Full transcription below:
I read this article the other day about how Gab Valenciano broke his silence about the Philippine entertainment industry. Admittedly, I feel the same way and I have been feeling the same way for more than a decade now – just about the same time that I have been in the industry. He said “[It is] a system that sincerely believes that being light-skinned is a privilege. That talent is nothing but a bonus accessory. That looking good is a much greater necessity than actually being good. That hard work doesn’t get you anywhere, it’s who you know and how far you’re willing to go to live the dream. That the destination is much more relevant than the journey. That your self-worth is based on the number of followers you have. That your every asset is fixated on branding and advertising. That being amazing gets you hits, but doesn’t provide you with a life you deserve. That it is okay for corporations to believe in a quantity over quality business model over excellence. That desiring to actually love what you do comes with a hefty price tag,”
As a woman with exotic looks, features and brown complexion, I agree with his first sentence. It’s definitely about looks. It is because of my looks that the majority of the roles given to me are either maid roles or the occasional prostitute. I’m always the maid, or the best friend from a lower social class. I remember a director telling me that my looks will never get me roles that I aspire for, at least not in this industry. If I want to be a real “actress”, I should’ve stuck to theater or try going abroad for it.
Oh, and being smart or intelligent is also a disadvantage. I played a prostitute for a show and the director got mad at me and asked me to do my scene over and over again because I was projecting my education. I believe the exact words were “lumabalas ang pagiging edukada mo”.
I get it. I know most people dislike intelligence or at least people they deem to be more intelligent than them because it makes them feel bad. I know that the majority of people watching tv or movies want to see white skinned, high nosed, big eyed women because they want to look like them – it’s aspirational! Oh yes, and it sells. It is a business after all. That’s why there’s the word business after the word show.
I’ve been trying to prove myself and been trying to show my agency that I am more than just a slapstick comic – that I am versatile. Go indie, they said. It will show them your acting capability. So I did. My indie films won awards, they went overseas and got awards there too, one was so popular that it became a novel and a required reading in Japan! I got down and dirty, I became daring and even went topless. Show versatility beyond the actor persona they said, so I started writing, hosting and even went online for a couple of episodes of a talk show. There were too many commands! I had to be controversial but not too controversial. I had to be nice and bite my tongue. I had to hide my intelligence and my accent when I speak in English because “hindi bagay sa mukha ko ang pagiingles ko”
Again, in spite of it all, I do get it. I understand it all. It’s a business. This industry is a slave to the masses. The industry gives them what they want because they give the industry what it wants. It’s a vicious cycle. Now, just because I get it doesn’t mean that I accept it. I think 15 years of trying and making an effort is enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful. Not everyone gets this chance. But I’m just tired. I’m tired of letting an industry and a supposed craft I used to love dictate who I should be and deny who I am. I’m tired of being nice for fear of not getting any jobs or turning producers or the audience off. I’m not getting any acting jobs anyway – so what’s there to be afraid of?
My name is Ian Galliguez. I’m a mother, a writer and a one time actress. Duday is dead. Ian is reborn.