If you’ve been frequenting food stands lately, you’ve probably noticed the rise in popularity of buko-based products. From blended shakes to branded grocery-bought juices, it seems that people are just now starting to notice the health benefits and sumptuous creamy taste this native nut has to offer. Any pragmatic capitalist would think it wise to maximize the potential of an abundant resource: Harvest it, patent it, package it, and wait for consumers to flock in with utter excitement.
So it isn’t a surprise that FHM's Online Babe for the month of February, Janica Buhain, or “Buko Girl” as most of her YouTube fans know her, is a hot commodity. As one of the women in Abra’s music video “Gayuma," she has cast a hypnotic spell on men whose musical tastes gear towards local hip-hop. In just a few seconds of screen time, her role as a buko juice vendor earned her Netizen notoriety.
Janica seems fine with the label, happy even. It’s just that, like any other sane human being, she doesn’t want to be boxed into a stereotype. She yearns for accolades that go beyond the surface level.
“Ayokong ma-label forever as 'Buko Girl.' Gusto kong sumikat sa isang bagay na ginawa ko. Ayokong sumikat dahil lang maganda ako. Feeling ko mas may kaya pa kong gawin,” she says, surprising us with tenacious ambition.
We aren’t afraid for Janica. Buko Girl’s talents won’t be harvested, patented, packaged, and consumed like her namesake. After all, if tere's one thing we know about jer it's that she’s got a lot of tricks and surprises up her tattooed sleeve. We're betting that this is only the beginning.
Let’s start off with “Gayuma.” How did you land that gig?
Nakilala ko si Abra kasi yung pinsan ko recording artist din sa Flip Music. I became friends with him. Abra basically asked me if I’d like to appear in his video, sabi ko sige. Nung ni-release yung music video, hindi ako masyadong nag-expect. Saglit lang kami nag-shoot, so I was expecting na saglit lang din yung exposure ko.
But what happened next, nobody saw coming, even you.
Nagulat ako! Yung subscribers ko sa Facebook, ilang oras pa lang doble na agad. Random people would message me everday. Next thing I knew may fan page na ako bigla. Sobrang nakagugulat.
And "Buko Girl" was born. How are you taking all this?
Hindi ko kayang maging proud sa sarili ko kasi feeling ko wala naman akong ginawa, alam mo yun? Nagkataon lang na napansin nila. Sila yung nagtaas sa akin, hindi ko inangat ang sarili ko, so wala akong dapat ika-proud. Sa mga next appearances ko nga sobrang mahiyain ako, because I didn’t feel like I deserve all the attention.
Do you mind being called "Buko Girl" instead your real name?
Okay lang siya sa akin pero siyempre, ayokong ma-label forever as Buko Girl. Gusto kong sumikat sa isang bagay na ginawa ko. Ayokong sumikat dahil lang maganda ako. Feeling ko mas may kaya pa kong gawin.
Is showbiz in the horizon for you?
It’s cool with me. Gusto ko lang, kung sumikat man ako sana tanggap nila kung sino ako. Hindi ko na kailangang magbago. Ginagawa ko pa rin yung mga normal kong ginagawa. Parang ayaw ko lang maging special.
More admirers are now coming your way, we're presuming.
Yes, pero wala akong boyfriend. May mga nanliligaw pero hindi ko pa pinapayagan, ha ha!
INTERVIEW: MIKEY AGULTO; ADDITIONAL WORDS BY ANTON UMALI
STYLIST: GERALDINE NUQUI
MAKE-UP: AMANDA PADILLA FOR MAYBELLINE
HAIR: GEORGE ALIBEN FOR KIEHL'S STYLIST SERIES
LINGERIE FROM ETAN; SHOES FROM VNC
ACCESSORIES FROM KEOS, SHANGRI-LA MALL