Gigi Esguerra: The Pa-Star for All Seasons
By Annicka B. Koteh
Off the bat, Gigi Esguerra describes herself as an “eccentric and crazy person who just enjoys life.” The incoming Communication senior is a practicing makeup artist, aspiring stylist, and can now add “O-Host” to that list. Onstage, she is the “pa-star of all seasons.”
“Importante ‘yung pa-star (It’s important to be confident), ” Gigi shares. “It’s the willingness to put yourself out there.” She adds, “I’m showing who I really am. I try my best to express that onstage, times one thousand and more.”
No matter how loud her personality may be, OrSem is an exercise of bravery. Gigi remembers hosting the JSEC Challenge in SEC Field, when it still had an ongoing program in the middle. “No one was listening to me, and I even had to say, “Makinig kayo! (Listen up!)” she admits.
Although Gigi has always wanted to host OrSem, she was only able to conquer her apprehensions this year. She spontaneously auditioned on the last possible day. “My friend [Glyds Urbano] was a past OrSem host,” Gigi recalls. “And she told me, ‘You should audition na talaga kasi sayang.’ It pushed through eventually, because I had nothing to lose.”
In overcoming that fear, Gigi has also gained the opportunity to inspire. “I’m a trans woman, part of the LGBT community, and it’s a marginalized sector,” she explains. As the “Vice Ganda” (vice president) of Dollhouse, Ateneo’s LGBT organization, she knows how important representation is: “OrSem’s such a huge platform, and I want every freshman to realize that regardless of who they are, whether they’re trans, gay, lesbian, or anything else, they’re capable of doing something this huge.”
“The LGBT community is no different from others,” Gigi continues. “The only logical thing to do in the presence of these people is express love.” With that, this go-getter wants the freshmen to set aside prejudice when meeting new people—in OrSem or beyond.
“[OrSem’s] where you start building your relationships,” says Gigi. “This is where you start understanding what Ateneo truly is.”