SUPREME COVER: Lonely hearts club
Irish Christianne Dizon (The Philippine Star) - August 20, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - OMG, we look like sh*t next to them,” we said as photographer BJ Pascual approached to take a Snapchat of this Supreme interview. We were sitting in a circle with Bela Padilla, Andi Eigenmann, Kim Molina, Yassi Pressman, and Arci Muñoz, and whatever part of us that wanted a selfie with this celebrity squad was silenced by our feelings of inadequacy. Beautiful women tend to have this effect.

So we made a silly face and flashed the peace sign — in case anyone points out how we look next to these glamazons, we can say we’re going for wacky. But after settling down with the five women, stars of the highly anticipated film Camp Sawi (opens in cinemas on Aug. 24), something curious happened. In a few moments, our insecurities began to subside.

Imagine this: Bela, Andi, Kim, Yassi, and Arci devouring fast-food fried chicken as they tell stories about their exes. There are no tears here, no hugot; only gratuitous face-stuffing and dead-pan jokes. “Pinatay ko. Chinop-chop ko siya,” Kim says of her ex, a boyfriend of nine years who cheated on her with one of her best friends. Andi, meanwhile, finishes her one-piece chicken and rice meal, and wordlessly requests for another serving. She gives us a sheepish smile as she bites into the deep-fried drumstick.

It’s unfair how these girls can eat grease and carbs and look as smoking as they do in unforgiving LBDs. But this whole scene proves a point: In most everything that’s important in life, from love to career, if you’re beautiful, half the battle is done. But beauty does not give you immunity from heartbreak. Celebs are just like us, and looks don’t exempt them from being cheated on.

Break, Burn, & End

Take Arci, for example. Men and women leave loving comments on her Instagram account, calling her “perfect” and “pretty” and “stunning.” You look at her and you can’t imagine that any guy in his right mind would even glance at other women when he has this girl in his arms. But guess what? Her first boyfriend, a musician she “stalked” and “courted” for four years before he gave her the time of day, cheated on Arci several times. It didn’t matter that she’s beautiful and that she was a doting girlfriend (even going as far renovating his apartment and paying for his car loan). He still strayed. And every time he did, she forgave him, steadfast in her belief that they were “meant to be.” Until one morning, at a very early 6 a.m., he broke up with her through text, saying, “I need a break.” He spent P1 to break her heart.

Like Arci, Yassi was a devoted partner; the kind who always kowtowed to her man. “Feeling ko ’pag galit siya, kailangan hindi na siya magalit. Ako laging mali kahit wala naman akong ginagawa,” she reminisced. This is how into him Yassi was: If a fight lasted until 2 a.m., she would drive from Antipolo to the South just to apologize in person. So when they broke up, she was a mess, and nearly lost her career along with him. “Dahil magulo ’yun, nawawalan pa ako ng work. I almost wanted to quit showbiz, because at work, he was there. I didn’t want to be there.”

Bela, on the other hand, remained irrationally hopeful about her ex long after he broke up with her. “Kahit may mag-text lang, kahit tanungin lang ako kung anong call time bukas, hindi ko ine-entertain. Kasi feeling ko bine-betray ko ’yung ex ko. Feeling ko kasi babalik siya.” she said. Her feelings proved to be just that: feelings. It took her three years and countless crying-in-the-car-while-listening-to-Rivermaya’s-Your Universe to fully move on from the guy she would have taken back in a heartbeat.

Kim couldn’t help but quip, “ang gago,” upon hearing these tales. But the same could be said about her ex-boyfriend of nine years. The betrayal was double whammy. He didn’t just cheat on her. He cheated on her with one of her best friends. She didn’t want to believe the rumors at first, but when she confirmed everything, she walked away and never looked back. “Hindi pa nahahanap ’yung katawan ng ex niya,” Bela jokes, taking a bite of her chicken.





Public displays of Arcimony

Of the five girls, it’s Andi who has the most public and most tempestuous relationship with her ex. (Just this week, #AndiEndedJakeParty trended on Twitter, after she called out Jake Ejercito for drawing first blood. He tweeted about how she’s using him to promote the movie.) At the time of this Supreme interview, Andi said her biggest heartbreak left her feeling “mababa.” Every inch of her was filled with pessimism. But when the dust cleared, the self-confessed “emo kid” found peace in a bleak realization. “It was about accepting that I’m not meant to be happy. It was about teaching myself to accept that maybe this misery is something I need to learn to live with. It was about realizing that everything you do in life is a choice.”

