Vlogger Rei Germar just celebrated her 24th birthday with a stylish fashion editorial-esque photoshoot shot by none other than BJ Pascual. The pictures were a sure hit online and feature the fashion-loving YouTuber in relaxed yet tailored 'fits with flashes of skin. Styled by Cath Sobrevega, Rei looked all grown up as she explored more glam makeup looks (done by Julius Cabanisas) and sultry hairstyles (styled by Justine Ocampo). It was refreshing to see the 24-year-old flex her modelling skills and show a more mature side of her signature bubbly personality.
In this exclusive interview, Preview caught up with both BJ and Rei for a quick interview about the shoot—including the inspiration behind it and how was it like collaborating on a creative project for the first time.
What made you want to have a birthday shoot even during this time?
Rei: The past years, my birthday post would be a photo from my themed party. I didn’t want to break the tradition of posting a birthday lewk so I decided to do a fashion shoot. It’s also like a simple surprise for my followers since my usual style is far from the looks we did.
What was the concept behind the shoot and how did it come about?
R: This shoot was actually very last minute! I messaged BJ on Instagram if he was game to do it considering the time frame, and I’m very glad he said yes. Originally, I wanted to recreate outfits from K-drama It’s Okay To Not Be Okay but the bags I ordered from Korea and Italy didn’t arrive on time. So I had to think of a concept at the very last minute. On the top of my head a wanted a very lounge-y fashion shoot. I told BJ I wanted 3 looks. I wanted a lounge-y one, a body loving lay out where we show some skin and the last is the “palaban” one. [Laughs.] The concepts were badly put in my head and it was still all over the place until BJ helped me solidify them.
BJ: For personal shoots I really try to do as many different looks so the photos don’t look repetitive when the subjects post the photos on their feed, and I always ask the subject if they have an idea in mind so it’s more of a collaborative effort. I asked Rei if she had anything in mind and she gave me three general key words/phrases which were "Lounge- y", "Love my body", and "Palaban". She also sent me some styling references, which were mostly Jacquemus FW2020 outfits and some Dion Lee corset outfits, so I took off from there.
R: Originally, we just planned 3 looks but we ended up doing 6 because BJ and I both fell in love with pieces Cath styled.
B: I was particularly inspired by the "palaban" layout because Cath had the exact corset and tank pair from the Dion Lee SS2020 show and she also had another Dion Lee modular jumpsuit, which had bold shoulders and side cutouts, which were both perfect, so I really wanted to shoot both!
"The 'Lounge-y' concept I took cues from the neutral tailored runway looks from Jacquemus' FW 2020 runway show but went with the more relaxed, oversized route, with dewy skin and natural peachy tones paired with a messy low bun," BJ shares.
What was it like working together?
R: Working with BJ is such a kilig experience. The whole shoot was his vision. I love how he’s very particular—from the set, my looks and even the clothes! Just shows that he knows what we want and how to execute it. He guided me during the whole shoot and he made me feel comfortable.
"For the palaban layout, I interpreted it as something more "glam" and elevated, so it took cues from her Dion Lee corset pegs and the darker Jacquemus looks she sent, but combined it with more '80s power suiting like Proenza Schouler's SS 2020 collection with bold shoulders and cinched waists. I wanted the look to be more mature and powerful, so for the beauty look I wanted glossy red lips, a winged liner, and glossy slicked back hair with a twist," BJ explains.
B: My first time working with Rei was for a commercial shoot, so the looks and poses there were pretty specific for the Thai client. But this was our first time doing a more "editorial" shoot so I didn’t know what to expect! She surprised everyone with her modeling skills, and in the end we had too much fun we ended up shooting double the initial number of layouts!
Was this shot pre-pandemic or during? What did you guys do to stay safe during the shoot?
R: We shot during GCQ so shoots were already allowed. We had to sign health declaration forms first from the studio. Everyone was tested (rapid testing) before going in and social distancing was implemented. Limited people were allowed in the studio and there were lots of sanitizing stations. Everybody was required to wear a mask and face shield the entire time.
What makes your Birthday this year different from the past years?
R: Ever since I was 14 years old, my best friend would help me plan my themed birthday parties. Aside from the celebration of my actual birthday, It’s more of a celebration of the healthy relationships I have in my life. It’s that one time I’ll see all of my friends from school and from the industry.
"For the "Love My Body" concept I gave her two moodboards to choose froa: lace-y Lolita direction and a more undressed version of the Lounge-y look. She ended up choosing the latter, which Cath and I also prefered!" BJ shares.
I have to say that it’s different but not sad. More than anything, I’m just really grateful that my family is healthy. It’s the greatest birthday gift I could ask for. And I’m also very grateful for my famirei for the unending love and support. With the new normal, we all have to be creative about making someone feel special without physically being there for them, so I really appreciate all of their efforts.
Watch the behind-the-scenes reel of the shoot on BJ’s vlog here: