Meet the new Penshoppe endorser: No wacky colors for Josh Bowman
Raymond de Asis Lo (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - It was a gloomy morning the day this writer met Penshoppe’s newest celebrity endorser. Dark, gray skies loomed in the horizon as this writer took the early morning 30-mile drive from my apartment to the Sheraton Delfina Hotel in the beach city of Santa Monica west of Los Angeles. A thick marine layer blanketed the city when I handed my car keys to the valet. Rocel Roque, the brand communication manager of Penshoppe, met me in the lobby and briefed me on how the day’s schedule would be like. She also reminded me to stick to the approved questions.

Minutes later, a town car came to take us to the top-secret location in nearby Malibu where we would finally meet Penshoppe’s newest blockbuster endorser and one of Hollywood’s current favorite TV leading men, Josh  Bowman. He will be the face of Penshoppe for the brand’s Pre-Holiday, Holiday, Pre-Summer and High Summer collections.

The drive was slow. Mid-morning traffic was bad on the Pacific Coast Highway going to the beach house. The forecast didn’t call for rains but it was already drizzling when we finally pulled in to the driveway of the gorgeous house that stands right on the beach. The Penshoppe team headed by VP Alice Liu, her daughter Mandy and brand director Jeff Bascon was by the door to greet us and to introduce us to Josh.

Josh just finished the pictorial for a set of clothes and was about to change to a new set when we walked in. He had a ready smile when he saw us. We exchanged greetings, said our hellos and shook hands. Later, during our interview, he would show off to me one Tagalog word he learned that day. “Hey, kumusta?” he blurted when I asked him what good things has he heard about the Philippines.

“Well, I know it’s made up of just over 7,000 islands and it’s colonized by Spain,” he told me before revealing that he knew “some very bad swear words, which I am not going to say because it’s rude.” Apparently, celebrated fashion photographer Darren Tieste, who lived briefly in the Philippines, was teaching him Tagalog all morning. Darren was even addressing Josh kuya when he told him what pose he needed to strike during the shoot.

Josh, whose full name is Joshua Tobias Bowman, is an actor who was born in England but now calls L.A. his home. Two years ago, his fame skyrocketed when Revenge, the drama series he stars in, became that year’s hottest and most popular television drama on American TV. The plot of the series revolves around Daniel, his character in the series, and his relationship with the mysterious Emily, portrayed in the series by his real-life girlfriend Emily VanCamp, who was out to get revenge against Daniel’s parents who Emily thinks were behind the murder of her father. The show just ended its second season and will return for Season 3 in the fall.

But, on the day of our interview, Josh was not playing Daniel or any character. He was being himself. And, as he would later tell me, he likes it that way. Josh’s manager and agent were with him that day but Josh came to the pictorial and the interview with no entourage in tow. I would later discover that his humility and sincerity, and his quick and easy humor were not a mask. He was real, genuine and a perfect representative of the Penshoppe brand.

Below are excerpts from our conversation:

You’ve already tried on the Penshoppe clothes, what can you say about the brand?

“I love it! I love the high-street sort of brand. I like the tailored clothes. It’s nice, sort of fitted and that smart and casual look that I always liked. I think it’s a great brand and people should buy Penshoppe.”

Is this your first international campaign?

“This is my first campaign and endorsement, thanks to Laura (Josh’s agent who helped broker this blockbuster deal).”

What do you consider in a brand before agreeing to do the endorsement?

“I am pretty new to all of it. But I think something that I believe in, that I would definitely gravitate towards because I don’t want to be saying things that I don’t actually believe in. But I actually do like the product. I didn’t have to think too much about it.”

What convinced you to endorse this brand?

“My agent gave me a lot of information about it, we talked about it and I did my own research and saw the other people who were endorsing the brand (Josh joins international celebrities Zac Efron, One Direction, Leighton Meester, Ed Westwick, Ian Somerhalder and Thai star Mario Maurer as Penshoppe’s top endorsers). I like high-street fashion… It is affordable and it’s great. It’s current — they keep on top of trends... I think the key is affordable because some people obviously don’t want to go out and spend a crazy amount of money on a pair of trousers or a shirt when really they make the same thing just for a less expensive price. Even if I were a millionaire, I would always buy something that is more affordable.”

What was your initial reaction when Laura told you about the offer from Penshoppe?

”Thank you very much!” (He smiled brightly in the direction of Laura, who broke her silence and joined our conversation briefly. “He was excited!” Laura recalled.)

Did you know that you have this huge following in the Philippines because of Revenge?

