The Dialogue
The Dialogue: Aly Borromeo

the captain has spoken. Philippine Azkals captain Aly Borromeo talks about the rise of football in the country, only in The Dialogue.  

(Photoraphed by Glen Tungol of Edge of Light, styling by Carlos Concepion, grooming by Joyce Platon, assisted by Daniel Naval)

Risky Business.

Every generation has its perennial society poster girl — the one whose mere presence commands attention, the one whose life we can only dream about, and the one that everyone loves, yet sometimes loves to hate. Her perfectly coiffed hair cascading down her designer garb as she struts the red carpet with her model boyfriend can either leave you fixated in awe, or seething with envy. Wherever she goes, all eyes are on Divine Lee. Always.

However, there is more to this fashion plate than meets the eye. She’s a savvy career woman whose businesses, including a clothing label and a club, mirror her public persona, yet both are products of hard work to ensure she doesn’t get stuck in the typical heiress stereotype. During typhoon Ondoy, she was one of the most high-profile personalities to organize relief efforts online and on the streets, gathering friends to help distribute goods and transforming her stores into relief centers.

Recently though, Divine and the real estate company her family owns has been in hot water due to accusations that led to a Senate probe. Yet instead of doing a Naomi Campbell and donning a couture gown to face government officials, Divine chooses to keep mum about the subject — keeping a low profile as of late, yet staying in touch with those close to her. She is not in hiding, as some circles would like to comment, and has in fact agreed to do a photo shoot exclusively for these pages. It’s time we got to know the woman behind the glamorous façade: what she does in her downtime, how she handles all the haters, her fascination with Spam, and how she feels about fair-weather friends who are only there when times are good. Read up as Divine Lee drops the mystique and opens her heart to “The Dialogue.”

THE DIALOGUE: How do you balance your social life and running a business?

 DIVINE LEE: I don’t have my own family yet so I guess balancing my life is easier than those who are married with kids. My businesses are mostly an expression of who I am, so I never see it as a drag. It’s something that I enjoy doing, so making time for it is never an issue. And most of my businesses are with friends, so meetings are very fun and easy.

When did you establish your fashion identity? 

I don’t know. I’ve always been very experimental about fashion. For me, fashion is a creative output since I was not gifted with any artistic talents. Fashion like any other art form is an expression. My clothes usually reflect how I feel for that day.

What is the one thing you won’t be caught wearing?

I think I tried every embarrassing piece out there; I never take myself too seriously. I am actually the first to laugh at myself. Last Halloween, I wanted to go as “Yaya and Angelina” with David Milan. Too bad, he was too shy to pull it off.

What are the staple pieces in your closet that you can’t live without?

My beaded jacket that can turn a corporate outfit into a party outfit instantly; my black Herve Leger tube dress — it’s called the revenge outfit (laughs); Rajo jersey dresses that are perfect for traveling; Victor’s white polo which I use as a mini dress; and sky-high heels — the higher the heels, the closer to God.

What’s one skill people might be surprised to know you have? 

I can be a car mechanic. I kept on changing my car parts in high school so much that I ended up learning about cars. People used to call me to help them troubleshoot car problems.

Being in the public eye, how do you deal with detractors and haters? 

I’m nice to them because I’m nice. I don’t feast on negativity, I focus more on loving, living, inspiring and making people laugh. I really can’t please everyone, but I want to be able to come home with a happy heart that I didn’t do anything bad to anyone. I even have my own pay-it-forward scheme — for every bad thing done to me, I try to do two good things for someone else. It’s my way of stopping the negativity chain. My brother once said my being positive is sickening.

Where do you get your strength in times of trials and hardships? 

From the people who need me. I know I have to get up daily because my sewers need food on their table, my waiters need a roof over their heads and I have to visit a friend who is going through a love problem, etc. Selfish as it may seem, misery does love company. I try to comfort people in their trying times to make myself feel better. 

What song would sum up your current state of mind? 

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera for all my becky friends.

Being in the business sector, are women regarded with the same esteem in the workplace? 

It’s all about how you carry yourself. If you enter the boardroom knowing your stuff, how can someone think otherwise? It’s not about the gender anymore, it’s more about what you bring to the work table whether you’re in a suit or stilettos.

What cause are you passionate about? 

The organ donor card. My best friend’s mom has a kidney problem and it’s been nine years since we discovered it and we are still looking for her perfect match up to now. If people are more aware of the organ donor card, maybe finding the match wouldn’t be hard.

There’s a saying that you’re surrounded by people during the good times, but they flee when you need them most. Did you experience this in recent challenges?

People kept on warning me about this. I guess it’s called “people spring-cleaning.” I’m sure some people said and did things that I will not be happy about, but not my friends. I guess I’m really lucky and blessed in having real friends because most of my friends were fast to dial my number and visit to comfort me. Aside from that, I also discovered more people who were willing to fight and stand up for me. I also gained more real friends in the process. This is one thing that I always thank God for.

If we were to raid your fridge right now, what would we find? 

Coke Zero, Spam leftovers from Victor Basa’s midnight cooking spree, San Pellegrino, packed cold cuts and I keep some of my makeup in the fridge..

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Walang tawiran, nakakamatay.

Society often frowns on women dating younger men. What’s your take on this? 

I don’t believe that is frowned upon because some of the best love stories we all adore have older women. But since you asked, the three-year gap between Victor and I was never an issue. Love is about trust and respect, and never about a mathematical equation. Being with someone is about finding your happiness. Age can never put a bracket on happiness. 

You and Victor seem like such an unlikely couple, is it true that opposites attract?

We’ve been friends even before he started modeling and showbiz, and we even went to the same school (Brent) so we also kind of surprised ourselves with the match-up. Before we got together, we would hang out a lot because our circles are intertwined and we never saw it coming. After I broke up with my boyfriend, again a case of misery-loves-company, Vic (who also got out of a relationship) and Ino Caluza (with his personal issues) would hang out every day to burden each other with our never-ending sad stories. (Laughs) Then I guess we realized that we took comfort in each other’s company. It was hard to say what initially attracted us to each other because we still wonder up to now. (Laughs) But I guess being comfortable with each other and being long time friends made it easier to commit. We’re both foodies and he loves to cook so he’s in charge of dinner nights. We also go to church every Sunday and Baclaran on weekdays. We love staying home to watch movies and we’re not really party animals, as people would think. So technically, parang barkada pa rin, which makes it fun.

