Richard Juan Brings 'InspirASIAN' Straight to Our Hearts
In PARCINQ N°4, The Flower Boys Issue, Richard Juan conquers the center stage. A young and talented Filipino actor, Richard Juan’s career took off when he becomes one of Kuya’s housemates in Pinoy Big Brother.
Blazer, Paradeigma. T-shirt, Cash Waves
Richard started his career as a model and later got into “Philippine Fashion Week: Spring Summer 2014,” which set the stage for him to become a TV personality with his first national TV exposure in Eat Bulaga’s "You're My Foreignoy.” With good looks and resemblance to Korean actors, Richard instantly became a crowd favorite and opened many doors for his career.
Blazer, John Guarnes. Button down shirt, We The People!
Fast forward to the present day, Richard is now a CEO and founder of 28 Squared Studio, which specializes in video production, digital PR, influencer marketing, and social media management. We invited our young CEO to join us in an interview to get more insight into this new path and know more about him.
Full ensemble, John Guarnes.
Here, he answers some questions about his cover shoot experience with PARCINQ, what it is like to be an online host of PBB, about himself as an entrepreneur and CEO, his newest podcast, the best part about being Asian, and much more.
Blazer, Paradeigma. T-shirt, Cash Waves. Shoes, Joco Comendador.
Q. Can you share with us how did you prepare for this shoot?
Richard: When it comes to preparation, I actually take care of my skin a lot. So the night before, I actually made sure I had a little mask. Tapos syempre the usual, the cleansing, toning, moisturizing, serum also so that the make-up artist for today's shoot won't have a hard time, kaya that's how I prepare for the shoot today.
Q. What's your favorite look?
Richard: My favorite look is definitely the one where I was in white and I had some stuff here on my head. I think that was — that made me little like a God or something, I don't know. Like the flowers and all, a little bit like a crown, and I loved that a lot.
Q. You gained popularity through Eat Bulaga!'s "You're My Foreignoy" and won the Dabarkad's Choice Award. Then you became a regular housemate of Pinoy Big Brother: 737. How does it feel going from being the 'Charming Chinito ng Paranaque' to 'Online Oppa ni Kuya'?
Richard: It's such a full-circle story for me coz you know PBB was where a lot of things happened. After that, I got to go on a huge adventure. I got to go travel the world, got to experience a lot of things in showbiz, got to meet a lot of cool people, and then it's so nice that after five years, I'm back sa Bahay ni Kuya, and then host naman ako diyan. So it's such a privilege and such an honor to be, of course, co-host with all these big names in the local scene, sila Robbi, Toni G, Ate Bianca, Melai, and Enchong, and Me being the new one, they welcomed me with open arms, and I really love that it's such a privilege and honor.
Q. What's it like to be the online host of PBB?
Richard: Well, because of the whole pandemic situation, we all actually just shoot at home, including me, so I had to really set up my place. I got lights, I got a nice camera just to make sure my set is also nice coz it got to look professional; but at the same time, got to have this homey feel na we're still at home, so it's very nice in a sense that I could practice hosting every single day. I have been shooting every single day since November, two weeks before the house actually opened, and I love the fact that they give me a script. I just shoot at home, and I get to do so many other things during the day.
It's almost like self-directing, being the host, the cameraman. . . So they give me the script, I shoot, and it's up to me to judge whether or not this is actually good enough for airing. Of course, like you said, I have to be the cameraman, I have to set up the framing, and I'm also the lighting director. I'm also the PA, the stylist, and everything. I have to do everything by myself, but it's very fun!
Top & Bottom, Nina Amoncio. Button down shirt, We The People!
Q. Much like everyone, I feel like some, if not most people, have only really started watching K-dramas during the start of quarantine. Noticeably you've been recreating scenes and reenacting scenes and looks from K-dramas. What led you to start doing that?
Richard: I think it all started way before. I remember during a shoot back in 2017 or 2016, where I recreated some of the popular Kdramas during that time, My Love From The Star, also with Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo, then there was also for, Legends of The Blue Sea. It was just for fun for another shoot and then most recently, with some of my friends with Vin and Luigi, we decided na "Hey you know what we're gonna go do It's Okay To Not Be Okay", coz it's such a big hit and for the last 5-6 years of my career, everyone's been connecting me with Kim Soo-hyun and thought it would be fun and next thing I know it was actually picked up by Dispatch in Korea and then here locally speaking of different media featured it, so I was like wow that was fun, let me do more and then that's when I did a couple more. That's where it all started actually.
Q. What K-drama series do you find yourself rewatching?
Richard: The one that I really rewatch for sure is Start-Up, because Start-Up is one where, not only is the love story nice, but the whole concept of it being a Start Up where I think, entrepreneurship, me myself being an entrepreneur, and currently having a Start-Up also is something where I really relate to. I think throughout the last couple of years, last ten years, a lot of people are getting to Start-Up. A lot of people are doing business, and I think that's what I like about this K-drama is they really don't only show the love story, but it also encourages people to do new things, to do startup, a business.
Full ensemble, Vin Orias.
Q. I think you recently talked about being an entrepreneur, and I feel like it's something that many people didn't know about you. What's it like being a founder and CEO of a startup video production and digital media company called 28 Squared Studios? How did it start?
