Vice Ganda: Multiple style personalities

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In Imogen Edwards-Jones’ fictionalized exposé of the fashion industry “Fashion Babylon,” she says that designers often favor rail-thin models because their skinny frames were the closest they could get to having their paper-drawn designs realized.

Vice Ganda’s hit movie, “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy,” has the actor playing four different characters with varying quirks, personalities and costumes.

Of the four, the most feminine, “Girlie,” has the most fun dressing up. Girlie is as fashionable preening down the airport in thigh-high boots as she is pushing a carabao on the ricefield in skimpy shorts and rubber boots. (The film is a big draw—it has grossed P400.1M as of Friday afternoon, Jan. 10.)

Off-screen, Vice Ganda is as stylish as Girlie, maybe even more so. His Instagram is proof of this: feet clad in studded Prada shoes or Jeremy Scott poodle sneakers; a hamburger-printed oversized tee paired with French fries-printed skinny pants; wrists adorned with cuffs from Vuitton, Hermés and Balenciaga, the feed goes on and on.

Inquirer Lifestyle sits with the actor to talk about style obsessions, everyday fashion and other sartorial pursuits.

His outfit for the interview (“I’m a self-proclaimed fashionista,” confesses Vice) was inspired by a Japanese kimono, a long-sleeved quilted gray and black sweater with floral prints, skinny jeans and Saint Laurent loafers sans socks.

 

Did you always plan on becoming an actor?

Not at first. I took up Political Science. I wanted to be the first openly gay lawyer. But no regrets now. I’m so grateful.

I was in my senior year in the university, tapos nagsimula na ako sa comedy bar, sa Mabini, malapit sa Library. Trial set lang, sa Raymond’s Bar, when I started earning my own money, sayang ’yong opportunity. I can always go back to school but I never did.

 

Were most of your lines in the film ad-libbed?

Ganoon ang mga movies ko, 80-percent ad-lib, that’s why Direk Wenn (Deramas) and I click, collaboration talaga, punch line niya, punch line ko. ’Yung mga physical gags and jokes, sa kanya galing. ’Yung mga actors may lines, ako blanko. Monologue. “Ano gusto mo sabihin?” “Kunan mo na lang, direk.” Sabi nga ni Maria (Maricel Soriano): “Ang hirap ka-trabaho ng bata na ’to.” Kada shot iba yung punch line, kasi nag-iiba yung punch line, so dapat iba ’yung reaction ng mga actors na kasabay ko.

Where do you get your material?

Ang dami kong masayang pinagdaanan. I came from a squatters’ area na ang saya, ’Yong area na kinalakihan ko depressed area, mahirap pero masaya siya. Nakakatawa. Kasi ’yong mga maraming mali na nakakatawa na nakita ko doon, pangkaraniwan for me pero nakakatawa sa mga kinukuwentuhan ko.

Hindi sobrang positive nung environment ko, pero ako, ang dami kong napulot na masasaya na pag-shinare ko ngayon, patok. Sa mga mahihirap na lugar, masaya pa rin. Very Pinoy ’yon.

 

Who discovered you?

SARTORIAL PURSUITS. Vice Ganda enjoys posting his “shoelfies” (shoe selfies), outfits of the day and accessories on Instagram.

Hans Mortel, a stand-up comedian sa comedy bar. Dati siyang sing-along bar, pinaglaruan ako ng mga classmates ko, favorite ko lang dati manood ng Miss Gay. Dinala nila ako doon, nakipagtarayan ako sa host na si Hans Mortel, “Kausapin niyo itong baklang to, bongga ’to o,” sabi niya after.

Hilig ko talaga Miss Gay, mga kabarkada ko magagandang bakla, ako ’yong pinakapangit, pero nananalo sila dahil ako gumagawa ng mga sagot nila sa Q and A. Mahilig ako sa current events so ako gumagawa noong sagot. Feeling ko mas matalino ako dati kesa ngayon, puro kabalbalan na lang ngayon. (Laughs)

Wala pa ako sa show biz, active na ako sa comedy circuit, akala ko hanggang ganoon na lang. Kasabayan ko si Chokoleit, Ethel Booba, Pooh. I thought I would just be a big fish in a small pond. Stand-up comedy lang.