Which fictional character do you most identify with? 

Wendy of Peter Pan. I always take care of my boy barkadas. I’m like Wendy and her Lost Boys. Tim Yap gave me that nickname after hanging out in my house while the Lost Boys were fighting over the Nintendo Wii.

 Who would you give a free makeover to? 

I respect everyone’s identity and character. Walang pakialamanan ng trip.

What do you consider is your greatest achievement? 

That at 28 years old my heart is in the right place — I know what I want, my conscience is happy, I still laugh like a child on Christmas Day, I still get excited with life and I am proud of the person I see in the mirror. 

Who are your red carpet heroes?

Carine Roitfeld because I am a big fan of Tom Ford and she’s one of his muses. Victoria Beckham because I like her style — it’s something I would wear. Kate Moss because her style is so effortless.

What’s the worst thing you heard about yourself and how did you deal with it? 

I don’t dwell on negativity, I usually laugh at the comments. But I guess, the funniest is that I have dentures. Pull my teeth nalang if you have doubts. (Laughs)

Did you do any odd jobs before becoming a successful businesswoman?  

I started as an agent. So I would be one of those people in the mall handing out flyers. I also did buy and sell of cell phones in Greenhills. I’m quite proud of all my odd jobs. They taught me how to deal with different types of people in business.

If you could invite any five personalities to a dinner, whom would you like to attend? 

Pokwang because I found her hilarious when I had a shoot with her for Preview Magazine; Alan Greenspan because I think he’s very smart and I wonder how he would react to the personalities who are from totally different fields; Lady Gaga because I’m a little monster (what she calls her fans); Madonna because she’s Madonna; Warren Buffett because aside from being “the Warren Buffett,” he is one of the most charitable people in the world. People who use their success to inspire and help others always fascinate me.

If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would it be and why?  

Vera or Victoria of Magkaribal. (Laughs) I find the banter so amusing. I always wonder when I can throw those lines at someone.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

It’s hard to say because I live my life by the day. But I’m hoping to have a family of my own so I can stop borrowing all my friend’s kids for children’s parties. 

Behind closed doors and outside the glamorous image, who is Divine Lee and what defines you as an individual? 

All laughter and smiles. I usually have houseguests and we do the silliest things. I let my gay friends have “walkoffs” in the house, I let my younger brothers and godchildren imitate music videos, or we play Rock Band or Bingo in the house. My midnights are usually spent with Spam cookouts and a comedy in the DVD player.

What is the most painful thing you learned about love?

That in love… people never learn.

PHOTOS BY: MARK NICDAO

MAKEUP BY: LEO POSADAS

HAIR BY: NANTE ALINGASA

CLOTHES BY GLASTNOST

Accidental Rock Star.

Sitting inside ‘70s Bistro, the well-respected folk house venue in Quezon City, I witnessed how Parokya ni Edgar frontman, Chito Miranda, transforms onstage. The quiet, often shy, self-professed “nerd” turns into a music powerhouse as soon as he grips the mic. Singing hits such as Inuman Na and the highly entertaining The Yes Yes Show among others, Chito knows exactly what his audience wants to see and he gamely gives it to them.

With a career spanning 17 years in the music industry, Chito, together with his band mates, has transcended musical genres by combining alternative rock, pop rock, rap, and love songs into their albums. Their hilarious parodies of popular songs redefined how we looked at rock stars, while their broad musicality helped define a generation and served as a voice of the Filipino youth. I remember my brother Richard blasting a Parokya album every time he’d visit me in L.A. and would rave about their songs. I quickly understood the strong connection between the lyrics and its listener because whether it’s a barkada road trip anthem like Swimming Beach or a love song that hits the core such as Harana, Parokya’s lyrics speak the truth.

With the release of their 11th studio album “Middle-Aged Juvenile Novelty Pop Rockers,” expect Chito and the rest of Parokya to generate more hits while connecting with brand new listeners alike. This week, the accidental rock icon answers “The Dialogue.”

THE DIALOGUE: Most of your contemporaries (like The Eraserheads and Rivermaya) have disbanded but Parokya remains a tight unit. How do you guys not get sick of each other?

CHITO MIRANDA: Because we’re totally in love with each other. Mahal na mahal namin ang isa’t isa. We’ve known each other since we were six years old. In the beginning we never argued because we all liked the same music and none of us were real musicians so there was nothing to argue about. Now, it helps that we hang out with different types of people, so when we’re not onstage or when we don’t have gigs, we have lives outside of the band.

Growing up, did you plan out this career of being a huge rock star?

We were just high school students who formed a band that knew a few cords. Sobrang idol namin yung Eraserheads and they were the inspiration for our band. We were thrown onto the scene without being conscious of it and became regular performers in Club Dredd. Before we knew it, we were a professional band and became the opening act for Eraserheads. We never had plans of making it big and everything was an accident.

After winning an international award at the MTV Asia Music Awards, did it ever enter your minds to try and go international and market yourselves around Asia?

Never, because I’ve always liked things simple. I always just wanted to play in small venues and keep things kind of underground. Although eventually we threw our only major concert a couple of years back where we were in charge of concept, stage and everything.

You write most of the songs for your albums. What inspires your songwriting?

Everything. Yung normal na everyday life. I think that’s why people can relate to our songs because we sing about normal things and we never experienced the rock and roll lifestyle. Yung mga kanta namin are all about normal things like food, inuman, barkada, and love. Yun lang.

Do you have any backstage rituals before you face the crowd?

Yup, yoga! (Laughs) Before playing, sobrang tahimik lang ako kasi kinakabahan talaga ako but ever since before, we really pray before going onstage.

Do you have any diva demands for shows?

No, totally wala. Me and my bandmates have no crazy demands. We still see ourselves as minor acts, kaya walang problema booking Parokya.

