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The story behind my interview with Nadine Lustre

It has been said that there is great peril in meeting someone you've admired for so long - often they do not live up to your expectations. They turn out to be less of the magnificent person you've conjured in your head, and more of a flawed, distorted, imperfect version. Which can either be a good or bad thing. Good, because at least you know they're human just like you. Bad, because wtf they're human just like you.

I tried coming into this interview with zero expectations - "tried" being the operative word here, because much as I wanted to be all professional (after all, I don't work for Scout; this is my first time to interview a celebrity; and first time to do a cover story) I was also very aware that the reason I was chosen to do the task was because I was, first and foremost, a fan.

Reposting this photo just to illustrate - again - that I wasn't kidding when I said I'm a fan :))
[To be honest, this was all my boyfriend's doing; I did NOT force him to treat me to 
Barcino for Christmas! Hahaha #defensive]

"Fan" - it's such a funny word. It's either a badge you wear with honor or a label you detest. Either way, for most people, "fan" is associated with "irrational," "lovesick," or "obsessive." I sure as hell believed I was none of those adjectives, but I swear the moment I stepped into that shoot I became all of it. I couldn't decide how to sit, where to put my cellphone, how to look at her. It felt like staring at the sun, only instead of UV rays I got a simple girl putting her own makeup, preparing her own salad. But radiance and warmth just the same.

It has also been said that there is great danger in meeting and writing about someone you've admired for so long - often, you cannot encapsulate who they are. I've been asked a hundred times since the cover feature has been revealed: "How was she?" "What was she like?"

Screencap of the teaser of my article, grabbed from Scout

The funny thing is I've already written my article, and thought I've said what I can say about her. And yet, almost a month later, here I am, still finding excuses to write about her, still looking for ways to sneak her into the conversation, still wanting to talk to and about her. Because the thing is, she was nothing like my expectations. She was so much more. Which is something that a "lovesick / obsessed" fan will say about her. But it's true - she was great, and yes, I am a lovesick / obsessed fan. She was casual, and honest, and candid. She was willing to talk openly about her love life and her ambitions. She gamely played with the photographer's and layout team's ideas. She made jokes; she told stories (some about herself, some about James, one about another fandom - hahaha #secret).

But more than that, she seemed like a great friend. And isn't that what we all want? To be friends with the people we admire? The way she answered her questions, man I swear I felt like we could be BFFs if we just had more time. Don't get me wrong - I'm under no illusions that if I message her randomly she'll remember me and we'll get to hang out. But, she really seemed like the kind of person I - and consequently, everyone - could connect with. No pretenses.

Which is the most we can hope for when we meet our idols, I guess. That we are given a glimpse of who they are behind the persona. At the end of the day, she is still after all human. But more than just a girl, she is a person with stories. A person with dreams, with plans, with questions. With things that bother her, things that make her heart leap for joy.  

If there's one thing I've learned from reading all these cases and jurisprudence in law school, it's this: Never forget that these people are real. The names you read about in SCRA? People. The faces you imagine as you memorize doctrines? People. And in the same way, the artistas whose photos we like on IG and whose teleseryes we follow religiously? People. And if there's also one thing I've learned from my degree in college, it's this: It's important to get to humanize the people you write about. They are not two-dimensional characters with quotes. It's all pretty much the same. And the most important thing to remember always is that when you meet someone, as a fan, as a writer, as a lawyer, it's important to find these stories, so that we can paint a better picture of them, something we can hold on to with great pride and respect. It doesn't matter if you come in there as a fan or as a mere observer - just as long as you find it and you do it well. And when we get to find that common ground with anyone - celebrity, stranger, whoever - it makes for the best kinds of stories. Plural.

This K. Bernardo loves Nadine! ;)

So I guess that entire experience can't really be summed up with one article. Or one caption. It was just an hour of the interview, but I felt like we talked for hours. Which you can chalk up to my being a lovesick / obsessed fangirl. Or you can blame it on Nadine being able to put her walls down and reveal parts of herself to people who are eager to listen. Either way, it makes for a great fan encounter - and a great story to write about again and again.


P.S. If you want to read the cover story I wrote featuring Nadine, grab a copy of this month's January-February issue of Scout! It's available online here or at select campuses, and National Bookstore & Powerbooks branches :)

The cover for the print version


And the cover for the digital version


(Credits: All photos from the issue itself are from Scout magazine. The BTS shot as well as my photo with her are from my camera. The photo of James and Nadine was grabbed from her Instagram account. The photo of me and my boyfriend was grabbed from his phone wallpaper #hehe)