Freska Griarte: Bravely Blazing the Trail for Filipino Voices

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Friday, Jun 09, 2017 11:18 AM



Everyone dreams of having That Job. You know the one, the elusive job that fires you up in the mornings, that feeds into a passion that you’ve long had. For radio host Freska Griarte, broadcasting was that job. “I got into broadcasting because I thought it was fun! I really loved it, and I was passionate about it,” she shares. After spending most of her life with music, she found her true passion. 

But what happens when you already have the job? Sure you’re happy, but does it mean anything to anyone else? To Freska, it came from a place where she looked around her and realized one surprising thing—there weren’t a lot of Filipinos on air. It hadn’t occurred to her what it meant to other people to be who she was. Talking about her previous TV gig, Stateside, Freska points out how important the show was. “There were Filipino programs, but there weren’t Filipino American programs…I didn’t really realize how much of an impact it was making in the Filipino community until it was cancelled.” 

Seeing what this meant, Freska started to use her voice to make an impact. She would go out into the community, do career lectures, and volunteer with at-risk youth. She lent her voice speaking for caregivers and talking about her experience as a breast cancer survivor.  “I’m a cancer survivor. My life changed drastically,” she shares as we follow her around during a typical day. Following her diagnosis, she underwent chemotherapy, a journey which she documented on her Youtube channel. In her videos, she’s usually fresh faced and happily sharing her story through chemotherapy, keeping strong and positive. She still feels strongly about losing her hair and losing half a breast. “I had half a chest, and no hair, so it was very tough. I could feel how society pushes that on people [that that's not] what’s beautiful.” 

“I’m a cancer survivor. My life changed drastically.” 

But through her struggle with cancer, Freska wasn’t alone. A group of friends rallied around her to create #TeamFreska, organizing a benefit where they raised money for Freska to be able to raise her kids. As a single mom, she really had to let go and let other people help her. She realized that what she went through, she wasn’t going through alone.  “God spared me, He really did. I needed to let others know that they’re not alone.” 


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About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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