How do you handle groupies?

Wala, we don’t have groupies. Kung Bamboo ka, understood that you’d have groupies. Hindi kami banda na pang chicks. May nabalitaan ka na ba na may groupies kami? Diba wala? I’d die to have a lifestyle that you see in music videos na sex, drugs and rock and roll with girls waiting in the hotel room. Pero wala eh.

What’s the craziest rumor that you heard about yourself?

That I died. It came out in Twitter and someone even asked my manager and it was on ANC Alert. Pero it was brushed off kaagad because I cleared it up right away.

What’s one skill people might be surprised to know that you possess?

Na mahilig ako mag-drawing. Fine Arts yung course ko sa UP and yun talaga ang first love ko eh. I consider myself more as a visual artist than a songwriter. Ever since I was a kid, I would draw my own comics and even in all our album covers, ako din gumawa nun. It’s the perfect thing for me to do because it combines two things that I love: music and visual arts.

What advice would you give young people who want to start their own band?

Huwag niyong gagawing goal yung to make it big. Because your songwriting and the way you market yourself will all of a sudden turn into a business of paano tayo sisikat? If you’re going to form a band, do it for the fun of it then magdasal nalang kayo that a lot of people will also enjoy your music.

Among the newer bands now, who do you think has the potential to last?

Sobrang galing ng mga bands ngayon compared sa batch namin. Urbandub, Up Dharma Down, Franco, Tanya Markova — totally mind-blowing yung talent nila! Nowadays, music is so accessible that you can make an album with just your laptop. Now the hard part is to stand out because there’s so much new talent out there. You have to step up, that’s the challenge for them.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?

The fact that we’re still here, that we’re still intact. It’s like a very successful marriage. Nag-susuntukan kami but every time we have a problem, we are confident that malalampasan namin yun.

If you could sit front row at any concert, whose would it be?

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

I’ve already had my dream collaboration with Francis M.

Who is the most overrated person for you?

Jed Madela.

You did a commercial with Kris Aquino. What was it like working with her?

From day one, I felt like she never liked us. Ayos lang. Yung small talk namin talagang small talk na alam mong hindi kami interested sa sinasabi ng isa’t isa. But it’s okay, she has no power over us kasi hindi naman kami part ng showbiz world.

What do you look for in a girl?

Naka-boots, naka-red dress at dapat may sayad. Hindi, joke lang. I go for simple girls. And sa buong buhay ko I’ve only had two girlfriends. The first was for nine years and then seven years. Hindi ako flirt and I don’t fool around.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Either still playing or dead. If I can still rock out 10 years from now, then good.

What’s one thing that will piss you off?

I’m very friendly but when I see other people disrespecting my friends, I can’t help but fight back. But with me, I’m all for good vibes.

What song defines your life right now?

Our new single Pakiusap Lang, because it’s all about hanging out with friends and being spontaneous. Yun ang snapshot of my life right now. The whole album speaks of what I’m going through right now. It has songs of heartbreak also because it’s the first time I’ve been heartbroken in 34 years.

Lets clear the Angel Locsin rumor. What’s going on with you guys?

Totally we’re just friends and enjoying each other’s company as singles. Buong barkada naming single ngayon, that’s why we just laugh at the rumors. Nothing to clarify because wala talaga.

What do you hate about your job?

The attention that comes with it. If I’m onstage, okay lang, but if I’m not working, kung pwedeng anonymous lang talaga sana. But being in this industry, you have to accept it.

What do you do before you sleep?

Think and write songs. I have a guitar and a notepad beside my bed because that’s the perfect time for me to write my songs.

 

PHOTOS BY: ROY MACAM (www.roymacam.com)

Damsel on the Rise.

Being embroiled in controversy can automatically put you under the media microscope where every move becomes fodder for public opinion and debate. Newcomer Bela Padilla, Robin’s niece, has found herself on top of the tabloid heap in recent weeks. There was no escaping the news that a bigtime actress together with her posse was bullying her costar on the set of their soap opera, where episodes behind the scenes sounded far more interesting and dramatic than the show’s actual plot. Stories of razor-sharp insults resulting in someone being locked in a bathroom seemed like something straight out of Mean Girls — and it left everyone wanting to know more.

What started as a hush-hush subject among industry insiders suddenly became the talk of the town, and the characters in the infamous blind item were finally named. Marian Rivera was said to be the jealous big star, while Bela played the damsel in distress locked inside the set’s bathroom. Of course, like any real-life soap opera, different versions of the story have emerged and the public found themselves rooting for their chosen camp. But before it could unravel inside the courtroom, network executives called for a private meeting and settled a truce between both parties.

The aftershock of such media drama isn’t easy to forget, and it got people asking one thing: Who is Bela, and why would a star of that stature be affected by her presence?

Hailing from the Padilla clan, the half-Brit beauty has always dreamed of following the family path and becoming an actress. Her father owns a telecommunications company and travels around Asia, which has allowed Bela to experience different cultures from an early age. She studied at the International School in Manila and transferred to Colegio San Agustin in Makati where she was a cheerleader, a bookworm and even won essay-writing contests. Gunning for her shot at stardom, she auditioned and landed roles in ABS-CBN before transferring to GMA where she is now part of its Artist Center. The newly single Bela (she just got out of a two-year relationship) is ready to take center stage as she is guaranteed to be part of the TV adaptation of Pinoy superhero Captain Barbell, which starts production next month. Handling her first intrigue with grace, Bela has proven that she is ripe for the picking and is ready for the major league.

THE DIALOGUE: What do you love about your job?            

I’m new so I’m excited with so many things. I love the fact that we get paid to be beautiful and there are so many privileges. I know a lot of people say showbiz comes with a price but I’m really enjoying it and I think I’ll be like this for a long time. But get back to me in 10 years just to be sure.

What do you hate about your job?

I don’t hate anything about it but since I recently signed up on Twitter, I realized there are people who will try to put you down. Sometimes you just feel like you want to cry but I try as much as I can to not let it affect me.

How do you handle confrontations?

