Chill, fangirls + the 6,000 people who hoarded SM Mall of Asia to catch the Ian Somerhalder. I didn’t mean “This Dude Sucks” that way (really, ya think I’d insult our own February 2012 issue cover boy?) He really does do all that sucking for his role as Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries. Fine, maybe we do find it kinda sucky that he’s not walking at the Penshoppe All Stars show later. But remembering what happened last Wednesday at the Manila Peninsula totally overshadowed every bit of disappointment in me.
I—and the entire press of Manila—got the chance to see him face-to-face and do a bit of a catch up. So it’s true, Ian is Penshoppe’s new endorser (Damn, Penshoppe is on the roll right now with these international celebrities, huh?) And I just gotta say, Ian’s still as passionate about his craft, the environment, and his foundation as he was when I spoke to him over the phone months ago for our cover story (read up; it’s not too late).
How inspiring, funny, charming, and hot is he? Read the interview and watch the short video below.
“The people who [make us notice the beautiful in the little things] on a daily basis, don’t they make you feel better? So if we can just be that around, for, with, on each other, and just slap each other in the face with positive thinking, then from there, we can probably win.”
I think events like the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) are very important because now, they see a different aspect of you. They see a totally different part of your personality beyond what they usually see on television.
IS: Well yeah, like I usually rip people’s heads off. [laughs]
[laughs] You like this better, of course.
IS: This is pretty great, you know. But ripping people’s heads off and seducing women is also not the worse thing in the world. I’m just saying.
It’s something you’re really good at—on TV.
IS: On TV, yeah.
So, you were talking about a partnership [with Penshoppe]. So that means you’ll be here often, right?
IS: I would love that.
Like take a vacation here?
IS: Yes, well, I thought I was taking a vacation here, but boy was I wrong. But listen, I plan on being here. What I learned today, being in the mall and listening to what you guys have had to say, I realized what the Filipino people are doing. Big corporations are taking massive strides in protecting and preserving everything—from resources that fall from the sky, the resources that we create and extract—you guys are literally conserving them. And on a corporate level, no one knows that you’re doing that. And I think that’s what we need to change. It’s that Filipino people are actually leading the charge into this green future and I think people should know that, and you guys literally… Hi… [waves at screaming fans] …should give yourselves like a real applause and say, “This is incredible,” you know. Thank you, I’m gonna give it to you. [applauds]
Well, thank you for recognizing the effort. A couple of our friends from the media would like to ask a couple of questions.
IS: There’s press here? Oh, hi guys! [waves—again—at screaming fans]
Will we be seeing you in the big screen anytime soon?
I would like that to happen as quickly as possible…I couldn’t find the right film to sort of sink my teeth in…no pun intended. Duh. Hopefully soon. There are some things in the works that would be very, very cool. If I am on the big screen, are you gonna come see it?
Even if you hate it, still tell your friends. See the movie.
You’re noted for your green efforts; how does this translate to your wardrobe and, as an actor who always travels, how do you offset your carbon footprint?
I’ve been learning to use more sustainable methods of sourcing fabrics, cottons, dyes, the way they process their clothing. So I’ve recently been finding these clothing companies, and I’m trying to use them as much as possible… We were going to El Nido. You fly on this little chartered plane, and this plane spits out all these exhaust, right? So what this company, ITI, has done, it shows you how it produces an x amount of kilograms of CO2, so when you land, we realize that it takes about six trees to offset—per passenger—a carbon footprint for that flight. So they plant six trees for every passenger that flies. How cool is that? I mean, if Delta or any other giant airline did that, there would be forests as far as the eye can see in every corner of the world. And I think that that again is Filipino people taking strides… I’m buying this farm for ISF—and it’s gonna be so cool: animal sanctuary, sustainable agriculture farm—and I wanna do that. I wanna make like a little flyer forest and start planting trees. I fly so much I feel awful—but I’d fly here to get to you guys. And so I just wanna plant trees for every person that’s flying into the farm; I wanna offset that carbon. I think it’s a phenomenal idea and that’s just another way that a company in the Philippines have been taking strides to kick some major green butt.
