The Rise of Riza Santos: The Inspiring​ and Stunning Influencer — Gemma Exclusive

Riza Santos (Riza Racquel) is on the rise: Fashionista, Influencer, and Making her mark within the music world as a DJ. Riza is also from Canada and expressed her sentiments about her heritage by saying, “As a Canadian, it always warms my heart when people from other countries tell me about their positive experiences with Canadians. Canadians take pride in having a true identity, and we love our hockey!” said Santos. Riza is incredibly ambitious about being a Global Ambassador, becoming a refined DJ, and most importantly; giving back. She’s well spoken and highly professional. Riza also served in the military and highly values her family.

Riza is also an experienced actress and dancer who is vocally trained in music theater and opera. Her additional dance skills include jazz, hip-hop, salsa, and traditional Filipino dance. Riza aspires to become an entrepreneur in order to help students with financial resources who do not have the funds to obtain a post secondary education.

Riza started in pageants because she knew it would lead to the next positive step — which it did. Santos does not take her good fortune for granted. She works hard and with integrity. Riza’s schedule is hectic, so Gemma was so thrilled that she took a moment to speak with Gemma Magazine.

Tell us a bit about growing up in Canada and how you decided to enter pageants and what is your personal view on them?

Canada is an incredible country with a mosaic of cultures. That being said, pageants are not the first thing you’d associate a Canadian with. I entertained the idea of joining a pageant through the influence of my mom and grandpa. My mom is gorgeous and so glamorous. However, my grandma wanted her to focus solely on her chemical engineering degree. I was encouraged to try out pageants as part of an extracurricular activity.

I view pageants as a stepping stone and also to advocate a cause that I’m passionate about. Also, I wanted to see the world, but I was a university student with a limited budget working in retail. Winning pageants gave me opportunities to travel internationally and to see the world through reputable organizations. The pageants I have participated in team up with charitable causes; they have personal meaning. I’ve volunteered nationally and internationally. Pageants were also a gateway to modeling, and that opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for me.

It’s incredible that you have won 3! What has pageant life taught you that you have been able to incorporate into your daily life?

Pageants provide unique experiences that can be transferred for personal development. At the same time, I don’t believe anyone should join a competition without the intention to win. I am a very competitive person; I think the process itself of preparing for arenas of competition–where one has to be self-motivated to produce the best version of themselves–should apply towards everyday life.

The reality is that as humans, we can be both competitive and cooperative. Pageants are competitions, but through them, I’ve made lifelong friendships that have outlasted the competition. Most importantly, I’ve learned that this journey of life is about the people you cross paths with, putting your best foot forward and showing up. People will remember you after the competition. It’s not always about winning.

You are an advocate for environmental protection. Can you please expand?

I think everyone can be an advocate for environmental protection. Just educate yourself and do your part. Lower your carbon footprint, and a be a responsible consumer. For example, I like to ride my bicycle or carpool as methods of transportation. I recycle, carry my reusable bags and utensils, and I love my metal straw. I encourage other people to do the same. Substantive change begins with you.

Can you please tell us why this is valuable to you?

It allows me to speak, and for people to know me behind the image and the persona. I have the real opportunity to be influential, and that being said: I’d like to advocate for a life of principle. The best way I know how to do accomplish this task is to be principled in my own life.

I was on the phone with my sister and niece on the way to the grocery store, when we came up with the acronym #GIFTED. We spoke of our family legacy and what we genuinely practice. Traditionally people think others are born #GIFTED. We want to introduce a new viewpoint. I think it encompasses a mindset that I was brought up with

G is for Generosity starts with being grateful and abundant wherever you’re at in life. It’s also empathetic toward others, seeking to understand them, and having compassion for them.

I is for Integrity. Trust is foundational and valuable because it is the foundation of all relationships in life. My father taught me that you’re only as good as your word and it should be ironclad. My word is my honor, and my courage Geis my life. I aim to live a life of integrity regardless of who is looking.

F is for Focus. Goals can only be achieved through focus and small shifts in action and focus cause people to succeed.

T is for Tenacity. Tenacity is making strong efforts and focusing on purposeful action. It’s not just about working hard but making sure what you do is purposeful. It’s not easy, but I do find that when I stay purposeful in what I do, feelings remain in perspective.

E is for Education. It’s not just about formal education, but learning from experience–and not just the bad ones. You may not always win the battle, but never lose the lesson.

D is for Dedication. Anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy. There are still setbacks, and it can be so easy to not see things through to the end. But dedication is about commitment.

I believe anyone can make the world a better place with these values, because it’s the foundation for a grounded person, and what is society other than the people who comprise it?

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My dad lost his father when he was 17 years old, but thankfully he had his siblings to help support him, and he completed his post-secondary education. My family has taught me the principles of living with integrity, having a self-motivated work ethic, and doing my best. They are conscious of leaving a legacy and creating a better future not only for self but for future generations as well.

