“Laugh ’till it hurts—cry ’till you laugh” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Michelle Escutin by © Cyndal Lorch

“Michelle is a little ball of fire, and by little I mean she is not even 5 feet tall and of Filipino decent. In her own words, she is jolly, loud and likes to wear bright colours. Her spirit being would be Mindy Lahiri in terms of her energy, attitude, experiences and outlook on life.   For her photo we thought it would be fun to give her as much height as possible…hence the heels AND a stepladder. Props to Michelle for posing in such a precarious state while still gracefully holding a whole dessert stand of cupcakes (she also likes sweets). All I have to say is that this girl is a trooper and definitely lives up to her description and I love it. It was great getting to meet you Michelle and thank you so much for letting me photograph you for The Birthday Book Project!” – Cyndal L

Image by © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Michelle

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. Running from bar to the dance-floor when “my song” came on during my 30th Surprise Birthday party and falling flat on my ass, in front of EVERYONE – ego and arse bruised, photographic evidence for days – but got up and kept on dancing.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. My parents are very strict and simple people and celebrating one’s birthday went as far as dinner at Red Lobster’s – no parties, no friends ever invited. I was also a super nerd so didn’t really have many friends to celebrate with at all. Basically all birthdays until I was about 19 sucked really hard, lonely party of one over here!

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A.The 30th Surprise Bday Party my boyfriend and best-friend organized for me, friends AND Family – getting all those crazy people together in my life was no easy task. 2 of my favourite people in the universe working together for me just left me ugly-crying for days.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. Ube something – cake / cupcake / pie – having some type of ube treat is a MUST! (The filipino in me is alive and well)

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Being with or just being remembered by everyone that you love and may not even love so much. I love the reminder that you get from people wishing you well ’cause then you know there are people out there that think you are pretty dope.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. Mid-night msg from my brothers, we no longer live in the same home and are grown with families of our own but if we don’t get that mid-night msg from eachother it is never quite the same. I’ve actually been called out for being lame and waiting until the next morning, that no longer happens.