she became recognizable to the masses. And from a meet-cute encounter, her romance soon blossomed with McCoy.

Dubbed McLisse, the love team eventually starred together in teleseryes—including FPJ’s famous series Ang Probinsyano, and as one of the pairs in the show The Good Son.

Fast forward to 2021, where Elisse and McCoy made an appearance on Pinoy Big Brother: Komunity Season 10. The couple announced to Kuya the good news—they were already parents—while introducing their bundle of joy: Felize.

Elisse Joson and Felize de Leon in bed smiling
Elisse’s outfit by The Closet Culture and Felize’s dress by H&M. Elisse’s eyelashes and nails by Lunch Break Beauty

After putting a brief pause on her showbiz career, Elisse has since returned to television. She wrapped up the afternoon drama Pira-Pirasong Pangarap and the movie Mallari—shown at the recent Metro Manila Film Festival—where she shared the screen with Piolo Pascual and Janella Salvador. 

While she enjoys being back in the spotlight, being a mom to daughter Felize is her biggest role to date.

The (unexpected) challenges of her first pregnancy

First-time pregnancies can be challenging and in Elisse’s case, it was tough since she was living abroad, away from her loved ones. What’s more, it happened during the pandemic, which made isolation all the more evident.

“The challenge was being away from what I was used to and comfortable with,” she recalled. “Kasi yung pagbubuntis itself, I didn’t have a problem. I felt like a normal person with a growing belly.”

While navigating the normalcy of her pregnancy, she did not expect the emotional changes that she went through. Mood swings, prenatal depression, and the challenge of keeping the entire pregnancy away from the public eye were just some of the challenges she faced. Even more so having to grow into her new role as a mother, with a baby on the way.

Elisse Joson in denim
Elisse’s outfit by H&M, eyelashes and nails by Lunch Break Beauty

Nevertheless, she forged on, thanks to the guidance of people whom she met along the way.

Yung joy of the pregnancy itself, you’ll never really know until you are in that position na magical pala talaga,” she explained. “Knowing na you have someone else with you gave me strength and I guess the joy in knowing that I’m not dealing with it alone [helps, especially] because I know I have someone growing inside of me.”

Learning to mature fast

When Felize was born, Elisse and McCoy knew that things were about to change. In Elisse’s case, she had to mature fast as a young mother at 25. “I knew I had to skip some phases in my life as a young woman because I was giving birth to a child already,” she mused. “I had to put in the effort to grow up for someone else.”

Elisse Joson smiling
Elisse’s outfit by The Closet Culture, eyelashes and nails by Lunch Break Beauty

Missing out on what women normally experienced and enjoyed in their early 20s also meant she had to learn to regulate her emotions and control the inner battles she faced. What’s more, she had to look at the bigger picture—that is, the start of her motherhood journey. “I learned how to set aside [what wasn’t important at that time] and think of her (Felize) watching me, knowing that sa akin siya kukuha ng lessons in life.”

Having a child early on has also taught her the value of patience. “As an only child, I wasn’t mature enough to wait on certain things,” she admitted. “Now, slowly I’m learning to be patient, understanding, and [to be] in control of my emotions.”

Collage shot of Elisse Joson
Elisse’s jumpsuit by The Closet Culture, eyelashes and nails by Lunch Break Beauty

Now that Felize is in her toddler stage, Elisse has made a comeback in the showbiz industry. Thus, on top of navigating the changes and learnings that she was going through mentally and emotionally, Elisse also had to learn how to balance motherhood with her career.

“Back in her first or second year…yung time na iyon, I wanted to keep working,” she said. “Strike while the iron is hot. Like, keep going and accepting work. But now with her current age, as she’s turning three, I realized na parang may shift na hindi pala kailangan na dire-diretso.”

“It came naturally to me that I wanted to spend more time with her,” the young mother added. “I wanted to see her grow up every day. And nothing’s gonna beat that kahit ano pang trabaho. So now, I think carefully already [about] what I accept when it comes to work compared to before na tanggap lang ng tanggap, trabaho lang ng trabaho.”

