If you're a fan of Julia Roberts, then for sure you've already seen her 1990 romantic comedy film Pretty Woman. And if you have, then you're no doubt familiar with that iconic scene of her shopping at Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. But just in case, allow us to jog your memory: In the movie, she walks inside an upscale boutique, asks a snobby sales associate about a dress displayed on a mannequin, and the snobby sales associate looks at her from head to toe and tells her to look elsewhere because there's no way she can afford any of their items. Ouch!
Well, this embarrassing Vivian Ward moment may have been a work of fiction, but something similar has definitely happened in real life on multiple occasions—and many of our local celebrities can attest to this. Below, we list down some celebs who experienced discrimination while shopping in luxury stores abroad—believe it or not!
1. Regine Velasquez
On her YouTube channel, the Asia's Songbird once showed her favorite pieces from her designer shoe collection. While talking about a pair of Louis Vuitton heels, she recounted how she went through discrimination when she bought it in the earlier days. “The story was I went to New York to find this particular pair of shoes. I went to the Louis Vuitton there because it was the biggest store. I was so excited because it was a tour, so I couldn’t wait to go to New York to get these freaking shoes! When I got there, I saw that it was on display," Regine narrated.
However, for some reason, the store wouldn't sell them to her and didn't even allow her to try on the shoes. "Na-discriminate agad ang lola niyo so na-depress ako ng very, very light," she noted.
So what did she do? Regine went to the Neiman Marcus store across Louis Vuitton and ended up buying 20 pairs. After which, she went back and finally purchased the original pair she wanted! She recalled, "After I bought my 20 pairs, I went back to Louis Vuitton. When they saw me carrying all those bags, they let me in the store, and I got to buy the shoes that I wanted.”
2. Sharon Cuneta
Even Megastar Sharon Cuneta wasn't immune to discrimination, apparently. Citing a similar incident at a Cartier store in Hong Kong, the veteran actress has revealed during a TV guesting at Tonight with Boy Abunda that it actually happened to her thrice already while shopping overseas. That time in particular, Sharon said she was dressed very simple—"Shirt lang and jeans!" The singer politely inquired about an item but was cut off rudely by a sales representative who refused to attend to her.
"There was another sales rep that was very nice and I ended up buying things that I didn't really need 'cause I was so angry," Sharon revealed. "Ako galit ako pag Pilipino inaapi eh."
Most recently, the Megastar experienced another Pretty Woman moment while shopping in a luxury department store in Seoul, South Korea. According to her vlog, she was stopped from entering an Hermes store, which prompted her to make her way to a Louis Vuitton boutique instead, where she indulged in shopping and left with multiple shopping bags. On her way out, she passed by the Hermes doorman who earlier refused her entry and told him, "Look! I [bought] everything!"
3. KC Concepcion
Just like her mom, KC Concepcion also encountered a snobbish salesperson while shopping at a luxury store. In her case, it happened at a Saint Laurent boutique in Los Angeles, California.
In a vlog episode about her favorite designer bags, KC showed her YSL Cassandre tassel bag in black suede leather and the Classic Monogram Clutch in crocodile-embossed calfskin leather. During which, she recounted the interesting story of how she bought the aforementioned bags.
KC narrated, "I bought these in L.A., and the salesperson looked at me and said, 'Oh, you're looking for YSL purses? YSL purses are very expensive.' Sabi ko, 'Yes, I am. I would just like to see them. I wanna see what you have and I wanna see what's in store.' [Sabi niya], 'Yes, but they're very expensive.' Then sabi ko, 'I'm not asking if they're expensive or not expensive. I'm asking to see the designs.'"
The salesperson seemed fixated on how expensive the bags are, implying that KC could not afford them. In the end, KC had enough so she asked for another associate to assist her with her purchase. She concluded, "Long story short, I didn't give the commission to this guy... I honestly don't even know what the issue was. He was obsessed about how much things cost before I could even decide if I like the design."
4. Jessy Mendiola
Jessy Mendiola was the most recent celebrity to open up about her experience of being discriminated against while shopping at luxury stores. It happened to her not just once, but twice—and both occurred at a Chanel boutique.
The 28-year-old actress, who explained in her unboxing vlog why she prefers to buy from personal shoppers instead of actually going to high-end stores, revealed that her first attempt to buy a Chanel bag in Paris resulted in an embarrassing ordeal. "I went in sa isang Chanel store and I asked about the classic Chanel flap. First time ko magkakaron ng Chanel flap, excited ako," she shared. "Pumasok ako tapos nagtanong ako sa isang sales associate if may mga available na classic flap bags. Tiningnan niya ko from head to toe tapos hindi niya ko pinansin. Medyo napahiya ako. Ang ginawa ko na lang umalis na lang ako, kasi siyempre 'di ba bakit ka pa pupunta dun, bakit ka pa bibili ng bag kung gaganunin ka lang din naman? Bibili naman ako."
A similar incident happened in Taiwan when she tried to look for a pair of sunglasses and a wallet from Chanel, but the sales associate she called on for help accordingly did not pay attention to her. She recalled, "Pinakita ko yung pictures na gusto ko, tapos di manlang niya tiningnan yung phone ko tapos dinaan-daanan lang niya ko. Wala naman tao nun. Ayun, medyo na-traumatize na ko."
5. Jaz Reyes
Jaz is no stranger to luxury, but did you know that the host has also fell victim to the alarming cases of racial discrimination Filipinos experience when shopping abroad? While talking about her most loved designer pieces for Preview's Designer Faves video series, she happened to share the unfortunate experience during her visit to a Chanel boutique. Watch the episode here.
Preview is now on Quento! Click here to download the app for iOS and Android and enjoy more articles and videos from Preview and your favorite Summit Media websites!
Hey, Preview readers! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, and Twitter to stay up to speed on all things trendy and creative. We’ll curate the most stylish feed for you!