“I didn’t know. I don’t really keep on top of it, to be honest. I just worry about my work and worry about getting my next job and getting better myself. That’s their job (referring to his agent) to stamp their approval on that and do their research and look for those kinds of endorsements and campaigns and mine is to back that up, I guess, and stay good, stay hardworking on my craft, which is acting.”

As an actor, what is your sense of style? Do you follow fashion trends?

“I do follow fashion. I do. I do. GQ is I think a great magazine to follow. I look at what other people are wearing and my friends in London, when I go back home. When I travel, it is interesting to see different styles. I don’t really pick things that are, like, ‘Oh, he’s wearing that, I should wear that.’ I always pick things that I just find cool and casual. I wouldn’t say I have this specific style, sometimes I can be a bit preppy, sometimes I can be very surfery (sic) because I surf a little bit, but maybe when I’m going out for lunch or something I will be a little bit smarter or I’ll wear Toms with a T-shirt. I don’t really wear any wacky colors.”

This was the part of the interview when we had a momentary detour after I pointed to the bright salmon-colored Penshoppe pants he was wearing during our interview and asked if it was wacky enough for him.

“This is not a wacky color for me. I will actually wear this. In fact, I think I have a pair of this.”

It wouldn’t look good on me.

“What do you mean? Why not?”

I am too short!

“Too short?”

I can’t wear something that’s too colorful.

“What do you mean? Why not?”

 I don’t know.

“You’ll look like a cherry?”

Probably.

“Or strawberry!”

Josh erupted in laughter by how funny our interview suddenly became. We were laughing for about half a minute when I realized that I only had a limited time with him. I gathered myself and quickly went on to the next question.

But as an actor, does your sense of style affect your work?

“What kind of work? This work? There are different types of work for me. I don’t think I am particularly good at this stuff (referring to his fashion endorsement) but what I really sort of get off on is working on a set or working on a stage or working in front of a camera and working on a character and that’s work and it doesn’t affect what I wear. No, I don’t think that at all.”

I was trying to google you the other day because I was preparing for this interview and I couldn’t find anything about you in the news. All I got was your Wikipedia page! How do you that? How do you avoid the paparazzi when you are this popular?

“I definitely have my fair run-in with the paparazzi. I don’t like attracting attention to myself. I don’t talk about my private life. I keep work to work and I have always, sort of, respected people who do that and I think that’s the key specially now with the last few years of my life with Revenge.”

Your career really took up with Revenge!

“Yeah, with Revenge, it did! Because of the fans and we have wonderful fans and people who watch it. A lot of people internationally watch it, which is fantastic.”

Did you always know it was going to be big?

“No, not at all, not at all! Halfway through the first season, it got a big response and then it just got bigger and bigger and then internationally it started showing everywhere!”

Some people know you as Daniel more than your first name.

“Yeah. More than my name so now that makes me think to, you know, do something different.”

But it’s good, right?

“Yeah. I guess but I think now they have something that, you know, they’re going to watch me act and the next thing I do will be very, very different to this and that’s what I am looking at.”

Do you have new projects that you’re working on? Movies?

“I am looking at things now. I am waiting to see on a couple of things.”

What do you do when you’re in-between tapings, in-between work?

“I do travel. I like to travel and get out Los Angeles — I think it is important to travel. I like to disappear and I like to spend time with my friends and just be me, really. It’s nice to be me, speaking my own accent, you know.”

How about the Philippines? Any plans?

“I am going to be there at some point. (Josh’s agent indicated that that they were working on a date.)”

Girls in Manila are going to get crazy.

“Really? That’s very, very nice!”

Before we concluded the interview, we did a quick fan Q&A of his favorites, which Josh willingly obliged.

Favorite color?

“Blue. Navy blue.”

Favorite food?

“I do love noodles. Anything with chicken (with the skin on, he said) can’t really go wrong with me. I don’t think I’ve had Filipino food yet.”

Favorite movie?

“Maybe Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. True Romance. Godfather 2 but that is so predictable being an actor but the Godfather movies are so phenomenal.”

Favorite actor?

“Gary Oldman has always been a favorite of mine. Daniel Day-Lewis always gives a great performance. Gene Hackman and Paul Newman.”

Favorite actress?

“(Meryl) Streep, I guess. I am always just as astounded at how she effortlessly changes characters but still stays within herself. It’s remarkable!”

Do you think you can act at all with her?

“When I get to sleep at night, I dream of that. It would be unbelievable!”

How about your favorite country to visit?

“Philippines! Yeah!”

And your favorite Philippine brand?

“Penshoppe!”

(“Have I said all the right things?” was the last thing he asked me after we concluded our interview. I told him yes. What do you think?)

AMP BRAND BUT I DON JOSH LOS ANGELES PENSHOPPE THINK
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