I’m not the type to have confrontations. Whenever someone’s upset, I’m the type to fix it right away. Even with my family; I don’t remember the last time they got disappointed in me. It’s just my brother and I here in the Philippines with my mom and I don’t think we give her headaches.

Who’s your favorite fictional villain?

I like the character of Natalie Portman in Closer. She wasn’t necessarily a villain, but she was scheming and manipulative.

What should women never do?

They should never cry over a guy. That’s the worst thing you can do because not only will you look pathetic but no matter how hard you cry you won’t get him back. Also, women should never stop dreaming.

What should men never say?

They should just never comment about a woman’s body. Big no-no.

You’ve seen a lot of people in your family make it big. How do you think success can change people?

I didn’t see that in my family. No one’s changed. Even Tito Robin, no matter how successful he is, remains humble. I’ve seen some celebrities that, after one break, it gets to their heads already and I don’t want to be like that.

If you’re not in front of the camera, where can we find you?

You can find me in my house watching How I Met Your Mother all day long. I also like to drive to UP alone, find a spot and read a book.

If you only had one week to live, what three things would you do?

I would finish my taping for Endless Love, I would try sky diving, and I would spend time with my dad who’s currently based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Name three actresses that you’ve worked with who have pleasing personalities.

When I was still at ABS, I got to work with Bea Alonzo on MMK and she was really easy to talk to. I host on Party Pilipinas and Regine Velasquez is the perfect example that a big star can still be so down to earth. The third would be Iza Calzado, who is also very nice.

Name three men that you find hot.

Daniel Matsunaga, but I heard he’s taken (laughs), Coco Martin because he’s such a good actor, and Dennis Trillo who is also very talented.

The Padillas are known for being strong individuals. Do you think you’ve got this trait?

Except for me. Well, my cousins Kylie and Queenie, if someone gets in their way, they can beat them up. (Laughs) I think my strength lies in the way I think.

Which fictional character can you most identify with?

Alice of Alice in Wonderland because she stumbles into a world away from her comfort zone but she ended up enjoying it so much and learned from it. Also in that world there are things that are very pretty to look at but are actually very deceiving. There will always be something that will try to pull you down, but like Alice you need to find your way back up.

What’s the sweetest thing a guy has done for you?

I’ve only had one boyfriend. He flew to Bangkok just for a day because he had work to meet my dad and we all shared a room.

If you could sit front row at any concert, whose would it be?

The Beatles or Bob Marley.

What’s the worst thing you’ve heard about yourself and how did you handle it?

I read a tweet that said “Why did GMA get her to be an actress? She’s not even pretty, she’s just white.” Superficial comments usually don’t affect me, but at that point I was really hurt and it was all over the press. I thought about quitting but I pulled myself together and realized I didn’t want to put all the opportunities to waste.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you like to live?

France. I went there many years ago. I just came from a breakup so I would like to be in the most romantic city in the world. If I don’t find anyone, I’ll just adopt a baby and move to France. (Laughs)

Who has the sexiest brain for you?

I think comedians have sexy brains because humor and wit are natural. No amount of workshops can teach you how to be funny.

After all that’s been said and done, would you accept another job with Marian Rivera?

Yes. A job is a job.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY: ROY MACAM

MAKEUP BY: EILEEN RAMOS

PINK DRESS FROM WWW.STYLEBREAK.MULTIPLY.COM

High Net Worth.

In the local blogosphere, few have attained the delicious notoriety of Chuvaness. Cecile Van Straten has played many roles — Parsons student, designer, and retail storeowner — but with nearly 30,000 hits a day, she has garnered more attention for her daily updates on her little corner on the World Wide Web. Her entries remain opinionated and humorous. But a strong voice can sometimes mean bumping heads with other people — including a family member of mine, but they have since kissed and made up.

Love her or hate her, Cecile’s just keeping it real. She’s opened her life up to her readers; entries about Louis Vuitton’s latest handbags are followed by photos of her children or dinner parties inside her home. It’s that well-crafted balance of real-life mom and no-holds-barred commentary that make her monumental blog both entertaining and endearing. Read up as Cecile lets her guard down once again, but this time for The Dialogue.

THE DIALOGUE: What made you throw in the towel with fashion design?

CECILE: Honestly, I got fed up with dealing with sewers, the drama and headache of running a fashion business, and most of all, stealing employees.

How do you address haters?

Before, I used to address them, then I found out it’s easier to just ignore them.

What’s the worst thing you’ve heard about yourself and how did you deal with it?

Oh, that I was “uglier than an eczematic hemorrhoid on a toad’s ass.” That was more than 15 years ago and I can’t forget what he said, but we both got over it.

What cause are you passionate about?

I want to encourage couples and families longing for children or a larger family to open themselves to fostering or adopting a child, as we have. 

If you could invite five personalities to dinner, whom would you like to attend?

DJ Tiësto and Richard Branson for my husband, Mr. Bean for my kids, Philippe Starck, and Chace Crawford.

You’ve seen friends conquer certain industries, how do you think success changes people?

Oh, some of them get yabang, it’s ridiculous. I am more impressed with those that stay humble and reachable.

What blog/blogs do you follow? And why?

I don’t really have time to look at other blogs because I’m so busy with mine, but I love Mich Dulce and Jujiin Samonte’s

blogs.

Who is the most overrated person for you?

May I text it to you? (Clue: Another character in the World Wide Web – RG)

What’s your most unforgettable celebrity encounter?

Maybe dinner with Boy George in Malate, where he offered me a job, to just pack up and work for him. But it was the wrong time as I had two kids and a husband. A short time later, he was arrested for drug possession, so not meant to be. I told him I loved him, though.

 If you could give anyone a makeover, who would be at the top of your list?

Some of my friends, but they don’t want (laughs). Oh, and male model Lance Howard.

You’ve recently adopted a son. How has this changed your life?

That’s certainly one of the things off my list. You know, when you really want something, your heart hurts. I saw him at an orphanage, couldn’t forget him, couldn’t stop dreaming about him until he was finally here. It feels so good to be loved by someone so small and handsome. It didn’t change my life that much, except more mayhem at home and I have to buy diapers again, but that’s okay.

