LET'S TALK LA­BELS

Scout crosses the line and strikes a con­ver­sa­tion peo­ple usu­ally never would: Gen­der roles, ho­mo­pho­bia, and why we’re all so in­se­cure

Scout - - FRONT PAGE - IN­TER­VIEW BY CAI SU­BI­JANO PHO­TOS BY EDRIC CHEN STYLING BY TRINA RA­ZON AS­SISTED BY AN­GELA MANUELA GO HAIR BY AL­BERT LINGAHAN AND DARMA MEN­DEZ OF BENCH MAKEUP BY ANTHEA LOUISE BUENO OF MAC COS­MET­ICS

On the cover:

Bruce wears a denim jacket from H&M, gray shirt (P695) from Bleach, navy blue jog­gers (P1050) from The Ramp, and white Birkenstocks (P5490).

Cedric wears khaki shorts (P1150) from The Ramp, a Navy blue pullover (P1680) from For­ever 21, and a printed but­ton down (P2450) from Top­man.

Tommy wears a white cropped top (price avail­able upon re­quest) and loose cropped trousers (P4595) from Rajo Man, blue hoodie (P3295) from Barba, and black san­dals (P850) from Sewn.

The three mod­els speak out their thoughts on to­day’s most rel­e­vant so­ciopo­lit­i­cal is­sues: self-im­age, self­brand­ing, la­bels and prej­u­dice. Break­ing the dumb-model stereo­type with in-depth opin­ion and strong ideals, they share with Scout how to over­ride crit­i­cism, pride your­self even in flu­id­ity and com­plex­ity, and even­tu­ally, be that closer to true self­ac­cep­tance.

Scout: Peo­ple know you from the mag­a­zines or bill­boards, but what do you wish they knew about you?

C: I’m re­ally into mu­sic— like play­ing gui­tar; [and I can] play a bit of the pi­ano. T: I can sing. C: I want peo­ple to know I’ve got other in­ter­ests and hob­bies apart from what I do.

T: That’s a hard one. I don’t know. I feel like most peo­ple al­ready know the ba­sics of who I am. I can’t think of any­thing I would want to show at the mo­ment with­out get­ting too per­sonal. But sim­ply put, I love to dance, but I’m too damn shy to even start, so I never learned. I think danc­ing is one of the most beau­ti­ful things in the world.

C: But ear­lier, you were danc­ing up­stairs!

T: No. That’s not danc­ing. (Ev­ery­one laughs) I mean real danc­ing, like the art. I love mu­sic, I love singing, I love art—I love so many things, but I’m just too scared to pur­sue them. That’s what I want peo­ple to know, but at the same time, I don’t want them to be­cause I’m not com­fort­able with it.

B: Usu­ally when you say you’re a model, peo­ple as­sume that you’re maarte. I just don’t want them to think that of me; [I want them to know] that I could ride along with them, and that this isn’t the only thing I do. I’ve got other things to fo­cus on; I grad­u­ated in Fine Arts so right now I’m work­ing on pieces.

S: When they started book­ing you for shoots where you blur the lines be­tween look­ing fem­i­nine and mas­cu­line, how did you feel? What was your first re­ac­tion?

Bruce: I just fol­lowed or­ders and the pho­tog­ra­phers seemed happy. When I was young, I was se­cretly a

Zoolan­der fan. In col­lege, they used to call me Zoolan­der and tease me for be­ing vain. But deep down, it was some­thing I was proud of. I don’t find it an in­sult—I ac­tu­ally con­sider it a com­pli­ment.

Tommy: You feel proud about it, in a way. I live my life not re­ally car­ing about what peo­ple have to say—like my par­ents—about who I wanted to be. So if I wanted to grow my hair, do gym­nas­tics, or any­thing ex­pres­sive of a “who you are” type of thing, I’m openly wel­come.

Cedric: I feel that be­ing placed in this kind of cat­e­gory gives you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. You re­ally learn to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ent LGBT cul­tures [that be­ing an­drog­y­nous en­com­passes]. Since I’ve been la­beled that way, I’ve been a lot more sup­port­ive of that cause. I feel like we are [be­com­ing more open-mined about it]. You see it ev­ery­where— bill­boards, TV, ra­dio, In­ter­net.

