Dare To Be You: These Brave Filipinos Embody the realme Spirit of Being Unapologetically Real

Dare To Be You: These Brave Filipinos Embody the realme Spirit of Being Unapologetically Real


Reins Mika, Prince de Castro, Carl Jan Cruz, and Caisam “Wolf” Nopueto embody the realme mission of being bold and authentic by proving that one shouldn’t be hindered by what other people think or say in order to be successful

Perseverance, passion, and personality–these are the three key factors in the human spirit worth celebrating. In our daily trials, it is our never-say-die attitude that keeps us on our feet, the flame of our heart’s desires that keeps us running, and our genuine selves that sets us apart. As the past year took a drastic digital turn, it is high time that we give praise to notable creators that have assertively shown these aspects. As one of the country’s fastest growing smartphone brands, realme turns the spotlight to the youth who have exemplified power and performance amid challenges in their own fields. It’s only apt that the brand for the youth and by the youth celebrates these young stars in the realme Global Fan Fest. With their commitment to amplify the voices of today’s generation and equip them with the technologies to enable them in their tech-driven lives, the realme Global Fan Festival is here to showcase unique stories worth learning about and sharing.

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The realme Global Fan Festival is an annual celebration across industries and creative fields to thank its fans and community for their support for the brand. This year, realme stands for the empowerment of today’s youth and celebrates them for being unapologetically real through the theme “Dare To Be You.” Taking charge of their careers and commanding the winds of fate, we’ve gathered four harbingers of passion to share how they have traversed through valleys and crevasses to reach their peaks. 

Reins Mika: A Burgeoning Beauty Gone Global

If you haven’t discovered your niche, or haven’t gotten your big break yet, don’t worry–it’s a common experience for young talents. Even for someone who effortlessly moves and looks like a star in Reins Mika, it happens. As a 21-year young model who recently garnered worldwide praise for winning the prestigious Elite Model Look, her talents did not shine from the get-go. “I had never considered the potential of being a model and had no idea how it worked. To tell you the truth, I’ve never considered myself attractive or ‘model-worthy.’ I was very introverted and shy until I was discovered by a talent agent when I was about 15 years old,” shared Mika. Even though she got a good start in the world of modeling, Mika was still a student, and the juggling of priorities proved to be a challenge. “[Modelling is] an unconventional career–getting booked tomorrow and just knowing about the job before the day. It requires you to have thick skin to be able to face the many rejections and burnout, especially as a student.”

However, in an industry that’s highly visual and governed by personal taste, a career for this young upstart did not go flawlessly. “The modeling world is undeniably exciting, but it can be toxic too for young girls. I believe that young girls who choose modeling as a profession are often subjected to physical and emotional pressure,” Mika expressed. “When I first started out, I had a lot of external struggles juggling academics and avoiding being scammed by bogus agents, jobs, and so on. Internally, I struggled with my features. I didn’t super love my ‘chinky eyes’ because I used to get teased for it,” she added. But it took guts for Mika to turn this insecurity into one of her defining assets, a feat we all wish to emulate.

Meek and slender on the outside, yet unyielding on the inside. This characteristic of Mika to endure judgement is what truly makes her a star even at such a young age. More than the physical attributes that often get talked about in modeling, it’s the intangibles that matter the most. “Mental strength is a significant component in my field of work. It’s similar to my favorite value of having fortitude–to have the strength of mind that enables one to encounter adversity with courage. But to me, that would mean pursuing your passion with bravery.”

With the world’s eyes on her, and as she graces the magazine pages and online feeds with other models present, how does the unapologetically real Reins Mika shine through? “In a competitive and glamorous industry such as modeling, it’s definitely hard to stand-out from the crowd. I think the real Reins Mika shines through with the idea of becoming a model for others.”

“The world of fashion has so much potential to impact the lives of people, but it takes a well-integrated creative to actually translate that potential to reality.”

Reins Mika

Through this career, Mika is able to let her true self and motives shine through, with a level of commitment often unspoken of: “To me, it means being committed to a vision to do good–to be able to move people’s hearts, touch their souls, and understand your visual translation of reality’s beauty. It is a constant challenge because it demands constant reflection on how to best respond to the ever-changing environment. Ultimately, the real Reins Mika shines through because modeling goes beyond. To Reins Mika, it’s a vocation to be an agent of change.”

Prince de Castro, also known as “Prince Marell”: The Queen of a New Scene

As a performer, artist, social media buzz generator, business queen, and co-founder of Drag Playhouse PH, Prince de Castro truly knows how to strut their stuff. With a wig here and a stunning outfit there, Prince is poised as a drag queen bursting with personality. This all started with an awakening one fateful night: “I didn’t even know drag was a thing until I graduated high school and was able to sneak into Obar when some friends brought me there one night. The moment I saw the gorgeous queens performing, it was so magical to me and it brought back a lot of my childhood memories when I used blankets as dresses, shirts as [wigs] and lip syncing in front of a mirror with a comb microphone. It was that moment when I said to myself that one day I will do [that].”

This new life was something Prince chased head-on, and thanks to her parents being supportive since Prince was a little gay boy, she brought new life to the stage as Prince Marell. “Whenever I’m about to perform on-stage or strut the runway right at the back of the curtain, I always feel nervous, which I think it’s normal. But once I hear the beat of the music and hear the crowd scream my name, [these] keep me going and fill my heart with excitement and joy,” Prince shared. 