“My family inspires me. They have a compelling story to tell, and I see my own life fitting into this larger narrative. My extended family immigrated to North America using education as a vehicle. I have uncles and aunts that earned both MD and Ph.D.’s. One of my uncles had seven degrees and was also a summa cum laude at UP, educated at Harvard Law School on a Fulbright scholarship, and was the first Filipino elected into Canadian government.” (Riza Santos)

Tell us more about some of your hosting jobs and your You-Tube Channel?
I have had excellent opportunities to host various international competitions as well as the Asian Poker tournament in Macau. My You-Tube channel focuses on my international travel, as well as beauty and make-up tutorials.

What are your current goals and aspirations?
I love music, and I am looking forward to DJing. I’m a mezzo-soprano vocalist and musician at heart. I studied Classical Music under a dramatic soprano who studied at the Moscow Conservatory of Music and worked at an Opera house in Paris.

What does music mean to you personally?
I love how music brings people together. I grew up in a home where someone would always be playing guitar, piano or singing. Music moves people and can invoke deep emotions one can’t express in words. Music has always been a big part of my life, and I’m excited to get more involved and share my music on a more general level.

To follow Riza Santos on her social media platforms:

The Art of Inner Happiness with Rob Mack

We all want it, right? The “H-word”: Happiness, inner peace, and to feel good. It sometimes seems so attainable. At other times, it seems impossibly complicated. Sometimes a little guidance is needed… or even a complete makeover.

Rob Mack ( is a happiness coach and author. He writes and speaks to people about how to live happier lives from the inside, out. In addition to serving as a Celebrity Love Coach for the television show, Famously Single, on E!, Robert has been a featured guest expert for shows like The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, CBS Early Show, The Balancing Act, and and magazines like Self, Health, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Upscale.

Rob is currently a co-host on “Good Morning LaLa Land” ( every morning (9-10am PT on AppleTV, Roku TV, Focus TV, KnektTV, YouTube, Vimeo, and all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope)!


He has such a calming presence, is dedicated to his work and has an inner beauty that shines from the inside out. Rob keeps an incredibly busy schedule so we at Gemma appreciate his time talking to us. His insightful answers are inspiring!

Firstly, after reading your backstory, I was genuinely surprised by your admission to having an urge to end your life years earlier. I respect your honesty and value you creating awareness! I feel many people have had these thoughts but would never admit it. Can you pinpoint the decision to hold off?

Well, I was depressed for a very long time, for as long as I can remember being alive, honestly. When I finally decided that I couldn’t take it anymore, I conducted some research on suicide, on the means and methods, and on how to do it.

Eventually, I decided I was going to slit my wrist. I found a steak knife in the kitchen and began to bury the blade into my wrist. At that precise moment, however, as I started to cut into my arm, my mind got very quiet. My problems seemed to disappear, and a strange, unfamiliar peace pervaded me. It was then that I decided to postpone suicide for a little while. At first, I only committed to an hour. Before long, that hour turned into a day, that day became a week, and so on. During this time, I researched – and applied – everything I could learn about happiness.

I know you’re from Pennsylvania and earned a Master degree at Swarthmore College where you received your Bachelors of Science in Psychology, and the University of Pennsylvania, where you earned a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (M.A.P.P.), an ivy-league degree held by only a few dozen people in the world. Where do you get your motivation from?

I get my motivation from my parents. They are both highly motivated people, and that’s putting it lightly. Their work ethic is extraordinary.

My dad was in the military. After the military, he worked extra long hours at jobs for decades, sometimes attending night school simultaneously. My mother took care of us, 3 kids, while my dad worked, often while herself working a job, too. Later, when we became adults, she took a job at the airlines. She woke up at 3 am, drove an hour to work, pulled an 18-hour shift, drove an hour back home, slept 3-4 hours, and did it all over again, day after day, year after year. Not once did I hear either of them complain about this.


You are incredibly accomplished in addition to your academic achievements. Did school come naturally to you? Also, you currently have your own your private practice, correct?

I always considered myself average or below average in intelligence, so I always felt like I had to work harder than everybody else to get by. Looking back now, however, I realize that school came pretty easily to me. I did well in most subjects and always got straight A’s. I was salutatorian of my class. I was always the kid that the other kids cheated off of. Haha!

I have owned and operated my own private coaching practice for over 20 years now. I coach people from all walks of life, including professional athletes, actors and actresses, models, entertainers, executives, entrepreneurs, and everyday people alike. By applying ivy-league science, I help them experience greater authentic happiness and effortless success.

How did you know that you wanted more in life, take atypical risks, move to LA? Intuition is powerful and should be studied. How do you feel?

I had several really awful jobs growing up. I discovered pretty quickly that I wanted more out of life. I always wanted to be a professional basketball player, but that didn’t pan out. Starting in college, I tried to figure out my passion and purpose. I struggled with it, to be honest, for over ten years. In the end, I discovered psychology, self-help, and spirituality.

I wasn’t drawn to LA my whole life like many people are. However, after some serious soul searching, I realized that I wanted to help as many people as I possibly could. Plus, various professional opportunities in LA kept surfacing. LA kept calling me, literally, so I decided to make a move after my second season of “Famously Single” on E! I definitely tapped into my intuition through meditation to make that decision!

