BENCH MEETS An Estrada

All clothes by Cotton On
Photography by Koji Arboleda, assisted by Edsel Uy
Styling by Vince Crisostomo, assisted by Jessie Abarcar
Makeup by Sari Campos
Hair by Cha Vicuna

It seems anyone can win social media these days. With photo-editing apps and the option to schedule posts to primetime, “likes” come pretty cheap. A greater victory in today’s viral world? Keeping your mystery amid all the over-sharing.

An Estrada is one half of a duo that’s managed mystique despite a massive online following. Though she and twin sister En built a name through their dreamy film photography, they’ve turned Instagram into the Sweet Valley High hallway upon which they strut. Of course, countless heads have turned in the process.

Beyond working for their family’s real estate business, the twins have racked up a following by documenting their jet set, high-adrenaline adventures together—tans eternal and hair blowing enviably in the wind. Still, each has carved a pretty persona: En, the glaring badass, and An, a Bond girl with a rom-com smile.

After a recent skateboarding accident and jaunts from Seoul to Spain, B/BLOG finally caught up with the reportedly less evil half of YourEvilTwin to talk spills, thrills, and her morbid use of Instagram.

You’ve got a day job in real estate, I know.

Not a lot of people know that about me. Monday to Saturday siya. As in 9-5 job. Bed and sell family business. Lahat [ginagawa ko]—from ‘pag order ng materials to payroll, to swatches, building permits…

But you get to travel a lot. Is that something you’ve always done as a family?

Parents namin, sobrang addict mag-travel. Ever since, like nung four year’s old pa lang kami, sinasama na kami. Ngayon, instead of birthday gifts, travel yung hinihingi namin. At the same time, nakakapag-pictures kami. Dun talaga kami nag-practice mag-photography.

What led to the photography anyway?

Before, nung-high school to college, nag-t-travel na kami pero very private kami. Ayaw namin siyang i-publish. Yung albums na talagang naka-curate siya and may text pa. Every country, may ganun. Tapos nag-start mag-message yung mga tao. ‘Pwede bang i-publish yung photos niyo?’ Or ‘Can you shoot my prenup?’ So doon kami nag-start. And at the time, wala masyadong photographers, lalo na sa film. Naisip naming, ‘Tara, gawin nating public and gawa tayong blog, and mag-shoot na rin tayo for publications. Try natin.’ Yung first gig namin, sa Young Star. And then yung other publications, nag-message na.

Your style is very raw and dreamy. What influenced that?

Nung super bata pa kami, yung tita namin from New York nagpapadala siya lagi ng Balikbayan box. Puro mga magazines like ‘90s Vogue. Hindi kami super addict sa fashion pero subconsciously, I think yung mga editorials—sobrang addict namin sa super gandang photo. Tapos yung mga magazines din na medyo indie. Nung time na yun, hindi rin masyadong accepted yung lazy, hindi masyadong big production na photo. Si En, lagi niyang sinasabi, ‘Type ko yung vibe ng photo na ‘to.’

‘Pag nag-shoot kami, alam ko kung anong gusto niya at alam niya kung anong gusto ko. Natural lang siya na effortless photo. Pero parehas kami happy compared sa mag-shoot kami sa…hindi ko na sasabihin kung anong magazine (laughs). Syempre, magdadala sila lahat ng makeup artist, minsan ‘di nila gets na kailangan yung makeup subtle lang para hindi masyadong sabog dun sa film. So mas-enjoy talaga namin yung shooting for ourselves. Minsan, contact lang kami ng friends: ‘Shoot tayo.’ Dun nag-start. Puro homemade.

Have you seen your style change or tried anything different?

Wala naman. Pero madaming publications na tinry kaming i-convert to digital. ‘Di kasi talaga eh. Hindi naman namin kailangan mag-earn from it kasi may day job na kami. Fun thing siya so hindi naming kailangang mag-sell out. Medyo picky talaga kami. 

Any recent travel highlights?

Nag-Spain kami. I think wildest din namin siyang trip (laughs).

I saw the photos. May party pa na basang basa kayo sa pintura.

Europe’s largest paint party. Closing night nila. Tapos kami ni En, super yabang namin. ‘Ah, every year naman kami nag-si-Sinulog or nag-la-La Boracay. Wala lang ito. Boracay lang itong Ibiza.’ Apparently hindi, kasi sobrang wild pala (laughs). Feeling ko the whole island was on drugs. Eh hindi naman kami nag-du-drugs ni En, diba? Alak lang ang baon namin. May countdown before mahulog lahat ng paint and before mag-drop yung bass. Tapos nakauwi kami ng six a.m. Yung taxi driver, ayaw na kaming papasukin. Wildest lang talaga. Whimsical kasi yung theme nila eh: may mga robot na may laser, tapos parang carnival thing.

So si En talaga ang travel mate mo?

Well, si Gerard (Cancio, her boyfriend) din pero siya more local or beach. Si En talaga, ‘Tara, adventure tayo’ na talagang foreign country na mawawala kami.

Any planned destinations this year?

Ah, pupuntahan namin si Sam (Lee) end of the month. And then pupunta kaming Tasmania. I think mag-d-drive kami dun. Tapos mag-di-discover kami ng islands, kaming tatlo lang. (Giggles) Sorry, may na-discover akong hashtag: #TasmanianEvil (laughs).

Do you get overwhelmed na ang laki ng following mo sa Instagram?

Mmhmm. Weird lang.

Do you always wonder, ‘Teka, Instagram worthy ba ang ginagawa ko?’

Mmm—‘di naman. Siguro gusto ko lang may remembrance ako lagi sa moment. Most people think, ‘Live the moment’ pero siguro dahil photographer din ako, gusto ko lang nakikita siya. ‘Ah, naaalala ko yung moment na ‘to.’ Feeling ko yun yung ilang seconds before ako mamatay, yung video na yun mag-p-play sa mind ko—laging yung moment na yun, may slot siya. Parang yung Ibiza with the smoke machines, may two seconds ata siya ‘dun sa video na yun. Mag-p-play siya ulit.

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