Soaking in Spring (Editorial)

This editorial was inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but not to the full extent of the wardrobe. Maybe what some characters would wear during a day-off.

An editorial shot for Promo Magazine, NYC.

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Yukatas at Tenjin Matsuri

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I am not one to choose for myself to be in crowded places. However, I thought Japan is a pretty safe place to be in a crowd. So, I expanded my comfort zone and attended the summer festival in Osaka called, the Tenjin Matsuri.

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This Japanese summer drink is super refreshing and good!

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Tenjin Matsuri is the festival of the Tenmangu Shrine and honors its principle deity Sugawara Michizane, the deity of scholarship. The festival begins by ceremonially inviting the deity out of the shrine and parading him through the city, carrying out various exuberant festivities to entertain him, before taking him back to the shrine. For the people, the lively festivities manifest in a wonderful occasion to enjoy the hot summer day, filled with traditional costumes, spectacular processions and a celebratory atmosphere.

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Sidenote: I am open to being commissioned by all designers as a visual artist/photographer. I am enamored by the sense of fashion and would love to learn more.

In my short two-week stay there, I have not seen the streets so crowded (but with utmost discipline). What drew me out, really were the yukatas! I just had to see more of them and with each turn, there was a new pattern that stared right back at me.

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My non-lingual communication skills and photography was really put into test here because I know only a few Japanese words and most of them belonged in a restaurant’s menu. I love “uni” (sea urchin), “sushi” (duh!), “tamago” (egg), “mochi” (just search it, specially with the fresh frozen fruits inside!). I digress, anyway the Japanese and I used body language and pointing towards the camera and smiling and I got the shots I didn’t even know I would capture.

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The funniest thing I got from my non-English shoot was that in one of the groups, I took a photo of the girls with their yukatas, then the boys they were with who were wearing regular shirts turned to me and said, “What about me?” I laughed and took their photo.

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And so the story goes…

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Photography by Ritz Marie
Captured in Osaka, Japan

Rebirthing

We all have moments in life when the only wise option is to change. The notion of change can be bittersweet, thankfully I acquired a penchant for the taste later on in life.

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First thing I faced in order to come to peace with the changes going on in my life was to awaken myself to a new reality.

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Sometimes, like getting up in the morning, a sense of change can be challenging to deal with internally, externally and existentially.

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As I rose, I began to notice a new renaissance.

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Overwhelming at first, but beautiful and magnificent.

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Everyday, I would choose to take on the challenge to be a better person – for myself. I decided to shatter the negative stigma behind selfishness.

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That change came to be cause there would just be days of exhaustion wherein ten hours of sleep would not be enough to charge the batteries of my energy. I would wake up tired and lethargic. In introspection, I would wonder what was wrong with me.

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Later on, I realized it was because I was living to serve others more than myself. I was seeking validation from family, acceptance from strangers and looking for love in all the wrong places.

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Living such a life can be a truly exhausting experience. But it was my choice and I decided to make a new one. The new option was to rise above the clutter of my mind, listen to my heart, and seek the purpose of my soul.

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Challenging is an understated description of the journey towards rebirthing.

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Blood. Sweat. Tears. Soul. Time. Those are the payments for change.

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You see, in the cocoon of my mind, I have an idealized version of myself. And in the presence of time, I have yet to achieve that me I yearn to become. The verb of the journey began when I challenged myself to prove I love myself, everyday.

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In loving myself, I began to love whatever surrounded me because I saw it as a gift of time. And in time, the same moments are highly unlikely to happen again – so I chose to enjoy time.

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Whether I found myself in solitude or with company, grieving or joyful, in bliss or in pain.

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I just embraced the complexity of my trinity and let another form of me takeover.

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I believe that in each rebirth, great lessons are accumulated to benefit ourselves in time.

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I set to work with a limitless mindset, meaning I decided to believe I’m possible.

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I sought the courage to blossom unabashedly.

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Models: Chrystalle & Tamiya (Elite Manila)
HMUA: Mong Amado
Stylist: Maura Rodriguez
Special thanks to Candice Arboleda for the couture and Pineapple Lab!

Bulgari & Bubbly

When Preview called me for a shoot at the Bulgari store, I immediately jumped at the chance. I just knew it was going to be fun. Though, little did I know how charmed the afternoon would be. As usual, I arrived a bit earlier. But I used that time to get educated about the brand.

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By the time I started shooting, I felt the brand was an old friend.

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Maui of Preview with Angelina of Bulgari

Angelina did such a great job at answering my curiosities about the brand. I told her that during college, I always admired this one necklace design from Bulgari that I used to call the power necklace but that afternoon, I found out that the name of the design is actually B.ZERO1. I am particularly fond of the collection by a powerful woman architect named, Zaha Hadid. I want every piece from the Life is a Labyrinth collection. Every detail is just so inspired!

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Earring from the Diva Collection inspired by Elizabeth Taylor

I learned that Miss Taylor had a long-standing affair with the brand.

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The fan-silhouette of the Diva Collection was inspired by the eye make up of Miss Taylor in one of her movies.

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Another collection is called the Serpenti – this collection is (again, so…) INSPIRED! The rings were so dynamically designed. Too bad it only fit my pinky finger.

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“I like this one for you.”

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That is one handsome watch.

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By the time the shoot was done, I wanted soooooo many things from the store. Buuuuuut… You know, it’s Bulgari. In time, in time – I thought.

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Everything was so pretty!

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It was a spectacle to watch.

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That time when apparently I did a “meme” face.

