The topic of strong, independent women naturally leads to actress and athlete Anne Curtis, who chose him as her Man of Honor when she married long-time sweetheart Erwan Heussaff. The footage of Luis crying at the ceremony in New Zealand has gone viral, but he isn’t self-conscious about it at all. “I got emotional because finally, she found someone who can make her happy, and vice versa,” he says earnestly. “I got to witness so many ups and downs when it came to Anne’s love life. But now finally, I can sleep better at night knowing that my best friend is being loved the way she deserves to be loved.”
"As a host, I have a longer shelf life compared to leading men. If you’re a leading man, once you get a girlfriend or get married, you automatically change your image. Some people say the star value goes down. But as a host, I’m not trapped by those standards"
It’s 2018, but there is still a certain stigma that comes with the territory of male-female friendships. Are they not ticking time bombs? Can they really be purely platonic? Again, Luis refuses to subscribe to lazy, old-fashioned, pre-woke assumptions. “There’s a certain finesse to the dynamics of a male-female friendship,” he says. “Not everyone understands that; some people automatically assume that there has to be romance involved. But there’s something so innocent about a pure friendship between a guy and a girl. Anne and I have such similar personalities, and we’ve been through so much together. That’s something special.”
Luis and Anne met at a bar in 2002, roughly the same time he was starting out in the industry as a model for local clothing brand Human. Since then, he’s been in a total of 14 movies and more than 30 television shows, both as an actor and a host—and he shows no signs of fading away into the background anytime soon. He credits his career stability to his ability to “swing all ways,” evident in his wide variety of hosting gigs, to his excellent work ethic, and to the fact that he’s a good listener. “People mistake hosting for simply talking, but you have to listen to your staff, listen to the audience, listen to the people around you,” he says. “I’m also fortunate that as a host, I have a longer shelf life compared to leading men. If you’re a leading man, once you get a girlfriend or get married, you automatically change your image. Some people say the star value goes down. But as a host, I’m not trapped by those standards. For most hosts, the older you get, the more credible you become.”
It is this confidence in his longevity, this sturdy self-assurance in what he has already built, that allows Luis to venture outside of the traditional artista mold. And as it is with stereotypes, it’s best to shatter them in a multitude of ways. There’s his insistence that people don’t deserve to know everything about his personal life—even if they think they do. There’s also the unapologetic manner in which he talks about responding to his bashers. “My social media accounts have no moderators or admins,” he says. “So kung isa kayo sa mga minura ko, ako talaga ‘yon.” And then there’s his social media presence itself, a 9GAG-inspired feed peppered with funny videos and satirical quips. There is no vanity involved, no posing or preening of any kind. “Mukha ba akong ka-selfie selfie?” he asks incredulously. “If you noticed, I don’t even check the pictures when I do shoots. That’s because with this mug, I can’t believe I’m doing what I’m doing. There are so many better-looking people out there. When I say, ‘Condolences sa lahat ng mga patay na patay sa akin,’ I don’t mean it. Obviously.”
Laughter echoes throughout the studio, but his face turns serious and his tone shifts. “We all go through something every day, so if the videos I post make you happy, then go ahead, ako na bahala sa ‘yo,” he says. “I get so many DMs telling me that they were so close to giving up or committing suicide, but after watching my stories, they felt better.” He smiles, and we wait for a punch line, but just this once, there seems to be none. “I guess I’m doing something good.”
Photography Andrea Beldua Styling Rex Atienza Assisted Dane Barroso Grooming Peps Silvestre
Clothing credits Photo 1: Inner, TM Lewin; suit, G2000; Photo 2: Dress shirt, Van Laack, trousers, mango; Photos 3&4: Checkered inner, cardigan vest & coat from TM Lewin; trousers, American Eagle Outfitters; Photos 5&6: Pullover, marks & spencer; pants, Mango