Who are the actors/directors that you dream of working with?
IS: That’s another great question. You’re killing me. I need some more coffee. There are a lot of incredible filmmakers, and shooting and working as much as you do on television shows—I mean, it’s 22 episodes this season, so it’s 9 months straight of shooting. I think we shoot 200+ days every year. That’s a lot of shooting. So going through a lot of directors, you realize that making films are all about the filmmakers, and so there are directors out there—guys who are just…anything they touch is gold because their hearts and their minds are so huge—like Clint Eastwood or Sean Penn, or Ed Harris, and other younger actors like the Christian Bale’s of the world, people who are such huge forces of nature when it comes to their craft. And it’s about the craft, it’s a tool, it’s a skill set, just like making clothes or building automobiles, designing buildings. I think that a lot of of new media, television, and films accept a lot of mediocrity. I think that there is something to be said about people who do not compromise. They give so much to their craft, and I wanna try and develop that more. So I figured that if I suck, then I might as well surround myself with people who are amazing and then maybe one day, I’ll bring myself up to their level.
Do you think he sucks?
IS: Bad for my ego, guys. [winks]
What keeps you moving forward on a daily basis?
IS: The idea that all those things—positivity and progression—will literally lead us to a better, healthier, and more sustainable life. I mean, mentally, physically, emotionally, environmentally… I shouldn’t even say environmentally. Imma throw something out at you guys really quick. Just a quick thought: so one of my deepest friends, mentor, someone whom I deeply care about is Deepak Choprah—I know you all know him. He reminded me of something. We say the word “environment,” and I would assume that the definition of environment would be the natural world surrounding us, right? But think about this for a second: imagine that there is no environment. We keep saying that we’re us, you’re you, I’m me, and then this is our environment, when in all actuality, there is no environment. We are the environment. The world is literally one biological process. The trees are our lungs. Look at the Amazon River system next to a human cardiovascular system, look at corals or trees and look at our lungs, you literally cannot tell the difference. They’re the same. So when we destroy our environment, we’re effectively destroying ourselves. So if we can just reprogram our heads, just start to realize that there is no environment, we are literally the environment. When we’re slashing and burning all these forests, imagine taking out one of your lungs. And we all know how hard it is to breathe. Imagine if our waterway system, our cardiovascular system, will carry nothing but chemicals and waste and awful things. We would literally start to shut down. That’s what we’re doing out there. I just wanted to throw it out there because I had the thought. I’ll go back to your question. I’m sorry.
Yeah, it’s really just that. You just seem to notice the beautiful in the little things.
Well, you have to. The people who do that to us on a daily basis, that inspire you to do that, don’t they make you feel better? So if we can just be that around, for, with, on each other, and just slap each other in the face with positive thinking, then from there, we can probably win. You know what I mean?
L-R: Lead PR Joyce A. Ramirez, GABC CEO Bernie Liu, Ian Somerhalder, Alice Liu, Alex Mendoza and Paolo Bediones
“After spending a weekend with this family, and Penshoppe, and realizing what you guys do, I feel as though I’m part of something very special here.”
You have the Trevor Project, the IS Foundation…Where do you find the time to put these things together and network?
IS: I don’t know where I find the time… I lay in bed with all these stuff. I keep a notepad and my iPad next to my bed, and I just scribble, scribble, scribble when I wake up. Then I say, ‘What the hell is all these stuff?’ the next morning. It’s also about assembling a team. I was just reading a report this morning and there’s a hundred and one people right now working for ISF, and I mean really work—coming up with ideas, structuring our initiatives, finance. That’s a huge web of people. A hundred people doesn’t seem like a lot, but a hundred people just devising and coming up with things to do for this world is very cool, you know?
Can you share some personal rules to live by for a happy and satisfied life?
