The commercialization of Charice

By Karen Galarpe,

Posted at Jul 21 2010 04:59 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2010 01:14 AM

MANILA, Philippines - When news broke that 18-year-old international teen singing sensation Charice had 'cosmetic procedures' done on her face last Saturday, Filipinos--and the world, so it seems--couldn't help but shake their heads in disbelief.

On Twitter, Jim Paredes of the Apo Hiking Society tweeted, "Kinda disturbed that charice is getting a face job. Don't go changing to try and please glee. We love you just the way you are."

"And she's 18!!! Just a little too young to start that shiz!" wrote famous blogger Perez Hilton on the blog

And there were many similar negative comments, although some were positive too.

According to a report by ABS-CBN News, Charice had Botox injection and the skin-tightening procedure Thermage in preparation for her role on the hit US TV musical-comedy show Glee. Among other purposes, Botox injections are usually administered by dermatologists to ease wrinkles on aging skin as Botulinum toxin relaxes muscles.

Charice herself said these were done in preparation for her Glee role: "It's one of the big preparations we are making for 'Glee' and of course I also want to look fresh on cam."

The procedures were done by Dr. Vicki Belo of the Belo Medical Group, favored by a lot of showbiz personalities for cosmetic and skin care procedures.

Not cosmetic, but treatment?

A news video aired on TV Patrol on ABS-CBN showed Dr. Belo pointing to the areas where the Botox injection will be administered on Charice's face supposedly to relax the singer's jaw muscles and make her round face a bit smaller.

But as the world--more strongly on the Internet--reacted, Charice's camp came out with the statement that the procedures were done not for cosmetic reasons but for medical purposes. Charice, they said, had jaw pain after all, and the Botox injection will treat that.

The amazing thing is that this reason was not given at the time Charice had the interview right before undergoing the procedures with Dr. Belo. Charice's rep issued the clarification after the news broke.

Could it be that they thought of this "escape clause" after the public reacted strongly?

Publicity gimmick?

The Belo Medical Group, on its Twitter account 'belobeauty,' said on Wednesday: "I posted 6 photos on Facebook in the album 'Charice Pempengco gets Belofied for Glee!"

Hmmm. Doesn't that sound like an ad?

Shortly after that post, Twitter reactions poured in:

From jalooo23: "boycott @belobeauty for ruining Charice image, for her own gains! please retweet"

From myhubbies: "WTF?! @belobeauty is tweeting 'Charice gets belofied for Glee' - CLEARLY BELO IS JUST USING CHARICE!!where's CONFIDENTIALITY!!"

And user _Wawo_ tweeted: "i think dr. Belo is selfish using #charice to be known internationally.i'm sad for Charice."

At first glance, the whole package deal sounds good: Charice gets free cosmetic procedure--or medical treatment, whatever you want to believe--and looks better in the process. In exchange, Dr. Belo gets media mileage and celebrity endorsement from Charice.

But somehow the whole thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Could it be the start of the commercialization of Charice?

She's only 18, don't forget.