I posted this question in the English SE but I guess the discussion got a bit off-topic so someone suggested I post a similar question on this SE.
I am originally from the Philippines and I work as an editor for a research center in Germany. I also speak Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, but for all intents and purposes English is my first language. I can honestly say I cannot remember a time when I didn't speak English, and my Filipino is nowhere near as good as my English (I could never write or edit Filipino texts or speak in Filipino without codeswitching). But whenever I meet someone new (and in academia there's a great deal of networking), I always get comments like "wow your English is so good!" Most of the time people drop the topic when I say English is my first language and talk a little about Philippine history. But there are some who say things like "I'm surprised they hired a Filipino for this job" or "But English really isn't your native language, right?" or "But your Filipino is still much better than your English, right?" and that's when things get awkward. Some clients have asked my co-editors to go over my work and would only accept my edits upon verification by my British and American colleagues. Worst case scenario would be explicitly asking my boss not to pass on their draft manuscripts to me.
I love editing and would love to stay in this field, but I'm afraid I will never be good enough because of something I have zero control over. How do I handle situations and comments like that without misrepresenting myself? I know people are curious, but it's exhausting having to justify myself constantly and "educate" people. Plus it puts the pressure on me to be perfect all the time, lest it casts any doubt on my "claim" as a native speaker. At the end of the day, I would like my colleagues to accept that English is my first language (irrespective of their views on "native speaker-ness") and that I am perfectly qualified for this job, not simply "good enough" to keep up with my US/UK co-editors.
EDIT: By "misrepresenting" I mean having to say that English isn't my first language to conform to their ideas and avoid awkward situations altogether.