MANILA — Before he became known as “Kuya Escort” on “It’s Showtime,” where his relationship with Vice Ganda blossomed into something “special,” Ion Perez made a mark in the male pageant scene.
Perez, who hails from Concepcion, Tarlac, was among the winners of the 2017 Misters of Filipinas pageant. A year later, he was crowned Mister Universe Tourism, thereby clinching him wider modeling opportunities.
But even prior to that, Perez was already a rising fashion model. Among his notable stints is being part of the bachelor list of Cosmpolitan Philippines.
Aside from a career in front of the cameras, here are six other facts about Perez, based on his own revelations in past interviews:
Perez (left-most in photo) is the 11th of 15 siblings. His late father was a jeepney driver, while his mother worked for a time as a kakanin vendor. Rated K/Courtesy of Ion Perez
As a kid, Perez was bullied because of his lanky frame. He used this as motivation to get physically fit, which would lead him to modeling opportunities. Rated K/Courtesy of Ion Perez
He used to help his parents sell poultry at the wet market. One of his tactics to attract customers then, he said, was going shirtless. Rated K/Courtesy of Ion Perez
Due to lack of confidence, Perez was initially hesitant to join pageants. However, after three years of convincing from his talent manager who saw his potential, Perez eventually tried out for Misters of Filipinas – and the rest is history. Rated K/Courtesy of Ion Perez
When Perez first appeared on “It’s Showtime” in September 2018, he had mistakenly thought he was only scheduled to audition for the “Kuya Escort” role. He ended up on stage, interacting with the co-hosts including Vice Ganda.
Prior to his “It’s Showtime” stint, Perez had already met Vice Ganda a year earlier during a “Gandang Gabi Vice” taping. In October 2017, he and his fellow Misters of Filipinas winners were among the audience members, and Perez was handpicked by “Gigil Kid” Carlo for an on-the-spot interview.