For four seasons, ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother has been the country’s most talked about reality show. This is where stars are born (From Sam Milby to Slater Young), confessions are heard (remember the infamous Rustom Padilla confession?), controversies are born (they have been suspended for a day in its initial season) and other memorable moments that makes PBB and its Business Unit Head, Laurenti Dyogi, famous.
And now, Anime Fans are now looking (and watching) PBB with some relish, as a Cosplayer has entered the House of Kuya with the hope of staying alive and get the coveted title of Teen Big Winner.
Her name, Myrtle.
But first, What is Pinoy Big Brother? (For the uninitiated, or much more for the first timers who never heard or watched it.)
ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother first hit the airwaves in 2005. A co-production with the European production company Endemol, it follows a theme that was taken from George Orwell’s futuristic novel, 1984, where an invisible “Big Brother” follows all the moves and controls the citizens.
Big Brother is a franchised show which follows closely the novel, in which a certain number of housemates are contained in a house, where the only voice they will hear is of Big Brother. There are more than 20 cameras placed around the house, and they are being watched by the viewers 24/7.
In the ABS-CBN version, Two editions are aired daily, a regular Primetime roundup, which airs daily, with Evictions and the Big Night that airs on Saturdays and Nominations which air on Sundays. There is always a companion show every season apart from the regular season. It was first called “UpLate” because it aired before on midnight after the News and Current Affairs Programs. The current companion program is now called “Uber” and it airs in on weekday afternoons.
The Teen Edition is an edition that has been included in the first season of PBB ever since. It launched the careers of Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, James Reid, Ryan Bang, Ejay Falcon and one of this Teen Edition’s hosts, Robi Domingo.
This year’s Teen Edition was the most surprising teen edition ever, with the inclusion of a Cosplayer in the official list of Housemates. She was teased as the “Anime Chic of Iloilo”. A week before the live pilot, the housemate was named as Myrtle.
She entered the house of Kuya a day after the pilot, in “Uber 2012”. wearing a costume, which was from Black Rock Shooter. She was instantly recognized by the fans because of her being a cosplayer.
According to her profile posted on the official Pinoy Big Brother website, She is a 17-year old Cosplayer and also a student at the University of the Philippines Visayas campus at Miag-ao, Iloilo. She also serves as the SK Chairperson of their Barangay.
She admits to watching High School of the Dead, Deathnote and WWE Raw and enjoys listening to Katy Perry, 4Minute and Boyce Avenue.
She prides herself in being a student of UP Visayas, adding that “Only one out of 10 students get the chance to go to school here. Not even my High School Valedictorian or anyone in my batch in high school was able to acquire such privilege to go to this University.”
During the week of April 22-28, She became part of the second set of nominees, alongside with co-Housemates Karen Reyes from Mindoro and Nikka Javier from Batangas. She had the most number of points in the three nominees, with 11 points given to her.
The reasons for her being nominated were complex, ranging from comments about her being “bossy” and her acting as a leader, among all other concerns. and it was noticeable that the persons who mostly nominated her were her co-female housemates, which included Karen and Nikka.
During the week that she was nominated, fans were flooding Twitter and Facebook with so many comments about her. Some of them were positive, others were negative of her, but none more critical than those cosplay aficionados who said that they were offended by some people who asked them if they were either a friend of Myrtle’s or even an acquaintance. They even despise the fact that a cosplayer is now known as a “Myrtle”.
On April 28, PBB’s second eviction night, she was saved by the viewers with more than 50% of the worldwide vote. (which comprises the total SMS votes from the Philippines and select Middle Eastern countries and via online vote cards) Javier was the second Teen Housemate who was eliminated.
As of this week, she is still inside the PBB house.
On the sidelines of last month’s Ozine Fest 2012, while PBB is having its second week of Airing, ZEN decided to ask random anime fans about what they think about the cosplayer who made waves inside the house.
Though some of those asked do not watch PBB or haven’t watched it. Almost all of them knew about the cosplayer-housemate in PBB, some of them also said that because of Myrtle, they have started to watch it.