Fashion bloggers have become instant celebrities taking over the front row. Do you think they deserve such honor?

Only if they didn’t maliciously step on people on their way up.

Which local brands or designers do you think have the potential to make it in the global arena?

Melissa Dizon, Mich Dulce, Joey Samson, Ivar Aseron, Proud Race.

What would you consider to be your greatest achievement?

If I can raise good sons, only the future can tell.

What would you consider is the best invention created?

The Spanx bra, WiFi, home massage, and Lasik surgery are really life-changing, but I think kids are really the best things ever.

How would you describe your personal sense of style?

Pajamic. Right now I’m really lazy to get out and get dressed, so I like elastic pants, sweats, loose tops.

From capsule collections to restaurants, what’s in store for you in the future?

I’m launching a second line for Bleach Castastrophe x Heather Miss Gray next month. Will open Pepper Lunch at Megamall, design furniture with Locsin International, move to a new blogsite, and so much more.

Who would you consider a Pinoy pop icon and why?

Jojo Alejar because he was cool in the ’80s and now he is just campy in a cool way, and I would love to see him dance

PHOTOS BY: Brendan Goco, Joseph Cortez, and Cecile Van Straten

Class Act. 

Ask me which local artist could make it internationally and, hands down, Iza Calzado would be on the top of my list. Whether it’s her classic features or that piercing gaze, it’s hard not to be drawn to this Filipina beauty. But it’s more than just her physical attributes that are enticing, it’s also her persona. This woman is unstoppable. Having gone through phases of insecurity growing up and after conquering her personal battle with the bulge, Iza is in the best shape of her life.

She shunned the easy route of going under the knife that other stars have seriously considered. Instead, she laced up her running shoes and went for it the healthy way. She created a lifestyle filled with physical exercise — from Pilates, running, even pole dancing — and it shows that all her hard work has paid off. Her determination and mindset can certainly inspire.

Even Hollywood couldn’t resist. After filming the international movie The Echo alongside actor Jessie Bradford, many questioned why Iza didn’t pursue the American dream with one shapely foot already wedged in the door. With a newfound stint as a talk show host with Lucy Torres-Gomez on QTV, and her return to primetime via a beauty queen-themed program, are there too many things at risk?

Iza Calzado answers all our queries this week on “The Dialogue.”

THE DIALOGUE: Since you’re portraying a beauty queen in your next onscreen assignment, let me ask you this: what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and what did you do to fix it?

IZA CALZADO: I can put together a long list of mistakes that I’ve made in the past. Sometimes you learn from it and sometimes you don’t. But maybe the biggest one would have to be not giving my mom the same amount of attention she was asking for, or as much as I could’ve given. I lost her when I was 19 and I can’t do anything about that anymore. So the best lesson I got from this is to love the people that love you and just be there for them.

Were you ever asked to join a beauty pageant?

I think it was one of my mom’s dreams for me to join and she would always refer back to your sister (Ruffa Gutierrez) and say that I have to win Miss World. Yan, tumaba tuloy ako! (Laughs) But I never had the body for it and I just had to accept it.

You’re looking your best. Care to share your fitness regimen?

I’ve been running a lot since last year, I work out with a trainer, I take dance classes whenever I can and I took up pole dancing for a couple of months. I’m constantly working out. In terms of my diet, I stay away from carbs and, on those days when I cheat or have a piece of chocolate, I just make sure I work out more to burn it. 

What advice would you give someone who’s insecure about his or her physical appearance?

Everyone goes through it. I wake up every day and have to deal with so many things. I don’t have the perfect body and I have my clothes to thank for creating that illusion. You have to accept it or else you might give in to the temptation of diet pills, surgery, or even as far as drugs, just to lose weight. It takes a lot of love from the people around you, love from yourself and also maturity. Don’t magnify your imperfections; instead, focus on your strengths.

If you could sit front row at any concert, whose would it be?

U2. Will you buy me a ticket? (Laughs)

If we were to raid your fridge right now, what would we find?

A lot of chocolate, baby! (Laughs) Also some fruits, almond milk, and granola.

The country has been making global headlines as of late. If you were president, what would be first on your agenda?

If I were to have an iron fist, I would overhaul the nation. It’s the mindset that we have to change. I read an article in the (online) Huffington Post and I agree with it. Mahilig tayo sa “bahala na” or “pwede na yan.” I will address the need to strive for excellence and everything will follow.

What is your biggest achievement?

In terms of career, the Hollywood film that I did. But in terms of life, my major achievement would have to be myself — the mental and the physical aspect. I used to have no ambition and no drive. Now it’s totally different.

Having done an international film, how would you compare our local productions to the ones done stateside?

The most obvious comparison is that they have more money. (Laughs) They also have more time to film, and everyone knows exactly what they’re doing. Even props men have a copy of the script and will argue with the director just to get their point across. And it’s all very professional. Walang personalan.

Are there plans for you to pursue the American dream and maybe concentrate on a Hollywood career?

Maybe I was scared, that’s why I didn’t pursue it right after doing The Echo. Before, I thought it was doable because I was dating someone from L.A. so at that time it made more sense if I could live abroad for a couple of months and maybe pursue it part-time. But now, what will I do there? I don’t have an agent and there are too many things at risk. Lately, though, I always think about what I will do next, and it’s still in the back of my mind and I’m still considering it for the future.

What’s the sweetest thing a guy has done for you?

A guy once wrote a song for me, but unfortunately I wasn’t into him. I realized that even the sweetest gesture means nothing if it doesn’t come from the right one.

What should men never say?

“You’re fat.” There are ways to word things. Instead he can say “Hey, work out with me.” (Laughs)

What should women never do?

A woman should never let a man treat her as though she’s not his equal.

What cause are you passionate about?

I’m with Gawad Kalinga but I would like to do more, that’s why I’m constantly looking for time to give back. I admire people who give their lives to volunteer and help out the less fortunate.

If you could collaborate with one artist whom would you like to work with?

