Stage is where I belong

Behind the scenes from shoot for Salon de Ning
Last week, I got a call from my local agent that we were asked by the management of Peninsula Hotel Manila, or Manila Pen, to prepare for a possible corporate photo shoot for Salon de Ning Bar on Sunday 7PM. That Sunday came and that was yesterday. At 10AM, I got messages and missed calls because the management decided to change the schedule from 7PM to 2PM. Basically, they wanted a separate schedule for the photo shoot at 2PM and video shoot at 8PM. Woah! I made some calls to my modeling agency to beg off from the 2 final casting/workshops that I was scheduled to go to at lunchtime. Simply because I wanted to do this for Manila Pen and it was indeed a great honor for me to do something like this for the hotel.

I arrived the hotel at 2PM and was immediately ushered to the hotel room where I got made up and dressed up. Yes, they provided stylist and makeup artist for the whole thing. Although the makeup was a tad too light and simple for a shoot, I looooooved the design of my modern Filipiniana gown. It was a fully-sequined gown that had a pop-sleeve on my right shoulder assymetrical to the bare shoulder on my left. It felt good and it definitely looked good on me. Shoot for Salon de Ning started. The A-list celebrity photographer Russel Wong made things easy for me and my pianist Noel Cruz. It was a wide-angled shot so my presence while singing onstage was significant. The whole shoot was a breeze, it gave us a chance to rehearse songs, too. It was done at around 5PM.

We were asked to standby for the video shoot at 8PM so Noel and I went to have an early, long dinner. We were warned that the video director is fussy about little details. Since I'm so used to working with difficult people, managers, and bosses, I knew I can handle the situation. But what happened after that was unpredictable and was uncalled for.
Behind the scenes from shoot for Salon de Ning with Russel Wong
I was again ushered to do touchup on my makeup and changed into another sexy flowy gown. The stylist asked the director for approval. To everyone's shock, director didn't want the lounge singer - that's me - to be in gown or any dress. Lounge singer in pants and blazer? That's sooo not Salon-de-Ning-y! But anyway, stylist was put into hot seat as we struggled to find an outfit that was quite the opposite with what the director wanted originally. As I was dressing up, another girl, dressed as a supposedly partying guest for the shoot, came up to the room and said she was asked by the director to be the singer instead! Uh oh! So what do I have to become now? My guess was right, they wanted me to switch places with her... I'd be one of the partying guests. But I thought... wait, I was asked to be THE singer and stage is where I should be. I didn't commit my full day schedule, canceling off another gig, just to be rejected by the director, who doesn't even know who I am, just like that. So nicely and politely, I begged off and quietly told the people in the PR Department that I'd lose my purpose being in there if I wouldn't be onstage. Anyway, I said, the director wouldn't notice losing a headcount among the partying guessts. They deeply apologized, but I said I perfectly understood their situation and that it's perfectly fine. There wasn't even a sound of bitterness in my part because I'd rather spend quality time with my family rather than sitting and waiting there in the hotel for nothing. But I did everything amiably, I was even joking with my pianist, who also lost another Sunday gig to give way to the shoot.

So my agent's wife and I went to the balcony lobby of the hotel and just made chikahan while waiting for my agent. Suddenly, we learned that there was a big news spread like wild fir, that I "walked out" from the shoot and that I was sacked by the director. But the management understood it very well, that the director has changed his "vision" for this project. They didn't have to even explain it to me because, being a professional model, I know this industry. However, they didn't like how it was done since they expected me, a real singer and a real representative of Salon de Ning's entertainment, to be up there onstage, singing for the video shoot of Salon de Ning. I felt bad, not because of me getting sacked, but because I didn't expect them to think that I walked out from the shoot, and I thought that with me silently slipping away from the scene, it would be less noticeable. Quite the opposite happened. It created chaos and I had people from the hotel unexpectedly apologizing to me.

I would like to apologize to the management of Peninsula Hotel Manila for the whole thing. I would have loved to the a part of it but we all know that it wasn't my decision. Of course, I wholeheartedly and humbly accept and appreciate their apologies, too, since I missed couple of my final castings and a Sunday gig - to give way to the photo and video shoots. On the brighter side, I always learn from these experiences. I love the people at Manila Pen. I love Salon de Ning and its staff. I was glad to be a part of the fun photoshoot with Russel Wong. But I guess, I was more glad to make a stand for the rest of the musicians and singers... that we don't blend well with the crowd because the STAGE IS WHERE WE BELONG... nowhere else. Peace out! :-)

PS: Catch me every Monday for my happy hour set at Salon de Ning from 7:30PM to 9:30PM.

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