“I’d rather eat a cupcake than go to the gym,” James says in jest during the shoot. He may seem like your regular 17-year-old, balancing school and other stuff regular teens do, but he’s got some things going for him that not all young people his age do: a clear idea of what he wants to do, the drive to get it, and a positive outlook.
James has a saying: “Life’s a party! Live it up, drink it down, laugh it off. Avoid the nonsense, and never have regrets. Because in the end, everything you did happened exactly the way you wanted it to.”
That is why his outlook is so positive, even in school. “I go to school stoked every day because I’m excited to go to class. That’s the kind of school I dreamed of going to.” A freshman at Enderun College taking up Marketing Management, James says the reason he likes going to school is because of the practical lessons and curriculum. “You can read about riding bikes all you want, but if you don’t try, you’ll never learn how. In school, we are encouraged to experience our career paths rather than read about them,” he says.
He’s even part of the student council and Enderun’s Glee Club, Soundcast. “Imagine going to school loving what you do, the people you meet, and the things you learn. That’s how I feel here. I’m realizing goals I never thought possible and it feels great,” he adds.
An unlikely outcome
Balancing it with schoolwork, James gets to do modeling on the side. “During my final year in high school at La Salle Canlubang, my friends thought it would be funny to send my photos to a magazine. I ended up taking a slot in their model roster,” he said.
He then got into commercials, shoots and ad campaigns. A friend shared this advice: “No matter what project you get yourself into, never debase your standards. No talent fee is worth more than your dignity.”
Thanks to his hard work, he was able to buy himself a second-hand car, and was able to fix it, as well. “It’s a jalopy,” he jokes, “But it’s still a car.”
Wake boarding and watching cable TV are his idea of escape, especially the former. “Outside of school, I spend almost all of my time watching cable TV at home, or at Lago De Oro Wake Park in CamSur. Nothing beats wakeboarding till sunset!”
When asked about the person he looks up to, he usually says names of wakeboarders. “But I truly admire my old man, my Pops,” he said. “He’s headstrong. The kind of person that knows how to keep his cool when things get heavy, and pushes me every day to be more than I’m satisfied with, so that in the end, I surprise even myself.”
James says his dad has stories from when he was in the army that are worth listening to. “Actually, it’s his wisdom in general. These days, kids like me hardly ever recognize the real heroes around us, until we really stop to take a look.”
He says that all his academic achievements, the money he earns, and commercials he does are to make his parents proud.
“I have big plans,” he exclaims. “My main goal is to take over the family business and give my Pops some peace of mind.”
If the opportunity comes, he also plans to get more into wakeboarding and delve deeper into acting and show biz. “And maybe grow a couple inches before I hit 21,” he jokes again.