MANILA, Philippines – Actor Rustom Padilla, who is now known as BB Gandanghari, admitted he really planned to come out of the closet when he joined the celebrity edition of ABS-CBN reality show “Pinoy Big Brother” (PBB) in 2006.
|BB Gandanghari on "Bandila"
In an interview on "Bandila" on Tuesday night, Gandanghari said he thought "PBB" was the right venue to come out so he won’t need to explain to his friends individually.
In that memorable scene in the popular reality TV show, Padilla told fellow housemate Keanna Reeves that he is gay and then almost magically a butterfly landed on him while they were talking in the garden.
“The actuality was, at that time when I wanted to come out, ‘PBB’ was the perfect venue for me. I really wanted na isahan, ayaw ko na mag-explain each group na isa-isa. That was my time na. It would be my venue to talk to the Filipinos, to the public who have been supporting me all these years,” he told host Boy Abunda.
Gandanghari said at that time, he just wanted to clarify speculations about his sexual orientation.
“I have been an actor for like 15 years when I entered ‘PBB’ and during those times, maraming mga haka-haka. Just to settle the issue, I thought 'PBB' was perfect,” he said.
Gandanghari said he does not regret anything after announcing on national television that he is gay.
However, he said he experienced discrimination ironically in New York City, where he lived for a couple of years.
“Very surprising," he said of his experience in the United States. "Remember nagkaroon na ako ng transition a few years ago. Ngayon lang talaga ako nabubuhay bilang si BB, ngayon ko lang nakikita ang reaction sa akin ng tao. When I went to the US two years ago, doon na ako nagpakilala bilang si BB, doon ko nakita na iba,” he said.
“Sabi nga namin sa America, ‘Oh we’re the new black now.’ It’s really discrimination, kapag mag-a-apply ka, siyempre kita sa 'yo babae, sa application mo hindi mo naman dadayain 'yun. Kapag nakita na, okay next,” Gandanghari recalled.
Although he also experiences discrimination in the Philippines, Gandanghari believes his celebrity image made people accept who he is now.
“Only because dito, shielded ka nung [image] mo as a celebrity so people tend to accept you as you are kasi artista ka. Natutuwa sila kay BB pero nakakaramdam ka rin ng discrimination in some other ways,” he said.