Fresh Produce 2011
- Raymond Ang () - March 18, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - If you’re anything like us, you’re sick and tired of those “Most Eligible” lists and the same brand of last-named kids getting attention for peddling daddy’s last name and inherited social stock. It’s a different world out there, after all. With new media giving supposedly no-names real influence on the basis of talent and compelling personality, the old world way of thinking is on its way out. Anyway, who wants to hear what you have to say when the only interesting thing about you is your trust fund? Forget social politics, embrace talent.

The post-reboot Young Star has always been about freshness. A year after the section relaunched with a new team and a new perspective, these purveyors of adolescent (and uh, post-adolescent) awesomeness have once again assembled a worthy cast of characters, an eligibles list that truly matters.

You may not see these kids at the next industry event. You may not see them at Manila’s hottest clubs. Heck, they might never make it to the cover of a magazine. But these 10, armed with good old-fashioned things like talent and good intentions (what a novelty!), are shooting for more, anyway.

On the reboot’s first anniversary, Young Star presents a mold-breaking, status quo-challenging mix of sharp-eyed photographers, genre-defying musical acts, athletes who chuck the jock stereotype, and one seriously serious-minded shirtmaker — each of whom would like you to know that, contrary to popular belief, it’s not the end of the world.

MIKI HAHN, 22, singer/award-winning costume designer for Rosario/fashion designer/former Lipgloss actress

When I was a kid, I only wanted to be two things. I only wanted to be a fashion designer or a singer. Ever since, those two things just stuck with me, those two dreams of mine.

I had a very good support system growing up so I never had room to doubt myself. I believed in myself that much to pursue it.

Whatever the detractors say doesn’t bother me because there will always be people who will say shit. Honestly, even the bad feedback feels good because I’m still being recognized… Anyway, why should I pay attention to people who don’t really matter to me?

It’s a different kind of high. Being creative? Making my own music? I can’t let that part of me go. You don’t have to take any substance to get that high.

Every setback makes a great comeback… I’ve had people say all this stuff about me but you know, I got an award, people believe in me, I might do another film. It doesn’t really matter because it’s only what people say.

ZET DIAZ, 20, editor of Witness Our Youth ( student

My dad gave me my first camera, which was a Sony Cybershot. My dad was a film photographer, when he was younger. He had his own dark room and he had a lot of cameras. I’d use them for myself and I just developed a passion for it. It’s the thing we share.

Witness Our Youth started when I bought the domain. I thought of it first as an online blog but then I thought, it’s too user-driven so I thought of making a quarterly online magazine and making it art-centered.

There’s a lot of frustration with the local magazines. Everything is so fashion-oriented. Personally, I’m not into fashion and fashion photography. With Witness Our Youth, I wanted to make a magazine that, for once, doesn’t focus on clothes and makeup.

People are realizing the need to spread art in their own way. Otherwise, how will you get exposure? It’s a way to combat being a starving artist. It’s also a way to help out friends, talented people you want to help spread their work. It’s helping the young artistic community spread their work and gain an audience.

The film industry in the Philippines is kind of set. There’s a formula. Even if you have initiative, it gets turned down a lot.

Working for a big studio was a nice experience because I got a glimpse of the mainstream film industry. I understand how it works, that it’s money-driven and star-driven. In the end, the quality of the movie is the last priority. As an aspiring filmmaker, where do I go? There’s no other way to go but independent.

What I realized while I was studying film in L.A. is that, money is not that big a factor. I was able to shoot my movie without spending anything. It’s possible to work with a low budget and come up with a decent film.

BRIAN BRADY, 12, Pilipinas Got Talent wunderkind

Nagsimula ako kumanta nung mga seven years old. Nung time na yun, idol ko yung Parokya Ni Edgar.

Mahilig ako kumanta kasi nung bata ak

o, may nakita akong mga umiinom dati sa may videoke tapos kumakanta sila. Nasanay ako tapos kumanta din ako.

Okay ang mga Pilipino dahil sa “opo” at “p

o.” Kasi simple ang mga Pilipino. Hindi masyadong mataas at hindi po spoiled. ‘Pag Pilipino ka, kinakamay mo ang kanin.

Kahit dayuhan ako, at least Pilipino ugali ko,” sabi ko sa mga nang-aasar sa akin dati. Sila, hindi nila pinapakita ang totoong ugali ng Pilipino.

