Monthly Archives: January 2013

The interview

The internet is abuzz with reactions to Ricky Lo’s interview of Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables. People are so mad they either want to take pity on veteran journalist Ricky Lo or bash his head in. On the other hand, there are also those who want to bash Anne Hathaway’s head in. When I first saw the video [which I won’t link here–thanks very much], what I felt was embarrassment. “Nakakahiya” [such a shame], I thought.

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Like I said, Ricky Lo is a veteran entertainment journalist. I think, when the Philippines was first invited to these Hollywood press junkets, that he was one of the first who got sent. He has interviewed hundreds of stars and celebrities, Pinoys and foreigners both. So he already must have a template of sorts, of questions or ploys to engage the most aloof subject.

Meanwhile, thanks to movies like ‘America’s Sweethearts‘, I know how these press junkets go. To promote the movie, stars have to endure facing as many as 40 reporters in a day, answering probably variations of the same question. Add to this the fact that some reporters are foreigners, bringing with them their own idioms and cultural nuances.

So what happened could just be a case of bad timing. Ricky probably got the last slot of the day, when Anne was probably already at the last strand of her patience that a seemingly innocuous question ticked her off right away, setting the tone for the whole interview. Malas lang! [Quite unfortunate]

Although I must admit, a little research would’ve prevented this. A little research would’ve informed Ricky Lo that after discussing her weight loss regimen in Vogue and in that morning show with Matt Lauer, Anne had said that she didn’t want to discuss it anymore for fear that young girls and women might emulate her un-healthy and, let me emphasize, dangerous method of losing weight. Bye-bye question!

I don’t know what to do with the rest of his questions, though. I don’t know; his questions felt inappropriate for a famous international star. His questions we’re all baduy [old-fashioned]. In formulating his questions, he obviously didn’t consider the cultural nuances that differed Filipino actors from the American actors. And that Lea Salonga name-drop! Gawd!

It felt like he was just interviewing a rookie Pinay who had just gotten her first break at the movies. This, I think, is why I felt embarrassed after seeing the interview. If the interview made Anne seem hostile and annoying (to some), it made Ricky Lo seem to be an incompetent journalist (to me).

Didn’t he have enough time to prepare? Was it complacency on Ricky Lo’s part? Did he feel so brazenly and overly confident that he felt he could just wing it? I won’t speculate. Apparently, Ricky Lo is just ‘amused‘ by the reactions that the interview generated. I think Jessica Zafra summed it up the best by saying that “the Lo-Hathaway interview is littered with cultural landmines, all of which Lo stepped on”.

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Celebrities

I was never one to publicly swoon over celebrities. Whenever I encountered actors or singers or other celebrities, I do not lose my composure, no matter how much I like them. I will not run after them, shrieking or in tears; I let them be. Also, I would never ask to have my picture taken with them.

Until recently, the only time it happened was when I was still in Cambodia. My friends and I were having coffee in one of Phnom Penh’s bigger hotels. We heard from the hotel staff that a Filipino film crew was billeted in the hotel. We resumed our banter, which stopped promptly when we saw Judy Ann Santos walk past the plate glass window, carrying what looked to be a couple of bags of grilled chicken–a popular street food in Cambodia. My friends wasted no time and almost ran out of the coffee shop after her. In fairness to Judy Ann, she was very accommodating; she agreed to pose for us. The only person who appeared irritated by our intrusion was her assistant, who glared at us.

Now, I’d been working as a trainee-writer for a celebrity talk show in the country’s biggest TV network for two months now. In this time, I have been regularly exposed at the sight of celebrities every time I report for work. Many of my colleagues–who are younger than I am, are quite vigilant about having their photos taken with our celebrity guests. I guess this is largely because of the technology these days, which has put the camera in the hands of many people.

This week, I sort of joined the fray. Miss Universe First Runner-up Janine Tugonon was one of our celebrity guests. Prior to the Miss Universe pageant in the States, she had appeared in our show with previous MU runners-up Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup. I knew she was going to do well even then–when many were basically bashing her beauty and intellect. In the end, she did really well with her 1st runner-up finish, which was last achieved by Miriam Quiambao in 1999. After our pre-interview, I didn’t resist the urge to have a souvenir photo with her. As always, she was gracious and accommodating. Our photo, which I shared in Instagram, caught the attention of my friends.

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Ms Universe first runner-up Janine Tugonon and moi

Is this the start of a new habit? Will my friends be seeing more photos of me with celebrities I genuinely like? I don’t know. Maybe. We’ll see.