It’s only April, but I will remember 2017 as the year I spent an afternoon with Kris Aquino. Unlike you and me, Kris Aquino needs no introduction. But for the sake of brevity: Kris Aquino is so famous, there’s a news report about her son getting bitten by a dog. Her nanny’s wedding gets more coverage than all those of your B-list celebrity friends combined. Kris Aquino is undeniably an icon, a force, the [former] presidential family member who needs a gag order from time to time.
Then there’s me, an ordinary citizen who takes pictures for a living, who spends a ridiculous amount of time online, and who is happy to win an umbrella during Christmas raffles. This explains why being one of the seven winners (out of 8,000 entries) of her Kikay Kit giveaway is a milestone in my world.
How did it happen? It all started with her now viral video of her talking about her makeup kit.
Kris Aquino talking about her makeup is like a State of the Nation Address in the world of pale people who love makeup.
I remember watching the 15-minute video around midnight. I listed some of her products, searched for online reviews, and even posted screen grabs of her now-famous sound bites about red lipstick. I remember using the hashtag #KrisAquinophilosophy and shared the video with my friends. We all know that video resulted in think pieces from different online publishers. What I did not expect was, one, an apology from Kris Aquino; and two, me flooding the fuck out of the Internet with entries to join her Merienda and Kikay Kit giveaway because I wanted to win so bad. So bad, I reached the point where I questioned my faith on social media.
If you’re out there Jesus Christ I hope Kris Aquino picks me to be part of her kikay kit + merienda party…PLEASE #happy3millionkris
— Tammy David (@tammydavid) March 26, 2017
When I got the call from her staff, I screamed my head off and did a victory lap around Pasong Tamo afterwards. The following day, when the winners were officially announced online, my phone almost blew up with notifications. Private messages were asking me what I was going to wear, or how the hell did I end up joining this contest. Even my high school classmate sent a congratulatory message in our 100+ strong class Viber group, as if I won a Pulitzer. All of a sudden, [I got] friend requests and followers, from my friend’s housekeeper in New York to diehard Kris Aquino fans who think I deserve nothing. I’m not going to lie. I may have watched Magic to Win in the movie theater, bought Kris Aquino for Bench Body Spray in 2006, and regularly watched her game show Deal or No Deal, but I still don’t call myself a diehard fan.
The excitement took over my life. I could not stop talking about it with friends and strangers. I suddenly wanted to make a good impression, even if I was ready for a verbal assault because the Queen was known to be frank. I couldn’t sleep the night before and woke up early the next day. I remember stressing over what to wear even if I actually just rotate five black shirts. I ended up wearing this awful fuchsia top, since I wanted to blend into the universe of Kris Aquino, and that was the only colorful one I had.
The venue was Nacho Bimby at Eastwood Mall. Nacho Bimby is one of the Queen’s business ventures; it’s a movie theater food establishment named after her son with a menu packed with deep fried goodness of the Queen’s recipes. Close friends were surprised with the venue since they expected a hotel fit for a queen, or somewhere clothing brand Kamiseta can do an editorial. I had no issues with the venue since, well, I love Potato Corner. I just had issues being filmed with food court lighting.
In the end I just didn’t care. I won a bag of make up and a chance to bond over the Queen over nachos. I mean who can say that? Me!
The meeting place was at the MAC Cosmetics counter in Eastwood. I was excited to get my make up done by Ryan Wong, one of MAC’s illustrious makeup artists—the same people responsible for the investment-grade looks of the Miss Universe candidates. After Ryan put my makeup on, I was ready to leave, have my portrait taken, and call it a day. (Makeup has that effect on me, since I don’t think I’m attractive.) Then I remembered the makeup kit and the nuggets of wisdom Kris Aquino would impart with us during the merienda, so I decided to calm down and try not to throw up.
As expected, the queen was late. The winners did not mind, so we ended up chatting. There was a mom who skipped her kid’s moving up day, a flight attendant who recently lost her valuables, a government worker who changed her birthday leave, a dentist who brought her mom, a student who missed class, and a man who joined for his mother and sister.
We all shared our Kris Aquino memories. One shared that they attended her album launch. Another shared their favorite episodes of KrisTV. My favorite was watching the evening news at the gym at an upscale country club back in 2003, when the whole nation was gripped because Kris Aquino (surrounded by her mom the former president, and one of her sisters) gave her side of the terrifying incident when a former lover busted out a gun.
Finally, the Queen arrived. She was wearing a yellow top (as expected) and printed trousers. I was starstruck but kept my promise to friends to Facebook Live the event.
I was first in line to greet her. And if you watch the video, the videographer caught the highlight of my day when the Queen told me, “Super ganda your kilay.” I was relieved since this is the same person with the philosophy “Kilay is life” and uses three shades to fix her brows.
The Queen and the seven winners all settled in Nacho Bimby. It felt awkward since, aside from the camera crew, there was a crowd watching us. Minutes after she sat down, the Queen ordered enough fries, fried mozzarella, and nachos to feed everybody on the floor. She also handed us our prizes. We got not only a set of make up from MAC and K-Palette, we also got tops from the Kris Aquino collection of Kamiseta. The 10-piece make up kit was only a fraction of her survival make up kit, but I was happy to get products like the MAC Prep and Prime spray, MAC Matte Lipstick in Please Me, and a K-Palette LED compact mirror, which I asked her to sign after the merienda. (Everybody followed suit.)
The merienda lasted for two hours. For the first hour, I was hyperaware that I was at the same table as Kris Aquino. But by the second hour, I wiped out the food in front of me and started asking her questions as if she were a boss ready to listen, but not quite warm enough to invite me to her beach house.
