Paolo B. suffers in the name of beauty | Inquirer Entertainment

Paolo B. suffers in the name of beauty

/ 12:10 AM November 01, 2016

Paolo Ballesteros (as Angelina Jolie, center) with director Jun Robles Lana (left) and  producer Perci Intalan; right photo: Ballesteros before the makeover —TIFF

Paolo Ballesteros (as Angelina Jolie, center) with director Jun Robles Lana (left) and producer Perci Intalan; right photo: Ballesteros before the makeover —TIFF

Tokyo—At a party for Asian filmmakers and programmers on Wednesday, a guest told Filipino actor Paolo Ballesteros: “I heard Angelina Jolie was on the red carpet at the opening yesterday.”

Paolo almost didn’t have the heart to confess: “That was me!”


The actor-TV host-makeup wiz graced the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival for his latest movie, Jun Robles Lana’s “Die Beautiful,” which is an entry in the main section.


He was the one who came up with the bright idea: “Angelina in a Filipiniana gown! Ang taray (fierce)!” So, designer Rau Uson-Ablaza whipped up a black velvet terno that’s a cross between La Imeldific and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

Paolo’s Tokyo transformation will go down in Philippine cinema history as among the top kabogera moments on the red carpet, along with Hilda Koronel for “Insiang” at Cannes 1978 and Maria Isabel Lopez for “Ma’ Rosa” at Cannes 2016.

“I felt so sosyal (classy),” Paolo told the Inquirer in an interview in Roppongi Hills. “I couldn’t believe it actually happened!”

At an earlier party, a critic from Finland approached Paolo and asked for a hug.

“It feels great when people show their appreciation for my work,” he admitted.

Especially since makeup transformations can be a lonesome and long (as in tedious) undertaking. “I’m alone for three to four hours,” he explained. “For Angelina, I started at 9:30 a.m. and finished at 3 p.m. And I couldn’t eat and pee, because everything was taped down!”


And he meant everything! During the interview, Paolo showed the Inquirer the welts and blisters on his torso—a result of the body contouring achieved via packing tape. Direk Jun recalled that Paolo’s fingernails looked as if they would come off with the falsies, because Mighty Bond was used as adhesive.

Paolo suffered tremendously in the name of beauty.

Paolo’s talent for makeovers was certainly put to good use in the film. To clarify, though, Direk Jun didn’t hire Paolo just because of his cosmetic skills.

“When he read for the part, I immediately knew he was Trisha and didn’t meet with others,” the filmmaker said.

Going viral

When Jun and his team started working on the film in 2014, Paolo’s makeup transformations were only starting to go viral. “We had been developing this script for two years,” the director recounted.

“Which means I’ve been dieting for two years,” Paolo exclaimed. “I really wanted to do it, but I couldn’t squeeze it in.”

Jun explained: “Paolo was busy—hosting [the noontime show] ‘Eat Bulaga.’ Then, he became busier when the AlDub kalyeserye became a hit.”

In a twist of fate, Paolo got suspended from the program—freeing him to do the movie. “In a way, [the suspension] helped this project,” Paolo quipped.

Popular celeb

Yoshi Yatabe, competition program director of the Tokyo fest, told the Inquirer:

“Paolo is amazing. Prior to this film, I didn’t know that he was a popular celebrity in Philippine show business. I am afraid the jurors will have a hard time and will be torn whether to nominate him as best actor or best actress.”

“Why not both,” Paolo said in jest. “The more categories, the more chances of winning!”

Although he constantly goes on concert tours with his Dabarkads, Paolo is attending an international film festival for the first time. “Ang lakas maka-celebrity,” he asserted. “Exciting!”

Beyond the glamour, however, this film gave Paolo valuable insights on the struggles of the LGBTQ community. “Trisha’s dream to be a beauty queen seems impossible,” he conceded. She needs to go to great lengths—including painful surgeries—to alter her appearance and attain her idea of perfection, he pointed out. “Then, she has to cope with discrimination in her search for true love.”

Paolo owned up that he dreaded shooting the dramatic scenes. “Direk Jun had a hard time making me cry. It’s because I’m a very positive and cheerful person. I always look at the bright side when I have problems.”

Those were precisely the traits that made him perfect for the part of Trisha—a willfully optimistic transgender who doesn’t let life’s curve balls throw her off.

Initially, he couldn’t relate with Trisha’s melodramatic travails. “Wala akong hugot.

I couldn’t rely on my memories, so I based everything on the script.”

What he could identify with was Trisha’s maternal, nurturing instinct. Paolo is father to 7-year-old Keira Claire. “I am fond of children. On the set, I call the kids ‘anak,’” he volunteered.

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After the film’s premiere last Thursday, Paolo couldn’t help turning on the waterworks, big-time. Recounted producer Perci Intalan: “Paolo cried, because it was his first time to see the film.”

TAGS: Angelina Jolie, Celebrity, Entertainment, news, Paolo Ballesteros

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