I’ve got a confession to make, one that could wipe out all of whatever cred I may have: I saw that season of Pinoy Big Brother James Reid was in.
It was the boring summer of 2010. For one reason or another, we didn’t have anything else to distract ourselves with. We didn’t go anywhere. My brothers, voracious consumers of local media that they are, thought it would be nice to follow Pinoy Big Brother. PBB
Teen Clash, it was called, because the Powers That Be decided to mess with the housemates by pitting them against each other more than the usual.
The show was oddly riveting. I mean, yeah, in the grander scheme of things, everyone involved were just teenagers chosen unseen, omnipotent hand. I have to admit, though, that the results
James was brought in—on a dare by his dad, only a few short months after he settled in the Philippines with his family, he tells me—alongside a bunch of other foreigners all with some ties to the country, whether it was merely studying here or having a Filipino parent. The others were more boisterous, more scene-stealing, more prone to that PBB signature style of drama than James was. He was seldom the center of dramatic attention. He was a bit shy, hardly stole the spotlight, and wasn’t one of those who had sob stories to air out on the show. (If he did, he was never the type to half-Filipino, played the guitar, wrote his own songs, was named
Bret James won, nobody saw it coming. Everyone probably expected him to come in as a top winner, but never the big winner.
although he never said anything of the sort. Not on the show, and not in our conversation. I felt that a bit from watching him inside the house, though. I’d be the same way if I were him.
So much has happened since that night. If you turn on your TV of the world doubt their allegiance, maybe alongside his onscreen Bernardo that more often than not, I can’t tell who’s who). You might hear him singing some of his original songs, which are charting where they matter now. You could drive down Edsa and how big he’s getting.
“They really found someone who would’ve never made his way to showbiz,” James says of his fame by way of PBB before PBB
Big Brother in Australia. When you win, you get the money, but then managers about him. No bodyguards hover over him, all the way easier than we thought.
course it would be different. It should be different. He’s tired, but he’s still doing this, and he’d rather not celebrity his way into the building. He is reserved, but not in a deliberately snobbish way, not as part of the trappings of being a celebrity. It’s really the same way he was inside Big Brother’s house. Fortunately, he hasn’t outgrown that.
and women—anyone who wants to be a star—and turn them into complete entertainers who could act, sing, and dance, among other possible talents. That is the idea of a huge star around here.
be a singer. The problem is, the strongest form of media is TV and movies, so you have to be an actor if you want to be big. If you’re an actor and you can sing, it helps. It helps a lot, because it shows
Reid Alert, a pun which I either should be praising for its cleverness, or straight up ‘F.A.M.E.’ I just started singing along to it. That’s how I learned to
The mixture of everything he has to do and wants to do does seem to be pretty hard on him. “See, that’s why I said you should torn between two and I can’t devote 100 percent full attention to one. Because now I’m falling in love with acting, the idea of being a
onstage, and having a huge crowd, and they’re all singing along to my lyrics, that also excites me. having to do both at the same time, it slows down the process.”
So you’d rather concentrate on one process? the way it is in the Philippines, in Philippine showbiz. That’s what people want from me.”
All that pressure to be a certain something all the time could be taxing, especially on strong-willed individuals who have their that creates rebels, and fosters an audience that gets surprised at these rebellions? The system that turned Hannah Montana
But James doesn’t seem fazed. He feels his image is muddled is both mental and physical; he’s gotten used to the sleepless and an ordinary human being, and he wouldn’t wish it on anyone unless they really wanted to do it. international artist. I’m in the Philippines. That’s how it has to be. I mean, my fans, they enjoy it, and even if I’m able to entertain them,
and more freedom,” he says. He managed to impress Viva boss Vic del Rosario, the man who made James what he is, enough during the recording of his album to give him that particular freedom. or that you do have great ideas, you’re not gonna get the respect and freedom to be creative or express yourself through your art.”
showbiz—and some people who are already in showbiz—would second year.
it’s been two years, but it’s only been 10 months. So much has happened that I can’t believe it’s only been less than a year.” I agree with him. I saw the commercials for Diary ng Panget on TV last year and thought, hold up, James Reid is making movies
now? hold up, that was last year? This guy has two movies and albums and counting. Billboards and endorsements. He spent And he’s not done. In fact, he’s still hungry at the table. “What get better and better. I can feel it. I can feel this wave of music one hell of a dream. It’s not that I don’t believe in him, but it might to be world-famous. “What I learned from PBB is to dream big, James tells me the Philippines is the place he wants to die in. Prior to this, the country was just a magical diversion he saw every year sense of wonder at the world around him. “I plan to live here—it’s
about Wattpad, an online platform where amateur Filipino writers James’s (and Viva’s) bread and butter right now. They seem to be and out there (which might be an understatement) and less torrid Some wolf down the stuff, and others absolutely detest it.
“They all have the same theme of love. That’s one of the biggest coming from the audience.” Unprecedented? Talk Back and You’re
Dead, one of the characters had bright red hair. And yeah, some we run this gangster underworld. They’re nice ideas.”
That’s an interesting way to put it. I hypothesize that as a characters he plays onscreen, which are all projections of the authors’ respective imaginations. For his part, he says he was in and most painful.
doesn’t matter who else approaches me, it doesn’t matter because I have the one already. All the characters I’ve played so far assume those beliefs.”
idea of love is all a bit, well, naïve?
James Reid is legit.