My friends have said about me that whenever I try to help with something, I involve myself fully in it. It’s like I include part of myself, they wrote in my high school yearbook. I get an adrenalin rush when people tell me, “You did good, kid.” I don’t believe that I’ve done something well until someone actually takes note of what I’ve done. Validation from others is important to me.

I realize that this clashes with my old concept of self as an iconoclast, as someone who never cared what other people think or how I affect other people. Sure there’s a part of me that’s tactless or can be thoughtless or is eccentric, but all along, I’ve been motivated by the desire to please the people in my life. It can be a good thing and a bad thing.

The good thing is that I’m driven to see things through to completion because it’s my duty to certain people: parents, teachers, and more recently bosses. The bad thing is I can also drive myself to exhaustion and depression. This wasn’t apparent during my college days (all 365 x 8 of them) because I had a lot of downtime. Now, with regular work taking up eight hours of my time plus additional responsibilities (gigs and events with press people attending) that require staying on after hours, I only just have enough time for regular exercise and sleep. I suppose for other people that can be enough, but I’m restless and think that there’s got to be more than this.

Deep down inside I’ve always wanted to be not just behind the scenes, but until recently I didn’t believe I had what it takes to be out there hosting a travel show, which is my ultimate dream (Ian Wright is my hero!). I’ve always been that girl in the corner of the shot because I didn’t want to seem overeager to get exposure. (It didn’t help that I also thought I didn’t look like someone who should be in front of the camera. That never stopped Jessica Soho or Mike Enriquez, though. No offense meant.) There’s always been that extra step to take, but I never quite knew how to take it.

It comes down to this: I’m not quite sure I’m doing well at what they’re having me do. I want to help this company: there’s got to be a reason I’m here in the first place. I want to please my bosses and my family: I know they mean well and want what they believe is best for me. However, I also want to be joyful and fulfilled in my work, and right now that isn’t happening. Maybe I’m just frustrated that I’m not an instant success at it, like I’ve been with other things. Maybe I’m scared that I won’t learn from the mistakes I’m making and that I’ll commit a fatal mistake that will cost the company or its artists.

You know when you know what you’re doing is not what you should be doing? It’s like that for me right now, or at least, I think it is. Hopefully something changes in me or in the nature of my work over the next four months. I can’t stand being discontented and always feeling like I should be doing more, or something else.

I know that what I’m going through right now is for my own good. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s just damn hard to keep plugging away.


Punched Out

Aside from doing BodyJam, I also engage in another Les Mills group exercise program, called BodyCombat. It’s a cardio and conditioning workout based on various martial arts, and it can get very intense because the combinations of punches, kicks, strikes, and katas are easy to remember and repeat. If you know the sequence, you can increase the intensity. I’ve even heard you can burn up to 1000 calories during the hour-long class!

I miss my Wednesday 7:30am class at Fitness First Greenhills with Mader Fhe; she could really get her students hyped and pumped up. Mader Fhe’s motto for us all was, “If you make a mistake, just smile!” She’s also the BodyCombat program coordinator for Fitness First in the Philippines, and I think she’s really whipped the program into the best shape it can be. The instructors now always show how to perform the moves properly, which is a good thing because doing the exercises with poor form increases the chance of injury.

We, her regulars, knew each other by sight and we all had our preferred spots within the group exercise studio. It even got to the point where we’d gossip about other regulars. There was this one guy who always dressed in matching colors: for example, if he was wearing a red shirt, he’d wear a red sweatband, wristband, jogging pants, and shoes to go with it. He’d wear his jogging pants hiked up to wedgie-height, too. He claimed he was an aikido black-belt and really liked showing off in class; problem was, he was off the choreography by about two beats and we all tried to stay clear of his flying offbeat kicks and punches. But it was all good because we were there to sweat it out no matter what others around us were doing anyway. Mader Fhe’s class always left us with endorphins pumping through our bloodstream. It was impossible to be in a bad mood afterwards.

I used to attend BodyCombat classes twice (sometimes thrice!) a week, but had to cut down to one class, on Fridays at 6:30am, when I got hired and couldn’t fit the later-morning classes into my schedule. I can’t not do BodyCombat, though; it’s different from my dance-based classes and works out different muscles which don’t usually get targeted when I’m dancing. BodyCombat always leaves me aching all over, but it’s a good kind of pain. Ü

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Salamin, Salamin on the Wall

You know those cute shirts with messages like “I’m with the band”? I should get one. I’m not saying I’m a certain band’s groupie because I’m not, but last week I was with a band for three consecutive days. I got to work for hang out with Salamin, a rock band whose first album comes out next week.

