Around July 2016, I got the chance to interview Kim Cruz, a model and fashion blogger, for a required feature article in one of my classes. My professor loved my work and now, I just want to share it with you all. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Because the interview happened in 2016, some details (age, sponsors, etc.) in this article do not apply anymore.
IT’S A SUPER HOT WEDNESDAY, and I am sitting on a hot stoned bench alongside Ateneo de Manila University’s sec walk, waiting for student-blogger Kim Cruz to meet me. The 18-year-old young fashion enthusiast texted me a few minutes ago, “I’m on my way!” Ten minutes have passed yet all I am witnessing is the crowded route packed with noisy civilians and sweating shirts. Then a beautiful aura emerged.
She is wearing a navy blue strapless top and denim-buttoned skirt, her sleek brown hair flowing gracefully as she walks pass the people. Each and every one of them giving way for the teenager whose eyes captivated by whatever’s on her phone. She flashes a smile on her screen. I wonder. She sees me after I call out her name, “Kim Cruz!” and flashes another smile but this time on me, and I don’t know if it is just a coincidence but a sudden breeze appears and the weather doesn’t seem so bad after all.
In the past few months, whenever Cruz’s the talk of the town, all I ever heard were negative comments and smears. People I know aren’t big fans of the teen blogger and out of all the insults I have heard, these were the most famous ones: “She’s trying too hard”, “She’s not even pretty”, and “She buys her followers online!” It was the first time I heard of her. My first impression of Cruz wasn’t good and I can totally say that she’s not worth being idolized.
As a curious listener, I searched her online and saw a different person: “NEW IT-GIRL”, “KIM CRUZ: A MUST”, “SM YOUTH’S NEW AMBASSADRESS”, and so much more. I had no idea she is this big in the fashion industry already. I can’t seem to conclude how she’s trying too hard when she doesn’t need to anymore. A bolt of interest got inside me. Why is this young girl hated by many? As a result, I get to meet her.
Cruz hugs and tells me how it’s so nice to meet someone in school who’s interested in her fashion style. She gives me another smile while she sits down beside me.
It is sweet. The perfume she is wearing smells like Victoria’s Secret’s Sheer Love. “It’s just Penshoppe! Cool, right?” she says, tilting her body to the left and smiling again. I find out that the local brand, Penshoppe, is her sponsor – clothes, shoes, and perfume. Alongside Zalora and SM Youth, Cruz models for other brands too.
When I ask her about her normal routine every day, she sighs before smiling again, “I’m just a normal student! I wake up in the morning to fix myself, go to school, go back home, go to an event, go back home then study then sleep!” She sighs once more. “It’s hectic. But yeah, I came to love this routine already.” She tilts her body again to the left before brushing her hair off her shoulders, then smiled. I ask more about her family and how different her life may be without modelling. “Actually, I’m just a normal person! I get tired A LOT OF TIMES and I NEED SLEEP ALL THE TIME so yeah… without modelling, I’ll just be my parent’s daughter!” She also adds how she’ll still be cramming an English paper when she won’t be too busy anymore! Typical student indeed. Cruz laughs and flashes her white pearls on me – she is really beautiful.
Kim Cruz tells me about her dream job, a stylist. She admits how age limits her choices but led her to something inspiring, “I wanted to be a Stylist but it’s hard to be one when you’re young so I had no choice but to style myself.” The small dream let her experience become something different but also something very worthwhile. For an 18-year-old, being interviewed by different brands, walking on fashion shows, and getting sponsored by even just the smallest shop are already extreme opportunities. What more can she do then soon? Perhaps even bigger.
A little over a week after the small talk, I see Cruz again inside a girl’s bathroom of the Ateneo campus. She slowly brushes her hair with a thin comb, carefully removing the ugly strands. I hear her phone vibrate inside her bag, she still doesn’t notice me. She says hello and even without the caller in front of her, she lets out a big smile, letting every lady witness her flawlessness. She turns around and stops to say hi to a friend she sees inside the common room. Turns out, her friend is also a friend of mine. I stand unwanted to be seen, a little self-conscious of my own “flawlessness”.
But too late. Cruz puts her phone down to have a chit-chat with me and our friend. She asks how our day was and tells us how hot every day is for her. We agree and I try to act cool, secretly fixing my hair. It is my turn now to use the toilet and Cruz notices this for she pulls me to a soft hug and bids goodbye. Her deep voice remains in my ear and I try to imagine her with a different tone, probably a little higher to match her feminine looks. But this side of her isn’t awful, it is in fact one of her charms.
The sudden meet-up is awkward for me but it doesn’t seem like that for Cruz. She was all smiling and bubbly, a little too friendly indeed for someone who she just met once. But it is okay. I realize Cruz is a friend of everyone! I notice her waving on random people almost every minute of my time with her and it is amazing how one girl can be everyone’s girl – not in a bad way, but the best way you can think of.
As soon as I felt my pockets vibrate on another hot day, I know right then what is coming ahead. My palms sweat and my heart beats faster but it isn’t because of awkward conversations anymore, I am excited to hang out with Cruz.
Photos from Kim Cruz
I got a text around 12 Noon of a Friday and now, I’m walking alongside Cruz, on the way to meet up SMART COMMUNICATIONS for another sponsor activity. November 2014 was her year, where she all intended her wanted future. Kim-cruz.blogspot.com happened and only a year and a half has passed yet everything is already going as planned! The small gathering is happening in Zen Garden. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” flies in town soon and Cruz will be receiving free premier tickets! LUCKY GIRL! The place is a little packed – cameras everywhere, men in briefs inside-out, fake capes unable to soar. Cruz pats me on the shoulder to assure me she’ll be back after one of the personnel talks to her. She wears a white off-shoulder top, denim pencil skirt and her favorite Nike air-max; no heavy make-up, just her smile to complete the look.
Another person gives Cruz a hug and they talk for a little while before she leads Cruz in front of the camera. Cruz remains silent while she listens to the instructions given to her. She nods in agreement. The film rolls and Cruz speaks while holding two tickets on her hands. It’s funny, she isn’t a Smart user yet they chose to let her promote the movie! What’s even funnier is that amongst the many opportunities Cruz has been given, she hasn’t decided what the biggest one is yet. She sees them as little roles while I see them oppositely. Yet, as she shares the fact to me, I don’t hear bragging but humility. It is an honest claim and she claims to be normal and just blessed.
Cruz comes back and asks me to join her for lunch. I agree before even asking her if she’s busy. We walk the stony steps and I smell the sweet scent of her again. She hits one of the passersby and stops to apologize, smiling. She trips on the short sidewalk and laughs the mistake off. She asks me want I want to eat, I stare at her before saying “Anything’s alright, Kim.” And I smile.
People entitle Kim Cruz as a “wanna-be famous star”, a blogger not worth anticipating. But Kim’s also just a teenager. Just someone who’s a little ahead of everyone her age. But that doesn’t mean hates and rumors will solve the unfair world.
Kim’s amazing and I can’t wait to watch her bloom even more in the fashion industry.