Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Loose Cannon? Or Perhaps Trigger Happy...BEWARE

As much as it pains me to do this, it really has to be done.  For those that have been following my blog or have come across it, you will have seen that its been filled with nothing but love and passion.  For makeup and beauty, for artistry, for other artists; whatever the case may be, this blog has been a medium for everyday positivity.

Nevertheless, what comes with love and passion is also having to stand up for what you believe in and showing support to those that you care about.  So after a great deal of consideration and coordination with others, I am putting out this warning message as an act of conviction and as a way of backing up my peers.  I must firmly warn my family, friends, colleagues, and any artist/entrepreneur out there (especially those just starting out) about the con-artistry and multiple crimes an Editor-in-Chief (who I will refer to as Señorita) of a so-called fresh, high-flying mag has committed and continues to get away with.  With the amount of people she has put in distress, I must state that she is indeed a loose cannon or perhaps trigger happy in firing off lie after lie after lie.

I worked with Señorita and her magazine on several spreads (advertorial, fashion editorial, etc.) as well as her editor's note profile for both the maiden and 2nd issue.  With respect to each shoot, I passed my invoices and was given specific dates (after publishing of issues) as to when payments would be ready.  Considering I was aware of the fact that magazines do take time to process payments, I was unfazed about the amount of time it would take to receive my fees.  I completed the series of shoots for the 2nd issue the week that the first issue had been published and was told that my payment was nearly ready and that I would be updated. Even when certain dates were not met and I had to be the one to follow-up and receive word about my fee, I listened patiently about later dates given to me by Señorita herself that I could expect my money instead.  I would be told to wait "a week, within the week, by Thursday, Friday..." over and over again and she fed me stories about how the magazine was working out finances and waiting for sponsors to pay up.  Though my hesitation was growing, I gave her the benefit of the doubt.  That benefit of the doubt, however, wore thin in the next few weeks.

About a month after the magazine launched (first issue was December 2010), was when a domino-effect of very negative information about Señorita was revealed to me.  First, other suppliers that had worked for the magazine began approaching me to find out if I had gotten paid yet as they, too, were waiting.  They, too, had heard the tired "next week, within the week..." default delays. Second, I received an in-depth email from her ex-husband who she had scammed and left with a landslide of debts back in the US. And while I would have liked to treat his words as hearsay (being that ex-spouses don't speak very highly of each other), his email also included the following evidence: 1) a scanned copy of a WANTED poster from the county they lived in with Señorita's photo and grand theft, identity theft and fraud stated as her crimes as well as a reward for $1,000, 2) A list of other magazines in the US and Philippines she had owned and/or worked for and victims of similar crimes with their contact information, and 3) Not just her insanely large amounts of debt, but backed up information on how she was able to garner and run off with a car due to manipulating a colleague's loan (she is possibly still using this SUV).  Third, together with some of the other suppliers, we were able to get confirmation and full details on her criminal acts with the magazines she had worked with here (under high profile publishing companies, mind you).  Finally, we were able to learn that she also owes several companies who had already paid her for rebranding and catalogue services, which she and her team failed to carry out.

With all this plus nearly a year later and not even the initiative from her end to be the one to update us with what she owes us (though she continues to reply and ramble on about the same excuses), our backs were against the wall and it was time for us to take further action.  Yes, we are in talks with legal teams for this matter (in fact, she already has a number of pending lawsuits/settlements that she attends hearings for), but we also felt it was our duty to publicly warn others about this exasperating woman and her ability to continuously commit crimes and get away with them. It is one thing if Señorita and her magazine had really fallen into financial demise, but it has been proven that she has received immense funds from sponsors/advertisers (and her investors, which I am still learning more about) and just misappropriated the same.  She has the ability to sweet-talk clients and brainwash people with "inspirational words" about change, reaching dreams, launching artists, and helping to promote their talents.  Furthermore, if you see the way that she and her team have the nerve to talk about the magazine's success in numbers on Facebook and other networking sites, it completely negates whatever it is that we were supposed to understand and be patient about in not being paid for our works.  It's one or the other, isn't it? Either the magazine is a flop (which I doubt because covers have been graced by our country's top ATHLETE, POLITICIAN and veteran MUSICIANS) and they are falsely advertising it or it really is doing well and she selfishly benefits from it while her suppliers are not compensated in any way.  Regardless of how you put it, it is all lies and all wrong.

Being a makeup artist, I have to stand for my fellow makeup artists when I say that what we do is not merely put on makeup.  We create our works out of passion and time spent with proper training, we do our best to translate our clients' visions on to faces, and it has to be said that our services are very labor intensive in the sense that we literally break our backs for lengthy gigs (due to bending over, standing for hours on end, etc.) and we bring a pretty heavy load of equipment with us in order to be completely ready with clients' needs.  I'm sure a lot of the same applies to photographers, designers/stylists, and the like.  That said, we deserve to be compensated for our work, especially based on formal agreements made.

See don't get me wrong. I have done my share of strictly promotional or ex-deal/barter gigs for purposes of building my portfolio and gaining good exposure.  So it is not as if I can't do jobs without pay, because obviously, I'm well aware of the fact that I'm still technically starting out and trying to launch myself.  But a deal's a deal and even when Señorita did not keep up her end of the deal, she still used and exploited my efforts along with that of others.  She still published our works, which in effect, she did not have the rights to do so.

I'll be the first to tell you that being in this business, one of the hardest things to do is to launch yourself.  I've been doing makeup professionally for at least 2 years now and I still consider myself as someone that is just starting out.  Aside from industries getting pretty saturated, it takes a lot of practice and work to fine-tune one's craft.  It is sad that people will fill your head with fake dreams, take advantage of your eagerness to reach for the stars, and never look back.  I'm doing my part in making sure this stops.  I wish I could say that this will never happen again, but apparently, Señorita is still at it.  She is still putting out issues and still hiring new suppliers.

If you understand where I'm coming from, then please assist me and others in spreading the word.  Feel free to re-post this on all your sites, blogs, through email, etc. Enough is enough. Let's unite in fighting against this woman and her criminal acts.  She thinks she's invincible at this point and acts like a trigger happy gunholder firing off without a care, but she must be stopped once and for all.  Let's try our best to make sure that no one else gets shot.

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