BJ Pascual Represents LGBTQIA+ Community with Estée Lauder Campaign

BJ Pascual Represents LGBTQIA+ Community with Estée Lauder Campaign

“I feel like makeup has been a part of my journey toward self-acceptance,” —BJ Pascual



Sought-after celebrity photographer, all-around creative and Wonder cover star, BJ Pascual, has been unveiled as the new ambassador of Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup Foundation. He represents the LGBTQIA+ community in a regional campaign as one of five individuals from different countries in Asia Pacific.  


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When the Estée Lauder team reached out to BJ, he actually thought they were hiring him to shoot a campaign, “ I was super surprised…When they told me that it was going to be a regional campaign, ‘Totoo ba (Is this real)? Me?' For them to get someone from the LGBTQIA+ community—and a guy—was very surprising for me. I felt very honored to be representing the Philippines for this Asian campaign,” he tells Wonder.


As a young and queer aspiring creative from Cavite, he never dreamed it would be possible to be the face of a global beauty brand like Estée Lauder. He reveals, “I never dreamed that this little gay kid from Cavite, from the probinsya (province), would [endorse] a global beauty brand. Hindi siya dream kasi ‘di ko siya naisip [na posible siya] (It wasn’t even a dream because I didn’t think [that it was possible].)”



BJ takes us behind-the-scenes of the video they filmed to celebrate his campaign. He shares, “When we did the campaign, they flew in a British director, a Dutch cinematographer and a French production crew. It was so surreal. The agency was also from Shanghai and the art director was French also. The New York global office was also in a Zoom call with them. Sabi ko, ‘Totoo ba ‘to (I said, ‘Is this real?) Exciting.” 


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Beauty has definitely played a pivotal role in BJ’s coming out story. He tells us how much beauty standards have changed over the years, with society becoming more accepting of men who wear makeup, which wasn’t always the case. “I think men have been more comfortable and slowly adapting to wearing makeup—and admitting [to it]. Before, it wasn’t a thing, ‘di ba (right)? It wasn’t normalized. Even me din naman, admittedly, when I started working in the industry,” he shares.


With the mindset that he needed to still be masculine-presenting, it took him a while to wear makeup and embrace his femininity. BJ reveals, “Makeup has been part of my whole coming out. I always say that my coming out has been a slow progress. I came out earlier in my life, but the journey toward self-acceptance was a lot slower. It’s definitely evolving every year because, when I first came out, I was still in that mindset that you have to be very masculine,” he reveals.



BJ details how it also took him a while to even accept his soft voice, which caused him shame for years. It was only recently, especially after posting vlogs on YouTube, when he started embrace this attribute. He notes, “My voice is very feminine; I had a lot of shame in that. You know, I didn’t like speaking in public because I would always get called out for being very feminine. Even on social media…nung may videos na (there were videos), I was afraid to post videos of me speaking because people would still comment, ‘Oh my god, ang cute mo sana kaso bakit ganyan boses mo?' (Even on social media…when there were already videos, I was afraid to post videos of me speaking because people would still comment, ‘Oh my god, you’re cute but why is your voice like that)?'”


He further adds, “YouTube actually helped me with [overcoming that]. When people would comment, ‘Oh, your voice is so soothing, I love your voice,’ parang I didn’t get that before…When I started accepting my femininity with my clothes, sumabay na rin ‘yung makeup dun (makeup came along with it).” 


“I feel like makeup has been a part of my journey towards self-acceptance,” he shares. Now, BJ Pascual is the face of a global beauty brand and wears makeup regularly, truly a full-circle moment for the “little gay kid from Cavite.” 



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Photos BJ Pascual for Estée Lauder 

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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