I have never imagined I would actually experience being part of an advertisement shoot especially from a prestigious ad agency like DM9JaymeSyfu. It’s not that I don’t like to try it out even once, mind you I love adventure and trying out new things once in a while. It’s just that I am not sure if I am willing to succumb to all those detailed acting and long hours of shoot included in the package.

So anyway, here is the story.

It all started when I received a message from Miss Lana Linaban of GABRIELA. It read:

DM9JaymeSyFu, a multi-awarded ad agency and a staunch advocate of women’s rights, is doing a commercial for Gabriela’s 25th anniversary. They are in need of 9 women, age 25-40, who are willing to share their talent and time for this advocacy project. Interested individuals may send their photo on or before Oct. 14 (yes, that’s on wed). The schedule of workshop is on Oct. 15 and actual shoot is on Oct. 16. We appeal for your help. . For inquiries please contact Emmi 0917 *** ** ** or Lana 0908 *** ** **/0922 *** ** **.  Thank you so much.

Here is the scenario: I was pretending to be busy with my paper, reviewing for my finals, and okay exploring the web. I was aiming to be real productive as the end of the semester was over a week away. So, I was really wondering if I will pursue this offer or not.

In the end I decided to go for it. The issue being brought out by the advertisement is an advocacy close to my heart plus I support GABRIELA (100% supporter/fan girl haha!) as I have been working with their UP Diliman chapter for a long time now. I knew the concept was about violence against women and that it involves bruises, scars and you get the idea.

I imagined that I would just be casted as one of those passers-by or a clueless neighbor so it’s no big deal actually in terms of acting.

And so October 15 came and the casting workshop commenced at the ProVill Studio in Makati. All the women there, went in by groups of ten for the VTR. I went with the second batch along with my friends from the UP-Diliman, Fudge and Rej. We were made to do some acting stuff (awkward!) inside and headshots of us were taken.

The three of us were chosen in the end. However, the production staff called out my name along with five other women inside the room again. I was wondering what it was for, though, later I found out that we were chosen to do some minor acting (rawr! spell awkward the second time). Also, we will act with bruises on our faces.

Now this time, I was about to back out. I have never imagined myself characterizing the role of a battered woman. With the experiences that I and my friends encountered while working with the different community partners of GABRIELA, and meeting battered women, I seem to have pledged within me to be strong. To never show weakness, as a woman in a patriarchal society, and to have strength specially in times when others need support.

Also, I don’t think I have the features to act out the part. As I have always said, my default face is characterized by a fierce expression and not the stereotypical kind-faced girl you see on all those television shows. I was asking myself how I got into this situation.

October 16 came, it was the day intended for the shoot. I went to the studio and had a chance to talk with the other women there. I found out that they were all doing the shoot for their advocacy and involvement in the women’s movement. I got inspired by their stories and that inspiration gave me strength to do whatever I can to do my best for the ad and muster whatever acting skill I earned from all the workshops I got from PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) a long time ago.

In the end, everything went smooth and easy as the directors helped me out to change my fierce face into a smiley expression. I hope I did not give them a hard time (haha!). I characterized the role of a social worker who shared in the pain of the VAW victim (portrayed by model Elle Velasco).

I’m so happy to meet women involved in different fields of work advocating for the elimination of violence against women, from concerned mothers, students and professionals, women from urban poor communities, daughters, grandmothers and sisters. Women from different generations and line of work in one room united in one cause.

I vow to fight VAW!

I vow to end violence against women!

Towards the continuous struggle for women’s rights!

Happy 25th year to GABRIELA!

Below is the link to see the advertisement.

25th year advertisement/ iVow to Fight VAW campaign