So, take their word for it, beautiful women are not immune to heartbreak. If anything, they get hurt more. Bela said it best: “If you’re beautiful, meron kang self-entitlement konti. You feel you deserve better all the time. Ba’t ako iiwan eh ang ganda ko nga? It hurts more because it’s unexpected.”

The five women dealt with devastating heartbreak in their own ways. For Arci, she had friends who told her “ang tanga tanga mo” straight up, and that kept her from going back to him. “Kasi kailangan mo ng ganun eh. Kasi kung wala sila baka hinabol habol ko pa siya. Kahit na ilang beses niya akong lokohin.” For Kim, work kept her from thinking about the betrayal. (The hit musical Rak of Aegis started around the time they broke up. Maybe singing all those Aegis songs is more cathartic than we think.) Yassi boxed and partied with friends. Andi went on adventures. Time was Bela’s friend. Three years after the breakup, while doing a crying scene, she thought of him and realized he didn’t have power over her tear ducts anymore. Relieved, she sent him a text message after, saying, “Uy, naka move on na ako sa yo. Okay na.

And ‘Camp Sawi’ was Born

Perhaps Camp Sawi was also Bela’s therapy. It was her and her current love, businessman Neil Arce, that conceived the movie. Last year, during a dinner date, Neil asked Bela, “What if may rehab para sa mga broken-hearted?” and they found themselves with a story they just had to turn into a film.

Bela felt that there already exist so many hugot movies about heartbreak, but not enough stories about how you pick yourself up after breaking into pieces: “The healing process is usually only shown in the last five scenes of the film. I hope people see that it’s more important to fixate on the healing process, the moving on part, rather than the pain.”

With this mission, in May of this year, Bela and her handpicked writer-director Irene Emma Villamor (who was Antoinette Jadaone’s co-director for the teen rom-com Relaks It’s Just Pag Ibig and wrote the screenplays of Bakit Di Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo? and Vilma Santos’ Everything About Her) took the cast (including the sexy Sam Milby, we must add) to picturesque Bantayan Island to shoot the film.

Begin Again

With a movie like this though, there’s another thing that must be said about beauty. The last time someone put five gorgeous women in one movie set in a fictitious island, the press went crazy over stories that an epic war broke out (Google search: Heart versus Marian). Feminine beauty, unfortunately, is often equated with cattiness.

Again, Camp Sawi, subverts expectations. There was zero drama on this set. (Except maybe that time Kim bawled after they pulled a friendly prank on her. In the middle of a ghost stories fest, Kim had to pee. When she came back, they were gone. They conspiratorially hid behind the house, leaving the actress super spooked. Context: They were the only people on the island, and Arci could hear otherworldly voices.)

Otherwise, it was a light set. And we saw it while shooting this cover, in the way these girls banter. Kim, a theater actress who just recently crossed over to mainstream, said she’s surprised by how easy the more senior stars accepted her into the fold. At one point during the photo shoot, while Kim and BJ were checking her shots, Arci quipped, “Swerte mo na shoot ka na ni BJ. Ako 10 years bago niya ko na shoot!” There was not a hint of bitterness in her tone. If anything, it felt like a sisterly advice/reminder phrased differently. “Oo nga eh, na fast track,” agreed Kim.

It’s refreshing to watch these beautiful girls get along and not succumb to heartbreak, hugot, cattiness and competitiveness. It makes you want to see how this friendship translates onscreen, how convincing they will be as fictitious characters who help each other go from wasak to whole. Direk Irene tell us, “Camp Sawi is where you go to take your time, to pose the questions, and to hope for answers. Hope ha, hindi find.” In an email interview, Bela said she hopes their film “encourages everyone to heal and be brave to love again,” and punctuated it with a smiley face; a fitting conclusion.

After a slew of films that glorify pain, it’s time someone made a movie about learning to smile again.

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Tweet the author @IrishDDizon.

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