T: When I came here, I thought there was go­ing to be cul­ture shock. What I was sur­prised at was how much is ac­tu­ally be­ing shown and how it’s not [as] con­ser­va­tive as I thought it’d be.

S: Do you ap­pre­ci­ate it though, to a cer­tain ex­tent that you were raised abroad?

C: It [taught me to have] more re­spect for my­self. I hon­estly don’t care what peo­ple think about me and my job. This is my job. I’m do­ing what I do to stay alive.

T: Same with Cedric. I couldn’t pick a bet­ter way to grow up. [There,] they teach you to be strong.

S: Bruce, was it the same for you?

B: I’ve had ex­pe­ri­ences be­fore, es­pe­cially in col­lege, when I first wore my hair long. They were afraid of me. When I sit in the bus they don’t sit be­side me; they move away. Even if I wasn’t sit­ting next to any­one, peo­ple would rather stand than sit next to me. Or they’d pre­tend to sit next to me, but as soon as more seats opened they’d change places. They prob­a­bly thought I was a holdaper or some­thing. It makes you lose con­fi­dence, but I was able to ac­cept it. You’d just won­der why they judge you by your looks. I’m ap­pre­ci­ated in the fash­ion in­dus­try, but out­side that peo­ple are weirded out by me. S: Is it the same when you re­turn to Bi­col? B: I don’t re­ally go out. So when I re­turned the time they found out I was a model, a lot of peo­ple I wasn’t close with be­fore sud­denly ap­proached me. It was like I was some VIP. It was some­times em­bar­rass­ing, since we’re all re­ally the same peo­ple—it just so hap­pened that I’m in this po­si­tion.

C: I feel men are ob­jec­ti­fied in a dif­fer­ent way. [The con­ven­tional manly look is still] a dom­i­nat­ing fig­ure, with the six pack and pecs. S: Mod­el­ing is one of the few in­dus­tries where women are more suc­cess­ful. How does that make you feel as male mod­els? How do you deal with the dou­ble stan­dards? T: I’m ac­tu­ally very happy that it’s a job women can pride them­selves in. C: And they com­pletely dom­i­nate it. T: That is true. They are good. Women are good. That’s why, as an an­drog­y­nous male model, reach­ing the level of women when it comes to bod­ily ex­pres­sion makes you re­al­ize there’s a lot to mod­el­ing you don’t un­der­stand. It’s an art, a con­stant ex­pres­sion you put out. It takes more ef­fort for male mod­els to achieve the poses fe­male mod­els can. That’s why it’s pretty cool be­ing an­drog­y­nous—you can work on any­thing you want to do, a lit­tle more over male mod­els.

S: Do you feel that you are re­ally popular now be­cause you’re nov­elty?

C: At first, I felt it was just a trend that would come and go, but now an­drog­yny almost rubbed out the lines be­tween menswear and wom­enswear. You see it in fash­ion shows and cir­cuits. Cloth­ing is be­com­ing a lot more gen­der neu­tral, es­pe­cially with the norm­core trend and ev­ery­one re­turn­ing to the ba­sics. I feel there’s al­ways go­ing to be a mar­ket [for it] whether it fluc­tu­ates be­cause of that merge, and it’s get­ting more vis­i­ble.

B: I was ac­tu­ally sur­prised be­cause I didn’t ex­pect the good feed­back—es­pe­cially from the me­dia, when I was in­ter­viewed for this show, Jessica Soho, in 2012. They fea­tured an­drog­y­nous mod­els—An­drej Pe­jic, a model from Thai­land, me—and after that, I was sur­prised some­one made a fan page [about it]; that there was this kind of mar­ket. So I pur­sued it, and even­tu­ally some de­sign­ers or pho­tog­ra­phers be­gan book­ing me.

S: Did you ever go through a pe­riod in your life where you weren’t com­fort­able with your­selves?

C: I feel like you can’t re­ally go through life with­out go­ing through that [stage], where you sit down and ques­tion who you are, what you’re do­ing, where you’re go­ing to go and what you’re go­ing to be.

