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EXCLUSIVE: Rising online personality Richard Juan lives it up

‘Life is not a popularity contest, it never is, never was, and never will be. It's not about the number of followers, the number of likes, the number of comments that you get. It's about what you stand for, what you believe in.’

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Chinese-Filipino Richard Juan may only be 26 years old, but he has already experienced meeting famous people—from 2PM’s Nichkhun and Hollywood actress Drew Barrymore to British chef Gordon Ramsay and fashion designer Paul Smith—and was a keynote speaker at the New York Times’ Asia-Pacific Writing Competition Awards Ceremony in Hong Kong recently.

Richard Juan

Richard Juan

In an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment, the model-actor talked about his journey from being “nobody” to “rising personality.”

“I was born to a second generation Filipino-Chinese family but I grew up in Hong Kong. Being business people, and of course, growing up at a financial world of Hong Kong, my parents always groomed me to do business — but it seems like the Divine had other plans for me,” he began.

According to him, the limelight found him when he was in college.

“The first program I did was ‘Eat Bulaga,’ for a segment called ‘You’re My Foreignoy.’ I got called back to do a regular segment called ‘Pinoy Henyo.’ After graduating from school, I got into ‘PBB.’ I was so close to making it to the Big Four but, hey, that’s life, right?” he shared.

His first project after “PBB” was Upfront at the UAAP, hosting for one season.

“It was a learning curve for me. I learned so much about going live and also using Filipino/Tagalog to host. But after that, I realized I wanted to focus more on creating my own content so I documented my travels.”

In between trips to the airport, Richard had acting gigs. He played male lead in a story for “Tadhana” on GMA alongside Sheena Halili, and also for “Wattpad Presents” on TV5 alongside Myrtle Sarrosa.

He was fortunate enough to have been chosen to host a special segment in Seoul Fashion Week with the OTT Viu in Hong Kong. By then, his online presence was surging, hitting levels like that of an influencer. He even has followers from Thailand, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong. As of this writing, his following on Instagram is 409,000.

But Richard prefers to just be called “TV or online personality.”

“I won’t say I can influence people,” he downplayed. “I’m just really being me and showing my supporters what I see and what I believe in.”

During his speech in Hong Kong, he warned people about putting too much on the numbers they see online.

“Life is not a popularity contest, it never is, never was, and never will be. It’s not about the number of followers, the number of likes, the number of comments that you get. It’s about what you stand for, what you believe in.”

On the other hand, he likes the “unpredictability of my work.”

“I wake up every single day, not knowing what kind of email I might receive, I don’t know what kind of opportunities I might be getting, I don’t know what kind of people I might be meeting,” he said. “It may be uncertain, uncomfortable but also full of possibilities. It’s fascinating.”

Advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps?

“Leave your comfort zone, try something new,” he noted. “You need to be okay with being uncomfortable, being okay with uncertainties. You need to have mental toughness too because there will be days where you will be frustrated because you do not know where you are or what this path will lead to.

“There is no real blueprint like the corporate world where you can work up the ladder. This is a completely different ball game and, honestly, you just need to let go of the expectations and enjoy the moment and enjoy the process.”

Asked about his future plans, the guy is true to form.

“I’ll take it day by day.”

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