I just had so much fun with this bunch of ladies.

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#PreviewGirls

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Shot by Ritz Marie for Preview in the Bulgari store, Greenbelt 4, Makati, Philippines.
Models: Maui, Yanna, Steph & Nicole of Preview

 

Aranaz SS18 Campaign

Working with this brand was a dream goal come true. More than Aranaz being a Filipino brand, what I really admire about them is THE inspiration – behind the luxury, behind the vision, behind the team. Not to mention, the lifeblood of the brand is that of women, the three Aranaz women, Becky, Amina & Rosanna.

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During the day of the shoot, I had the pleasure to see the team in action and what a joy it was to watch. But more than witnessing the magic take place in their workplace, what a treat it was to be part of their team – even for a day.

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Work was so leisurely by their side.

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One could sense how the brand achieved its success by watching the trio work together with their team.

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Everyone on set breathed the brand’s personality, and that’s what makes it work – I guess!

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Authentic brands are the best! In my honest opinion.

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Looking forward to seeing what’s in store next for Aranaz. Here’s a peek of their next generation.

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Now, I don’t know who sold the bag better! In any case, that was such a great experience.

“Cheers, to a leisurely life.” – Aranaz

Model: Kat of Elite Manila
Make up Artist: Ciari Luna
Photographer: Ritz Marie
Shot for the SS18 campaign of Aranaz.

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AS Patrick Starrr

I must live under a rock of some sort, because when I was told Patrick Starrr would be on Preview Magazine’s last print cover, I had no clue about him. I’m saying this in the spirit of total honesty.  But walking into the Summit Studio this time, I sensed it was more special than the usual cover shoot.

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First of all, we had more space to work with, the clothes were nicely hung apart from each other and each piece was a statement – would expect nothing less from Marc Jacobs.

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It was the usual Preview staff.

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Patrick’s co-star for the cover was Alex Gonzaga.

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Took a portrait of Maui during the down time because I liked her statement gold eyeliner. Mind you, I usually come into these shoots bare-faced because I’m lazy like that. But I do appreciate the art of make up.

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Then when I walked in the pantry, there was a whole spread of food on the table, different from the usual. I thought, “What’s going on here?”

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Then Patrick’s team arrives first wearing MAC sponsored jackets with his name! At that point I was just to curious to see the person behind the Starrr.

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When I started shooting, I inserted myself in a few frames because I wanted a photo with him, I’m just not the type to ask frequently. I did however introduce myself as a photographer. I will not forget what he said, “Honey, make me look good – okay?” and I responded, “I’ve got your back.”

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Just being around his presence was so fun! I was having the time of my life until Maui whispered to me that Isha, the EIC, wanted to speak with me. I was shocked because I’m usually left doing my own thing and then I thought, did I do anything wrong? Because they really don’t usually call me, specially while I was having such fun documenting Patrick do his own make up! It honestly was super mesmerizing to watch. Anyway, so I went with Maui to the dressing room where Isha and the rest of the staff were.

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When I walked in, they were looking at me and Isha first apologizes and then asks “Would it be okay if you stood in as a model for Patrick?” I couldn’t quite get what she was asking. Let’s get real here.

People our size are greatly overlooked by M-A-N-Y or undervalued. I cannot even shop at a regular store without a “PLUS” line. I can go on a lengthy rant about this, but that’s not the focus here. I’m just saying, I’ve never felt the luxury of clothing before because of my size nor have had the chance to truly express my truth through my clothes, because the options are just so limited – specially in Manila. Patrick, if you ever read this, please consider starting your own clothing brand! Haha, why not?

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Anyway, back to me being a model. I was able to try on all the Marc Jacobs pieces Patrick wore during the cover shoot. But he – wore it with confidence. I was learning from a master.

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That pink coat was my favorite. I wanted to take it home with me.

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BJ shot a few frames then Alex came in with a bubbly disposition.

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It was a show to watch, because very few times in my existence have I witnessed a gay, plus-sized, Filipino outshine a pretty lady. I say this without offense to anyone, okay?

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Patrick moved like a supermodel! Like, super super model.

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Closest I’ve seen on video, but have yet to experience, that moves like that is Coco Rocha. “This Starrr!” I thought.

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Just look at him go. He gave attention to all the cameras in the room, and that’s not an easy task.

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At one point, he walked by my side of the studio to change shoes. I whispered to him, “Patrick you are absolutely inspiring.” Like, seriously. He said, “Thanks honey, what’s your name again?” I smiled and with a handshake, I replied, “Ritz.”

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A MAC representative from the New York office was part of his team. We got to talk, and she told me Patrick’s story. FYI, he has one of the biggest collaborations with MAC Cosmetics – second to Rhianna. What?! That’s amazing, I thought.

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He started as a make up artist for one of the MAC Cosmetics store in the US.

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Look at that SMIZE! Tyra would be proud.

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And unlike many other stars’ his spirit was that of inclusivity rather than exclusivity.

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They were an amazing duo. Alex is really really funny.

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That shoot was so fun, I’m glad some ladies encouraged me to write this story. I’m remembering everything through these photos, the feeling and all. It was good vibes all around.

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Team Starrr brings so much to the table. Just when I didn’t think I could be any more surprised by this individual, he transforms some more! Like Madonna.

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Grabe, ang inspiring niya talaga. I’m glad I got to tell him that in person.

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BOOM, right?

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SUPER SUPER MODEL – I tell you!

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Shot for Preview Magzine, photos by Ritz Marie.