Can a fading 80â€™s pop culture icon turn author?
It may be a tricky transition, but looking at the success of RJ Ledesmaâ€™s magnum opus, Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me, RJ Ledesma’s Imaginary Guide to Whine and Women, published by Anvil Publishing , which hit 2nd printing a few weeks after it was released, the answer is a resounding yes.
Those who know him, or (more probably) know of him are likely to expect an unapologetically satirical exploration of his psycheâ€”and based on the title, largely anchored on the wisdom his Yaya generously imparted during his formative years.
â€œThis book was inspired by a great deal of childhood memories, which is why I talk about my Yaya a lotâ€”the 80s was a blur except for Royal True Orange and my Yaya,â€ RJ explains, referring to a commercial he did in the early 80s that sealed his fate as a definitive, albeit fading, pop culture icon. â€œAnd then of course, there was also accelerated hair loss, continued unsupervised surfing of the Internetâ€¦â€ he trails.
The book, available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks, is a rollicking compilation of random observations about dating in the twenty-first century. And as the real face of Filipino manhood comes out from behind his Yayaâ€™s skirts, his definitive commentary on the profundity of courtship and the intricacies of relationships come to light as well. Heâ€™s had a lot of experience after allâ€”in fact, his first foray into dating scene was broadcasted on national TV nearly 20 years ago, when he was cast as Joey in what could possibly be the most memorable Royal Tru Orange advert ever made.
When asked about his topic, RJ candidly shares that while the subject of dating may not have caught his interest when he began his writing career, he admits that, â€œdating is very interestingâ€”in fact, the most interesting thing that I can write about is human relationships, because itâ€™s something that everyone can relate to.â€
Approaching it from an anthropological perspective as well as spiking it with a good dose of biting honesty and self-deprecating humour however, breathed new life into the subject. â€œThe nice thing about humour is that youâ€™re able to tell the truth in a way that you can accept it. Luckily Iâ€™m someone who has a very low threshold of embarrassment and can make fun of the fact that Yaya used to bathe me until I was 25,â€ he shares (hopefully) in jest.
An erstwhile college instructor, brand manager, yoga teacher, television host and of course, unforgettable hawker of orange soda, RJ today writes a regular humor column for the Philippine Star called â€œPogi from a Parallel Universe,â€ which tackles issues about Filipino men, and is Editor-in-Chief of Manual Magazine.
As for future projects, well, given that his first one has already sold out, expect to see the sequel to Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me soon.