Curator: BJ Pascual

BJ Pascual has evolved. Beyond being known for creating iconic fashion imagery, he has become a star himself. The photographer-cum-style-icon talks about his jetsetter ways and best sartorial finds

by Rogue, photo by Colin Dancel
Over the past decade, there hasn’t been a local photographer graced with as much momentum as BJ Pascual. With countless magazine covers, hundreds of celebrity portraits, a handful of loyal muses, a best-selling book, and an ever-growing fanbase of his own under his belt, it’s hard to argue that anyone behind the cameras these days is as zoomed into as Pascual.

For someone who’s work normally calls for invisibility, it’s hard not to notice Pascual himself with his impeccable selfies and enviable outfits. This comes as no surprise as Pascual shares a side of himself that not many photographers do: he shares his life, not just his work. And so, his audience partakes not just in the spectacle of celebrity but also in the style journey of the lensman who’s figuring things out and learning more about himself as he goes along. It’s all part of the BJ Pascual brand—a total package, a human person.

Fresh from a trip to New Zealand, he talks to ROGUE about travel, style, and everything in between.

 

LIGHTNING ROUND

Who is your dream subject?

 

Naomi Campbell. I want her to throw a phone at me—as long as the phone is Samsung!

 

Describe your personal style in one word.

 

Effem. (effeminate)

 

Current song on loop?

 

Hotter Than Hell – Dua Lipa

 

3 things you never leave home without?

 

My phone, blush, and my Casio watch.

 

Who is the next big Rogue cover girl?

Martine [Cajucom], Jasmine [Curtis-Smith], or Julia [Barretto]

You just got back three days ago! Did you get jetlagged?

 

Well, I think I’m more of tired. The original plan was that I’d be here by midnight before my shoot at 10AM but our initial flight got delayed and we missed our connecting flight. So yun, it turned out to be Cathay’s last flight for the night. So, I arrived at 10:30 and headed straight to my shoot.

 

How do you usually deal with jetlag?

 

Depende kung saan ako galing. If I need to be awake, coffee nalang and then sleep at night. If I can’t sleep and I have time I go to The Aivee Clinic to get the Revive Aivee Drip, it helps boost the immune system and helps with the jetlag! It also helps with hangovers [laughs]. It’s the best!

 

So it’s more of a forced adjustment?

 

Oo. Coffee is the first line of defense. Or if I really need to sleep and have no time, Tylenol.

 

Does your grooming ritual change when you come from long haul flights or when the workload is extra heavy—basically when you find yourself in a stressful situation?

 

Yeah, it changes whenever I feel tired. My regular routine is simple. Cleanse, tone, serum, moisturize, SPF. I used to use the whole Rare Earth line from Kiehls but the past 6 months or so I’ve been using the Calendula line and I love it. When I’m tired I put on a Kiehl’s Rare Earth clay mask and use an extra dose of the Midnight Recovery Oil.

 

What’s a regular outfit for you like?

 

My go-to look: usually mom jeans and a black t-shirt.’ Yun yung usual work outfit ko. My style, changes a lot but right now I’d say it’s a little more feminine. Another day, another blouse.

 

Where do you draw the line in terms of how feminine you get with dressing?

 

Parang there’s no line. I guess hindi pa ako nakakasuot ng skirt.

 

Can you tell us a bit about the key pieces that we photographed earlier?

 

The black jeans we shot were the first pair of mom jeans I ever bought from a vintage store in New York called The Vintage Twin. Meron din akong blue version niyan. Sabay ko binili. Pero hiningi na ni Iza [Calzado] yung isa kasi mas bagay sa kaniya. Itong favorite ko na mom jeans, H&M. I loved it so much I bought three pairs. The Off White ones were a gift from Liz Uy.

 

You really like denim, don’t you?

 

Mhmm! But, just recently—about a year ago? When we shot my Garage cover. LA [Lopez] made me wear his vintage Levis 501s. Doon din ako bumili sa same vintage store. Before, all my jeans were just black.

 

Your shoes—they’re all kind of the same silhouette more or less, yeah?

 

Yes! Recently I’ve been into boots with heels. Before palagi lang ako naka brogues na medyo makapal yung outsoles, and chunky sneakers lang.

 

Where do you usually shop?

 

I usually shop online and when I travel. For designer stuff, pag may gusto lang talaga. Usually, vintage. I love vintage shopping pero tamad ako maghanap, so gusto ko yung mga stores na medyo curated na, like The Vintage Twin or Tokio7 in NYC, I was in Osaka recently and there’s a really cute store named Sui.

When you shop, what do you look for in the pieces that you buy?

 

Things that will make me look long and slim. [laughs]

 

Honesty is the best policy! [Laughs] So wala kang mental checklist ?

 

Well, with clothes, the most important thing is really the fit, no point in buying, even if it’s 90% off, if it doesn’t fit right. With shoes I can suffer for beauty… and height.

 

What’s the longest-lasting item in your closet that you still wear until now?

 

My black t-shirts. Some of them I’ve had them for maybe 5 years. Most of them are from Uniqlo. Oh, and this polka dot buttondown from Assembly NY. I got it I think around 5 years ago and I still wear it all the time.

 

What’s your most memorable purchase?

 

A sporty, sheer Dior blazer. Tuwang-tuwa ako because it was my first Designer purchase na in-season na full price. Before that puro sale lang. So I wore it almost everyday. Cost per use!

 

Who are your style icons?

 

Forever: David Bowie, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mick Jagger.

 

So your influences are very 70s & 80s?

 

I used to dress a lot more 80s, maybe because of my hair. But now it’s little bit of both.

 

You seem pretty open to experimenting with style.

 

Yeah. I was more experimental when I was in college. Like I had a microfringe wore eyeliner to school. I became much safer when I started working as a photographer. But I started becoming more playful with what I wore again Halloween last year.

 

Ah, in New York?

 

Yes, I had three costumes, Ziggy Savella made me an oversized pink suit for my Moonbeam City look and I realized cute din siya isuot in real life. The other was a David Bowie look and I needed high heeled boots for the Bowie outfit so I bought some cheap women’s boots at H&M. Tas parang sabi ko, ‘ay parang bagay sa akin,’ so bumili na rin ako ng Balenciaga.

 

Gusto ko yung jump from H&M to Balenciaga.

 

Ganun ako, usually. Before that, I had Chelsea boots. H&M din yun na women’s pa—they were pointy with small heels. Nung bagay pala, I bought a more expensive version from P.S. Kaufman.

 

What’s your biggest investment piece so far?

 

Shoes. They’re always around the same price range naman when bought in-season. I had these Dior Derby shoes na may metal pieces sa outsoles, then the Balenciaga Centaur boots, and these black [Balenciaga] boots, . This White version kasi, mura lang, got lucky on e-bay! Ang tagal ko siyang hinanap. Nagpabili ako sa friend ko na personal shopper sa Paris, I also e-mailed Balenciaga—wala! I searched every online retailer I could google, then as a last resort I tried ebay and sakto may size ako! It was used na but it was 1/3 of the price!

 

So you do a lot of research on the pieces you want?

 

Yeah, if I really like something.