SEB CASTRO, Years after “Bursting” the “BUBBLE”

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Few people can ever make the action of coming out into an awesome spectacle, or spectacles, quite like Philippine actor and viral sensation Benjamin Brian Castro, better known as Sebastian “Seb” Castro. Of mixed Peruvian and Japanese-American stock, Castro grew up in Long Island, New York and started working early to finance his education after the emergence of his sexual orientation caused his parents to cut off ties with him. He eventually found his way to the Philippines where he became a big hit as a male model on the local Cosmopolitan mag, as well as appearing in commercials for Jollibee fast-food, Sun Mobile and Pantene shampoo (paired with Angelica Panganiban).

Part of his spike in popularity was a perceived (by his Philippine fans) resemblance to another well-established Filipino matinee actor, Dennis Trillo. In addition to being counted among the “69 Hot Bachelors” in the live Cosmo Bachelor Bash 2011 event, Castro also made a splash online as both a visual artist and singer, as ably demonstrated in his hit YouTube channel with now over 11 million views and 87,434 subscribers. But Seb knew that it would not do to have fans buying into his initial magazine image as a bachelor hunk, so he began preparations for a music video on YouTube that would announce his true self in a major big way.

That was the music video for his song “Bubble”, uploaded in February 2013. It showed Castro and a bevy of male backup dancers in briefs and dancing the so-called “bubble pop” step that was akin to a loud siren finally dropping the bombshell on his fan-base in Southeast Asia regarding his orientation. But in case anybody didn’t get the memo, Seb went on social media a few days after posting the video and spell out to his followers – the “Sebster” community – that he was indeed gay.

If anything, his fans simply exploded in number from that point on. Perhaps it was because of how he framed his reminiscing of the past, how coming out to his friends and parents back in the US had hurt him even to the point of actually contemplating suicide in his teens, before fighting back such dark thoughts and becoming much wiser for it. That wisdom was evident in his advice to his Sebsters to be strong enough not to fall into the same “lonely place” he had once been in before.

And indeed, life was better for Seb Castro since. He’d appeared in an indie film back in 2004, then in late 2013 (post-coming out) he hit some major acting cred by landing a major role in the Hong Kong movie “Voyage”, directed by Danny Cheng Wan-Cheung aka. Scud. The English-language film chronicles a long sea trip across Southeast Asia and even Europe by a psychiatrist out of Hong Kong, and is “a tragic story about love, fate and the struggle of losing loved ones”. Viewers of “Voyage” however would easily remember its several scenes of full-frontal male nudity from the stars, including Seb himself who also got to put his visual artist skills (honed from his time at the Savannah College of Art and Design) to work by designing some original artwork commissioned by Scud to appear in the movie.

At present, in addition to making inroads into Philippine cinema, Seb Castro has also become a prominent spokesperson for gay rights in the country, having recently served as a guest moderator for an online discussion last March regarding the fight to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill along with Senator Riza Hontiveros and Attorney Jazz Tamayo. When Seb has an advocacy, her certainly doesn’t take half-measures on its behalf.

Keep up to date with Seb Castro – currently the “self-proclaimed gay love child of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein” – on his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/sebcastro/, on his Instagram account at http://www.instagram.com/thesebastiancastro/?hl=en, on Twitter at twitter.com/Seb_Castro, and finally his YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSebastianCastro/featured you can catch his songs and music videos (he’s not yet on a record label after all).

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