With newfound determination, she declared, “Now I feel like there’s nothing more important than me being physically present sa mga everyday activities [of Felize.]”

Collage of Elisse Joson and daughter Felize de Leon

The importance of self-check

More than just being a mom and an actress, Elisse is also an entrepreneur—running a spa called Lunch Break Beauty and a jewelry line named after her daughter. 

When asked how she juggles everything, Elisse herself is amazed at how she does it. “Sometimes it gets crazy to the point na mapapatanong na lang ako why am I doing this all at the same time?”

“But at the end of the day, yung motivation ko [is that this is all] going to be for Felize’s future,” she said with a smile. “More than being a passion project for me, more than a career move for me…lagi ko na lang iniisip that Felize is going to benefit from this, which makes me want to keep doing this.”

Elisse Joson with nails and lashes by her business Lunch Break Beauty

Elisse stressed as well the importance of time management and checking in on herself. For the young mom, these can be challenging, especially since there’s just so much to do. “It’s easier said than done. Balancing two things already is hard enough [and] to balance three or more, the work [that needs to be done] is extra challenging,” she admitted.

“I just have to keep myself in check kung saang area of my life I’m missing more time and then I have to put effort into whatever that is. And every day just regroup and know where my attention is needed more.”

Elisse on defining empowerment

As an only child, Elisse believes that she and McCoy were blessed with Felize for a reason—as someone who fills their lives with joy and laughter and someone who would complete the family dynamic the two have always dreamed of having.

But more than that, she believes that Felize was born into this world to teach Elisse to embrace her womanhood and to instill those very same teachings in her daughter. With her growing up fast, Elisse said, “Whenever I see how she looks at me, I see that maybe the reason why I was given a girl [is] because I have to show her how a woman should be.”

She has thus become more mindful of what she says and does, always keeping in mind that someone is always watching and will end up emulating her.

Elisse Joson and daughter Felize de Leon collage

Empowerment, for Elisse, means being strong and knowing how to stand up on her own. But that definition has since then evolved with Felize in the equation. “Now, having a family…I think of it as having the strength, knowing when to ask for help, and [knowing] when to give help as well. You have to learn to empower and [at the same time] lift other people to be empowered.”

Her definition of empowerment is also something she applies to the roles she has done. She cites her character Hillary in the recent afternoon show Pira-Pirasong Pangarap as an example of a woman who empowered herself amidst the struggles she went through.

“That same drive, now I am a mom…I saw that in Hillary. Her past experiences motivated her to have such [a strong] drive to keep going—no matter what they say,” she shared about the character. “She trusted a lot of people in the past who have betrayed her and [whom] she didn’t get love and attention from. But it didn’t stop her from trying again. She kept on pushing to get what she wanted.”

Young mom Elisse Joson

To first-time and would-be-moms, “Cherish every moment.”

As crazy as her schedule gets, Elisse remains focused on being present in Felize’s milestones, while constantly attending to her needs. Throughout all this, she gets help from McCoy and her mom, Christine Joson. In fact, during the mother-daughter cover shoot, Elisse and her mom would alternate when it came to attending to Felize in between takes. 

It’s natural that as she navigates the stages of being a mom, her friends, fans, and followers constantly seek her advice. Time and time, she tells them, “I want them to know that time goes by fast and that they should cherish every single moment whether it be big or small.”

She also encourages them to record and document the milestones, saying that those photos and videos serve as “a look back” at fond memories of growing up.

Elisse Joson and Felize de Leon smiling

With a thriving showbiz career and raising a young family, how does Elisse define the modern parent? It’s having no rules or judgment for her. “Modern parenting is really how you decide to be a mother or a father. Modern parenting, for me, is doing things on your terms and just being your own person for your child, always do what works for you—no matter how it looks.”


Photography KIERAN PUNAY of KLIQ, INC.





Art Direction MARK YELLOW assisted by DENIELLE CARAG

Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA


Shot on Location at MARCO POLO ORTIGAS

Special thanks to STAR MAGIC

Camille Villar: Empowerment Through Motherhood and Self-care

Bianca King: Embracing a New Season as a Mom

Iza Calzado: Embracing New Beginnings and Unique Timelines

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