Now that online shows have become more prominent in the queendom, there have been obstacles present during the onset of the pandemic, especially since live performances were no longer a possibility. However, instead of breaking down, Prince saw it as an opportunity to build up. “I’m very proud to say that I was able to build Drag Playhouse PH with my drag sisters OV, Marina and Eva in the middle of the pandemic. Hundreds of aspiring drag kids would dress up, perform and join us. I was also able to launch my own drag merch line Prince Merch and beauty line Prince Beauty PH. I am forever grateful for all the support that I am receiving from my friends and a lot of people. Even a pandemic can never bring you down as long as you fight for what you love.”

“When I am in drag, it is my truest color and I would never [care] what other people think about me.”

Prince de Castro

With one scroll through your timelines, especially if you have a queer friend, will reveal that drag has now taken the mainstream spotlight. Through TV shows, live events, and online performances worldwide, how does Prince unleash their real self? They shared, “[For the] majority of the people who participate in the artform of drag, it is an extension of our character… Drag is empowering and [that is] the most beautiful thing about it. There’s no other way to unleash it, it’s natural. Just pucker up and strut.”

Carl Jan Cruz: A Dauntless Fashion Designer 

The fashion industry is complex. With a wide variety of philosophies and practices populating the scene, Carl Jan Cruz finds himself answering an important question: how can the world see the real Carl Jan Cruz in his works? Upon entering the industry, not everything was as clear-cut as expected. “Being equipped and adaptable all the time [was a challenge]. There’s no standard of doing things in this industry, but [there is] always the standard of achieving a result. I learned, and [am] still learning, that it’s never always about the end result but [about] the way you can keep doing the same thing but with different techniques, ways, and strategies,” Carl shares.

With a long list of collaborations over the years and quite an interaction with international brands and houses, Carl has had a good taste of the many differences the industry beholds. Whether culture, taste, or outright superiority causes a divide between the creator and his audience, what will truly resonate with the people is your genuinity. “[Having] no exact way of doing things comes from having a plethora of personalities and ideas amongst the people who engage in the fashion industry.”

“Being sure of what you want and who you are guides you to keep going.”

Carl Jan Cruz

Finding “who you are” may sound rather abstract and near-impossible without concrete action. However, being true to yourself is less of a hands-on approach and more of an inner reflection, according to Carl. “Being unapologetically real, to me, is about sticking to who you are and being constantly open to the idea of failure that will constantly teach you to be better at whichever field you do. In my case, [it is] nurturing and designing a brand.” Indeed, more than celebrating the successes of life, recognizing where you fall short is still a part of crafting your legacy.

Caisam “Wolf” Nopueto: A Shoutcaster Who Has Rewritten His Fate

Gaming has taken a new life in the recent months as more and more people turn their phones sideways and start playing during their pastimes. No one has seen this shift more than Caisam Nopueto who goes by “Wolf” in the scene. As a pro-league shoutcaster, he sits by the industry’s biggest names and most intense competitions. However, the local gaming scene wasn’t always this serious. “​​At the start, [Philippine] Esports aren’t really that into serious [or] in-depth shoutcasting or content. Esports fans celebrate comedy and novelty so much that anything outside of it is considered ‘boring’ or hateable.” You’d notice this from the video content flooded by sound effects and baby chuckles, or even commentary that focused more on jokes than analyses. But even if Wolf has now adjusted to this light-hearted style and shows this through his positive tone, you wouldn’t realize that beneath it all is someone who got hit with a strong dose of reality.

Long before he started shoutcasting, during his college years, Wolf was diagnosed with Lupus, a rare, autoimmune, yet incurable disease that causes the immune system to turn on itself and attack perfectly healthy tissue. Hearing the news placed him in the toughest situation of his life, but he figured out soon after that there is no time to sit in sorrow forever. “When I first heard the news, it’s really like in the movies where the ride home–in my case, it was a public bus ride–was harsh in a way that you just couldn’t accept what the news was. I was so in denial. I had to really adjust my lifestyle, and keep myself healthy at all times–to always take care of myself, and [make that] my priority. I had to dig into healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. It was funny that when I found out about my condition, somebody urged me to go to the gym and work out, and it actually helped a lot,” shared Wolf.

Living with this condition meant having a unique work pace with certain considerations once he entered the busy gaming industry. In one instance, he even had to explain online why he did not make a broadcast even if he was scheduled to call the matches. “When it comes to me and my condition, I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to share that to the public. But Moonton and the MPL organizers gave me the confidence and trusted me with it, so I did. I’m still very conscious now, but I’m happy that through me, more people will know more about autoimmune diseases like Lupus.”

What was once news that became heart-breaking now became his entire being. In fact, he gave himself the nickname “Wolf”–which in Latin, translates to “lupus”–as a sign that he owns that part of his life, that no one can use it against him, and that he isn’t living life with any regrets. So, as the games rage on and people hear the great calls by an impassioned Wolf, how does he make sure the real Wolf is heard by the listeners? “I heard from somewhere that you should ‘know who you really are, what you really are, and every single thing about yourself. That way, nobody else can tell you what you didn’t already know.’ It means being free with what the world might bring, because you know what you need to do, no matter what.”

“[Being unapologetically real] means being true to yourself and by knowing yourself first.”

Caisam “Wolf” Nopueto

Being real begins with yourself, and as realme continues to champion stars who have truly owned themselves despite challenges, we can take these stories as inspiration to conquer our own hardships without leaving behind what makes us special. That is the spirit of “Dare To Be You” that realme challenges the young and young-at-heart to embody. Always driven and ready to face the bright future to come, let’s continue to champion today’s youth along with realme and give them a platform to share their stories and grow.

Celebrate the realme Global Fan Fest and be the first to know the latest by visiting their website, following them on Facebook, and on Instagram. Make sure to also check out #DareToBeYouwithrealme on Instagram to read more stories of success.

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