So now that the show has ended, everyone is already relaxed, and as I type this blog, I'm actually lying down because I'm sick. I need a complete bed rest tonight and you know, when you're in bed, that's where all the thoughts come in: the perfect time to blog.
In my previous entry, I've shared there multiple challenges as I finish my collection. It actually did not end there. The biggest problem happened one week before the fashion show. The director of our segment checked on who my finale model is. I said she was a transgender, and he requested me to change. You know what's ironic? The director was gay.
I had to think quickly how to apologize to my finale model that I will be replacing her but luckily, despite feeling bad, she was understanding enough and was still rooting for me.
And then a eureka moment came. Recently, Mutya ng Pilipinas 2018 Tourism-International Aya Fernandez reached out to me to borrow dresses for her events and her pageant because she is also an advocate of local indigenous textiles. A friend of mine connected me to her. I asked her if she was willing be my finale girl and thank God, without second thoughts, she did! The day I met her to get her measurements, I witnessed how sweet and humble she is, and how sincere she is in promoting our country's textile crafts. I felt it was destiny meeting her and that she was the PERFECT finale model for my collection.
4 days before the show, the director called me again and told me to ask the models to be at the venue at 8:30AM. I told him Aya had prior commitments in the morning for her duties as Mutya. That's where I saw the real side of the director. "If she can't come, change her. My models come at my time. I don't care if she's Mutya. Mutya lang siya hindi siya Binibini." and that broke my heart so bad. I was firm though that I did not want to let Aya go because I've been through a lot looking for my finale girl and Aya is more than perfect to be that girl.
I asked help from the producer, Sir Mike Tagle, to talk to the director if he could give consideration for Aya. He said he'll try, but he cannot promise.
I was praying all day for a miracle, trying to strengthen my faith in God.
2 days before the show and the pressure was on. I still had no word from Sir Mike. I was already feeling hopeless. I wanted to cry, but my meds for my anxiety and depression represses it. So I drank bottles of beer and cried, called everyone I could ask for help. Without thinking, I called direk and begged him with my knees on the floor. But he was saying "Quit the drama. No. I'm sorry Yna but no."
I took a blanket, tied it the bars of our stairs in the second floor, and tied the other end around my neck. I was ready to jump. I was already saying goodbye to everyone.
Just a few seconds before I jump, the producer called. "Yna, nakausap ko na si direk. Please promise me she won't mess up. And please please tanggalin mo na yang tali na yan". And I saw a man in a bike knocking the door, it was my cousin. Hugged me tight and removed the blanket. He took care of me, cooked me dinner and only left when I already fell asleep. And early morning at 4am, my boyfriend was knocking at the door and hugged me tight. He knew he almost lost me. But I apologized.
The next day, I had everything prepared, except that I have 2 more gowns under production.
November 18, 2018, the day itself. I woke up very early to cook for my models, makeup artist and everyone who will help me in the show. With the help of my cousin, we prepared 20 packs of chicken pesto. I left the house around 10am and arrived Conrad at 12:30. My models and I went straight to my room to start preparing while they ate their lunch.
They told me that during rehearsal, direk was mentioning Aya. "Sino ba yang Aya na yan? 5'4 lang naman. Diva. Ayoko ng mga diva". Before, I had so much respect for him because he said he was a man of positivity but now, I saw who he really is. He judged Aya without even knowing her. Even when Aya arrived, she raised her brows on her INFRONT OF AYA'S MOM.
Despite all these feelings, I knew I had to start relaxing so that the show would be a success. After all, this is not for me. This is for my advocacy and my homeland, Albay.
Even if deep inside, I was panicking because my gown, the most important of all, hasn't arrived yet. It was to be brought by my seamstress. So I was just observing my models as they feel very at home inside my hotel room, bonding with each other. In fact, they love the dresses and was enjoying fitting them. They were even generous enough to teach Aya what to do.
The show before our segment started late so I was hoping my gown would arrive on time. Direk was already panicking and looking for me so I already sent my models downstairs while Magie was still doing my makeup. In the nick of time, the gown arrived. but it wasn't finished yet so we just improvised and pinned it all over a temporary blouse, and it didn't have a petticoat. It wasn't the actual gown, but I had no choice so I just relaxed. I went downstairs and I was just on time because it was almost our turn. My models were telling me a lot of people were appreciating my collection and was even looking for me. I felt flattered, but my focus is on doing this right.
Can you see that name in "Impact" font? Ew.
Anyway, the show was a success. It may not have been perfect, but I was already satisfied. After all, it was the message that was important to me. And I still have a big-scale photoshoot to come so maybe that would be my second chance.
But I was just very thankful for my models for being such a team and for understanding what my collection really means. Charlene Ajose, Emi Ventura, Allison Laxamana, Geanina See, Angelgrace Benito, and of course Aya Fernandez, thank you for giving justice to "Magayon's Entourage".
Aya, thank you thank you so much that despite the harsh treatment, you maintained your poised and became the bigger person. You are definitely a precious girl and I can't wait to do more projects with you!
My makeup artist Magiellete Navarro who apparently missed my show because she did her makeup when we all went downstairs HAHAHA! Thank you so much! You achieved my peg.
Mom, I know you badly wanted t come but I understand. Thank you. I know that if you were there, you were very proud of me.
To my Prinsipe Ulap, Ronel Perez, I can't thank you enough for being with me all through it. I cannot imagine surviving this difficult show without you. You are indeed my Ulap who never left my side. I love you.
Sir Mike, congrats to us! We know it has been a long road and I'm very happy we made it! I love you so!
To everyone who supported me, maraming salamat.
Bicolanos, especially the weavers of Abaca Pinukpok, I hope I made you proud. :)
It was not only direk that I had in conflict with. I had witnessed other mean people in the show. Here, I realized that the industry I'm in is indeed a very harsh one, but it will not stop me from continuing my advocacy. In fact, I'm not here to be an elite prestigious designer. I'm here to promote our beautiful indigenous cultures and textiles.
So if you want me to continue doing this, please donate to my gogetfunding.com fundraiser and let's promote more of our beautiful tribes. <3
About the Collection
"Magayon's Entourage" My modern continuation of the legend of Mayon Volcano: the love story of Prinsesa Magayon and Prinsipe Ulap. The "bridesmaids" are inspired by clouds/ulap" and their clothes are made out of Abaca, Pinukpok from Albay; and I, Magayon, appears as the finale, the bride as Prinsipe Ulap waits at the end of the runway and gets married. 💕
Watch out for the full documentary about my search for the Abaca and the journey to PhFG-Timeless plus official lookbook soon!