Does anyone remember the serial killer Andrew Cunanan? If you don’t, then he has been justly punished. Cunanan killed to become famous. Lots of people kill for fame, but he did it literally, murdering several people on a killing spree across the United States to his most famous victim, the designer Gianni Versace.
Here’s the weird part. When Cunanan first hit the news, the American media did not mention his ethnicity. He was an American. If I’m not mistaken it was the Filipinos who came out and declared that he was of Filipino descent, his father being a Bulakeño. From then on he was a Fil-American. Even weirder: various characters in Manila claimed to have been his lover. Oh fame, what we would do to have it, even fake a connection to a serial killer.
* * * * *
We do that—find an ethnic connection to international celebrities. Even minor celebrities. So we’re coming up with an annual Did You Know They Were Pinoy? list to keep track of all the famous people we’re claiming as our own. Except that we’re limiting the field to persons of Filipino descent who have actually done something extraordinary. (Whether you think they deserve it or have a genius agent is beside the point.) Yes, people who worked for their fame (instead of killing or marrying it).
This being our first annual list we begin with the “classics”. We’re focusing on the entertainment industry to start, but will expand the list to include athletes such as Neil Etheridge in football and Craig Davies in rugby.
Why are Pac-Man and Charice not on this list? Because everyone already knows they’re PInoy.
Photo: Cinematographer Matthew Libatique and director Darren Aronofsky on the set of The Black Swan. Read Matthew Libatique’s interview in American Cinematographer.
Read the list while listening to this. N.E.R.D. & Daft Punk, Hypnotize U (Nero Remix)
10. Rob Schneider
He announces his being Pinoy often enough with gags about “bibingka” and such, and cameos by his Filipino mom in all his movies. Yes he makes dumb movies, but we laughed our heads off at Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo and look forward to Rob’s appearances in Adam Sandler movies.
Photo: Kirk Hammett from the Metallica website.
9. Kirk Hammett of Metallica
In the 90s various people swore that when Kirk Hammett was being interviewed by MTV someone in the background clearly said, “Kirk, kumain ka na ba?” We never did catch that clip, but we are happy to claim Kirk as one of our own.
8. Joey Santiago of The Pixies
One of the most influential musicians of the modern era. Without The Pixies there would be no Nirvana.
Photo: Joey Santiago from the Amoeblog.
7. Various performers in Glee and High School Musical
6. Mutya Buena of the former Sugababes
5. Nicole Scherzinger of Pussy Cat Dolls
4. Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas
3. Chad Hugo of N.E.R.D.
2. Bruno Mars
1. Matthew Libatique, cinematographer of Iron Man 1 and 2 and Darren Aronofsky’s movies Pi, Requiem for a Dream and others, and a likely Oscar contender for his brilliant work on The Black Swan.
Before Flip shut down we were planning to give Matthew an Instrument of World Domination Award, and we’d already told him. He thought we were kidding at first. Good show Matthew.
You will let us know if our information is incorrect or if we missed someone.
* * * * *
The graphic novelist Lynda Barry frequently mentions her Filipino ancestry.
* * * * *
As expected, everyone who’s ever been within ten meters of a velvet rope is claimed by Pinoys. We’d say “That’s so Pinoy” except that every other nationality does the same thing. Except Americans because they’re all from somewhere else. This was the source of their power. Look what’s happened.