"Since That Trip Home, I Felt Even More Connected To My Roots": H.E.R Recently Got Very Candid About Her Filipina Identity

    "My tita makes the best adobo."

    While spending the holidays in the Philippines with her family, H.E.R. sat down with Vogue Philippines — which launched this past August — to talk about everything from her Black and Filipina American identity to her family and culture, including her favorite Filipino foods.

    H.E.R. in front of a life size image of her Vogue Philippines cover

    So here are 13 things the Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician and February 2023 Vogue Philippines cover star revealed about herself:

    H.E.R. attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards

    1. H.E.R.'s real name is Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, but she goes by Gabi.

    A close-up of H.E.R. smiling. H.E.R. is rocking dramatic winged eye makeup and her hair is pulled back into a ponytail

    2. In 2014, H.E.R. released her first single under the name Gabi Wilson. Two years later, she chose to reinvent herself as an anonymous singer-songwriter (H.E.R. is an acronym for "Having Everything Revealed") to allow her music to shine.

    H.E.R. performing as Gabi Wilson in 2014

    3. While H.E.R. can understand Tagalog, she's not comfortable speaking it. So, she asked her mom to help her practice before they went to the Philippines.

    US singer-songwriter H.E.R. and her mother Agnes Wilson smile for photographers at the 2022 Billboard Women in Music awards

    4. She collaborated with Beauty and the Beast costume designer Marina Toybina to represent her Black and Filipino culture aesthetically. As a result, they wrote "Belle" on her apron in Baybayin (ancient Philippine writing).

    H.E.R. as Belle with a close-up of her name is Baybayin

    5. H.E.R.'s favorite Filipino food is sinigang (a classic sour and savory tamarind stew). "My grandma makes the best sinigang," she added.

    A screencap of H.E.R. talking about sinigang from Vogue Philippines' Instagram reel

    6. When she was 11, H.E.R. was on an episode of weekly magazine talk show Adobo Nation on TFC (The Filipino Channel), where she was introduced as "the girl with ginormous talent" and sang "Maging Sino Ka Man."

    H.E.R. on Adobo Nation holding a guitar and being interviewed by two people when she was 11

    7. She got a chain with the Filipino flag, the sun, and the stars for Saweetie, who is also of Filipino and Black heritage (as well as Chinese).

    H.E.R. and Saweetie perform during H.E.R.'s Lights On festival bay area

    8. Adobo, a soy-vinegar marinated dish, reminds H.E.R. of her tita Joan. "She makes the best adobo," H.E.R. said, before adding, "and it's not complete without saging," a sweetened banana-based dessert.

    A plate of Filipino chicken adobo which sits on a bed of white rice

    9. In 2019, H.E.R. returned to the Philippines for the first time since she was 4. She brought her immediate family with her, and they visited her mother's old home. "She's from Nueva Ecija, Cabanatuan City, the tricycle capital of the world,” H.E.R. said of her mother. "It was a humbling experience too, just to see. … Since that trip, I felt even more connected to my roots."

    H.E.R. and her mother on the Oscars red carpet. Her mother is wearing a sequined halter dress and she H.E.R. is wearing a sequin and sheer gown with a hood

    10. H.E.R. knows a ton of Pinoy pop culture, having grown up watching Home Along Da Riles and as a fan of Sharon Cuneta, Gary V., and Jay-R.

    screencap of Home Along da Riles starring Dolphy as Mang Kevin Kosme who's singing

    11. While in Manila for the holidays, H.E.R. ran into Jo Koy in her hotel, and he acknowledged how blessed they were to be able to bring their families to the Philippines.

    A close-up of Jo Koy at a red carpet event

    12. Growing up, H.E.R.'s after-school snack was Choc Nut (a chocolate candy bar).

    Choc-Nut bars stacked on each other

    13. Lastly, while many of us may recognize H.E.R. by her sunglasses and signature big hair, she's been embracing bolder looks and sharing more of herself beyond her H.E.R. persona.

    H.E.R. at the release party for her cover for Vogue Philippines holding up a copy of the magazine

    For more, check out H.E.R.'s full cover story with Vogue Philippines here.