I’ve never worked with Jericho Rosales and he’s a good actor. Not necessarily as a love team, but just to share that energy onscreen.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Roy Macam (www.roymacam.com)

GROOMING BY: Eileen Ramos

LOCATION: Vinyl On Vinyl, The Collective, Malugay st., Makati City

Indie Man. 

What do you do besides simply wishing for a dream project to materialize? You take matters into your own hands. TJ Trinidad is an accomplished actor often portrayed as a dashing leading man, but for his directorial debut he scrubs off the gloss and gets down to business as a one-man production team.

TJ wrote, produced, directed and starred in his original screenplay Mga Kinahinatnan ng Aking Kabalbalan or MKAK, which premiered during the Sixth Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and based, on the audience reaction that evening, TJ nailed it. The story of an ambitious yet promiscuous lawyer who is misdiagnosed as HIV-positive — as part of a conspiracy for a co-worker to get ahead in the corporate game — touched on raw emotions and focused on the lies, deceit and manipulation that goes on in the real world.

Drafted from his imagination, TJ was prepared for the bumpy road ahead when he started production. Handling budget pains and a grueling schedule, he let’s us in on what it takes to make it all happen.

THE DIALOGUE: Where did you draw inspiration for your first film as a director?

TJ TRINIDAD: For the technical aspect of the film, I drew inspiration from Lars von Trier, a Danish film director known for his exploration of controversial subject matter, specifically his film, Breaking The Waves. The film’s grainy imagery and handheld photography added to the rawness and catharsis brought about at the end of the film, which had a very profound effect on me. 

How were you able to balance your acting career while directing an indie film?

At the time, I was working 40-hour days straight while shooting for Zorro. From the GMA set and location in Bataan, I would drive back to Manila and go straight to my own set with hardly any sleep. While it was physically grueling to keep up this pace, the emotional satisfaction of directing my own film spurred me on, and the significance of this professional milestone remains incomparable to anything I have accomplished to date.

The budget usually plays a complicated part in producing your own movie. How did it affect you?

As with most, let alone first-time, independent film directors, the most challenging part is the budget. It was a daunting task to try and look for funding, which I knew would influence my choice of locations and ultimately the selection of actors that I could work with. But in the end, with much gratitude to my amazing line producer Elaine Lozano, absolutely everything fell into place. I found funding and got the cast and locations I was initially gunning for. It was such a blessing and I will remain indebted to everyone who helped make it happen.

You play a young lawyer who’s promiscuous and a party boy. How close is your real persona to that of your character John?

In reality, the protagonist’s character, John Mendez, is the antithesis to how I see myself. But since I wrote the script and created all the characters from my own imagination, I know each like the back of my hand. I established their personalities and distinct nuances so I could have played any one of them. Since John’s character is not similar to me at all, it was more difficult to embody him, but I knew I could pull it off.

Which film made an impact on your life?

There have been many but the ones that tend to stand out, as I mentioned earlier, are Lars von Triers’s Breaking the Waves — what an amazing film — and Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, The Star Wars trilogy, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko.

What’s your favorite movie quote?

That infamous phrase now considered part of Philippine cinematic history “You’re nothing but a second rate, trying hard, copycat!” said by Cherie Gil.

Whom would you like to collaborate with?

I would love to direct and act alongside Maricel Soriano. If Mike De Leon or Carlitos Siquion-Reyna would consider doing another film, I would like to work with them as well. Right now, I would also love to direct actors I have worked with in GMA and collaborate with their creative team.

Aside from acting, writing, and directing, what other skill do you have that most people would be surprised you can do?

I can play the guitar and the ukulele!

If you could invite any five personalities to a dinner, who would they be?

Mel Brooks, Dolphy, Chris Nolan, Eddie Vedder and Cate Blanchett.

Who has the sexiest brain for you?

Definitely, my girlfriend (Marga Valdes).

What’s your biggest regret?

I have none.

Which fictional character do you most identify with?

The ugly duckling. Funny enough, it was a character created by another Dane, Hans Christian Andersen. I must have been seven or eight, and I remember it being the first and only movie that made me cry as a child. Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko was also someone I could really relate to.

After singing alongside Regine Velasquez in the primetime show Diva, will we see more of you in the music scene?

I am working on it. While it is a side project that I hope kicks off soon, I am not in a rush and expect it to take about a year to accomplish.

Which artist could use a little more respect from the industry?

That’s a great question. Definitely, our more senior veteran actors; they have so much to offer in terms of wisdom and experience and are so underutilized. There should be more roles and avenues created to celebrate their accomplishments and contribution to Philippine TV and cinema.

Who is the most overrated person for you?

More often than not, it’s usually the noisiest one in the room.

What’s your drink of choice?

Beer.

What do you look for in a girl?

Intelligence and a sense of humor. Basically, every trait my girlfriend has.

What is the ultimate dream project for you?

Like anyone else in this industry, to be part of a Hollywood film production.

How do you think our local movie and TV industry can be further improved?

By taking bigger chances and venturing away from formulaic scripts and concepts. We could also do with better laws against piracy and enforcing those across the board. I also believe that the consumer should make an effort to not support piracy. 

If you were to join a reality show, which would it be?

I detest reality shows. Survivor is probably the only one I was interested in because its novelty piqued my curiosity when it first came out.

What’s next for TJ Trinidad?

I hope to direct more quality films, be it mainstream or independent in nature. And continue to do meaningful projects for GMA.

* * *

MKAK will have screenings in UP until Sept. 2 and in Ateneo on Sept. 17.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Roy Macam

GROOMING BY: Eileen Ramos

 

Opposites Attract.

Last week, during Singapore’s Sing-Fest music festival, headliner Kanye West couldn’t help but become smitten with the lovely VJ interviewing him. Supermodel and magazine fixture Georgina Wilson has a certain magnetism and charisma so that, even after a full set under the humid air, Kanye still managed to ask for her e-mail address — a moment that Georgina and her friends can have a good laugh about.

Attention, however, is not a new concept for this stunner. Gracing almost every important cover, and taking charge of ads and billboards for several years now, she was able to transcend her name to mass media appeal, with fans tracing her every move.

