In a remarkable milestone for Vogue Philippines, the magazine’s first Pride cover for June 2023 features the sensational Bretman Rock, a Filipino beauty and social media influencer based in Hawaii. The cover, lensed by the photographer Regine David, showcases Rock exuding confidence in a captivating Valentino Haute Couture ensemble, accentuated by edgy Peter Do boots.
Stylist Brian Meller expertly curated Rock’s wardrobe for the cover story, presenting a captivating array of pieces from leading fashion houses such as Melitta Baumeister, Carolina Herrera, GCDS, Chopova Lowena, Robert Wun, Wales Bonner, Joey Samson, Ditta Sandico and Jacquemus.
The artistic vision continues with Mong Amado’s impeccable hair styling and the flawless make-up artistry of Anthea Bueno and Robbie Piñera. Art direction by Jann Pascua and production by Anz Hizon complete this extraordinary and inclusive fashion narrative.
In the interview, Bretman Rock shares his experiences of growing up in Sanchez-Mira, where his grandmother introduced him to the world of vanity and Filipino superstitions. He fondly recalls his childhood days spent playing in the jungle, a memory that has stayed with him as he navigated his way to stardom.
Rock’s recent trip to the Philippines, the longest since his immigration to Hawaii, was a spiritual awakening for him. He felt a deep connection with the island of Siquijor, which he describes as a “very special and sacred place“. This spiritual connection is also reflected in his relationship with his grandmother, who was an herbalist and encouraged him to explore his feminine side.
In his book, “You’re That Bitch & Other Cute Lessons About Being Unapologetically Yourself“, Rock delves into his journey from identifying as a gay person to being nonbinary. He credits his grandmother for giving him his “superpowers” and keeping him grounded.
Despite his fame and success, Rock admits to feeling anxious about his work, a testament to his perfectionism. He has won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Beauty Influencer and the MTV Movie & TV Award for Breakthrough Social Star, among other accolades.
Rock’s story is one of defiance and resistance against conventions. He is a beacon of queer joy and a symbol of gender fluidity. He embraces the term ”bakla”, a term he grew up with before immigrating to the States, and encourages others to call him whatever they want.