Read an excerpt of this month’s MEGA Entertainment featuring Mond Gutierrez as he opens up about the struggles of coming out.
“I feel like I’ve never felt more happy and content with my life, and I feel like I wanna share that with people, and I think what the pandemic has really taught me is to live your life because life is short. And that’s what I’ve been doing here in California and what I plan to do for the rest of my life.”
“I am out to a lot of my close friends and I’m lucky that I have that support system around me to give me the confidence to really accept who I am and to love myself because not a lot of people have that? Some people feel alone, some people feel like they don’t have anyone to run to. I’m lucky that I’m surrounded with a lot of great people in my life my family, my friends,” he adds.
But Mond didn’t always have this amount of support, especially in the world he grew up in— ironically—in an industry heavily populated by gay people, local entertainment.
“Growing up, it was hard for me to even acknowledge even who I am. Like, what is this? I had my brother who was so similar to me but so different in so many ways. But he never had to explain his sexuality, so why should I? And that was my thinking growing up. But then entering show business at 19—well, I was a kid—but going back again to show business at 19 to be a TV host, that’s when it really hit me that, ‘Wow, being gay is really not accepted in a lot of these communities.’”
And that came as a rude awakening to Mond.
“Back then, being the new person on TV, I was bullied by a lot of the older people in the studios. Being gay now is not the same as being gay back then. 10 years ago, it was totally different. You feel like a mutant? You walk in to backstage and people will say, ‘Ah, ‘ di ba ‘yun ‘yung baklang kapatid ni Richard?’ Like, I can literally hear them. And because of those moments where people really wanted to put me in a corner and really label me and kind of diminish my skills and diminish what I can bring to the table because of my sexual preference (that I didn’t even realize—I didn’t even know at that time?) I was still going through so many emotions at that time that I had no idea. Like, ‘Can I go through this first before you label me anything?’”
For any teenager going through what Mond went through, it’s for sure, already a tough journey. But being in the spotlight of show business, while going through it magnifies it even more. “So, that kind of became—why I got depressed and why I gained so much weight. I really became self-destructive. I turned to alcohol, I turned to drinking, partying, and to food unhealthy habits—just because I had no way else to express myself. And nu’ng time na ‘yun, siyempre, being part of a family that is in the public space—we’re all entertainers for many generations already—I wasn’t deciding on things just on my own? Things that I do will not only affect me, but will also affect my family. So, that was kind of like the burden that I was carrying? Like, I can’t be gay because my brother is a superhero, right? So, that was… Well, it’s tough for me,” Mond recalls the pain and the struggle.
“I don’t think I told anybody. And that was—and that’s the hard part? Like, I was stuck with myself for so long hating myself. I didn’t like myself for a long time. And that’s why I kind of became an overachiever and when I was new to the network that I was working in when older hosts would be, like, kind of label me as ’yung baklang kapatid ni Richard’ or…with all of these things in my head, I said, ‘You know what, I’ll take that as a challenge and I’ll be a better TV host than you.’ And you know what happened? I ended up hosting and replacing them on their Sunday show. So, [chuckles] it felt a great sense of kind of like, ‘Don’t put me in a corner, don’t push me aside because guess what? I can do a better job than you.’ And it kind of empowered me, actually. The more that people belittled me and the more that people put me in a corner kind of made me stronger. And I was like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna be the best TV host there is,’ and I tried and I won at the end.”
It’s very easy for people to throw insults and cast judgement, and it’s hard to have to keep all that to yourself. That’s something that Mond had to deal with on top of finding and accepting his real self. But thankfully, he found it in himself to triumph over the trying moments of his life and career.
“As I grew older and as I matured, I realized the best thing that you can really offer your family is to be yourself. So drop the cloak, drop the act; just be yourself. And again, I’m lucky just because my family wants nothing but the best for me. They always just want me to be happy. We’ve always been very close and at the same time, I had friends that are like family to me. My chosen family who made it much easier to kind of realize that it’s never too late to love yourself, it’s never too late to acknowledge those feelings, and face your fears,” Mond Gutierrez encourages.
Photography LESTER VILLARAMA
Creative direction JANN PASCUA
Grooming DAPHNE DEL ROSARIO
Styling NIKKO PANTI
Special thanks to FWRD MAN