IS: Wrong person to ask, man. I am the most scattered brained-individual. But, again, positive thinking. We all have these crazy dark places that we find ourselves in, and I’m an actor so I have to access that stuff sometimes when working. It’s kooky, it’s dark, and I love it for what it’s worth, but I love to take it and turn it into positivity. You have to. I am not gonna go into quantum theory with you, guys, but the idea that the brain is so powerful, it is as powerful as any satellite beaming and shooting signals for watching TV and movies every day. And if you create positive thinking, guess what it does? It projects out there. You pick up on it, I pick up on it. So those days when it’s raining and—wait, it doesn’t get cold here—but when it’s raining and it’s just dreary or you’re in a funk, you have to find this place of positive thinking ‘coz it’s the only place that’s gonna bring you out of there. And by the way, when was the last time you had a blast hanging out with someone who just does this all day [crosses arms and pouts]? It’s not that fun. If there’s any one rule that to live by, or that I do—I’m never gonna tell you what to do—it would probably be [positive thinking]. Good luck. Don’t mess it up, man. Don’t mess it up. [laughs]
What are you going to tell your friends and family back home about Penshoppe and the Philippines?
IS: I would say, “Don’t go there, man. They will kill you with kindness.” Which they will. And I’m telling you, I’ve been so surprised—not that I have any preconceived notions—but when you go somewhere, you’d want to read up about it, and I always read about the Philippines. My father is obsessed with this country. I’ve been so blown away and humbled by your generosity and the sheer stunned beauty, how progressive everything here is, how progressive you guys are. So when I go home, I would honestly say, “You have to go to this place. You have to check out what these big companies are doing, what the people behind them are doing to better themselves and better the world we live in.” We all breathe the same air. We all sleep under the same umbrella of beautiful stars, and the same rainclouds, they rain on us. And if we don’t realize that, then we’re screwed. Really. So that’s what I will be telling people. I’d be telling people that you have to check this place out, and raise awareness for this place. Absolutely.
How does it feel to be chosen as the brand endorser for a local brand here in the Philippines?
IS: It’s amazing…after spending a weekend with this family and Penshoppe, and realizing what you guys do, I feel as though I’m part of something very special here. This rare partnership—they don’t happen ever—is something that we can all be really proud of and that is going to produce real results. I’m really, really proud to be here and I appreciate absolutely everything. No, wait, I’m lying. This sucks. This is awful. No, really, I am blown away by it. I really feel like there’s something so meaningful here. You know, it’s such an organic marriage.
What part of the photoshoot in Palawan did you enjoy the most?
IS: Running around on a secluded tropical island—or actually several of them—drinking out of coconuts, hanging out under palm trees, and getting your pictures taken by the phenomenal photographers surrounded by an incredible team of people is not the worst thing you can do. So it was all inclusive of just amazing. Waking up at five every morning ‘coz of jet lag, and watching the tide come in, and just seeing the change of nature—what it does to you is incredible. We live in cities. Get on a plane or a boat and go and explore the islands that you guys are from because, wow, man, you’re incredibly lucky.
What’s it like to return to the front of the camera as a model? And comment on Vogue’s suggestion that people now limit the age of models from super young to at least eighteen.
IS: There’s no separation for me, oddly enough, between the still camera and a moving camera. I’ve been in front of cameras—oh my God, there’s cameras [points at the press pit]—I’ve been in front of them for 20 something years now. We all have—our parents have been sticking cameras in our faces since forever. But I’ve been doing it professionally for 20+ years. That’s crazy. So there was no separation; that was a piece of cake. It’s amazing, the team of people is incredible. And the other part is, I think that there absolutely should be a way to limit how young these girls are. I remember when I was 16 years old in the fashion business, these girls who were labeled as ‘supermodels’ were 14 years old, and it’s a very strange thing that you have a 14-year-old girl who maybe is five feet eleven inches who looks like she’s 25 selling high-end clothes to adult women—women chasing this fountain of youth and beauty, yet it’s from a 14 year old. So how does a 45-year-old woman who is agonizing over getting older to begin with, who is already beautiful and wonderful, compare to this model? Well, there’s one little thing she’s forgetting about: that that model is a freshman in high school or an eighth grade or a sophomore. So I totally disagree with how that works, but I think that’s part of fashion that’s been going on for many years. So maybe we can be the agents of change and allow that to organically segue into being a little more true to whatever brand you’re selling. I tell you what, Photoshop is what destroyed us. I mean, how do you compete with that little mouse? I have friends of mine who are 35 to 45-year-old women who are aging beautifully and naturally, and they agonize over this weird obsession we have with staying at one age. I just turned 33, man. 30 is the most powerful number ever. I woke up on my 30th birthday and said, ‘I made it! I’m an adult! This is so cool!’ I’m 33 now, and I have more energy and more ability to reason with myself than I had when I was 18 or 20, and I feel so much better about myself. So there’s something amazing about aging.
