He sings, he paints, he acts and, thanks to his recent gay role on TV, he could also be Dr. Vicki Belo’s most effective marketing tool yet to gain a bigger share of the “pink” market.
Actor Tom Rodriguez of the hit telenovela “My Husband’s Lover” is the newest celebrity in Belo’s growing stable of famous endorsers.
“We want to appeal more to men, including gays,” said Belo, owner of Belo Medical Group (BMG). “And I feel that Tom, who appeals both to straight and gay men, is the ideal endorser to help us with our pink campaign.”
More loyal customers
Studies in the US have shown that gay men are more willing to spend on maintaining their looks than straight men, Belo added.
Today, Belo’s male customers account for 20 to 25 percent of her clientele. Interestingly, most are straight men.
“I’d be happy if we could increase that number to 40 percent through Tom,” she said. “Unlike women, men can’t hide even minor flaws with makeup.”
Based on Belo’s experience, male clients, gay or straight, are more loyal than female clients. She attributes this to women’s “more adventurous nature” in trying out new beauty products and procedures.
“It’s usually the wives and girlfriends of these men who bring them to us,” she said. “But while the men stay, their wives and girlfriends disappear to try other beauty clinics. Many
eventually return to us.”
Apart from the usual skin problems, most of these men are concerned with body fat, especially stubborn love handles. Not a few also have their drooping eyelids lifted and their eye bags removed.
“Like Tom, many of our male clients still prefer noninvasive procedures,” she said.
Belo and daughter Cristalle Henares welcomed Rodriguez, 26, to the Belo group in a press meet in their Dasmariñas Village, Makati City, home two weeks ago.
“Although it was new to me, I never had any problem playing a gay role,” said Rodriguez, referring to Vincent, the character he played on TV. “And, yes, I’m straight.”
A relative unknown before landing the lead role “that changed my life forever,” Rodriguez has a college degree in digital animation from the University of Arizona. He resettled in the Philippines to try his luck.
Rodriguez, Bartolome Alberto Mott in real life, spent his childhood in Samar until his family moved to the US. His mom is Filipino, his dad American.
“The economy was bad in the US so I flew here soon after graduation,” he said. “I was studying my options and painting on the side until I found myself auditioning in theater productions.”
When his show biz manager Popoy Caritativo got him a role in GMA 7’s latest soap, Rodriguez grabbed the chance to work with established stars Dennis Trillo and Carla Abellana.
“Tom is not only hot, he also has a huge gay following,” said Belo. “I’ve been eyeing him ever since his TV career took off. When I got to know him better, I became more convinced that he’s the Belo man—handsome, articulate, pleasant and well-rounded.”
But fame has its price, Rodriguez said. Not only has he lost his anonymity; the long hours of taping also took their toll on his skin, especially under the eyes, and his lean physique.
“I was very active in sports in college,” said the former football player. “Now, I barely have time to exercise. And on bad days, when I barely get sleep, the dark circles under my eyes are somewhere between a panda’s and a raccoon’s.”
Rodriguez had Belo procedures such as SkinMaster, Jet Peel, Acupuncture Rejuvenation Therapy and the Belo Fat Freeze.
“Belo Fat Freeze is Tom’s favorite when it comes to his body,” said Belo. “It’s literally the coolest nonsurgical procedure there is.”
SkinMaster supposedly helps exfoliate dead skin cells, excess oil and other residues that clog pores and cause pimples and blackheads.
“His face is more contoured now than when we first met weeks ago,” said Belo. “I think it’s the effect of the Sculptor Plus and Acupuncture Rejuvenation Therapy. The latter tightens muscles without surgery, which no noninvasive treatment can do.”
But Rodriguez’s favorite is the Jet Peel because “it tickles and refreshes my skin,” he said. Powered by air and water pressure, the treatment is said to penetrate and rejuvenate the skin by infusing oxygen and various vitamins into the deep dermis to recharge and revitalize cells.
Rodriguez impressed the media, especially the ladies, by raffling off three of his framed digital paintings at the launch. He said he missed the days when all he did was paint.
“There was a time I’d hang out for a week in Hong Kong and take in the urban scene before I would start painting,” he shared. “I miss those days. That’s no longer possible because even there, Filipinos recognize me.”