Despite a dainty and delicate veneer, Gabbi Garcia charges on with surprising truths that from this point on will no longer go unmissed.
If our calculations were to be trusted, it was safe to assume that the population packed in the middle of the dance floor just a few hours earlier, presumably giving their all to the soundtrack of the night’s heavy bass and synth beat-induced reverie were still reeling from the euphoria and hangover. And yet there we were, on a calm Sunday afternoon, right smack in the center of one of the metro’s hottest clubs, the futuristic-themed Xylo, with its cutting-edge display of lights hovering over in a rhythmic dance of neon, replete of any trace of a night before.
“The club scene isn’t really my thing,” she says in a lingering breath, hands crossed on top of the undulating waves of fabric that sat on her lap. “Nothing against it, but I’m more of a chill, laid-back speakeasy kind of girl.” There is no ounce of irony to her voice, despite the obvious and intentional juxtaposition of a hyper-feminine fantasy frock set against the aggressive wash of light draping over her delicate, dainty features. If anything, it is a deliverance of a matter-of-fact, sans a patronizing tone often associated with ice breakers of this sort. But that’s precisely the thing with Gabbi Garcia, who despite a tender and temperate veneer charges our conversation with surprising truths that if you prefer to just glaze over would honestly be missing out a lot on.
“I’m a very outspoken person,” she says. “I speak my mind all the time, but as long as you are responsible, along with your usage of social media and of your influence, I mean its cliché, it’s kind of showbiz to hear, but it’s actually true. There’s no other way to say it.” We are of course talking about the reality that we all live in right now, where we are able to communicate and create at great lengths, pursuing our passions far more than any generation before us. “We are really lucky to have these platforms to express ourselves,” she says. In her case, she is able to exist on a landscape that is so cut-throat and competitive, thriving on things she loves to do: music and acting. “This September, the movie I’ve been working on will premiere, which is about music—the music of Ben & Ben. So, in the movie I’ll be singing, I’ll be writing songs. It’s exciting because I could incorporate music also,” she begins. “The film is called LSS, and it’s about two strangers meeting, connecting through the music of Ben & Ben. It’s refreshing, especially for me, wherein I live in this crazy industry, and then I’m gonna portray this role na ‘ay ganito pala yung normal na buhay.’ It’s an eye-opening experience for me also, acting and singing, both of my loves, and working with Khalil Ramos. It’s a really fun movie to do, and I hope people watch it kasi it gives you that feeling of anything is possible.”
Living in a world of mostly make-believe or at best, pre-meditated reality, it is true, the possibilities are endless for entertainment, but at a certain point, it comes to an abrupt halt to the players, most of whom have gone through the proverbial eye of the needle to even have the chance to show the audience what they are capable of. “I never imagined it to be like this, but dreaming as a kid, I would always claim that I’ll get there,” she furthers. “Kaya for me, in my own opinion, what’s happening right now, this is all destined. You know, if you really want something, you’re gonna do everything to attain that goal. I don’t believe kasi ‘yung ibang tao na nagsasabing: ‘Pag mangangarap ka, dapat ‘yung posible lang.’ Anything is possible with hard work, patience, and dedication.”
Now, this isn’t necessarily new to hear, especially in a time where success stories and visual vignettes of victories saturate our consciousness every day. But what makes it unique to Gabbi Garcia is that this earnest desire to dream bold and big comes with a disclosure that despite her apparent success, she doesn’t always have it together as we would want to believe. “Actually, you know what, my biggest fear is just waking up one day, not being open to learn about anything, being you know, just full of yourself, that’s scary,” she says. “So, as much as I can, I wanna learn about the different values in life. ‘Di mo naman kasi yun matutunan lahat sa bahay eh. You have to be out there. You have to sometimes fall down and learn how to pick yourself up again. These are the things that I really want to learn, like how to manage my emotions, how to choose your battles, and how to stand alone but not leaving your family behind. Otherwise, you might want to go back to square one and rethink everything.”
A vocal work in progress, this realization came at the heels of her almost giving up amidst the rejections she faced early on in her career. “Personally, I’ve come to a point na I didn’t think that this was for me, but you know, support is so important; security and assurance are so important. That’s what helped me cope,” she says. With the backbone of provision from the people that keep her sane and sorted, Gabbi Garcia was able to persist, mostly by what might seem simple but is actually very hard to do: Just showing up. “I’m here and I’m working. I love what I do,” she concludes.
This process, she emphasizes, “Helped me grow as a person, it helped me expand my understanding when it comes to the real world, when it comes to understanding other people. Not everything is about you, not everything revolves around you, and not everything is given to you on a silver platter.” By being acutely aware in the present, Gabbi Garcia is able to fashion a sense of contentment that even most discerning adults struggle with. “I’m really contented with what I have, but you know, as much as I can work, I’m still gonna work for myself, kasi I still want to explore. I still want to learn, but this is also a huge step for me. I mean, it’s been a dream being in the industry, what more if they’re gonna recognize you in something the you love doing, So, it serves as an inspiration for me to step up and learn more.”
Photography by Erwin Canlas of New Monarq Creativx
Art direction by Jann Pascua
Styling Jeb Fronda and Lyn Alumno
Makeup by Jason Delos Reyes
Hair by Mark Rosales
Nails by Extraordinails
Sittings editors Peewee Reyes-Isidro and Angelo Ramirez De Cartagena
Shoot coordination by Thea Martin
Shoot assistants Joy Almero and Kate Loreno
Shot on location at Xylo At The Palace
Special thanks to GMA Artist Center and Pam Soliapsi