[This originally came out in FHM's Ladies' Confessions Volume 4: Celebrity Diaries, which you can now download in its digital format by clicking here. You can also download the rest of the FHM Specials by clicking here.]
Before the roles that launched my career as an actress in Serbis and Kinatay, before there was Cannes, I was in Diliman studying Fine Arts. Every Fine Arts student in the campus got the chance to draw males and females in the nude. In my case, our class’s first experience was with a female model. I love sketching and painting a female body. I like drawing her parts, especially her curves. It’s just so beautifully shaped that it’s almost like walang pangit na part or walang hindi magandang i-drawing sa babae. We had a number of sessions where mostly babae yung model namin, and I was happy to sit, look, and sketch through them.
One time, a guy, who I didn’t recognize as any of my classmates, came into the class. He’s not a teacher din, and he mostly just kept to himself. After a while, we all found out na siya pala yung magiging model namin that day. We’d been drawing female nudes for a while so alam ko namang darating din kami roon. Hindi naman puwede puro babae na lang i-drawing namin.
We huddled around our male nude model for the day and took each of our positions as usual. Nasa gitna yung male model, on top of a table, and we were free to take positions depending on which angle and body part we were drawing. Some of us went behind him, others of course, sa harap. Me, iniiwasan ko talagang i-draw that part of his manhood. I know it’s important, pero I just didn’t want to draw it. So pumuwesto ako sa part where I could see clearly what I was going to draw. I took a spot at the back. Because what people don’t know is, I like drawing buttocks. Natutuwa lang talaga ako whenever I draw it.
The next session, I was on my spot distractedly sketching when dumating na ulit yung model namin from the other day. He undressed in the middle of the room, tapos umupo siya in front of me. Hindi na ako makahanap ng ibang pwesto kasi puno na yung back area and everywhere else was cramped. Everyone in the room had already started sketching and it would be distracting and makaka-istorbo for my other classmates if I were to move around to try and find a spot.
I don’t remember if my face got flushed, or if I turned red, but I had a good grip on my pencil. I looked at our well-chiseled model’s average-sized package, and I drew. That was the day I had no choice but to draw him, and to draw “it.”
- Mercedes Cabral
(as told to Khyne Palumar)
Corsets by Jerry Ocampo; Lace camisole stylist's own; special thanks to Shandii Bacolod of Bellhaus; Shot on location at Room 526 International, Mabini st, Malate, Manila