Once upon a time in the internet, Instagram boyfriends were these miserable men whose hands were on the camera while balancing, kneeling or stretching their arms in front of their subject. In the frame’s focus is the significant other, usually before a spectacular beach sunset. The Instagram boyfriend’s job is to capture that IG-worthy photo that’s been taken a thousand times.
Joni Koro and Miggy Cruz, Blogger Jowas, are a new breed of Instagram boyfriends who go the extra mile to snap that photo worth thousands of double tap. Wind effect? They’ll give your dress the flick it needs. Need a lift? “EleBaetor” at your service. A flat lay beach photo? They’ll climb a coconut tree for you. They help their respective girlfriends—bloggers Camille Co and Laureen Uy—even their girlfriends’ friends take the best photo, and they have fun doing so.
“It’s really funny, you see us working and you see us do—I don’t want to say stupid—it’s just impractical, but it’s quite necessary to get the shot that you really want. For us we’re just having fun, we’re just goofing around.”
Their over-the-top antics are documented in their Instagram account @BloggerJowas. Behind-the-scene (BTS) photos are uploaded in a slideshow together with the final product accompanied by witty, punny hashtags. The comments usually say “Relationship goals.” Fact: Next to dog photos, the internet loves travel-envy and silly OOTD outtake photos, both of which Blogger Jowas deliver.
The account followed by 100,000 users started out as a hashtag for one BTS photo, Joni and Miggy told Super in an interview at Le Petit Soufflé in Makati. Joni’s fiance Camille likes to call the Finnish expat “jowa,” the Filipino colloquial term for boyfriend, which got stuck in their heads. The hashtag spurred a demand for more BTS of the bloggers’ travel and OOTD photos.
“We all decided to make the Instagram for fun. We were in Palawan… with Slater (Young and Kryz Uy). It was just the three of us and three girls that’s when we all realized we had a lot of content available,” said Miggy. “We wanted to show people how it works. That to get that photo we had to do with this. It’s like telling the behind the scenes of what really happens if you’re a blogger.”
Blogger Jowas is like the polar opposite of the perfectly orchestrated #FollowMeTo photos, but the content is nonetheless a romantic offering to Joni and Miggy’s significant others.
Joni said one of the main reasons why he takes Camille’s photos is to support her work as a blogger. “Whatever your better half’s work you support them and in our case it’s a bit different approach.”
“If we want to travel with them as much as we do, we’d have to help them out with their work because most of the travels that we have is more for work and then part of it is like leisure. We try to get everything done right right away. If we’re not willing to do the whole shooting them then we won’t get to spend time with them, which defeats the whole purpose. I enjoy it honestly,” Miggy said.
Prior to dating Camille and Laureen, Joni and Miggy were clueless about photography.
“I knew nothing about photography. Zero. It was a hit and miss in the beginning. But now it’s getting a bit better,” said Joni, who is in the furniture business.
He added that early in the relationship when he offered to take Camille’s photos, but she refused.
The soon-to-wed couple had a meet-cute story on an overbooked domestic flight where Camille was almost bumped off. Joni was on his way to Bacolod for the Masskara Festival and so was Camille. Fortunately their stars aligned.
“She ended up sitting next to me and and then from there I tried to (talk) to her. She was extremely cold in the plane. I tried to try to talk to her and she answered with one word like no, yes. Eventually I was able to ask for her number at the end of our flight. She was on the window seat so she couldn’t escape,” Joni said.
“We didn’t know how to take photos,” said Miggy, who works in public relations. “You should look at my Instagram prior to dating Laureen. The filters all looked so different, super tight shots of food and bad angles.”
Miggy met Laureen at a club. They were introduced by common friends but they didn’t speak to each other, but they did dance as a group (Miggy loves to dance). They had a moment when the fashion blogger asked Miggy if he was gonna drink the beer he was nursing. He offered to buy her a drink. They have been dating for over two years now.
“Right before she was about to leave I decided to ask for her number and then surprisingly she gave it.”
(Miggy and Joni also met at a music festival where they barely talked. Now, they are closer than ever. He’s like your other jowa, we told Miggy. “He is. Sometimes closer. We hang out more often than people think,” he replied.)
While Blogger Jowas’ Instagram bio says they are “The real stars behind the #BloggerBesties,” Joni and Miggy credit the gorgeous photos to their girlfriends.
The duo said that all the test shots and art direction were done by the girls, and the boys swoop in to take the final photo to press the shutter.
Miggy said: “Our girlfriends really want to have the best photo possible. Like you’re not going to get in one take. You show them (the photo and) if they’re not happy you have to take it again. It’s like a circle of life. But honestly, for us, it’s easy because number one, thank God our girlfriends plan ahead. They know their outfits, they know their look, they know what kind of area they’re looking for. So for us we’re just following them around with all their stuff.”
We asked the Blogger Jowas if they will ever hold a master class on “baesic” photography (sorry, couldn’t resist) for fellow jowas out there forced to take photos of their significant others.
“No. I don’t think we’re qualified to do that. I wouldn’t want to disrespect professional photographers. It’s really not it’s not our expertise. We still get a lot of direction from our girlfriends like how they want to be shot. They do everything we just hold the camera for them and their bags and carry their luggage around,” said Miggy.
“We would be having annoyed people here,” said Joni as he pointed to our photographer Alexis Corpuz, “if we decided to give classes.”
Miggy added that fans can treat the content on Blogger Jowas as how-tos to level up the Instagram game.
“It’s not about doing anything overly crazy. It can be a very simple idea that makes the picture that much more extra. I think that’s also one reason why we do what we do. We want to share with people that (if you want to) get those photos you just need to copy what we do… It’s it’s not about not knowing how to do it, it’s just being open to learning how to shoot,” said Miggy.