Read Time: 7 minutes

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using Ultra-Wide and AI Scene Enhancement Modes.

This One’s For All the Girl Gangs feat. Issa Pressman, Keiko Fox and Elena Virata

There’s nothing like friends-turned-family. This is the case for the inseparable trio, Issa Pressman, Keiko Fox and Elena Virata. Filling the studio on a Thursday afternoon with boisterous laughter and never-ending back-and-forth compliments, the three have an undeniable bond one can only dream about. Through their shared love for dancing and their flair for content creation and business, their deep, profound connection is unmistakable.

When Friends Turn Into Family

The three women seem to always have been destined to meet. Issa recounts, “[Elena and I] definitely clicked because of like, passion, agad (right away) and things that we commonly like. I knew Keiko way before Elena; Elena knew Keiko way before me; but me and Elena clicked first; and then, Keiko clicked.” 

Initially the friend of Issa’s older sister first, Keiko took a while to find that spark with Issa because of the age gap. On the other hand, Keiko and Elena clicked instantly as teammates in A-Team, a world-class hip-hop dance group composed of the best dancers in the Philippines.

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using Ultra-Wide Mode.

On Keiko: Wonder Factory off-duty pants. On Elena: Nina Amoncio vest. On Elena, Issa and Keiko: Converse sneakers.

With their different roles in the group, complementing one another is easy, whether it’s in a work or casual environment. For Elena, she “provides good vibes” and is the designated videographer, especially with their very active creative online pursuits. For Keiko, the TikTok aficionado, it’s to “force everyone to…dance in the morning, dance in the middle of the night” and “make everyone laugh.” Issa, on the other hand, describes herself as the glue that holds everyone together.

 

Issa explains their dynamic: “The thing is, right now, the way that we all work… works. What I mean by that is we’re all trying to build dreams together, and we’re all helping each other build that dream…If meron mang kulang (if there’s something missing), another person can fill that gap. We’re like playing Tetris, you know?” Elena adds that “It’s like playing Tetris with your best friends. We’re literally like an in-house…team. We complement each other in all ways.” And to really mold the idea that they click together, Elena and Issa blurt at the same time, “Always in all ways.”

Issa shot by Elena, Keiko Shot by Issa, Elena shot by Keiko on OPPO Reno5 using Ultra-Wide Mode.

On Issa: Psyched Clothing tie-dye cropped top, Nina Amoncio trousers. On Elena: PROUDRACE cut-out top.

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using AI Color Portrait Mode and Sticker Mode.

Videography and Editing MV Isip

Finding Balance Between Work and Play

As full-fledged entrepreneurs with their own brands, as well as their own creative personas online, it can get tricky to incorporate business matters to the relationship, as with any kind. As friends-turned-family, the three have learned the secret to working together—having that give-and-take. Keiko shares, “Surprisingly, it works for us, ‘di ba (right)?”

 

Elena notes, “There are certain people [who] just don’t complement the way you work, or they don’t really get your vision right away. Because we already have this extreme bond…that’s what makes our bond very different in terms of work also…We all help each other out…It’s kind of a give-and-take all the time.”

 

Issa elaborates on how they complement each other in this type of setting,“I’ve been working with other brands, other teams, and I now know what it feels like to work with family…it is very different. Honestly, for me, I like working with family more. I don’t know eh, for me…although I’m very sociable and I’m also very private, I keep my circle very close. Gusto ko iilan lang ‘yung kinakausap ko when I make things work. (I like to have a few people to talk to when I make things work.)”

 

Issa explains the qualities that make the three of them work as a team, “For example, Keiko and I, we work alongside each other talaga…We’re really like sisters making tulungan (helping around) with everything, whereas me and Elena naman, so many things that I see, she just gets. You know, I don’t even have to explain; it’s like if I give her an idea, she sees it and she makes it happen.”

 

In terms of setting boundaries within their working relationship, Issa has a simple motto she lives by: “If we’ve got hours of work [ahead of us], it’s…work. If this is play, we play.”

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using AI Color Portrait Mode and Sticker Mode.

Pushing Creative Boundaries

For moments of creative drought, Issa, the self-confessed perfectionist of the group, draws creative inspiration by not inhibiting herself and just creating, no matter the circumstances. She details, “Honestly for me, the way that I create inspiration or come up with new ideas is…just to give it out. Every time I have an idea in my head, I just spit it out.”

