There's pretty much no space created for gay men who don't fit certain body ideals. Do you ever wonder where you fit in in the gay male hierarchy that's been foisted upon us all?
I don’t even know what to think about this. The gay community is already a marginalized group and within the community we ourselves are letting this crap flourish somehow. Like, it’s not easy being gay in the Philippines already—and the world, actually—and you have to deal with fellow gays believing you should stay within certain parameters. Like, STAHP!
What is the language used around sexuality and identity like in the Philippines? Does it feel inclusive?
So much awareness and education needs to be done. I think it’s deeply rooted to our culture and reflected in our languages. (As to my knowledge, as we have almost 200 official distinct native languages and I’m only fluent with Filipino and Cebuano). In both Cebuano and Filipino, there’s only one encompassing word to identify all the LGBTQ community. So I can’t blame my friends for some gender insensitivity—they just don’t know.
Why did you start working out? It's obviously not a hobby anymore, you’re like a total pro. What drives you? What is your goal?
During an unexpected career setback I took time to regroup and decided to prioritize my health. I was struggling [at first] but I got so into it. It felt good how I was able to do things no one would expect from this kween. I want to reach the point where I’ll be remembered for being really good and strong and just so happened to be A FIERCE KWEEN. Fitness has many shapes, it’s not always that ripped and probably dehydrated look. I think people seeing the last person they’d think would be good at this find success is what is inspiring; it’s beyond just myself now.
Tell me about King & Kween. Why did you start it and why now?
When I started working out and had to shop for gym clothes, I realized there was nothing available in the Philippines that really suited my taste. I just made do for the first few months, but I came to understand [the range of] different movements and activewear needs and decided to start my own line. I knew there was so much activewear-inspired fashion, so I thought why don’t I try it the other way around and have fashion-influenced activewear that’s legit functional?
How’s your sex life after all this? Do you meet a lot of guys?
First of all, ROFLMAO. [My sex life] is seriously non-existent! I have been coined by my friends as their “birheng maria” (Virgin Mary). People not close to me always think I’m this wild, sexually adventurous person, probably because of my seemingly outgoing persona and crazy suggestive dance moves worthy of Beyoncé. But really I’m this old school prude.