Natuwa mga kaibigan ko. Sabi nila, “Artista ka na. Mag-picture tayo kasi baka mawala ka na. Hindi ka na namin makita.”

Hindi ako makakalimot. Siyempre dadalawin ko pa rin sila. Kung gusto nila, isama ko sila hanggang pag laki ko.

ABDUL DIMAPORO, 26, shirtmaker and design blogger (

I do, mostly, custom patterns and shirts, hopefully, suits one of these days.

I was working retail in San Francisco for almost four years. After I graduated college in Napa, I got this job working for a small boutique in San Francisco. I was a manager for about three years and it gave me a good idea of what it takes to run a business. I just realized that I enjoy the business itself and I wanted to start my own company.

I feel like custom tailoring on the local level doesn’t really go beyond. Tailoring here is very basic. They’ve kind of stuck with what they’ve known all their life and are okay with not really delving any deeper, in terms of the science of fit, and really giving the customer exactly what he wants.

As long as the price is right, people will buy. A company like Zara, for example, it’s high-end here but it’s disposable fashion all over the world. As long as the price competes, there’s a market.

The stereotype that fashion is a woman’s world is correct if we were in maybe the early 2000s. Nowadays, guys are becoming more vain in dressing up. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Now, it’s more competitive. Like, in business, it takes more than just a degree and a good education and experience. It’s so much more competitive. That extra step you need is really in appearance. You’re judged by what you wear, pretty much. The only parts of you that stick out are your hands and your head. Everything else is what you wear.

STEFANO MARCELO, 18, internationally-competing race car driver/Jollibee Yumbassador

My family is a racing family. I was already surrounded by racing culture, growing up. My first professional race was actually a pretty good race. We prepared well and my family was able to pass on a lot of knowledge.

It’s nice being back in school. I haven’t been in school for three years because of the racing career. It’s nice to be back and be learning things again. Now that I’m in Ateneo, I really have to juggle the schoolwork and the racing.

 There’s no pressure because my family never put on any pressure. The decision to race was completely me.

It’s important to be well rounded. School is important to me. It’s important for me to have things other than racing.

I really wish the government was more supportive of its people. I am extremely, extremely proud to be Filipino. I’ve been all over the world for racing and I think we’re the hardest working people. It’s just a shame that there’s no support because there are a lot of talented people here and very smart people. If there was more support, I’d be able to do more racing.

I wouldn’t mind doing what Matteo (Guidicelli) does. I wouldn’t mind being featured in shows or modeling. But my focus now is really the racing… And it’s all for the racing. It all boils down to racing, bringing more attention to it.

NASSER LUBAY, 28, Celeste Prize-winning artist/Jollibee Yumbassador

I drew my dreams. Nung bata ako, yung tatay ko nag-trabaho sa Saudi so I drew planes kasi gusto ko sumama sa tatay ko… Art yung way ko mag-travel, solution ko sa mga bagay na di ko ma-control.

An artist has the ability to create something new and fresh. Sobrang hirap yun ngayon dahil ang daming art, pati packaging, ads… That’s what makes art great — ‘pag may nakitang bago sa lahat, ‘pag may nakitang ganda sa gulo.

Mga bata ngayon masyadong aggressive, gusto ma-achieve kaagad yung gusto nila. Relax lang. Enjoy lang. As an artist, you have to experience. To make something great, you have to experience and enjoy life.

Yung pagkuha nila sa akin as ambassador, was to promote art. Pumayag ako kasi gusto ko ma-promote yung culture natin.

Yung country natin, sobra yung need for inspiration. Para maging progressive tayo, we need lots and lots of inspiration.

LENA McKEZIE, 20, globetrotting opera singer and theater actress

As far as I can remember, I always wanted to sing. I had no concept of good music or bad music. As a kid, you just kind of want to sing Disney songs.

The best training you can get is classical training. As a singer, from there, you have the option of pretty much doing anything. You can’t go from rock singer or pop singer and then go classical.

I’ve got the most supportive parents in the world. In order to succeed in something like this, you need that kind of support system.

There’s that connotation people tend to have about going into the arts. They think it’s not intellectual enough or that it’s not a worthy career. I definitely think it’s extremely technical and intellectual.

