Gabs Gibbs: It's Her World
All around the world, the month of June leans into the colorful—and rightfully so. Pride, after all, is a call to action to celebrate, recognize and highlight the queer community. It’s a time to reflect on how far LGBTQIA+ individuals have come, and how much more there is to conquer. But amidst all the festivities, it’s also a time to simply honor who we are as individuals, and what that could mean for the larger community.
Gabs Gibbs knows what it’s like to grow up with the world watching her every move. Her parents are mainstays in Philippine entertainment, and she’s had her fair share of time under the spotlight, too. But in the middle of the curated social media posts, high-prod shoots and three years in the pandemic, Gabs admits of a time when she was confused about who she really is.
“I was indirectly telling myself, ‘You have to act and look like the girl that society expects you to be,’” she recalls. “That was kind of my goal when I was younger: have a good relationship with a man, dress accordingly—[those] traditional expectations.” Like most girls who grow up, Gabs felt that heavy yet unspoken pressure to be feminine, to sparingly date yet eventually settle down with a man. Who can blame her? She definitely didn’t see any other role models to emulate.
But Gabs knew she wasn’t that clear-cut, and she had to come to terms with that. During quarantine and isolation, she was forced to face and reassess things she thought had already been set.
Now at 25, Gabs Gibbs fully knows who she is. “I’m queer,” she says, straightforwardly, and without any hesitation or doubt.
Admittedly, the road to self-discovery is never an easy one, and Gabs’ own journey is not an exemption to the rule. While she had her parents’ support—they welcomed Gabs’ girlfriend with open arms—she admits that she was still nervous to tell them about the new journey she was taking.
“I wasn’t really scared about coming out to my parents. They were already very immersed in the queer community, especially in their careers—so they really made sure home was a safe space for me to express myself and my sexuality. But their opinion was the only one I really cared about,” shares Gabs. She remembers being nervous before having the conversation, despite knowing in her heart that they would accept and love her no matter what. “[But] what came with that was hard for them to see. It came with me growing up again,” she explains. “I feel like my family saw me as a kid again. I had been sheltering something, and I didn’t know it was my sexuality. There was an internal thing I was battling that no one knew about.”
As Gabs knows firsthand, learning about yourself comes with time, and embracing yourself takes courage. She admits there was always something there—”I was a little fruity at a young age,” she says—but it got lost in the “normal girl” image she thought she had to perfectly fit into.
But it’s different now.
“I have nothing to hide from anyone or myself anymore,” says Gabs. “I feel like I’m at a point where I’m living the life I fully imagined for myself. I’m in control. The sense of community I have with my chosen community and my family, my parents, my sister. Everything is in such a good place.”
It’s been a big year for Gabs professionally, too. She helped launch a new multi-concept building in Poblacion, where crowd favorites Apotheka and Ugly Duck are currently situated. “I joined the Quay Concepts company with my girlfriend, Marga,” she begins. “We opened a monstrous establishment of a club. It’s been running for a few months now, and it’s been crazy—which is a good thing.”
This new endeavor also allows Gabs to amplify her creative ideas. She admits that it has been and continues to be a “wild” ride, coming from a small setup for her own content creation to mounting events for hundreds of people.
Last month also marked the debut night of Mighty Real, a queer ball that Gabs helped produce and judge. “We created Mighty Real; it was me, Marga and my creative director, Jer Dee. We partnered with a lot of ballroom and voguing houses, [like] House of Revlon and House of Mizrahi. For the drag portion, we also partnered with Brigiding and Kevin Gonzales,” she explains. “With establishments being a little bit scared or unknowing of this kind of gig, we got together, and it was such a magical, organic thing. We came together and everything just flowed so freely. It was so fun, parang we were all meant to meet at the same time, and do this together.”
And as someone who is constantly influenced and inspired by the queer community, Gabs describes Mighty Real as the moment where she told herself: “This is what I want to do more with my career and my platform. I want to create spaces and events wherein art, self expression, creativity and fashion can thrive; where the queer community can feel at home and safe enough to be their full authentic selves with no questions asked.” But Gabs and her partners aren’t satisfied with just one night. Mighty Real is coming back this July—and we’re here for it.
Seeing it all from where she proudly stands now, Gabs says, confidently: “I would [give my younger self] the same advice I would give to any young girl. I would suggest not to shape or mold yourself into such a small box. Focus on things you love. Embrace change. Love hard. Take chances.”
And while Gabs will never be able to tell her younger self this, she’s certainly living out her own advice now. She’s broken through the box that she thought she had to fit into, and is working on projects that she’s passionate about. She’s embracing everything that life has to offer her, she’s loving hard, and she’s taking chances—not to mention making the most out of it all.
But this is all just Gabs Gibbs setting the record straight. For those who never realized it or never fully accepted it. For those who might think she’s going through a phase or following a trend. But mostly, she’s going on the record for herself and for those who need to see it.
“For me, visibility is still so important. Especially more fem queer girls like me,” she says. “It’s still important for me to share and invite [my followers] to experience this with me.”
Because if you haven’t noticed, queer doesn’t look like one thing. It can look feminine or masculine, something in between or both at the same time. It doesn’t perfectly fit into preconceived notions and understandings—that’s the whole damn point.
So this isn’t a sob story; it’s not even really a coming out story. As our conversation continues to unfold, it becomes so refreshingly obvious that Gabs isn’t here for anything else but to make it clear: she’s queer.
The celebrations are always well-intended—and we love a good, meaningful pride campaign—but not every successful story of self-actualization has to pass through age-old barricades and rise through the ashes. Sometimes changing the narrative means changing how you look at it. Because while Gabs has had her own battles, that isn’t the whole story. She’s had and continues to have moments of love and acceptance and support, and these are the instances that she’s wholeheartedly chosen to narrate.
Now that that’s out of the way, what’s next?
More music, more events, more content and, with a little luck, some compassion and understanding from the society that a younger Gabs wanted to satisfy but inevitably didn’t let box her in.
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