Where did the name Vice Ganda come from?

In school I was called “Vice.” Lahat kaming magkakapatid puro “Vice.” We were under one speech teacher; she would pronounce our last name, Viceral as “Vice-ral.” Sa comedy bar sabi sa akin ang ikli ng name mo walang recall, like “Rey Kilay.” May nagpa-picture, sabi sa akin, “Ganda, pa-picture tayo.” Kaya naging Vice Ganda.

What were the challenges you faced making “Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy?”

The mere fact that you are doing four characters is so challenging.

I don’t consider myself an actor. I’m a comedian, not an actor, as an actor ’di ako nagagalingan sa sarili ko, unlike Eugene (Domingo), John Lapus… iba kasi training ko stand-up comedy.

Very demanding ’yong “Girl, Boy,” sa talent ko, malaking requirement, so I studied.

I looked for pegs. I had notes in my phone. The girl, “Girlie,” was a combination of Paris Hilton and Ruffa Gutierrez. For the boy si Vhong Navarro, sa gay, ’yong kapatid ko, tatlo kaming gay sa family. Sa tomboy si Charice and Aiza. Pinanood ko lahat ng “MMK” (“Maalaala Mo Kaya”) ni Charice and Aiza.

All your brothers are gay?

I’m the youngest in the family, two girls and three pa-girls. ’Yong tatay ko sobrang brusko: maton, nasa kalsada nakahubad, naka-tuwalya—tapos lahat ng anak naging bakla.

Niloloko nga siya ng nanay ko dahil sa saksakan ng yabang sa kalsada, ayan karma niya, bakla lahat ng anak niya.

Until my dad died, ’di niya alam na bading ako, kawawa naman tatay ko, no, bunso na anak bakla pa rin. Kung nalaman niyang bakla ako baka yun pa ang ikamatay niya. (Laughs)

We’re not really close, my siblings and I. I grew up in the company of friends. My mom went to the States to work, noong mga panahon na ’yon, kami lang ng mga kapatid ko at lolo ko. Nasa age sila na nag-e-enjoy as teenagers, no one really took care of me.

Ang naging family ko mga friends ko, hindi na ko umuuwi, umuuwi ako sa mga kaibigan ko.

Wherever I go, bitbit ko ’yong mga bakla ko, meron silang sariling kuwarto sa bahay ko. When I was still a nobody, they stuck with me. Noong nagsisimula pa lang ako, the very first night I worked sa comedy bar, wala akong damit kasi estudyante lang ako, e kailangan nakapang-show, mga kaibigan ko nag-ambag-ambag ng damit para mabili ako ng damit sa SM.

Anim kami na magkaibigan na puro bading. ’Yong iba, they are part of my staff, sa team ko.

What is your biggest fashion splurge?

Shoes, kasi I felt I was deprived. ’Di naman deprived, pero kung ano lang ’yong pinadala sa akin dati ’yon lang talaga, wala sa uso.

Noong college pa lang ako, ’yong mga kaibigan ko mga mapo-porma, usong-uso noon ’yong Doc Martens, kapanahunan ng “Sister Act” ni Whoopi Goldberg, may 12 holes, may 14 holes, pataasan.

I couldn’t afford to buy a pair, so I bought a knock-off pair. So noong kumita ako, binili ko lahat ng limited-edition na Doc Martens, nagkaroon ako ng Doc Martens festival araw-araw sa Showtime, ibang kulay ng Doc Martens suot ko.

Nagta-trabaho ako ngayon to give myself and my family a good life. Pagkatapos ko ng trabaho, travel ako ng konti, bili ng konti, para ma-enjoy ko ’yong pagod ko.

What are your favorite brands?

Comme des Garçons, Louboutin, Saint-Laurent, Jeremy Scott sa rubber shoes.

