03/13/2015

Freaky Friday: Celebrity Edition

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SARAH GERONIMO AND BEYONCÉ

MANILA, Philippines – While Sarah G has long proven herself a multi-talented dynamo, there’s still the public perception that the singer, actress, and The Voice coach isn’t her own woman, that she’s still taking cues from her allegedly too-strict parents. She’s gone out of her way to dispute these claims recently but the perception remains. How does a 26-year-old superstar prove that girls run the world? By taking a page from Beyonce’s book.

Over her last two albums, Beyoncé’s has remade her brand on the tenets of authenticity and control. In a music landscape that has gotten used to rush-releasing albums to score the next Billboard Hot 100, she’s taken a left turn and seized control of her personal brand by using non-traditional release cycles (her surprise release in 2014), refocusing on the not exactly trendy music she grew up with (R&B in a time of EDM), and flaunting her newfound assertiveness (“Feminist. A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”).

Sarah Geronimo needs to take notes. She’s talented, charismatic, limitless, and powerful—it’s about time she went beyond merely churning out hits and looking at her legacy.

RYZZA MAE DIZON AND NORTH WEST

Four words: Ryzza Mae in Givenchy.

Who wouldn’t want to see Little Miss Bossing rub elbows with the likes of Riccardo Tisci and Blue Ivy at those Givenchy fashion shows? Who wouldn’t want to hear a Kanye West song encapsulating “Bawalang sad dapat happy”? Who wouldn’t want to see Ryzza Mae in Kim’s arms? Four, five seconds from wildin’?

On the other hand, North West interviews artistas.

One of The Ryzza Mae Show’s most charming qualities is how Ryzza often feels like a fan of the people she interviews. We’re not sure that would work with North West in the picture—but we sure think it’d be interesting. What would happen if North West interviewed Robin Padilla? Vic Sotto? Georgina Wilson? Marian Rivera? Baby Zion?

ARIANA GRANDE AND RIHANNA

With her Mariah-esque phrasing and Aguilerian vocal range, the 21-year-old Ariana Grande has swiftly established herself as her generation’s top diva. It takes real pop star chops to hit a whistle note while slowly dipping low and Ariana’s long proven herself adept at both, like the Christina Milian-Leona Lewis hybrid you never knew you wanted.

Still, a lingering criticism of the budding pop superstar is her lack of charisma. While she’s one of this generation’s strongest vocalists, she’s a bit of a personality vacuum—which is something you can never say about Rihanna, one of the era’s most dominant pop stars and a woman who’s made up for her limited but distinctive voice with charisma and personality.

What can walking in Bad Girl Riri’s bondage boots teach a girl like Ariana? That maybe hitting a C#7 isn’t as important as imbuing a vocal performance with real depth and feeling. That there might be more important things in an artist’s development than camera angles and wearing your hair in a really tight ponytail.

ENCHONG DEE AND LOVI POE

She’s one of the local industry’s most talented actresses, a true artist who comes to life in the left-of-the-middle roles she finds in indie cinema. He is one of the showbiz’s most charming stars, a guy with charisma to burn and a smile winning enough to inspire a considerable following. Still, they both have problems.

Lovi Poe deserves to be one of our biggest stars but has largely been relegated to empty roles in mainstream vehicles. God knows a Lino Brocka or  an Ishmael Bernal would’ve relished working with a star as able and willing as her. Instead, she’s stuck in second gear, playing second fiddle to superstars who can’t act or sing very well. (Two things she’s more than competent at.)

Meanwhile, Enchong Dee is charismatic and charming, a showman who knows how to give the audience what they want. However, he seems stuck in lightweight roles, despite proving his acting chops in movies like Tuhog. He’s a lead but perhaps not yet a leading man.

What can either learn from spending a day in each other’s shoes? Lovi can learn how to play the game more, to ensure that her formidable talent doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Enchong, on the other hand, can learn to take more risks, movie-wise. We’re betting Tuhog is just the tip of the iceberg. We’d love to see a great director with a strong script show us what else he can do.

ANTOINETTE JADAONE AND MINDY KALING

Writer-director Antoinette Jadaone is the current toast of local cinema, coming off the back-to-back hits English Only Please and That Thing Called Tadhana. She’s proved a potent antidote to formulaic mainstream rom-coms with her expletive-friendly, F. Scott Fitzgerald-quoting, manic tipsy dream girls.

What would take her domination to the next level? By bringing her drunk karaoke-singing, bus station-frequenting protagonists to TV and the masses. Would an Antoinette Jadaone show work? In a sea of too-earnest dramas, a shot of biting rom-com might just be what the doctor ordered. It might just take us back to the glory days of the local sitcoms, when Tessie Tomas was queen and political satire actually worked during primetime.

Our local powerhouse can learn from Mindy Kaling, an American actress, comedian, writer and producer who’s inspired some tide-turning with her show The Mindy Project. Art by Steph Manuel

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