I got a sneak preview of Salamin’s songs last month, when I had to proofread the lyrics copy and match it with the mixed recordings. I’m no rock chick, but the album was a surprisingly good listen. It probably helped that I was reading the lyrics, so I heard the songs’ message above the screaming guitars and throbbing drums. (Check out a few sound clips off the album on Salamin’s Myspace page.) It’s gonna embarrass the guys, but I found the lyrics inspirational. Ü I was also present at the meeting two weeks ago when the album’s cover design was finalized; I’ve gotta say that when it hits record store shelves, it’ll catch attention.

Salamin @ MTV SessionsSalamin is going to be the MTV Rising Star for the month of December, so on Thursday they were scheduled to shoot their specials at the MTV studio at the Fort. My supervisor wanted me present so that I could meet the people from MTV and so that I could at least see how things worked. I only stayed until 10pm because I do have a day job (haha), but being there gave me an idea how the guys worked and gave me an appreciation for how hard it is to get up there and perform.

Salamin @ Hard RockThe next night, a friend invited me to Hard Rock Cafe since his radio station was providing the bands for a benefit event to be held there. Salamin was the opening act. Even though I wasn’t on official business, this was my first time to see them perform live in front of an audience (their MTV Sessions was shot in front of a bunch of cameras and a wall). I found myself singing along to their songs and screaming to get the rest of the crowd hyped up; at least I was sitting with two of the guys’ girlfriends, who were up to the same antics as I was.

Saturday afternoon, Salamin were slated to appear at the MYX MO! pre-show from 4pm to 6pm at the CCP Open Grounds. I wasn’t supposed to be involved in any way, shape, or form in this, but the person who was supposed to assist them wasn’t available because her father had suddenly died that morning. Guess who was sent? Yup, me. (I seem to have turned into the company’s pinch-hitter, since I was sent out as artist support the other week as well. Not complaining here, though.) So I drove all the way from Greenhills to Pasay to make sure the guys got set up right. Unfortunately MYX had only allocated time for one song for almost all the acts, so all that effort on our part was for one brief moment under the klieg spotlights in front of a sweaty rioting audience. But hey, if it gets Salamin more exposure, why not?

The guys shot the music video for their first single yesterday and I was supposed to go as well, but my supervisor decided to give me a break. I can’t wait to see the finished product, though. Ü

Salamin’s band members are: Paolo Valenciano – vocals; Miks Bersales – bass; Justin Alfafara – guitar; Bogs Paterno – lead guitar; and EO Marcos – drums. Their self-titled album debuts on November 22 at the press launch at Cafe Saguijo.

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Celebrity Skin

I’ve taken to talking rather obliquely about who I work with in my job. It’s not because I’m contractually obligated not to talk about them, but I am in media management and it’s part of my job to oversee the flow of information that gets out about the artists we handle. I don’t want to say anything that may come back to bite me in the rear, like accidentally revealing personal information, or schedules, or routines.

I never thought I’d be working in this field. In fact, I never even watched shows like “The Buzz” or “S-Files,” and I’d roll my eyes at the showbiz segments on our nightly news programs. I’d say, “Is this really news?” when some bar fight between two starlets makes the segment.

These days, I’m coming to realize that although these programs and segments aren’t exactly news per se, they’re ways of getting the word out about an artist’s upcoming projects or keeping an artist in the public eye. it’s just how you use it that matters. The gossip and mudslinging is the dark flip side of this whole thing, although some people will take any and all publicity whether negative or positive, true or untrue.

For the first time in my life, I’m actually witnessing how ugly showbiz rumors get started. Last month an artist’s impromptu answers to a radio program’s quiz segment were blown out of proportion by one of this country’s prominent gossip columnists. More recently we’ve had sustained attacks questioning the popularity and mass appeal of two of our young artists.

Our artists are persons, too. Under the facade created by fame are people with dreams that can be dashed, feelings that can be hurt, souls that need nourishment. It’s just that they live their lives in the glare of public attention, without the shielding privacy that we anonymous faces in the crowd don’t even realize we enjoy. I’d like the people I work with to know they can be themselves around me without the nagging thought that something they may say or do will make the gossip rags the next day. Ü