Esquire (Philippines) - - NOTES & ESSAYS -

“I WANT TO DRINK,” CRIES KENDRA IN the now-iconic home video of the Kramers. She was clothed in a bur­gundy dress, and her wrist was adorned with ban­gles. “Why? You’re not yet a big girl,” ca­joles her fa­ther, Doug, in the back­ground, “you’re still a baby.” She laments this re­al­ity, burst­ing with rage. “Ok, ok, what do you want,” asks Doug try­ing to calm her down. “I want to drink beer,” Kendra de­mands, wail­ing, stomp­ing her foot on the ground. “Only big boys and big girls drink beer,” says Doug. She screams. “I’M NOT A BABY I’M A GIRL!”

This video of Kendra want­ing to drink wine with her dad would go vi­ral in 2013. The fam­ily be­came the talk of the town months later, reap­ing around 20,000 new fol­low­ers on Face­book ev­ery sin­gle day, in­ad­ver­tently mak­ing them the first fam­ily of so­cial me­dia star­dom in the Philippines. Nat­u­rally, the of­fers came: en­dorse­ments, mag­a­zine cov­ers, talk show ap­pear­ances, model­ing con­tracts—the irony be­ing: they’re not re­ally celebri­ties, and it was never re­ally in the plan. Doug is a pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball player, and Ch­esca used to be an ac­tress but is now a full-time mom.

Their rise to fame came by ac­ci­dent. “That’s ex­actly why the fans hold on to us, cause they felt how or­ganic we were. It came out very nat­u­rally, there were no plans [to be­come so­cial me­dia per­son­al­i­ties], not at all.” Doug has dozens of pho­tos he says: of his wife, of their time to­gether, of their first­born, of their sec­ond, then their third. He was doc­u­ment­ing their life even be­fore the fact that they would get paid to do it, and these pre­cious fam­ily mo­ments were cap­tured for the sake of pos­ter­ity.

When #TeamKramer sky­rock­eted to fame, they were al­ready a fam­ily of five. The monikers #Ken­draSu­per­star and #Scar­let­tDoll were formed to the de­light of the view­ing pub­lic, who by 2016 were re­port­edly more than six mil­lion peo­ple. The coun­try was riv­eted—we wanted more. So much more that when it came time to come up with Gavin’s hash­tag, it was at­tained through an on­line poll. #Gavin­cred­i­ble was born.

Doug was 23 when he and Ch­esca first had Kendra, say­ing that the time was ripe by then. Be­ing a fa­ther comes very nat­u­rally for him. “It doesn’t take a lot of ef­fort to me to spend time with them,” he says. He grew up in a very close-knit fam­ily, so time with the kids is some­thing he cher­ishes. Al­though his fa­ther, who worked in an off­shore oil drilling com­pany, was a very dis­ci­plined and se­ri­ous man—this sense of dis­ci­pline is some­thing he car­ried over into his par­ent­ing style.

The cou­ple shares that while it was tempt­ing to bask in the light of show busi­ness (Ch­esca re­veals that Kendra was of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to host her own talk show, and the fam­ily of five was of­fered their own re­al­ity TV show), they have turned most of these of­fers down, want­ing their kids not to grow up so much in the spot­light, but as kids. “Kendra, she’s an says Doug, “if you make her do too many shoots af­ter school, she’ll be so tired. I’m very sen­si­tive as a fa­ther to my chil­dren’s ‘work­ing habits,’” he says, “it has to be very short.” At the end of the day, there must be time for play and fam­ily. A firm be­liever of dis­ci­pline, Doug as­serts, “You can’t dis­ci­pline your chil­dren if you don’t spend time with them.” — KARA ORTIGA


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