I'd be too mean if I were a judge: Bryanboy on ANTM

Filipino blogger Bryanboy (far right) shares the spotlight with America’s Next Top Model judges Tyra Banks and stylist Johnny Wujek.

No judging? No problem. Passing comments on anything and everything fashion- related comes as second nature for renowned Filipino fashion power blogger Bryanboy.

But he's relieved to be the only non-judge on the panel of experts for the long-running reality TV modelling series America's Next Top Model (ANTM).

Last year, he was added to the line-up for the show's 19th season as its "social media correspondent" alongside the three judges, host-creator-supermodel Tyra Banks, male model Rob Evans and fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone.

He represented the viewers and fans, who became the "fourth judge" as their online votes are added to contestants' final scores that determined who would be eliminated weekly.

And he reprises that role for ANTM's 20th season, which premieres over Star World (StarHub Ch 501/ SingTel mio TV Ch 301) tonight at 9.40pm.

It features a guys versus girls twist - the first time male models are thrown into the mix for the competition.

But surely the Internet celebrity must secretly wish he could dole out some tough love too?

"If I was a judge, I'd be too mean! My personal comments will not be very good! I left Kelly to be the bad person," Bryanboy, whose real name is Bryan Grey Yambao, joked over the phone.

The 32-year-old was speaking to The New Paper from his home base of New York City, where he "just got off the train". He was distracted during our interview by passers-by greeting him on the streets.

Bryanboy found it "fun" to be invited to return to ANTM, as his original contract only stipulated his participation for one season.

"It's always an honour to come back, and seeing the team is always a pleasure. The taping (of each season) takes two months, and so the team of Tyra, Kelly, Rob and (ANTM's resident creative consultant and stylist) Johnny (Wujek) felt like family.

"This season, I got to participate more and be active in a challenge with my friend and fellow blogger Perez Hilton.

"As someone with no (prior) TV experience, the second time round was easier for me, I wasn't as nervous."

Reconnecting with Tyra

Bryanboy - who started blogging eight years ago and is now a front-row fixture at Fashion Weeks around the world and pals with top designers and models - also enjoyed reconnecting with Banks, 39.

"We are best friends. She's definitely motherly, kind, very supportive, takes good care of the people around her. She may seem larger than life and iconic, but beyond the facade, she's a caring person.

"When I had relationship problems and needed help, she gave great advice," he said, but remained tight-lipped on whether his love life - he's supposedly been dating a Swedish banker since 2010 - is back on track.

But suggest that Banks is an attention-seeking multi-tasking media personality who seems to be in love with herself and Bryanboy's defences come up.

"Everyone's in love with themselves! We live in a day and age of social media. Everyone's taking pictures of themselves and posting on the Internet, sharing the book of our lives, so she's not very different from others. There also aren't bloggers (out there) who don't love themselves," he said, in a nod to his own self-confessed narcissism.

But even though the Manila native is the reigning king of the medium after amassing hundreds of thousands of loyal followers who hang on to his every word, he admits to having his own love-hate relationship with social media.

"I take what's good and ignore the bad. Over the years, I've learnt not to take things seriously and just stick to my vision, to not get offended or affected and to block out the negativity," he said.


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