Richard Gomez, Bench's image model for over 20 years, just laughs off the intrigues surrounding the recently concluded Blackout: The Bench Denim and Underwear Fashion Show held last July 25 at Araneta Coliseum.
Richard related to Allan Diones of Abante Tonite an anecdote about the top young actors-models Piolo Pascual, Richard Gutierrez, and Dingdong Dantes.
"Nagkakagulo silang tatlo—si Piolo, si Dingdong, at saka si Richard kung sino yung lalabas bago mag-finale," Richard said. "So, sabi ni Ben [Chan, owner of Bench], ‘Kung ganu'n na nagkakagulo kayo, tanggalin na yung tatlo!'"
Richard also revealed that the trio indeed got booted from the show but the managers of the three resumed talks with Mr. Chan. "Knowing Ben na mabait, pinagbigyan naman," Richard remarked.
PIOLO'S ABSENCE. Richard also shed light on why Piolo did not attend the fashion show. According to him, Piolo did not want to get involved in the ruckus about who was going to go last in the fashion show, so he opted not to join.
The good news is that the issue was resolved with Dingdong getting the finale for the "Lesley Mobo" segment and younger Richard, the "Blackout" segment.
ANNABELLE'S RANT. Annabelle Rama made a statement about her not being too happy with what happened to son Richard during his moment on the catwalk. Annabelle said that aside from Richard not having his own video, the overhead TV also didn't flash his name—one of the reasons why the audience was not able to "recognize" Richard and their not-so enthusiastic reaction to him.
"Wala talagang pangalan kahit sino, e!" Goma exclaimed when he heard about Annabelle's statements. "Ako, hindi ko alam, ha? But ang pagkakaalam ko lang, all the numbers were presented to them, how it will be presented, doon sa mga meeting-meeting nila. In fact, during the rehearsal night, nandun sila para makita nilang lahat. Actual rehearsal yun. Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, dapat noon pa lang gabi [rehearsal] nakita mo na, nakorek mo na if ever you wanted to make some changes."
GIMMICKS WORK. Goma, on his reaction on Annabelle's rant about her son not getting any applause has this to say: "Who are we to say na palakpakan n'yo ako o hindi? Who are we to blame? At saka pagdating talaga sa stage, pagdating sa modeling, lalo na yung mga big show na ganun, mga gala, alam mo, kanya-kanyang gimik ‘yan!"
Stressing his point, Goma added that people on the catwalk should create their own gimmicks to get noticed. "Ano'ng ginawa ni Jake [Cuenca] kaya napansin siya? Ano'ng ginawa nung isa [PBB housemate Kian Kazemi], naglagay ng rose dun sa ano niya? Si Dingdong, what did he do? He took his time, tinanggal niya yung pantalon niya nang dahn-dahan, nag-build ng excitement. Gimik talaga!" he said.
FAIR ON BOTH SIDES. Goma, who watched both Dingdong and Richard's performances on the catwalk, said that both had their time onstage and both were alone. Goma also said that he was not going to take sides since both Dingdong and Richard were good friends of his.
"Mas marami akong time with Richard, kasi nung bata pa siya, kasama ni Tito Eddie [Gutierrez], kasama ni Tita Annabelle. Magkakaibigan kami. And then some of his projects, si Douglas [Quijano, Goma's manager] ang nagha-handle. So, parang he's part of our family also."
PASSING ON HIS CROWN. If ever the time comes for Richard Gomez to pass on the ultimate Pinoy hunk or the Adonis of local showbiz, whom will he give it to? Richard, Dingdong, or Piolo?
"Kahit kanino. To anybody deserving," Goma said to Allan. "Sa pogi factor, lahat naman sila mga pogi, e! But I'm really happy for them. I'm happy for Richard, Dingdong, even from the other station like Piolo, because he's also a Bench member."
On a parting note, Richard said, "Lahat sila, naghirap, nagtiyaga. Siyempre, hindi madaling sumikat, di ba? Ang mahirap is how to sustain it, at i-maintain ‘yung popularity mo, eh!"