I make sure I save, though. I’m buying another house, nakapag-pundar na ako ng dalawang bahay.

This year, I want to create my own line of shades, since every day naka-shades ako. Might as well gumawa ako ng sariling line na afford ng masa. Eventually, baka line of clothing.

Do you also have a beauty routine?

No, I don’t take care of my skin at all. ’Yong manager ko, si Sir Deo (Edrinal) niloloko ako, humihingi ako ng one month, papaayos ako ng mukha. He said, “No, masisira ’yong brand!” I replied, “so ang brand ko pangit ako, ganoon talaga?” (Laughs)

 

Where you do shop?

Hindi ako nakakapag-shop sa Pilipinas, wala akong size sa sapatos dito, sa women’s size 10 ako, ’yong 10 dito maliliit. ’Yong ibang brands na gusto ko wala dito. Hindi ako ma-bag, ’di bagay sa personality ko ’yong mamahaling bags. Ang watch ko tatlo lang, hikaw ko three pairs lang.

What’s your private time like?

Lately, enjoy ako sa beach.

Are you always made up when you step out?

I’m always made up. Gusto ko lagi naka-postura. Kahit tulog, naka-makeup ako. Paano kung ma-masaker ako at dumating ’yong pulis tapos ’di ako naka-makeup? (laughs)

Tell us about your tattoos.

I have eight tattoos, and I’m planning to get another, lahat stars. Mark of achievement, parang noong grade school tayo, ’di ba ang star ibig sabihin “Very Good?” ’Yong first star ko dahil sa  “Petrang Kabayo” (points to wrist). Ang dami kong “very good” last year, so ’yong sa neck, constellation. Ito ’yong pinakamasakit, sa knuckles. Four kaming friends sa LA, nag-party kaming magkaibigan, napag-tripan namin pumuntang West Hollywood, and I got a diamond tattoo sa knuckle. But when I got back, parang sugat lang, so pinantay ko na lang by adding to the other knuckles the other suits sa cards. Akala nila tuloy gambler ako.

So you don’t have any vices? What about guys?

Guys? They’re not my vice, they’re my lifestyle. (Laughs) Guys cannot be my life, just part of my lifestyle.

 

Do you give your boyfriends fashion makeovers?

Ina-accentuate lang, inaayos ko ’yong porma, ayoko rin nang mapormang-maporma, ayoko ng metrosexual. Gusto ko ’yong pleasant lang. Ayoko rin ng guy na mahilig sa branded kasi ako mahihirapan, ako ’yong bibili! (Laughs) Mabuti na ’yong plain white shirt and jeans kasi mura lang ’yon, lalo pa ’yong mga Crispa pa.

What was the sweetest thing a guy did to get your attention?

Ako ang papansin. Just recently I had a date with my boyfriend. Where? Inside my room! Nakakapagod kasi, ’di pwedeng lumabas, ’di pwedeng mag-date, so sabi ko, itigil na natin ’to. Ang title ng movie natin, “Pag-ibig Sa Silid,” ’di tayo makaalis, ’di tayo makapag-date.

So, one day, pumunta siya sa bahay, nakaayos, sabi niya sa akin, “may date ako.” Tapos, pinaakyat niya ako sa kwarto ko, magde-date daw kami sa kwarto ko! May gitarista na naggi-gitara lang the whole night nagpa-set siya ng dinner sa maid, adobo, softdrinks. Pinatay niya ’yong ilaw, sa bathroom lang, para candlelight, sumasayaw lang kami sa kwarto na parang mga baliw. Sabi ko, saang sine mo ba napanood ’to?

 

How would you describe your personal style?

It varies by mood. It’s very random. Minsan, gusto ko girl ako ngayon, so heels, short shorts. Tomorrow, gusto ko boy ako, so jogging pants, oversized sweater.

 

How do you maintain your figure?

I’m trying to lose weight. No soda. Less rice. I’m planning to go back to volleyball. MVP ako sa basketball before. Now hindi na ako mahilig sa basketball, sa players na lang. (Laughs)

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