By JOHN LEGASPI

As the country is now under a loosened quarantine protocol, many businesses are starting to operate under strict implementation of safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, for some freelance workers such as stylists and makeup artists, who earn their living on social events, getting back to work may be scheduled for a later date.

People can easily be blinded by the glamor that revolves around the world of fashion creatives. Who can blame them? A quick scroll on their Instagram and you’ll see them dressing famous personalities, beautifying the it-girl of the moment, and attending parties and events.

What others do not see is the dirty work that comes with the job. A stylist must juggle his or her time to attend to clients while carrying loads of pullouts from brands and designers. A makeup artist brings a set of beauty paraphernalia, from ring lights and makeup chair to the brushes and actual cosmetics. A job is still a job after all, and what drives these freelancers to perform beyond their best is their passion for their craft, making them the unsung heroes behind the perfect image of our idols.

It is sad that scheduled styling gigs were cancelled. But at the end of the day, it is always the right decision to prioritize our health.

In these past months, people’s attention shifted from what the stars are wearing on red carpets and events to their easily put together pambahay. While it is fun to see them in their basics, the team that used to put them together is waiting silently for the time when they can come back to work.

To get a view of their life during quarantine, freelance stylists Vhee Co and Aldrin Ramos and makeup artists Leigh David and Jena Belen chat with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle as they discuss the effects of the community quarantine on their jobs, and their points-of-view on its extension.

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Photo from @aldrin.ramos

What have you been doing since the quarantine started?

Vhee: During the first week, I was quite busy attending virtual meetings with several clients. I felt a bit guilty about not doing anything in our community, but I realized that staying at home is a huge help. I decided to organize everything in my room, from my wardrobe to our mini library and the kitchen. I stayed away from social media and just watched TV to get news and updates. I tried writing down all my plans for the coming days, reminding myself of the lessons this pandemic has given us, which eventually made me feel better.

Aldrin: To be honest, nothing much since we are just at home. As much as possible I want to keep things light and positive despite the situation. I am taking advantage of this time to relax, make up for those sleepless nights, and reflect as to what I can do more to improve myself and expand my craft. I am not at home with my family, so most of the time I call to catch up with them. I’ve been learning to cook, and I was able to finish a book I’ve been setting aside before this quarantine.

Leigh: Ever since it started, I have been staying at home with my family as it is what the government has directed.

Jena: I’ve been busy running a business and taking care of my five-year-old daughter.

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Photo from @vheecostyle

How are you coping now that the quarantine has caused many events, styling and makeup gigs to be cancelled?

Vhee: This might be very frustrating and depressing, but I have to focus on the positive side. I have upcoming big projects as well, but I have learned to surrender all my plans to God. I’ve learned the value of adjusting to the situation by finding meaningful ways to feed my mind. Keeping our inner foundation solid is the best weapon for any crisis. A sincere spiritual practice gives us shelter in any situation.

Aldrin: It is a good thing I have a full-time job on top of my styling job. I feel like deciding to get a regular job somewhat prepared me for this situation. It is sad that scheduled styling gigs were cancelled. But at the end of the day, it is always the right decision to prioritize our health.

Leigh: Honestly, it’s very hard and complicated for me as many of my bookings have been cancelled even before the lockdown. It worried me a lot since that was my source of income.

Jena: I had to figure out how to make ends meet, and I had to do it quick. I’m a single parent and that makes the situation worse, because I’ve got to hustle twice as hard to provide for my daughter and myself.

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Photo from @jenadeguzmanmakeup

Will you worry if it continues to extend? Why or why not?

Vhee: We keep on worrying about our everyday lives. Anxieties suddenly turn to depression, but trusting God is the most important thing. I learned to overcome and not to focus on the things that we can’t control. As a creative artist, I believe that if Plan A doesn’t work, then we have Plans B to Z to work on.

Aldrin: It really depends on the situation. If there is really a need to extend the quarantine period, then I am okay with it provided that our government also makes us aware of their plans and reasons to call for extension. The only thing that worries me regarding extension is that we are still at a great risk of contracting the virus.

Leigh: Yes. If the community quarantine continues to extend, I’ll be facing a challenge in providing for my family.

Jena: No, not at all. Mas okay if i-extend pa. Hindi kasi pwedeng sarili at trabaho ko lang isipin ko. What if may gig, tapos I get exposed sa virus nang hindi ko namamalayan? Tapos uuwi ako sa anak ko, hawa-hawa na kami. Kaya for me, better to stay home until sure na tayo na wala nang risk of getting infected (No, not at all. It would be great if it is extended. It is not right to just think of myself and my work now. What if I have a gig and I got exposed to the virus unknowingly? Then I go home to my daughter – we would have spread the virus. That’s why for me, it is better to stay at home until there is no risk of getting infected.)

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Photo from @ladavidhmua


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/20/no-glam-for-now/)