For Elena, to reset her headspace, she finds pockets of inspiration from art, media and nature. She elaborates, “I definitely can be a perfectionist and that is something I am trying to fix. I used to take, maybe, months to finish a video because I just wanna make sure that this film is perfect. I keep going through it and I take time with it and I realized I shouldn’t think about it too much…I need to get into a flow and just do it because it’s slowing down the process.” She adds, “I’ll watch films, I’ll read books, I’ll watch some, you know, some stuff online on YouTube. Or I just go to nature and I really reset my mind…and that always helps me get back into a better creative space and headspace.”

For Keiko, who creates video content regularly on her social media channels, it’s finding inspiration from different creators, but being cautious as to not borderline copy others. She notes, “It’s also nice to get pegs from other people, but always remember to not copy them but…just be inspired. And create even better content.”

But as creatives with most of their work on public platforms, creating content can be tricky. Learning how to find balance—between personal passion projects and client work—helps them overcome such circumstances. Issa elaborates, “Honestly, in life though, you just really need to find the right balance. Like yes, you have to put your art into it but… you’ve got to know what the people like and what would sell. So I think it’s actually a gift to know how to balance it. So how do you balance it? You balance it.”

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using Night Flare Mode.

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using Ultra-Wide Mode.

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using Night Flare Mode.

Making Connections

For the trio’s highly-driven digital lifestyle, finding the right equipment to convey their wellspring of ideas is just as important as the act of creating itself. Leveraging on the power of technology, ultimately, gives them the ability to picture life together.

 

With the OPPO Reno5 4G, Issa, Keiko and Elena have found the perfect companion to take their content creation to the next level, whether it’s taking photos or creating short form video content. Elena shares, “My favorite feature of it is, as a filmmaker, the timelapse…the 960fps AI Slow Motion’s insane…I really enjoyed using that.”

 

For Issa, it’s the quality of the camera, which made her make the switch. She notes, “Actually, [it’s] the camera for photos. The reason why I shifted from cameras to phone images was because of OPPO, ever since I tried it… It’s just nice to have a really good camera with you [that] is light and easy to carry around.”

 

For Keiko, it’s an exclusive phone feature that takes her by surprise, “My favorite feature is the AI Dual-view Video ’cause it’s so cool. You get to video two moments at the same time!”

 

Creating long-lasting memories, especially in the post-COVID era where we’re heading to, reinforces the power of a good smartphone and, with it, good company. Issa shares, “It’s very nice to live in the moment. You know, it’s nice to enjoy and—”

 

Keiko interjects, finishing the thought: “Create memories.”

 

Issa concludes, “Even years after you see [photos], you just remember the moment.”

Shot on OPPO Reno5 using Ultra-Wide and AI Scene Enhancement Modes.

In the midst of a year-long global pandemic, with social distancing and quarantine still essential, there’s no doubt that our relationships have changed. Our circles may have gotten smaller amid all the setbacks quarantine has presented us. Still, as we survey the expanse of life at present and post-coronavirus, we’re rethinking about the relationships we do have. We will be together soon, but for now we make do and find pockets of joy where we can with the people we hold close, even through the distance.

 

As we continue to create memories with one another, a trusty smartphone that adapts to one’s digital lifestyle is a must-have. OPPO Reno5 4G boasts of a 64MP Quad camera setup and is equipped with the OPPO Full Dimension Fusion (FDF) Portrait Video System, a cutting-edge imaging system that is built to deliver better quality content that’s closer to reality. The phone is also packed with features like the Dual-view Video, AI Highlight Video, AI Mixed Portrait, Ultra Night Selfie and AI Scene Enhancement. OPPO Reno5 series comes in both 4G and 5G variants and are now available in all OPPO Concept Stores, e-commerce platforms Shopee and Lazada and through Globe’s ThePlan.

 Photography Renzo Navarro 

Art and Art Direction Alexandra Lara

Interview and Cover Story Elisa Aquino

Fashion Direction Nicole Blanco Ramos  

Styling Florian Trinidad assisted by Floresse Trinidad 

Beauty Direction Cessi Treñas

Makeup Bonita Penaranda

Hair Paul Nebres assisted by Mariel Munsod

Production Wonder

In Partnership With OPPO Philippines

Shot at Chroma Studio

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