T: It is a bumpy road. Be­fore you can ac­cept your­self, you need to take a few hits. There’s never go­ing to be an easy route. I was bul­lied a lot, and ev­ery­one in my town thought I was that kid that ev­ery­one messed with. But when I was about 13 or 14, I started telling my­self that I was amaz­ing all the time. Back in high school, I was into wrestling and gym­nas­tics, which was big back then. I was one of the peo­ple who were 50/50 ho­mo­pho­bic and kept say­ing I wasn’t gay. I’d put my hair in pony­tails and walk around school with­out giv­ing a f*ck be­cause I knew I wasn’t gay—I was just ex­press­ing my­self. There are go­ing to be peo­ple in your life that do things to you. Once you re­al­ize that, you’re go­ing to find that it doesn’t even mat­ter. There are go­ing to be a cou­ple of re­al­i­ties in your life you don’t un­der­stand, the kind peo­ple don’t tell you, so you have to learn the tough way.

B: Since high school or el­e­men­tary, I’ve been com­pet­ing in art con­tests. I un­der­stood it was art I was do­ing. I un­der­stood what the peo­ple wanted to see [in the posters I’d make], even if I doubted my­self at first. I knew from the start this was the path I was go­ing to take. All the while I was in the mid­dle of this an­drog­yny thing, I have al­ready ac­cepted it. I think the con­cept of sex­u­al­ity is be­com­ing more fluid now, maybe be­cause of the me­dia. They get the idea and think, “Why can’t I try this? If he can do it, why can’t I?”

T: Def­i­nitely. I think The Philip­pines is pretty far ahead in this, as com­pared to most of the world—even in Amer­ica. In Amer­ica, it’s a straight split: Peo­ple ei­ther just tol­er­ate or hate them. It’s more ac­cept­ing here. It’s ac­tu­ally be­come part of the hu­mor here; Filipinos aren’t scared to ex­press them­selves. C: It’s a snow­ball ef­fect—you just learn from ev­ery­one. T: But cer­tain peo­ple are go­ing to be the fore­run­ners for ev­ery­one else to follow—there’s the 99%, and there’s 1% that pushes for­ward. [Sex­u­al­ity] doesn’t even have to be a big com­po­nent of some­one’s iden­tity—it’s just one part of some­one’s per­sonal life. Peo­ple should be cool about it and be who they are with­out any wor­ries. S: Emma Wat­son spoke out about fem­i­nism and clar­i­fied that it’s not about hat­ing men, it’s about want­ing equal­ity through gen­ders. C: I think the whole idea of fem­i­nism shouldn’t even

be an idea, I feel like it should be the norm. Ev­ery­one should be equal.

T: Why is this a ques­tion in the first place? I don’t get that.

C: I feel like gen­der roles are go­ing to break down, be­cause we’ve got coun­tries be­ing gov­erned by women now. We’ve got amaz­ing ath­letes and mu­si­cians that are women, and it’s def­i­nitely some­thing that’s con­tin­u­ing. Peo­ple are see­ing this, and it’s go­ing to come back to how it should be, where ev­ery­one is just equal—even with old ques­tions about the LGBT and all that.

T: We’re com­ing to a point where peo­ple don’t care. S: It’s such an in­ter­est­ing para­dox. So­ci­ety pegs you to stan­dards to live up to, but as in­di­vid­u­als, you don’t sub­scribe to how so­ci­ety feels you should act. But it’s such a mil­len­nial thing now to have “brand­ing,” to pack­age your­self in a cer­tain way. Do you think that’s im­por­tant for suc­cess? B: Well, it’s about how you present your­self to them. C: The pack­ag­ing works, but ul­ti­mately it’s who you are that the de­sign­ers want.

T: It’s good to know how to pack­age your­self, be­cause you want to show peo­ple that you have your life in or­der. How peo­ple per­ceive you is a paint­ing can­vas: You slowly de­tail what you want peo­ple to see about your­self. You don’t know what’s be­hind it, but you’re mark­ing what peo­ple see. I don’t think brand­ing is bad, but it can be neg­a­tive if peo­ple brand them­selves for the wrong rea­sons.

T: When you fo­cus too much on how you and other peo­ple see your­self, you tend to have all th­ese in­se­cu­ri­ties to a point that you don’t know how to han­dle it be­cause it’s another life you’re choos­ing for your­self.

C: Ev­ery­one’s more judg­men­tal, es­pe­cially with In­sta­gram and the gossip mag­a­zines out on the shelves.

