The reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Philippines is all set to debut on April 15, Sunday, after a year and a month of taping. Tapped by TV5, the series franchise is known for changing the lives of people by renovating homes and transforming communities.
The Pinoy edition of the show—the first in Asia—promises "Bagong bahay, Bagong buhay" to Filipino families. It engages in community projects by reconstructing schools, centers, playgrounds and offices.
Apart from hosting, Paolo Bediones heads Extreme Makeover’s design team.
The "Fabulous Five" team is composed of socialite-philanthropist Tessa Prieto-Valdez, professional interior designer Tristan Jovellana, interior consultants Marilen Faustino-Montenegro and Joby Belmonte, and real estate heiress/fashion model Divine Lee.
At the launch of Extreme Makeover on March 29, Thursday, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press, had the chance to talk to the flamboyant Divine, a.k.a. the elite "Becky Queen."
"It’s good na yung natapat na show sa akin is something na very comfortable ako dahil ito talaga yung ginagawa ko, which is construction," she began.
Looking regal in a royal blue, backless cocktail dress, tall and slender Divine was hard to imagine amid the dust and dirt of construction sites.
Being the real estate executive that she is, though, the real challenge was not in facing the filth of construction.
Divine said she needed to improve her hosting skills.
"Naging problema ko lang talaga would be meron kaming mga days na kailangan naming gumawa ng … hindi talaga ako nagsi-script. So, dun sila nahihirapan."
Extreme Makeover is not Divine’s first hosting job. "I hosted a show before and then I would do a lot of guestings."
Recently, Divine was tasked by the Kapatid channel to co-host the entertainment talk show Juicy with Cristy Fermin, IC Mendoza, Alex Gonzaga, and Shalala.
"Now I’m doing Juicy pero hindi sabay-sabay kasi tinatapos pa namin ito [Extreme Makeover].
"So, every time available, tapos tinawagan ako ng Juicy, I would go, I would host with them."
Divine says that while she enjoys being in the showbiz program, Extreme Makeover’s projects in Cebu, Nueva Vizcaya, and other provinces keep her from being a regular co-host.
"Since Juicy is everyday, tapos every week ang taping niyan… parang hindi nasu-swak. ‘Pagka puwede naman, I go naman."
Divine adds that she gets constant help from boyfriend Victor Basa in hosting.
Relieved, she quips, "Buti na lang natapos ko na yung problema kong yun because tinulungan ako ni Victor! Tinuturuan niya talaga ako. How do you do it, ganyan.
"Kasi after ng ibang something, [kapag] may makita akong tao sa audience, talagang chinichika ko na yung nasa audience, di ba? So, ayun, tinuruan niya ako how to … kasi wala naman kaming workshop dahil this show… is because of our skills. Hindi kailangan umarte."
Divine says that she and Victor hosted an event together. She laughs as she recalls how it went.
"Ayaw na niya nga ako kasama ka-host kasi daw parati ko daw siyang inaasar, di ba?
"Saka parati ko daw sinasapawan dahil ang daldal ko daw!"
SHOWING OFF LOCAL DESIGNS. A construction site is not exactly the right venue for glamorous outfits. How do Divine and Tessa Prieto-Valdez, known for her quirky colorful outfits, go about their wardrobe?
Divine replies, "Naka-schedule siya. ‘pag ‘Knock on Door,’ which is the day na name-meet namin yung family, puwede akong mag-sky high heels. Pero ‘pagka talagang [sa] site na ako, boots na talaga. But, fashyown pa rin, di ba?
She and Tessa have been playing "dress up".
"When nabigay sa amin yung show na magkasama kami, excited kami!," says Divine.
"Diyos ko, wala pa yung airing, siguro six months before the airing, nagko-complete na kami ng outfits!
"So, para palaging complementary. Parang, ‘Ano ka? Red ka ngayon? O, sige, magbu-blue ako para terno tayo!’
"Gano’n! So yun, fun! Kasi parati kaming nagtatawagan!"
Divine mentions that apart from applying her expertise in construction, she advances another advocacy of hers in the reality show. She wears outfits by local designers for the world to see.
"Maraming Kermit [Tesoro] silang makikita. Actually, ang tinray [try] ko talaga is a lot of local designers from fashion week kasi parang isa yun sa cause ko.
"Gusto ko talaga i-promote yung Philippine fashion."
DIVINE AND VICTOR. Apart from playing "hosting coach," Divine mentioned during the press conference proper that Victor comes in the set of Extreme Makeover to offer extra help at the construction sites.
So, how far along are they in their relationship? Is an engagement on its way?
"A, we don’t count… wala kaming anniv!" says Divine.
" Kasi nga friends kami since grade school sa Brent… mag-classmates kami sa Brent.
"So… binilang na lang namin yung Christmas namin together which is … tatlong pasko na kami magkasama!
To the phrase "settle down," Divine lets out a squeal.
"’Yan na naman? Parati na lang yun, di ba? Siya kasi, hindi niya ako ma-seryoso. ‘Pag tinatanong niya ako, ‘O, ano? Kailan mo gusto magpakasal?’ ganyan, parati kong sagot, ‘Gusto ko sa gay pride ng Malate,’ ganyan!
"So, ako kasi I don’t think na parang I’m ready to think na ako pa yung mas matanda, a.
"Pero, I’m not yet ready kasi ang tagal naming magkaibigan.
"So, may adjustment period pa rin. Dadating din tayo diyan, girl!" says Divine.
Asked if she ever got jealous over other girls that Victor gets to work with, Divine is quick to say that her boyfriend is the kind who makes his woman feel secure.
"Alam mo si Victor, wala ngang naka-save na number ‘yan sa phone. Yung ganung type ng tao… sobrang napaka-mysterious niya na pati ako, di ba, naguguluhan sa kanya.
"But, he makes me secure. Wala akong mga issue. Halimbawa, kung may kissing scene siya, ite-text niya ako. Tapos, ako pa yung tweet, di ba? ‘Hoy panoorin niyo! May kissing scene si Victor!’
"So, hindi ako nape-pressure or nai-insecure sa [iba] … trabaho yun, e.
"With me, even without Extreme, on my normal days, lahat ng kasama ko lalaki. So, mas marami siyang pagseselosan dahil araw-araw ko kasama yung mga yun!"
Divine dishes out that yes, Victor is the "seloso" type of guy.
"Seloso siya! Talagang binuko, e!," she says with a chuckle.
"Seloso si Victor, but more on, kasi he’s very conservative. To think na nagtatanggal siya ng shirt parati, noh?
"But no, for girls, kahit na nung mag-friends kami, conservative siya.
"So, ayaw niya yung mga backless. Sinanay ko na lang siya dahil ganun talaga ako before pa naging kami. So, masanay na lang siya dun!"
The couple will be flying to Japan to spend Holy Week.