“I woke up on my 30th birthday and said, ‘I made it! I’m an adult! This is so cool!’ I’m 33 now, and I have more energy and more ability to reason with myself than I had when I was 18 or 20, and I feel so much better about myself. So there’s something amazing about aging.”
What were the particular looks you wore for the upcoming Penshoppe campaign?
IS: Well, I didn’t wear any clothes. [audience screams] Am I supposed to wear clothes? Alex, why didn’t you get me clothes? Liars. Sorry. Well, the looks were varied. I think we covered up until Fall 2045; there were a lot of looks, there were a lot of bright colors and fun, simple, soft fabrics that were really comfortable. I mean it was about 95 degrees and a hundred percent humidity, and there were certain outfits which I thought I was gonna fall over, but then once you sort of take off clothing, strip down to lighter fabrics, it was pretty awesome… The Penshoppe G-strings were awesome. Really comfortable.
How would you describe your personal style and how does Penshoppe fit into that?
IS: I’m the worst when it comes to fashion ‘coz I don’t even shop by look anymore. I just close my eyes and feel because it’s about comfort. I live in a world where—well, we all do, it’s so funny. Men? We shop for comfort. That is our go-to. Women, what is it? What’s the old adage? Pain is fashion? Fashion is beauty? Pain is beauty? Fashion before comfort? [nods]…Fashion before comfort? It’s like, what are you talking about? So I’m a typical guy. I mean jeans and t-shirt, super comfortable, and just…just be comfortable. That’s just how I am right now. And thank you for making me comfortable, guys…I think that’s what Penshoppe is. It’s youthful, comfortable, bright, airy, and confident, and that’s what we long for. Or at least I will. I don’t know about you, guys.
You went shopping in the Mall of Asia store earlier. Which particular pieces did you pick?
IS: I’m wearing ‘em…I walked out of that store with some really great things, and I changed four different times today; it’s kind of fun. I feel like a Ken Doll, you know? I almost said Barbie—that would have been really funny. But yeah, it was great. I have to keep traveling, so when I leave here, I have to go all over the place. So now I’ve got real comfortable duds I can cruise around in.
A lot of people admire the fact that you admitted your real age. A lot of celebrities like to hide how old they really are.
IS: Well, it’s a little word called Google. It’s bizarre to me; I don’t know how people hide their age in 2012. It’s the digital world. If I was trying to be 22, maybe I’d do that, but I think there’s just something profoundly amazing about growing up…But you have to stay young in here [points to the brain].
Does he look 33?
IS: That’s ‘coz I’m a vampire.
Watch the 1:30-minute video we have of him saying he didn’t wear any clothes for the campaign. So much for the announcer and her advisory (“Please be reminded that this is not a meet-and-greet. It’s a presscon, and there shall be no screaming and shouting.”) before the interview. Yeah, I ended up becoming a bit deaf at the end, but who am I to complain after meeting Ian? Thank you, Penshoppe, Publicity Asia, and Manila Peninsula for making every girl’s dream come true.—HITGIRL
Presccon photos courtesy of Magic Liwanag, Twitter photo courtesy of Ian Somerhalder