You seem very trusting of the theory “When you are Happy First, Success Follows.” However, I’m sure you can see why so many people feel the opposite. Can you please expand upon this.

First, happiness is the greatest success. No matter what we want to accomplish, achieve, or acquire in life, we want it because we think we’ll feel better as a result. We think it’ll make us happy. If we didn’t think it would make us happy – or, at least, happier – we wouldn’t want it at all. Success without fulfillment is a failure.

Second, happiness also leads to success. Based on the most recent research, we know that happiness leads to a better life. It leads to more money, better relationships, better health, a longer life, and so on. We know this from thousands of scientific studies.


You Wrote a book “Happiness From the Inside Out: The Art and Science of Fulfillment.” What was the creative process? Also, what inspired you to write it?

“Happiness from the Inside Out” began as a running list of happiness tips and tricks that I discovered in my life and the lives of my clients. It was a happiness journal of sorts.

Later, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters in Applied Positive Psychology Program (MAPP), I added science to it. Eventually, it became “Happiness from the Inside Out,” the book! (

I’ve written four other books since then. I’ve learned a lot in the process. This is what I learned:

1. Keep it short and simple.

2. Write when the inspiration strikes (even if it’s just a few words).

3. Write for the joy of writing (and not for any other reason.

OK, Let’s talk about Love! How is your experience on “E’s! “Famously Single?” I’m sure that’s an example of challenging people on their limited belief systems.

“Famously Single” – and the good folks at Irwin Production – including superstar producers Pegah Sabheti and Damian Sullivan, let me be myself. I will always appreciate them for that. It was a truly wonderful experience, and I’m deeply grateful to have worked alongside superstar therapist Dr. Darcy and superstar dating coach Laurel House. They are both brilliant, beautiful women. It was an honor. It was fun, and the cast both seasons were phenomenal!

You seem so chill at all moments. Did you have to work at this, especially given the hectic schedule you have?

I used to be the most anxious person in the world! I have had to work extremely hard at it, yes. It’s been the single most dedicated pursuit of my life.

If a woman or man was looking for love (long-term) and knew this was essential to their happiness, what advice would you give?

If you’re looking for love, put happiness first. The happiest relationship consists of two independently happy people. Be happy – love will follow.

Second, love yourself – don’t wait. Life is short. Do for yourself now all the things you want a lover or partner to do for you in the future. Then, you’ll enjoy the journey and the destination. Plus, you’ll get there faster.

Tell me a bit about your podcast #ManWhisperer

Man Whisper was created by my “Famously Single” dating coach sidekick, Laurel House. We explore all things related to dating, love, and relationships. It’s both fantastically fun, and phenomenally informative.

Laurel and I compliment each other surprisingly well. She’s brilliant, beautiful, and honest! It’s no accident that KTLA,, and E! News call on her regularly to provide insightful guidance and reliable advice on love, dating, and relationships.

You work with two incredible women: Jezlan Moyet and Dr. Erin. I feel all 3 of you have excellent chemistry. What is it like hosting a live-streamed show five days/week?

Good Morning LaLa Land is the most fun, meaningful, inspiring conversation currently on the air! It is a pure pleasure and privilege to work with Dr. Erin and Jezlan. They are incredibly beautiful, bright lights, each with their own unique, divine gifts. It’s an honor to work alongside them every day.

Andy Waldman – the Executive Producer of Good Morning LaLa Land and Owner and CEO of Focus TV and Focus Magazine – is a heaven-sent, real-life angel. Associate Producer Victoria Simone is more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside, if that’s humanly possible, and she’s as smart, funny, and creative as anybody I’ve ever met. I’m beyond blessed to work with this all-star cast of creatives.

Also, our guests are phenomenally inspiring. I never cease to be impressed by their struggles, stories, resilience, courage, and faith, and I’m inspired every day to share their light and love with our rapidly growing audience across the world. We each have a dream job, even if we have to wake up at 3 am to make it happen! Lol.

The highlight of the year thus far for Good Morning La La Land has to be hosting the red carpet for the 2018 Daytime Emmy Awards. What a blast!


OK, I have to say it. Your Style! Do you enjoy fashion yourself or go with your wardrobe stylist’s advice at all times. It seems to come quite naturally. You have that amazing and that effortless vibe — on point!

I love fashion!

My best friend, Melanie Whittle, is a celebrity stylist. She’s dressed some of the most well-known actors, performers, and models on the planet. She’s curated a signature style just for me. I riff off that signature style the best I can, but I keep her on speed dial for those fashion emergencies and epic events like the Emmy’s. I’ll be calling her one day soon when we receive our own Emmy Award!

Melanie has now extended her brand and taken her creative wizardry, eye for aesthetics, and photographic panache into the world of home decor and real estate, so I miss her now more than ever.

I think I’m doing ok, though… at least, for now! Ask me again come award season! Lol.



We would like to thank Rob Mack for the inspiring interview. It’s always refreshing when someone shares their voice — their inner and honest thoughts and beliefs about their passion and life’s work.

To follow Rob on his social media platforms: