In our exclusive interview with MEGAStyle cover star, Ian Pangilinan, we take a deep dive into gender stereotypes, beauty standards, and breaking the mold.
Thespian prince, Ian Pangilinan, is show business’ wild card. He seemingly came out of nowhere, armed with wit and talent and things started happening—fast. He took on a game-changing role in a Boy Love or BL series called, Gaya sa Pelikula and his career just exploded. Make no doubt about it, Ian is hot property right now. Currently, he’s starring on primetime television alongside the biggest names in the country. What’s setting him apart from his peers? More than just his love for acting and his obvious talent for the craft, he’s got one trait that puts him a cut above the rest: he’s unapologetically himself.
His genuine approach has intrigued his industry, as well as fans. He’s polite, but also assertive, quick to challenge norms with ideas that may be seen as taboo. In a country where most actors are routinely typecast and fit into stereotypes, it’s difficult to start out and take full control of your public image. It’s even harder to find roles that will test one’s limits as an actor. Nevertheless, the so-called thespian prince prevailed and broke the industry standards by eliminating his limitations and pursuing his dreams.
For his MEGAStyle’s cover shoot, Ian plays the role of a man out to sea, a veritable captain of his boat crossing the waters as many have done before, but charting his own way, often by gut feel. While out in the water, MEGAStyle sat down with the actor of the hour, ready to dive deep into the mind and creative process of an artist and his craft.
MEGAStyle: What is masculinity to you? How do you think others perceive masculinity?
Ian Pangilinan: “Hard to say, honestly. I mean, I think the word is tinged with so many different notions of what it’s ‘supposed to mean’ because of what each generation was taught about it.”
“It’s often been said that masculinity is having traits attributed to men such as courage and assertiveness, but I just don’t really find myself thinking about it too much anymore.”
“Thing is, if you think about it, what some view as feminine things such as compassion and supportiveness could just as easily be framed as courageous. For example, not everyone has the courage to view compassionately those which are hard to love. Conversely, there is femininity in fighting for those that you hold compassion for, even though fighting is a traditionally masculine trait.”
MS: Was there ever an instance when you held back on your interests because of stereotypes and prejudices?
IP: “I did theater, man. Of course I’d have my fair share of these stories. To be fair, my friends were mostly supportive. The jokes centered mostly around me bagging the role of a tree or something.”
“If ever there was a time the masculinity card was thrown, it was when I sang a song in front of the batch with my male co-star to promote the show. It was such an odd conversation but it stuck with me. Some people were like, ‘Haha you guys were whispering to each other before and during the song. It looked funny.’ It felt so … stupid. We were literally asking each other what the lyrics were.”
“It’s stupid now of course, but mind you, this was during the time when ‘gay’ was still being used as an insult quite prolifically. It was a weird moment, but that was when I realized that ohhh that stuff doesn’t look cool or manly for some people at the time. [It] only made me find it even more ridiculous but unfortunately there are still some people who think like that nowadays.”
MS: What’s your relationship with grooming and beautification?
Ian Pangilinan: “I think looking nice and grooming oneself is a simple joy, or at least it should be. I remember the days when people used to make a big deal about guys moisturizing, calling it ‘metrosexual’ and what not as if it’s bizarre enough to warrant a completely different subcategory of men! Like I myself even go to a dermatologist, Avignon Clinic. They take good care of my skin, and I don’t think anyone’s died yet cause my skin looks nicer.”
MS: When you go to a dermatologist, what do you get done?
Ian Pangilinan: “I have lots of different stuff that Avignon has in store for me. I particularly like the Jet Oxypeel so I can have more oxygen in my skin. And the most recent procedure I had was great, the Clear and Brilliant laser. It closed up my pores real good, and since I struggle with acne quite a bit, it worked wonders.”
MS: Do you think men shouldn’t hold back from taking care of their appearance?
IP: “People should be able to look however they want to make themselves feel happier. If men wanna put on moisturizer or even makeup, they should be able to. No one’s gonna die if moisturizer touches men’s skin.”
MS: Why do you think they hold back in the first place and how do you think they should combat that?
IP: “Precisely because of this weird notion masculinity. Short answer of everything, and the main point I wanna make in the whole interview is, when it comes to what makes you happy about how you look, who gives a crap what people think. So long as you don’t hurt anyone, look how you wanna look. What a boring world it would be if everyone looked the same.”
MS: Aside from grooming and appearance, are there other areas society has to work on in terms of masculinity?
IP: “I think getting up in someone else’s business is really what makes me upset. Let people live man. If I wanna wear some pearls or a flowery suit or even a dress because it makes me feel better about myself, then it shouldn’t be anyone’s problem. People like Billy Porter, David Bowie and Harry Styles get praised for wearing these kinds of things which is a step in the right direction, but really I look forward to the day I, or anyone else, wears these things and it’s not made a big deal out of. Also I look forward to the day I can shop for these outfits on any old rack in a clothing store, partly because I’m lazy, but mostly because I don’t want it to have to be a big statement to wear these kinds of things. Let people live.”
MS: As an actor, what are the values that you will instill in your work when it comes to breaking gender stereotypes on film?
IP: “Well I just stay true to my character and how I read them to be. Whether they appear masculine or feminine afterwards is besides the point, unless it’s a central part of their story as a character.”