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How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #2: Learn how to handle being a celebrity from a real celebrity. « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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How to Become an Asian Triathlon Superstar, Step #2: Learn how to handle being a celebrity from a real celebrity.

Yesterday night I got to be part of Gabby Concepcion’s small entourage. It was fun! As you may recall, this is the older brother of my cousin’s husband (Rick) who is a famous movie star here in the Philippines. To me, he’s just Rick’s brother. But for Filipinos every where, it was like Zac Efron in a room of screaming prepubescent girls. Yesterday I got my first taste of the Asian celebrity life!

I hadn’t seen Gabby and his wife Ginbee since they moved back to Manila from the US earlier this year. Rick is also here at the same time to visit the family. Yesterday was a Sunday, which is a huge “family day” in the Philippines, and tons of relatives and family friends came by the house to have lunch and smoke. (Almost everyone smokes here, it’s kind of yuck.) so Gabby and Ginbee come by and Rick pawns me off their way as I didn’t have plans for the evening. They asked if I wanted to go to the mall show with them, and Gabby told me to try not to get bored!

He was apparently a really big deal back in the 80′s, then moved to the USA for I think 13 years, and then back to Manila. Now he is on a hit TV show (a romantic drama) and recently released his first CD, full of what the Pinoys love best, slow sappy love songs! He is doing a series of promotional appearances at the local malls for the new CD, where he sings a few songs and then signs autographs. So we took off with his good friend Martin, who was acting as driver and psuedo-manager, the four of us in the car with dark tinted windows.

Off to the Santa Rosa Star Mall! It was delightful fun as the crowd was barricaded and they just went CRAZY, absolutely CRAZY when they watched him sing. There was so much cheering and screaming, it was deafening. I was very impressed with how he handled the fans, he was really sweet, nice, gracious, and funny. Ok, he was speaking in Tagalog but I got to sit with Ginbee by the front of the stage and had Martin translating for me. I helped frisbee the fliers/mini-posters of Gabby and his TV show into the crowd after the performance and I was immediately swarmed by a sea of arms grabbing at me from EVERYWHERE. Oh my god. these women are FANATICAL. I was way too slow at this and a bunch of girls broke through the side barricade, grabbing at me! OH GOD. Good thing I am bigger than all of them, some of them were jumping up to try to grab a poster, and a security guard had to come help fight them off. He was smaller than me, but it helped.

Ginbee and I went shopping in the mall during the autograph signing and it was like going to Serramonte. You see, I grew up in Pacifica, California, right on the Pacifica-Daly City border, and went to elementary school, middle school, and high school in Daly City. Daly City is a predominantly Filipino town and anyone from Manila knows where it is, because everyone here has family there!! Our high school was essentially half Filipino and half Chinese (slight exaggeration, but just slight) and Serramonte was our local mall. So quite honestly I am used to being in a sea of Filipinos, and going to the stores, the Starbucks, and the Wendy’s here is not too different, except for the pastries at Starbucks, the spaghetti on the menu at Wendy’s, the Tagalog language, and of course the ever-present soundtrack of sappy love songs.

We stayed in the car as we watched Gabby go into Max’s restaurant for some promotional photographs (they had sponsored the mall appearance). I was very amused watching everyone in the restaurant get up and turn his way as he made his way through Max’s, with an even bigger crowd gathering as he made his way back to the car. People were following us as we drove through the parking lot and yelling “Gabby Gabby Gabby!” He always had to be escorted by Martin and a few security guards just getting out of the car and into buildings. crazy!!

The whole thing was kind of nuts (and to me kind of hilarious) but it was still not as psychotic as Britney Spears being pursued by the paparazzi. Phew. So what did I learn from this experience and how can I apply it to becoming a triathlon superstar? Well I certainly thought it was awesome having so many fans cheering their little hearts out. I think the Ironman equivalent would be having spectators cheer for you as you are winning an Ironman. Ok, let’s add that to the “to do” list. It is also really important to be nice to your fans, treat your sponsors well and in general, don’t be a douchebag! Your public image is important and rest assured, I plan to be one of the triathlon pros who is always fun, approachable, willing to write you an autograph and take a photo with you. Ok, so I’m not famous yet but who says I’m not trying? :)

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