Call her one of the last persons you would imagine posing with her top off on the cover of a men’s magazine.
But that’s exactly what the TV host Bianca Gonzalez, 29, has done on the cover of the April 2012 issue of Esquire Philippines.
Flashing her trademark smile, Bianca— whose public persona has always been wholesome, perky and level-headed—is seen in side view, clad only in dark, waist-high bottoms, one hand behind her head, the other bent to cover her breast.
A few days before it released the cover photo, Esquire Philippines put up an equally risque video on its website, showing Bianca frolicking in the pool and under a shower with droplets trickling in slo-mo across various body parts. It was directed by Jason Tan, who directed Pupil’s award-winning video, “20/20.”
Better than Halle Berry
“Bianca just represents ‘Woman at Her Best’ to us,” said Esquire editor-in-chief Erwin Romulo, riffing on the magazine’s tagline, “Man at his Best.”
“We think she's one of the most gorgeous women on the planet and truly representative of the world class Filipina,” Romulo told Yahoo! Philippines OMG! in an email interview.
Bianca also wrote her own cover story. On the Esquire cover, which calls itself “The FUN! Issue,” the main cover line reads, “Bianca Gonzalez by Bianca Gonzalez.”
“Only one other woman in Esquire history has written her own cover story and that was Halle Berry. We thought Bianca could do better. We were right,” Romulo told Yahoo! Philippines OMG!
“She's smart and witty and that comes out in her writing, especially in her columns for The Philippine Star. She can talk to anyone from Sec. Mon Jimenez, Maria Ressa or Michael V. Not only does she hold her own but she ‘gets’ them as well. That's the character of a passionate and empathetic person.”
But because Bianca is nowhere near the controversial territory of KC Concepcion (who provocatively posed on the February 2012 cover of Rogue Magazine), her magazine cover has had the desired viral effect.
While there have been detractors, “shocked” by how Bianca has upended their expectations (Esquire posted a “conservative” cover for the iPad edition of the magazine), there has been more positive reactions.
On her Twitter account, @iamsuperbianca, the cover girl said, “Thank you for making #Esquire trend! :) overwhelmed by thousands of tweets. no kidding. thank you. :)” In another tweet, she said she was grateful and humbled for the “tsunami of tweets about the@EsquirePH cover.”
Bianca also expressed her gratitude to the people behind the cover and the video: photographer BJ Pascual, makeup artist Lala Flores, hairstylist Ney Guese, among others in the crew.
Added Romulo, “Most especially Esquire's creative team Vince Uy, Ces Olondriz, Raymond Gutierrez and Liz Uy. They made made it all work. They made it classy and elegant but fun.”
Of the video, Romulo said, “Jason Tan directed the video and he's just an amazing filmmaker. (I did Pupil's award winning 20/20 with him.) My contribution would be chiefly be the choice of the music for the video. It's by a band called Goodleaf and I agree with Lourd de Veyra that they are the ‘pinaka-malupit na banda ngayon sa Pilipinas.’”
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