We then asked if they knew Myrtle before her announcement as a housemate in PBB, and some of them said that they didn’t, but one fan said that she has been a fan of her even before her PBB stint.
“Nakikita ko na sa Facebook, Dami niyang fans” Said Miguel, one of those who were interviewed.
On the question that what they can say about Myrtle’s inclusion in the 12 official housemates of the Fourth Teen Edition, All of those who knew her stint were unanimous in their answers: it’s okay for them and it would help promote the cosplay community in overall.
“Okay naman, mukha kasing gusto rin naman niya eh kaya siya nakapasok doon” said Kamin, a female cosplayer
“It is a good opportunity for her to show how the cosplay culture is and also to let everyone know her personality” a Male cosplayer named Gun said to ZEN.
We then went into the issues surrounding her joining PBB. One of which is if Myrtle’s joining the reality show would spark the issue of cosplay getting into mainstream, a charge that underground cosplay purists are insinuating.
“Well, not really, showbiz is showbiz and cosplay is cosplay. They can never be united as one.” Gun added
“Ang tanong sa isip ko eh, bakit kailangang i-underground ang cosplay e maganda naman siya….. may mga cosplay group nga na hindi naman basta nagcocosplay lang, meron silang parang, mga [cosplay for a] cause…. So bakit kailangang I-underground?” said a cosplayer named Mark.
We also asked if there will be comparisons with the so-called “Cosplay Queen”, Alodia Gosiengfiao, in regards with popularity.
“Hindi naman, siguro naman wala namang kaso iyon, Cosplay is having fun naman eh, hindi pasikatan” said Mark.
“Kung matulad man siya kay Alodia, hindi naman namin siguro…. kaya siya siguro pumasok doon eh para sumikat siya…. Hindi naman siya sasali kung hindi niya gusto, di ba?” Kamin added.
“Hindi naman, pero natatakot din dahil baka hindi ko na siya makita ng personal, nang makapagpapicture sa kanya” Miguel replied.
During the second week, Housemate Keith “Kit” Thompson told Myrtle about her passion, Kit said that he thinks Cosplay is just a waste of time and of money, we also asked them about that quote and if they were offended by it.
“E gusto ni Myrtle yun eh, kahit na mayaman o mahirap, gusto niyang magpasaya ng tao….. Na-offend ako kasi gusto kong ipagtanggol siya.” Miguel answered.
“Kahit naman ako, ganoon eh, nagcocosplay ako for the sake of having fun…. Kung saan ka masaya, doon ang thought mo, hindi mo na naiisip na gumagastos ako para lang sa wala” Mark rejoinded.
Among those who were interviewed by ZEN during this activity was noted cosplay photographer Ronald Guanzon, or more known as RG in the local anime events circuit. RG said that she had known Myrtle from way back and he followed her career with interest.
“Actually, I knew her since she started cosplaying…. she is just a simple girl na mahilig sa Photography” RG said.
Though based in Iloilo, She regularly visits the Capital to attend numerous anime events which are based here.
RG admits to not regularly watching PBB, but he says that from the episodes that he had heard from his acquaintances that she is doing good and hopes that she would show the beauty of cosplay to the primetime audience.
“I’ll support her kasi ordinary person lang siya, katulad natin, tapos nakita niya ang cosplay… nagpaparticipate siya…. proud ako sa kanya” Guanzon declared.
On the assertions that Myrtle’s inclusion in the reality series will trigger a debate if Cosplay should be mainstream or not, Guanzon says “Mostly, ang mga tao, ganito ang thinking, na-focus on mainstream about cosplay, meron naman ang thinking e broad minded din… In cosplay, parang passion din siya, they want to excel… gusto mo rin marecognize ka… Hobby mo is to show your craftsmanship. In my point of view, kung very broad minded lang ako, okay lang sa kanya kasi ineexcel niya ang skills niya… We still respect pa rin yung iba na gusto…. nasa culture of conventions lang, we respect that.”
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