OFW Domestic Helper now a world-renowned photographer graduate from NYU

“I am an artist. I always have been and always will be an artist in service because I am not my circumstances.”

These are the passionate words shared by the inspiring Xyza Cruz Bacani who recently graduated with Master of Arts in Arts and Politics program at the Tisch school in New York University last March 18

Photo from Xyza Cruz Bacani

She is a world-renowned photographer known for her powerful, subtle, and intimate images of our Filipino migrant workers all over the world. Her photos have even been featured in New York Times and CNN.

Bacani is surely an inspiration not only for what she put out in to the world but also for the journey of how she got there.

Photo from Xyza Cruz Bacani on NYU

She was an OFW herself, working as a domestic helper and nanny in Hong Kong along with her mother. Her moment came when a Filipino photographer Rick Rocamora “discovered” her black and white photographs online.

Then, NYU saw great potential in her and offered her a scholarship for a Master’s program even without a college degree.

“I am a graduate of Masters in Arts and Politics at New York University. Even without a college degree, NYU took a chance on me. I am a scholar and grateful to people who paved the way for me to dream, who saw my potential and extended their generosity,”


As a street and documentary photographer, Bacani is a recipient of several prestigious recognitions:

  • One of “BBC’s 100 Women of the World 2015,” 
  • “Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016”
  • Grantee of Pulitzer Center
Photo from Xyza Cruz Bacani
Photo from Xyza Cruz Bacani

She had her work cut out for her as it was never easy especially with her skipping an academic degree but nevertheless, she described her time at NYU as a fun and humbling experience.

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Marel Baluyos
Marel Baluyoshttp://www.sugbo.ph
"Cebu is my always."

Chemical Engineer / Associate Editor | Bantayan Island, Cebu

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  1. OFW Domestic Helper now a world-renowned photographer graduate from NYU
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