The diehard fans were asking questions straight from the Boy Abunda playbook. To be honest, I just wanted to know what it’s like to be Kris Aquino. Here’s what I found out:
Her nighttime skin regimen
Neutrogena make up wipes, soap from Dra. Javellana or Cetaphil, toner or erythromycin solution for acne, and Shisedo eyelash conditioner. Once a week she applies retinol. Moisturizer depends on the climate.
She loves room service
I asked her about her favorite hotels (aka the places we will never get to book ourselves). Four Seasons in Guangzhou because of the architecture; Conrad in Tokyo because of the afternoon tea; and Peninsula in Hong Kong because of the spaghetti. Someday all of us will book hotels because of the food, and not because we have a free room from rewards points.
She’s an app nerd
Kris Aquino loves apps, but unlike the most of us, she pays a lot for the all access apps. She has everything from agoda (#starsjustlikeus) to publications (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal), and a rosary app that helps you pray. Her latest favorite app is Name the Aromatherapy. Must have essential oils: Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Frankincense.
Her sleep schedule
She gets an average of 8 hours of sleep but her special power is being able to stay awake for 36 hours straight and be dead to the world for 16 hours. This for me is a beauty secret.
Bimby is home schooled and is a straight-A student. When he grows up, he wants to be a geneticist, so he can contribute to autism research. He also wants to be a doctor so he can take care of Kris, or a White Hat hacker. Kris plans to send Bimby to boarding school, and she hopes that by then she can accompany him. Kris is proud of her son’s performance in school, but she shares that she doesn’t tutor him: “Nag aaway kami. Gusto ko na we love each other so much.”
Her coding schedule
I have the same coding day as Kris Aquino. (But unlike her, I do not have seven cars, five of which are ‘bawal’ on a certain day.) She shares that she had to use Josh’s van one time, and she is okay with him using Uber Black if it’s with a nanny and guard.
Josh and Bimby are into fitness. Josh is so fit, he no longer has enough body fat. He now only works out four times a week. #BeLikeJosh
She does not drive
She has three drivers. She admits that she doesn’t have good hand eye coordination. “Hindi ibibigay lahat ni God,” she shares. God is fair, ladies and gentlemen.
Her steamy secrets
One of the winners asked her in a Barbara Walters manner if she has a talent we are not aware of. Kris pauses and gleefully shares that she is very good with steaming clothes and she enjoys it. The brand of her steamer is TEFAL, if you are curious.
Her favorite laing
The best laing is by fashion designer Avel Bacudio. The secret to good laing is that the leaves have to come from Bicol. (You don’t use oil because the oil should come from the pork.) The process is actually not difficult, but it is time consuming
Darla’s still in
Kris still keeps in touch with her friends from ABS-CBN. We asked her about her adorable sidekick Darla and she shared that she just spoke to her that day. There goes my dream of replacing Darla.
She’s still Jenny from the block
Kris may have a lot of friends, but her closest ones are her sister Ballsy and her cousin Rina Teopaco. Kris keeps in touch with her friends through messaging apps, and like us, she has lame names for her chat groups. She has one called WASSUP GUYS with JC Buendia and Rina Teopaco. Their group photo is Chuckie.
She still has more to say
The former President Benigno “Noy” Aquino has adjusted [to civilian life], but she wishes he had a family. He has a routine now, at least. We suggested he take up gardening, or have his own “Heart to Heart” spin off.
Josh and Bimb love video games
They are also cord cutters, with the exception of Josh watching Willie Revillame since he grew up doing so, and Bimby watching the phenomenal “Ang Probinsyano.” Bimby loves the show so much, he can sing the Rite Med Jingle, and refers to Susan Roces as the Lola of Cardo, as played by Coco Martin. #BimbyJustLikeUs
She’s moving into her new home in june
I asked her if it is her dream house, and she said yes, because she spent a lot on it, and built it based on her needs. It has three bedrooms, because it is bad feng shui to have an even number of bedrooms. There is a dormitory for staff. A two-storey walk-in closet. A game room for her sons that can rival time zone. A heated pool that is a mini version of Okada casino’s fountain. A Jacuzzi that could fit 16 people. And a big kitchen with rose quartz counter tops. That’s it, I guess….
The label maker is her joy
Her happy place is Walmart or Target. She spends as much as 45 minutes on the ziplock aisle alone. Also an important stop on every US trip is Lululemon.
One of the winners asked Kris about her dreams. Kris said that she wants part of her legacy to be a successful food business; she gave Robert De Niro and his involvement with Nobu as an example. She then asked us about our dreams. I was prepared to answer about my dream to succeed in my field of content creation. But before it was my time to answer, Kris asked, “Ano pinapagdasal niyo?” Then I remembered what I’ve been praying for: I told her that I wanted to lose weight, so I can be healthy enough to take care of my family. I told her that I am the youngest child like her, and that I admire her and how she takes care of her staff and family. I was about to shed a tear… then she asked me if my build was because of genetics. I said no and just had to bite my tongue the rest of the time.
Her alternate reality
Kris would have been a lawyer. The series and shows she consumes has a common theme: law and order. She is currently watching Bull, she has seen every episode of The Good Wife, and she heartily recommends Fresh off The Boat.
Her reading list
Speaking of Fresh Off The Boat, since Constance Wu will star in the movie version of Crazy Rich Asians, I asked her if she enjoyed Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan. She had posted it on Instagram. She did not want to give spoilers, but the Philippines has big participation in the latest book.
And about that ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ rumor…
Kris shared that she is leaving for the States this month because of an answered prayer. She could not share with us the details, because she did not want to jinx it. She just shared that she is going to Los Angeles for an opportunity, after passing an audition. It was the second audition in her life after Pantene, and she kept repeating how she did not expect this, and that faith is important. Of course we all know what that answered prayer is now.