Richard: So this actually goes way back ever since I was a kid, my parents have always been grooming me to do business. There are some funny stories where I was 7 or 8 years old they would make me write checks already and do all stuff, and they were really grooming me to become a businessman but sometimes in life they just throw random things at you, and now I'm doing an interview with you. So, I am still in touch with the entrepreneur's side of things, which is why during the pandemic, things were a bit uncertain for everyone. I was like, you know what? Maybe this is a sign for me to start and get in touch with my business side of things and make it into a legitimate company!". Coz on the sides, I used to do a lot of small businesses here and there. I invested in different restaurants and invested in things, and I mean, some people actually knew I was working into building a hotel a couple of years ago. Still, one thing led to another they were different opportunities I had to put them in the backseat first but yea because of this whole pandemic. I have all these connections from all different people that I know that I can strain them together and create something amazing, so 28 Squared Studios, yeah, it's here --- it's a startup. We're very fortunate to have different clients for the last couple of months that support us, and we continue to grow; and I can't wait to see what else will happen in the next couple of years because we have big plans.
Top & Bottom, Nina Amoncio. Button down shirt, We The People! Shoes, Joco Comendador
Q. You recently started a podcast called 'Your Dose of InspirASIAN' with Richard Juan that spotlights Asians. How did you come up with that, and how did it come together?
Richard: This is one of the projects in 28 Square Studios; we actually produce it and everything. It all started maybe around two years ago when I wanted to do a podcast, but I didn't feel confident that anyone would listen to it during that time. I mean, a lot of my friends know I talk a lot about different topics, learn a lot, and you know I just wanted a platform where I can share, you know what, we talk about a lot of substantial stuff. This would be nice to put this into a platform where people listen to.
The problem is, during that time, podcast wasn't a big thing like it was a thing, but it was very niche, and fast forward a couple of years in 2021. I was like, you know what? I think this is the time when people in the Philippines start to accept podcasts a lot more, and globally speaking, we have big people like Joe Rogan, who's huge right now in podcast. I was like you know what? I always want to talk to people who are inspirational, especially the Asians, because Holywood mainstream media in the last 20 plus or 30 plus years have always put Asians in the back seat. We always see them as the sidekick, a stereotypical kung-fu master. Growing up in Hongkong, I know there's a lot of people who are very inspirational and have done so many amazing things. I want to highlight that I want to create a platform for reconnecting about these people, learning about their stories, and sharing them with a bigger audience. I was very fortunate, and my team actually contacted Miss Lea Salonga.
As you can see, in her social media, she's a huge advocate also for pushing Asians to be represented properly in Hollywood. For us, we were like, "We got to find a local but also an Asian icon," and the first person we had in our mind was Miss Lea Salonga, so we approached her, and we did not think that she's gonna say yes, but we were blessed enough because she said yes. So, yeah, we had her as our first guest, and it was a huge hit!
Q. I feel like, with your job, you've been fortunate and had a lot of interactions with celebrities all over the world. From being in Paris fashion week with Sandara Park, meeting Kpop idols, and being on Gal Gadot's IG. Who's been the most memorable celeb/person you've collaborated with or have met in person?
Richard: My most memorable was definitely with Gordon Ramsey, we see him on TV, and we think that he's the mean, evil person that would shout at you. But he's actually one of the nicest Hollywood celebrities that I've ever met. He was so down to earth; that's why he's a memorable one. Also, meeting Jackson Wang of GOT7 was also a memorable one, and another one was with Sandara Park.
Q. Let's talk about TikTok. As of this interview, you have almost 500k followers. What do you think draws people to follow and watch your random antics?
Richard: Tiktok, for me, is really just for fun. That is where most people would see the raw side of me. I mean, I don't dance on it, I don't sing on it, I just do goofy fun stuff. Tiktok is where I hop on trends and do things that most people would not expect me to do. I guess it also shows my witty side of things (I'd like to think that I'm witty), and I think that Tiktok is the perfect platform for me to show the witty side of me — and I think that's why people follow me there.
Q. What's the first thing you'll do when the pandemic is over?
Richard: I just wanna share a story, I actually thought that pandemic would end like after two months, like logically speaking, you will be quarantined and stay at home, wear a mask. Everything will be fine, and that exactly what happened in New Zealand and Taiwan, and they've been Covid-free for like the last ten months. So, I expected that to happen in the Philippines or even around the world. But unfortunately, that's not what happened. So, the first thing I would like to do is definitely take a short trip to Taiwan — I actually booked a ticket to Taiwan for March 20 something? Thinking that I would be able to fly there already, I booked it five months ago, and five months later — nope, still can't go there.
Q. What's your message for everyone?
Richard: I think my message for you all right now is, sometimes in life, there's just a lot of unexpected things that will happen, and it's up to you to adjust, and it's up to you to embrace it and make the most out of it. Coz that's pretty much the story of my life. As I mentioned, I grew up in Hong Kong and came to the Philippines to study. Initially, my plan was to go back, but I was on Eat Bulaga for some reason. For some reason, I was on PBB, and the next thing you'll know — six years later, seven years later, I'm still here in this industry, and I'm enjoying it, and I'm having this interview with you guys, right now. So, yeah! You just gotta embrace and make the most out of every single opportunity out there. They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
WATCH: We caught up with our favorite 'Online Oppa ni Kuya' PBB host and entrepreneur Richard Juan to ask about his MOST RECENT.
Take a look behind the scene from our #TheFlowerBoysIssue cover shoot and Richard Juan's interview with PARCINQ here:
Words by Joshua de Guzman Interviewed by Pete Villalino Produced by Philip Vargas
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Art Direction & Final Art by Joe Andy
Fashion Film by Christina Zabat
Makeup by Lei Ponce
Hair by Jay Wee
Styling by #TeamRyujiShiomitsu
Featuring fashion by Paradeigma, Nina Amoncio, We The People, Vin Orias & John Guarnes
Shoes by Joco Comendador
Shot on location Rx Studio