The question I get a lot is: “How are you going to make money?” The thing is, if you’re smart about it, there’s definitely enough money in the industry.

I do want to move out of the country one day. There’s just not enough support for classical music here in the Philippines.

Artists don’t spend enough time on the technical side, especially in the Philippines where we’re naturally artistic people…. It’s why a lot of talented people don’t reach their full potential.

NICOLE WUTHRICH, 25, champion extreme sports athlete/Aloha Boardsports-sponsored rider

I started when I was six years old with taekwondo. I competed internationally. Right after that, sports-climbing, Frisbee, tapos tuloy-tuloy na siya.

Most girls are too intimidated to join sports, especzially when the stereotype is it’s for guys. I don’t want the boys to have all the fun. Kung kaya nila, kaya ko din.

‘Pag na-reach ko na yung goal ko, hahanap ako ng iba pang gusto ko magawa… Some people do it for fitness. But me, I want to compete.

Favorite ko ‘pag may photoshoot kasi, “Ay nabihisan ako! Mukha akong babae!” Nakakatuwa.

Even if I skate and compete against guys, I protect myself. Safety first. Wear a helmet and proper gear. Kung mamatay ka, sayang lang. Poof. Wala lahat.

Minsan sasabihin sakin, “Baka yung brain mo nasa paa mo na.” Of course, I have to prove them wrong. School and sports — balance is important. You can excel in both.

I have a brother and all the high remarks and high regard went to him. I had to prove something so I wrote my mom a letter saying, “Someday, you will be proud of me.” I work my ass off. In everything I do, I give my all.

HANNAH REYES, 20, internationally-published photojournalist/European Pressphoto Agency contributor

My lolo got me my first camera when I was nine. I didn’t really get into it until high school, when I got a little 3-megapixel digicam.

I guess what I’m really passionate about, what I really feel strongly about, is photojournalism. Given the choice, that’s something I would like to do forever. I like adventure. Going on helicopter rides, meeting soldiers, meeting people from all walks of life — I like exploring that and I like exploring in general.

People tell me, “Oh you’re just idealistic and bright-eyed and young. You think that now but eventually you’ll need to find a desk job and pay rent and (settle down and) have kids.” But my mother never says that. She’s never ever stopped me from doing what I love doing. I think that’s a huge factor in being able to believe in yourself, having your mother believe in you. 

If you want to take pictures, take pictures. I’m not the type of person na, “Ay, okay, may SLR daw.” If you want to take pictures, I’ll help you. If someone’s better than me, I can learn. We can learn from each other. Just spread the love, right?

I like that there’s a community of people. I like that there’s a lot of people who want to take pictures. Then, you’ll have standards for yourself. For me, the more cameras there are, the better, because that’s how you know if you’re good enough.

The first time I got chills from being recognized for my work was the first time I got published internationally. When I was working in the European Pressphoto Agency, I wondered where my pictures were coming out. When I Googled my name, the first thing that came out was The Guardian’s “24 Hours in Pictures,” the best photos in 24 hours. I clicked it and it was my picture and, literally, chills went up my spine.

I don’t think about it a lot. I do what I do. The rest follows. If you’re enthusiastic enough about something, there will be space for you to have a place in the world you want to belong in.

Mr. Bones and the Boneyard Circus, scrap metal rock band

BONES DEL ROSARIO (Mr. Bones, vox, 20), Juni Devecais (Sir Devecais, guitar), Alvin Chan (Doc Chan, guitar), JM Godinez (Rubberface, bass, 31), Karl Vito Cruz (Wolf, keys)

What do you mean mystery? We just woke up looking like this. (Bones)

We’re influenced by everything — Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, The Doors, Queen, even Bobby Andrews. (Rubberface)

We just want to put on a show. We want to bring back horror in it. It’s going to be something like, people are listening and experiencing it all for themselves… Every time we hit the stage, it’s going to be a rock opera. That’s the main goal. (Rubberface)

People who stay home, who hide, who hate the fucking world because the music scene is pissing them off. Those people will like our music. (Bones)

There are a bunch of people out there who say they want to do music but they don’t do shit. They just sit on their asses but they do nothing about it… At the end of the day, shit, man, I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a kid. You know, since we were kids, we were in the mirror doing air guitar, air drums. (Rubberface)

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