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BJ Pascual Proves That Boys Can Wear High Heels, Too

"The higher the better!"

by Yanna C. Lopez | Jan 13, 2019

To the celebrated photographer, his look is both style and statement.

"The higher the better!" photographer BJ Pascual proclaims, and it's an absolute, definite unisex declaration. Because, really, why shouldn't boys wear heels? No matter who you are or how you identify, a little height boost is always welcome...but more that that, BJ's readily addressing the bigger picture. 

"I'm not going to lie, it was initially more of a style choice," he shares. "Now I wear them as a statement of sorts because people in general (and even within the LGBTQ community) put so much of a premium on being "masc" that it has become normal to look down upon more "effem" men...I felt like something had to be done."

Here, pauses to chat with BJ about multi-purpose skyscraping—his signature look isn't mere outfit peg fodder, it's pride in standing tall for those who are still ashamed to.


Logo print boots, BALENCIAGA; Blazer, COMME DES GARCONS; T-shirt, ASOS; Vintage 501 jeans, LEVI'S

Would you say you're "obsessed" with wearing heels?


Describe your personal style.

I like to use my personal style to experiment with my own gender expression. Sometimes I like to play with tailoring through shapes, and sometimes I just want to go full glam and be unapologetically effem (effeminate). I'm also really inspired by Demna Gvasalia's work for Balenciaga, as well as emerging Asian designers such as Kozaburo and Carl Jan Cruz. But, my style is always evolving, so who knows what I'll be wearing next year.

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Cowboy boots, GANNI; Shirt and pants, both CARL JAN CRUZ; Choker, WOLFE+HUNTR

How and when did you discover that you wanted to incorporate heels into your wardrobe?

It was around Halloween 2016 in New York! I had three Halloween costumes and needed platforms for my David Bowie costume so I got a cheap pair from H&M. I liked how they looked on me so I decided to wear them with my two other costumes. 

A few days after, while my friend Izzy Tuason (who credits himself as having curated my high heel collection) was buying a clutch for his mom at Jeffrey’s, I was aimlessly looking around and found a nice pair from Balenciaga, from the women’s section. The rest is heelstory. Lol.


White boots, BALENCIAGA; Suit (thrifted); Tank top, T BY ALEXANDER WANG; Glasses, SUNNIES SPECS; Earrings, LAZADA

Heels come in all lengths and shapes. Which ones are you drawn to?

The higher the better! Ideally, above 2.5 inches 'cause I need the height, and chunky 'cause I like to wear them all day and walk around in them so they have to be comfortable.

Describe your favorite heeled pairs.

My current favorites are these six-inch platform booties from Balenciaga! They're the highest pair I have. They’re surprisingly super comfortable: I walked around Paris all day in them, and I even danced in them all night at the Dua Lipa concert in Japan.


Platforms, BALENCIAGA; Sweatshirt and drop-crotch pants, both PROUDRACE

When do you wear them? Any unforgettable events?

Every chance I get! I’m so glad the summer’s over so I can wear boots again, lol. The most unforgettable was probably the day I got my first pair (the black Balenciagas). While I was waiting for my friends outside Mission Chinese Restaurant in New York, I noticed Steven Meisel and Anna Sui there. I was secrety freaking out and trying to calm myself by keeping busy on my phone (a.k.a. live status updating my feelings on Facebook), and then they suddenly ask me where my boots were from and that they’re cute. I got really shy, and I regret not chatting them up. A few moments later, Marc Jacobs arrived, then Naomi Campbell. It was crazy. 


High-heeled loafers, GUCCI; Printed shirt, TOPMAN; Jeans, H&M

Did you have to get used to wearing heels?

Not really. I used to put stacked insoles in my boots and high top sneakers so I'm used to it.

What were your friends' initial reactions to this sartorial choice? What do they feel now?

Two years ago a lot of them were surprised. Now I think they’re more surprised when I’m not wearing heels. Haha.


Why do you wear heels? Is it a style or a statement? 

I'm not going to lie, it was initially more of a style choice. I’m very short (just 5’6"), so I’m very limited with the silhouettes I can pull off, but with heels it’s sometimes possible to pull off outfits that I wouldn't wear otherwise. Now I wear them as a statement of sorts because people in general (and even within the LGBTQ community) put so much of a premium on being "masc" that it has become normal to look down upon more "effem" (effeminate) men. I always hear versions of "ang cute niya noh, kaso ang lambot." or "it's okay to be gay as long as you're not a parlorista." All of these to me are very offensive. I felt like something had to be done. I started adding more "feminine" cues to my wardrobe like ruffles and blouses to represent that side of the community. Since then I've made James Reid wear my heels on a cover shoot for a men's magazine, and I also guest-edited #TheEffemIssue of Team Magazine


"Heels are for women." What do you feel about this statement?

All I can say is, in history, high-heeled shoes were originally worn by men! So why can't we all just wear heels and be happy?

Do men need permission or acceptance from society to wear heels?


See above.

Interview by Chica Villarta

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