Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Star Struck Out

My first job was at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where I was exposed to world-class talents and artists left and right. I’d literally pass by them along the corridors of the CCP, not knowing that they were the Whoshisface and the Whatshername. Eventually I found out who they were and fancied myself lucky that I saw up close and personal such luminaries of the world stage. These were some of the brightest stars of Philippine performance arts that command such awe and respect in other countries but go virtually unknown to most Filipinos. But because I didn’t know who they were when I first saw them, my first impression of them was formed without the benefit of the prerequisite hype that almost always preceded them.

When I started working in advertising back in 1990, I started hobnobbing with a different kind of celebrity—the showbiz kind. Celebrity endorsers were common even back then, so I got to work with the likes of Maricel Soriano, Sharon Cuneta, Aga Muhlach and the like. I even got to meet stars who, back then, were just on their way up—or were still to be discovered. I worked with Bayani Agbayani and Serena Darwimple when they were still on their way up the popularity ladder. And I was lucky enough to chat, for several times in very informal opportunities, the late Rico Yan back when he was not yet the Rico Yan. He had just finished shooting the Masters Facial Astringent, and was waiting for a second project to come his way. Little did he know that the Masters commercial would catapult him into the public arena and would launch his showbiz career. His break-up with Claudine and his shocking, mysterious death on Good Friday in Palawan was still a decade away.

And then I moved to ABS-CBN. There I was dealing with celebrities almost on a daily basis. And since I was in charge of promoting the comedy shows, I got to work again with Maricel, Aga, Bayani and Serena, as well as Gloria Romero, Edu Manzano and the comedy king himself, Dolphy. And I got to work again with Rico, now with the to his name. And as much as I had the privilege to get to interact with him at the start of his career, I was also tasked to whip up within Black Saturday the first network-produced plug announcing the end of his life, to immediately air the following day. But I digress.

At first I stayed clear of the artistas, feeling so in awe and star-struck. I only viewed them from afar. But after a while I realized they were really just working people, with individual flaws as well as strengths. It’s just that their job requires them to look great in front of the camera.

Now whenever we have to deal with big-time actors and actresses, the people around me—agency and client—go gaga and want to have their pictures taken with the stars. I, on the other hand, have this “been there, done that” attitude; I just look at all the fuss from afar with a bemused look, a knowing smile and, at times, a mental eye-roll.

Funny, but my exposure to famous talents of both highbrow and popular art has made me immune to their shiny, shimmering splendidness. Only the up-and-coming artists are the ones who can make me kilig and star-struck. Maybe it’s because they haven’t been over-exposed much, so that they still have this image of accessibility. Give me Joem Bascon or Coco Martin any day, and watch me regress into a giggly girl.


Quentin X said...

I feel the same way, Joel, although I have not really meet all that many celebs anyway. One celebrity vet from down South came into our pharmacy after doing a house call in the neighborhood. I treated him like any other prescriber.
What I like about celebs here is that they do not go around town with bodyguards all the time.

Anonymous said...

Coco Martiiiiin! *shrieks like a girl*

Oh and have you seen Joem's billboard at EDSA for F&H? OMG!

Ming Meows said...

you haven't mention the world-class CCP talents. can you name some of them?

joelmcvie said...

@TONY: OMG, when I saw that billboard, I was like, *shrieking like a little girl too* Joeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmmm! Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapppp!

@MING MEOWS: I often saw Oscar Yatco, Noel Cabahug and the Bolipata brothers as well as the principal dancers of Ballet Philippines. But shaking (the late) Marcel Marceau's hand was, to me, spiritually moving.

Rainbow Runner said...

mcvie!!! nakakasama ko sa elevator si joem! yiiiiiii! punta ka sa 11th, dun sila nag ttaping MWF!