As you may know, models aren’t usually hired for their intelligence but that’s exactly what separates her from the typical. Much has been written about her love affair with numbers and her self-professed geeky side, but its her candor and wit that got the attention of international producers of music channel, Channel [V]. Aside from doing the chart shows locally, she’s slowly garnering attention internationally, with hosting stints in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Korea (where she landed a cameo for K-Pop group, 2PM’s new music video).

Lately though, it’s not all these accolades that got people’s tongues wagging, but her constant red carpet date and their status as a duo. Read up as Georgina finally reveals the state of her heart and opens up about her plans for the future.

To that, all I have to say is… sorry, Kanye.

THE DIALOGUE: You’ve been spotted in several events with Borgy Manotoc by your side, is it time we labeled you BorGina?

GEORGINA WILSON: I don’t think that name sounds too good (Laughs). But yes, I think I’m ready to say that we are dating.

I can already feel the envy from guys all over, what is it about Borgy you like?

He reaches me on every level — when I’m weird, he can be weirder; when I feel like being intellectual, he teaches me new things. But the most important thing is we can spend the whole day just laughing. And he’s one of the people that can make me laugh the hardest. His laughter is contagious. 

Borgy seems to move within the indie scene, while everyone knows you live it up in style. Do opposites really attract?

I think everyone has a preconceived image of what I am or what the media perceives me to be. I can hang out anywhere, and both of us know how to make any situation fun for ourselves no matter where we are.

What is a normal day like for a high-profile pair like you?

We work out together, we like doing groceries and cooking. Checking out exhibits and exploring new places together is really fun, too.

You graduated in Sydney with a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a double major in accounting and finance. Why move back to Manila?

I guess there’s something that pulls you back when it’s a place that you feel is home. I never intended to stay in Sydney and when I went back last Christmas I just wanted give myself the chance to live in Manila again. It just felt right being here.

You had a job with a firm waiting in London; do you have any regrets about staying in Asia?

I really worked hard to get that job, but once I got it I realized I didn’t have it in me to work in London at that time. I just wanted to be in Asia and I know the next wave of growth, in terms of finance, fashion, arts, and possibilities is here. Even in the Philippines you see new pockets of creativity and there’s all these hubs of new talent. I’ve always been intrigued with this side of the world so I don’t regret it. And the job is still waiting for me if in the future I’d like to go back.

How do you deal with all the showbiz offers?

I take each offer in isolation and see if I’m capable of doing it. I also check what image they want to portray of me. But I think it all boils down to my capabilities, if I can do the job well, and so far I haven’t found it. Maybe in the future I can find something I’m comfortable with.

You’re the face of Channel [V], how did that come about?

Being a VJ was something I’d always wanted to be. Growing up it always amazed me to see those girls interview all types of artists and I really love music. Channel [V] was the natural thing for me to do next and it’s a stepping stone for me to be comfortable in front of the camera. It was hard at first but I’m getting the hang of it — although I still don’t want to see my tapes from January. (Laughs)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Honestly I hope to be settled down. I want to be able to look back and be happy with the career I’ve chosen. I want to be able to combine the two industries that I love — fashion and finance. Hopefully in 10 years I’ll be able to look at myself and say I’ve made the most of my skills.

With your giant billboards for Bench Body and a commercial for a beer brand, was there a plan to shift your image into a more mature one?

Nothing was definitely planned and I think the advertisers and magazines wanted to portray me in a different light. I’ve done everything in terms of my adolescent image. When I came back after graduating, I had a different sense of maturity and I was willing to take on these offers.

Which fictional character do you most identify with?

Monica from Friends. I’m obsessively-compulsively clean; it drives me nuts. And I was a fat kid that’s still teased up to now.

Who do you follow on Twitter?

I follow author Paolo Coelho but I’m thinking of unfollowing because @annecurtissmith re-tweets everything he says anyway. (Laughs)

What’s one skill that people might be surprised you can do?

I can cook a five-course meal and speak Tagalog fluently.

Who has the sexiest brain for you?

Any author in The Economist. It’s my favorite magazine and the only one I read religiously.

What’s your current obsession?

Listening to the Glitch Mob and The XX. As for my constant obsession, it has to be Trollie Gummies, I can eat bags and bags of those but I just stop myself.

Who’s the most overrated person for you?

Justin Bieber. I feel like the hype should be about the great musicians out there. When Michael Jackson had that hype before, it was so warranted. When I watch Bieber perform, I have a puzzled expression on my face — or maybe I’m just too old to understand.

Many look up to you as a fashion darling, when did you realize your fashion identity?

I don’t think it’s a finished process. Every time I live in a new country or visit a new place, or hang out with a new group of people, I get inspired to dress in a way influenced by my surroundings. Style shouldn’t be boxed up.

What should men never do?

Talk extensively about ex-girlfriends.

What should women never do?

Women should never over-share their relationship problems, because only the two people involved will really understand.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY Mark Nicdao

MAKEUP BY Junie Senia of Jing Monis Salon

HAIR BY Raymond Santiago

Props from Skitzo, The Collective

Tough Love. 

The past two weeks couldn’t have been more bittersweet for singer/actress Lovi Poe. After years of acting under the klieg lights, her name was finally called to receive her very first Best Actress award at the recent Cinemalaya Film Festival, a personal milestone for the daughter of the late King of Philippine Cinema, Fernando Poe Jr.

But just as the actress hit cloud nine, news broke out of the arrest of someone very dear to her — shocking to those close to Lovi, but a report that would be inappropriate to dissect in these pages. With every rumormonger wanting to get a piece of her, she has chosen to keep mum about the controversy and has decided to focus on work — she’s seen regularly in musical variety show Party Pilipinas, and a TV project and indie film are both in the works. In control of her music, television and movie career, she seems to be handling the headlines well, with many noticing that she’s been looking her best as of late.

After her critically acclaimed portrayal in indie film Mayohan and as these photos prove, it seems that on- and offscreen, Lovi Poe is a knockout.

THE DIALOGUE: The past couple of weeks saw both a career high and a personal low for you. How are you coping?