T: You’ve got th­ese TV shows that are al­ways go­ing to be about judg­ing peo­ple, mak­ing fun of peo­ple— you al­ways have a first im­pres­sion of some­one even when you don’t want to. I think we some­what prided our­selves for it, but some peo­ple overdo it.

C: The weird thing is, back then, we were quite happy with what we had. Now, how­ever, we’re de­mand­ing for more things, faster things. [Anx­i­ety] usu­ally goes hand in hand with de­pres­sion, and I feel like peo­ple need to be more ed­u­cated about this, es­pe­cially with the de­mands that are be­ing placed upon the younger gen­er­a­tion to­day. B: It’s like they’re pro­gram­ming us. T: If you mess up one lit­tle step, you’re al­ready scared. Imag­ine peo­ple who mess up years of it—they think that’s what they are for the rest of their life, and the anx­i­ety [from that] re­ally brings you down.

C: With that be­ing said, to any­one who reads this or who is go­ing through anx­i­ety, talk to some­one, be­cause it’s hor­ri­ble to go through that alone.

S: Do you ever feel like you just want to un­plug and get away from it?

C: I’m al­ready un­plugged. I was scouted in this im­age; I didn’t mold my­self into what I’m pro­jected as to­day. It brings you to the point when you re­al­ize if you don’t lis­ten to other peo­ple’s opin­ions or any­thing like that, you’re lim­it­less. You’re in­fi­nite.

T: Noth­ing can be said to you, noth­ing can be done to you. You are you and that’s all you need to know. Once you know who you are, you’re never alone, be­cause you have your­self.

B: I just go with the flow—if I could see my­self be­ing happy with it, then I do it. I know mod­el­ing isn’t some­thing per­ma­nent. I also have other pur­suits, like art.

S: How do you feel about your cho­sen ca­reer paths— art and mod­el­ing? Are you anx­ious about whether you’ve cho­sen the right one? B: At times, I do. When I’m with my col­lege friends, some of them go all “I have work to­mor­row,” while I’m here think­ing about all the free time I have. Some­times, I get a lit­tle en­vi­ous; and it’s weird be­cause we’re given the op­por­tu­nity to have all this free time, since we’re only con­tacted when needed. As a model, you’re only as good as your last show. S: How do you stand for the choices you’ve made?

B: I don’t want an of­fice job be­cause I don’t want to be stuck. One of the things I like about mod­el­ing is that you have the op­por­tu­nity to travel, to meet new peo­ple. But if I had an of­fice job, I’d just be sit­ting the whole day. No sun, no ex­er­cise, so I’m also grate­ful for the spare time. I still look to my friends, though, since their day seems so full and sched­uled. Some­times I feel like I’m un­der­go­ing a mid-life cri­sis—what am I do­ing? Is this re­ally it?

C: Get­ting old is so scary. S: Why? C: Be­cause it’s un­known. You don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen. I live each day for what it is—or I try to, any­way—but be­cause of that I don’t know any­thing about the fu­ture, so it’s scary. I mean, it’s good to plan ahead, but don’t waste your time on it be­cause you got to re­mem­ber that you have to­day. You have as many hours in a day as Bey­once does, and look where she is! (laughs)

S: At the end of the day, the is­sue is about self­ac­cep­tance. So far, what’s the most im­por­tant thing you’ve learned about your­self? Ever since this crazy thing started.

C: Don’t dwell on the past, and don’t fo­cus too much on the fu­ture. We may feel like we have all the time in the world when we’re ac­tu­ally run­ning out of time.

T: You think I have all day, but you’d be sur­prised at how short a day re­ally is. C: If you want some­thing, go for it now. T: When you start do­ing it, when you start pur­su­ing it, en­joy it be­cause you’re go­ing to grow.

C: Whether things go right or wrong, ei­ther way, it’s pro­gres­sion.

T: When you be­gin pur­su­ing the things you want to pur­sue, your life will change. But if you only want it to change in a safe route, you are go­ing to wake up one day and re­al­ize it’s too late. Start right now!

B: I learned how to know my lim­its, be­cause you have to know when to put your­self first. If you’re not com­fort­able with what’s hap­pen­ing around you or if you feel ex­ploited. Things like that hap­pen, and much like what I’ve learned from mod­el­ing, you just have to be pa­tient.

Bruce Venida

Cedric Pasco

Tommy Es­guerra

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