I first met Sarah Lahbati at the neighborhood gym a friend set up in the same street as ours during the pandemic and which our family used three to four times a week. She was strikingly beautiful and super down to earth, arriving on her Vespa without pretensions and always smiling.
Before moving back to the Philippines, the 28-year-old actress, model, and influencer grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. The part Pinay and Moroccan reality star is married to fellow actor Richard Gutierrez, a known motorbike enthusiast. Together they have two boys, Zion, 8, and Kai, 4.
Lahbati describes herself as someone who always wants to be active. Besides working out, she does yoga, scuba diving, and freestyle diving. As an influencer, she is sought out by international brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior and local designers. I was surprised to learn that the frequent magazine cover girl only learned how to drive during the pandemic.
“I was so busy being a working mom that she didn’t think getting a license was a priority,” she says. The traffic and long shoot hours didn’t also help her get the motivation to drive in the streets of Manila. She only got one when she started learning to do motocross, a sport they enjoy as a family.
It all started when the celebrity couple was looking for a motocross activity for their son. “Richard and I visited a dirt track one day for Zion to try it out. Coach Sam of MX Messiah had extra gear for me to wear, and next thing you know, I’m learning at the same time with Zion. Since then, we’ve gotten obsessed with the sport and continue to learn along the way.”
Motocross is a motorcycle race discipline where riders have to maneuver into a closed dirt course with hills and obstacles. When you see posters of the bikes flying in the air, that is usually a motocross race. Motorcycles used in this sport are generally leaner and have more sophisticated gears and shock absorbers to allow them to deal with the sharp turns and jumps on the course.
How hard was it for her to learn motocross? When Sarah started, she had to conquer her fear of falling off the bike, which is usually taller. Sometimes a fall from a motocross bike can result to broken bones and wounds. But when she did, she became more confident and made learning easier. “It’s terrifying not knowing what can happen, but when I did fall, it taught me the best way to fall and get back up again,” She adds.
In Lahbati’s feed, which has more than 7 million followers, you can see many of the family’s outdoor adventures. They like to be surrounded by nature and go off the grid. Last year, Lahbati got a Jeep Rubicon as gift for her birthday to compliment her husband’s Jeep Gladiator. This allowed them to go on off-roading camping trips.
She admits that she is still learning to drive better, and when they go on off-road trips, she will drive a portion and let Gutierrez take on the more complicated roads. She is grateful that the pandemic allowed them to be able to bond with her boys. It also taught her how to be more grateful.
“I want to keep an open mind which allowed me to take on these challenges, I never thought I would do motocross, but after I tried it, it has brought so much joy. I never thought I would go off-roading and camping, but I did,” Sarah shares. She’s just glad she didn’t limit herself, especially how moms are expected to behave in a certain way.
Many limiting beliefs sometimes stop us from pursuing what we want or do. But during the pandemic, I myself realized that life is too short not to try to find what makes us happy. If we don’t try, we will never know. As they say, a life full of regrets is a life not lived yet.
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Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason’s “why” is to help people become better versions of themselves. Married to multi-awarded race car driver JP Tuason and mother of five children, she is a confessed learning junkie (know it all), avid reader, sometimes life coach (gives unsolicited
advice), triathlete (when not allergic to working out), and cook.