THRILLMAKER: My awards night preps story

Joee Guilas receives the award for best male newscaster at the 35th Star Awards for TV as PMPC officer Rommel Placente looks on.

An invite to attend a prestigious awards night ceremony can be a huge honor for any person, much more so, if one is in the running for one of the awards as a nominee.  The invitation is enough affirmation that, somehow, one has “arrived” in his or her intended destination or has reached a level of standard that categorizes him or her to be in the company of those recognized to be the elite of a certain group.  Such was the feeling that I got when I finally got invited to the 35th Star Awards for TV of the Philippine Movie Press Club as a nominee for the Best Male Newscaster category. 

As a first time nominee, I was overwhelmed to find my name in the same roster as some of the people I admire most on television and was excited to be a part of an event that I only used to watch as a kid on TV.  It’s no less than the Star Awards! It gives out the most-coveted trophies to people who are, by all means, considered the brightest stars on the boob-tube for a given year.  This was just a dream many years back!  The nomination and invite just show how far I have gone from watching in our sala as a fan to actually being in the event as a potential honoree! 

Lucky as I am, this edition will also mark the first time that the event will be done face to face, in a venue that is considered as among Manila’s finest, Winford Manila Resort and Casino, after the recognition body went on a virtual mode for more than two years because of the pandemic.  Processing those thoughts slowly replaced my excitement with concerns and even great stress, thinking how I should be presenting myself in my first big event as a TV personality side by side with the industry’s biggest shining stars?

Hitomi Fashions Group during fitting with Richard Barretto on extreme right

MY CHANCES. After going through the names of my co-nominees in the category I’m under, I immediately felt happy just to be nominated.  Six much bigger names in the field of newscasting can easily snatch the honor from me given the many years they have dedicated to their craft and the popularity of their respective TV networks.  Contented with the privilege and opportunity to pursue my passion of delivering the news to the public and even getting noticed for it, made me grateful to have been nominated, but winning? I automatically skipped that part.  I just told myself, I might as well channel my efforts to the more fun part of the event and gun instead for the Star of the Night plum.

Oli Sara

GETTING THE “STAR” LOOK. Two weeks before the actual event, I got to talk to my longtime fashion stylist, the now much sought after, Oli Sara, for the piece that I should be donning for the awards night.  His initial reco was to go for utmost elegance through a velvet ensemble.  Having to fly right away to the US after my brief consult, he promised to guide me every step of the way through virtual means.  Fair enough.  Given the short amount of time to get a customized velvet suit done, we had to scramble at the very last minute for an appropriate wardrobe replacement.  Good thing, the power tandem of Richard Barretto and Donna Babasanta of Hitomi Fashion gladly took on the job, designing and creating an awards night appropriate suit that Oli immediately gave his thumbs up to.  Says Richard: “Short notice na po talaga nang malaman namin na kami po ay gagawa ng outfit para sa Isang Joee Guilas. Ngunit di po kami nag-dalawang isip at um-oo po agad kami.  Agad kaming nag-isip ng magandang konsepto para sa kanyang kasuotan para sa gabi ng parangal ng PMPC.”

To make sure, styling execution goes on point during the awards night, I booked my one-man glam team, Kenneth delos Santos, to do my hair, makeup and wardrobe assistance.  My styling partner for dozens of events now, Kenny knows exactly how to bring out the best in me for all the important milestones in my life.  Asked if he found glamming me up a challenge, he remarks: “It was not much of a challenge but one thing I was very keen on that night was to make sure your makeup looks very luminous without looking glossy or oily as the event went on.”  He adds: “well, it’s a bit of a pressure to make a broadcaster stand out amidst a sea of stars and celebrities but you are a multitude of confidence and grace. You would easily stand out given the proper grooming and styling in any given situation.” (Now you know why I love Kenny!)

Kenny delos Santos

ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES. Given that it was my first time attending a celebrity awards night, I truly did not know what to expect.  Since I had that nomination though, I somehow had to prepare for an acceptance speech in the remote possibility I would get the prize.  Since I did not fully expect to eventually make it, what I had, coming to the awards night, was a rough talk flow in my head.  Since what I was more excited about was the Star of the Night trophy, I also had a much simpler speech for that which I thought would have been cute, if I only got to deliver it.

THE RESULTS. Well, we all know how that night turned out in the end.  Thanks to the PMPC, I bagged the Best Male Newscaster award--the first time someone from the government network won it.   I didn’t win the Star of the Night recognition but that’s okay.  All the people who tried to work together to give me the star treatment for that event was proof of the love I am lucky to be showered with from many different sectors.

Best of all, given the results of the awards night, I’d get to deliver the news again another day.