‘Sparks Camp’ host Mela Habijan, director defend show amid diversity issues
Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan defended her new show “Sparks Camp” amid claims that the country’s first gay dating reality show is not as diverse as it is touted to be.
Habijan, who will be the show’s main host, said in a recent grand mediacon that the public shouldn’t be focused on physical looks when speaking of diversity.
“Siguro para mapalawig natin ‘yung diskusyon, kasi ang unang reaction ay nakabatay sa physical looks,” Habijan began. (To broaden our discussion, maybe our initial reaction shouldn’t be based on physical looks).
Habijan explained that diversity always come from “a person where he, she, they come from,” how they interact and how they become people.”
“We will always anchor diversity with different characteristics, kaya meron tayong tinatawag naintersectionality. At ang intersectionality na ‘yun will always will coincide with different facets of a human being. Ito’y physical, ito’y social, ito’y karakter, kung paano siya nakikipag-interact, educational background, the people na kinalakhan niya. So, ‘yun ‘yung dapat nating makita kasi hindi lang siya rooted in the physical aspect of a person,” she said.
(We will always anchor diversity with different characteristics, so we have what we call intersectionality. And that intersectionality will always coincide with different facets of a human being. This includes physical aspects, social aspects, character, how one interacts, educational background, and the people they grew up with. So, that’s what we should see because it’s not just rooted in the physical aspect of a person.)
Habijan said that she has talked to those who did not find the show to be as “diversified” as she believes that it is important to also hear other side and keep the discussion alive.
“Ang gusto natin ay magkaroon tayo ng isang palabas representing us. So, kung hindi tayo magko-collaborate, hindi magiging matagumpay itong palabas na nagpi-feature ng LGBTQIA+ people, tayo ring lahat ang matatalo. ‘Yung conversation na iyon, napakahalaga noon. We welcome the comments. We welcome their perspectives and as we welcome it, we learn from them,” she said.
(What we want is to have a show representing us. So, if we don’t collaborate, this show featuring LGBTQIA+ people won’t be successful, and we will all lose. That conversation is very important. We welcome the comments, we welcome their perspectives, and as we do, we learn from them.)
For his part, “Sparks Camp” director Theodore Boborol said he was hurt by the stereotyping being faced by the ten campers in the show.
“Ako naman, on a personal level, na-hurt ako for our campers kasi stereotype ‘yung BGC and Poblacion twinks. I think that’s stereotype,” he said.
For him, it’s better to know better the campers as “once you know them, they have unique, diverse individual stories.”
“May Cordilleran kami na hindi tanggap ‘yung sexuality niya and ito lang ang pinaka-come out niya sa community niya. Meron kaming, hindi pa lumalabas pero meron kaming pansexual na NBSB (no boyfriend since birth) and first interaction lang niya ito with a gay person. Meron kaming isang soccer player na sobrang hindi tanggap ‘yung bisexuality niya and he’s hoping na with the show ay maiintindihan ng mga magulang niya ang kuwento niya,” he said.
(We have a Cordilleran whose sexuality hasn’t been accepted, and this is the first coming out. We also have someone who identifies as pansexual and has never had a boyfriend since birth (NBSB), and whose first interaction with a gay person is through this show. We also have a soccer player who struggles with being accepted for his bisexuality, and he’s hoping that through the show, his parents will understand his story.)
Boborol, however, is pleased with the reactions and comments about his show. “Ako, mas lalo akong malulungkot kapag nag-trailer pero walang reaction.‘Yun ang mas nakakalungkot for me. For now, I’m living and loving the conversation,” he said.
(For me, it would be more sad if people watch the trailer and not have any reaction. That’s what would make me even more unhappy. But for now, I am living and loving the conversation.)
The show, written by Patrick Valencia, features an outdoor camp where viewers will meet ten campers Dan, Nick, Gabe, Justin, Stanley, Karl, Aaron, Alex, Bong and Nat, who will go through challenges to test how their personalities match and possibly find someone who will add color to their lives.
“Sparks Camp” is part of the “Made For YouTube” shows of ABS-CBN which starts today, May 24, 8 P.M. on Black Sheep’s YouTube channel. EDV