LOVI POE: First of all I didn’t expect to win my Best Actress award, and I was pleasantly shocked. Sometimes, though, you realize that no matter what kind of achievement you get, the heartbreaking things overpower those achievements. There are things that you just can’t take back. I was feeling more down during those past couple of weeks.

How do you handle struggles and hardships in life?

Whatever happens, the show must go on. This industry doesn’t allow you to take pauses so I keep myself busy with work and at the end of the day that’s when I deal with the personal stuff.

Do you have any regrets?

None. Once you start regretting things, then you can never move forward with your life.

If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would it be?

Dan Brown. I want to know what goes on in his mind.

What is helping you get by right now?

I just keep telling myself that a man without prayer is like a tree without roots.

What have you learned throughout this ordeal?

I realized the people who are true to me, my friends and my family. But sadly there are also people who choose to disrespect and betray.

What song would sum up your current state of mind?

Recently, I’ve been listening to Regine (Velasquez)’s album “Low Key.” I like listening to a lot of songs there like Tell Me That You Love Me and And I Love You So.

What mantra do you live by?

Always have respect. I’m surprised myself sometimes that even if people disrespect me to my face, I still find it within me to maintain my respect for that person.

What cause are you passionate about?

I’ve always loved kids and I think we have to instill proper moral values while they’re young to make sure that they carry it on in the future.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?

Having the right people around me. Material things won’t give me happiness; at the end of the night, you can hug all your bags but they won’t hug you back.

What’s the most painful thing love has taught you?

You have to choose who and what you’re fighting for.

What do you love about your job?

The people. There are times when the passion fades because of all the intrigues but when people give you words of encouragement, you are reminded why you’re here and how blessed you are.

Which person would you like to collaborate with?

Regine Velasquez.

If you could invite five personalities to a dinner, who would they be?

The cast of Friends.

Not a lot of people know you’re a bookworm, which book made an impact on your life?

The Little Prince. I read it in high school and totally changed my perspective on life.

What book would you suggest to someone who’s going through something?

Why Men Marry Bitches. It’s a fun read and gives great advice.

After your best actress win for Mayohan, can we expect more of you on the indie scene?

I love doing independent films because you get to explore different characters and you’re given more freedom as an actor. I didn’t expect the acting award because while I was doing the movie I thought I disappointed the producers. I had a hard time with the Quezon province accent.

What’s one skill people might be surprised to know you possess?

I write a lot of poems and I write songs as well.

If you could sit front row at any concert, who would it be?

Britney Spears. I know she gets a lot of flak but I want to see her haters attempt to do what she does onstage.

PHOTOS BY: Wesley Villarica

MAKEUP BY: Joan Quintas

HAIR BY: Felicity

Wear Humanity. 

It’s no secret that today’s youth have succumbed to a tarnished image of lazily poking people on Facebook all day, or playing the latest installment of Left 4 Dead for hours on end. Michael Concepcion, 19, a marketing student at De La Salle University is one of the rare few that are giving parents everywhere the hope of polishing up this impression.

Focused, determined and armed with a mission, Michael is balancing his studies with the opening of his clothing store, Greater Good. A project that’s been in the works for two years, the socially conscious line aims to use fashion and modern design to address social issues — from the environment to animal rights, hunger and poverty. A percentage of the proceeds will go to various organizations throughout the country -It’s fashion philanthropy at its finest. Together with cousin and business partner, Christian Concepcion, they’ve teamed up with different graphic artists to ensure that you wear your cause on your chest without looking too overbearing.

With the opening of their first store at the SM Mall of Asia this week, Michael steps out of his illustrious family’s entrepreneurial shadow to pursue his interest in fashion and retail marketing — all for the greater good. 

Opening a business is always a risk. Why take it?

Life’s too short to lay out the pros and cons in everything you do. On that rare occasion, it’s best to just take that leap of faith and go for it. The best lessons are always learned through the mistakes you’ve made, which is why I’m not afraid to take that risk.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and business heavyweights (his dad is Selecta’s John Concepcion), are you feeling the pressure?

Having a dad like mine, it’s a tough act to follow — in a good way. From listening in on his endless business conversations on the phone, to small talk over dinner that turns into marketing and advertising 101, it’s instilled in my blood the drive to start a business that just feels right. This notion pushed me to start young, early enough to get a head start and to learn the business hands-on.

How do you balance school and opening a store?

Every day is different. One day I’ll be interviewing employees then rushing to tutorial sessions, other days I’m answering articles similar to this one while finishing up my calculus homework.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?

“Go get a real job.” I admire people who do things out of the norm.

What do you love about your job?

That it’s my passion. There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re doing exactly what you want to do. It gets easier when the going gets tough. 

What cause are you passionate about?

Going green — it’s extremely important that we all find ways to incorporate green and sustainable living in all our lifestyles. It’s not much to ask for and we owe it to ourselves.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Banksy.

What would you consider the greatest invention?

The Walkman. The iPod idea had to come from somewhere!

If you had a dinner party for five, which personalities would take a spot on the table?

Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, Judd Apatow and Ken Jeong. Now, that’d make for some good, live, awkward comedy.

If you could live someone else’s life for a day, whose would it be?

Bear Grylls. I could use a little extreme adventure.

Who are your mentors?

My father, his work ethic and generosity to those in need continues to inspire me to do what I do. And my mom for instilling in me the right morals and values.

Who has the sexiest brain for you?

Christopher Nolan.

What would cause you to head towards the exit on a first date?

Women who constantly look for perfection.

What should women never do?

Describe Justin Bieber as their ideal man.

What’s your current obsession?

Anything hazelnut.

What music video sums up your current state of mind?

Sometimes by Miami Horror.

Who do you follow on Twitter?

The Office’s Rainn Wilson, he’s just as hilarious on Twitter as he is on television.

What is the most senseless tweet you’ve read in the past 24 hours?

Well, someone recently told me that I have a sexy neck; I still don’t know how I feel about that.

What song — on loop — would make for musical torture?

Mr. Roboto by Styx. I cringe.

Whose body makes you feel like touching it?

Odette Yustman. Her beauty is vastly underrated.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY: ROY MACAM