It’s difficult to concentrate when you are in front of Rafael Rosell. You’ll have that sudden struggle to put your thoughts into words once he starts flashing his pearly whites at you. I’m glad that I’m good at this “Kalma! Ayus lang yan, sus. Oh e ano kung pogi?” type of interviews, I’ve had years of practice of holding in the kilig, that is why I’m thankful that Raf is the epitome of cool, the ambassador of chill, and the representative of good vibes making this interview such a breeze. He’s addicted to thoughts, he likes to read, and do research. I think he has a thing for conspiracy theories too. For a guy, he can talk, a whole lot. “There were many of us, swimming, to this big round thing, tapos like what you said marami sa atin ang namatay di ba? But that’s the thing, I don’t think that it’s being about the survival of the fittest, I think it’s the welcoming of THE one. They didn’t suffer, but they died because they wanted you, Denise, to be part of this system, to grow up and become THE one,” shares Raf. I don’t even know how this dialogue came about but it was like listening to a preacher telling you that you’re very important in this world where in technically, he’s just discussing human reproduction. This almost made me clap but I just smiled and said, “WTF?” And from then, Raf has been one of my favorite people to talk to. His weirdness is charming.
Raf is a vegan. The man loves his meatless, gluten-free, dairy, and egg-free food. How does he do it? I do not know but it’s the fittest that I’ve seen him, so this change in diet really works. “Denise! I’m telling you, I am going to annoy you the entire night,” he says, as he continued to preach on his advocacy of not eating meat. Was he able to convince me to stop eating meat? Uhhmm, let’s just say that my breakfast today was tocino and egg so… Peace! Raf also loves the beach and surfing. He goes to La Union whenever he finds time from his hectic schedule.
When we were planning this interview, I asked him where he wanted to meet, he suggested Susi, a cute and comfy, 100% vegan restaurant at Burgos Circle in BGC that he frequents. We ordered his favorite drink there; it’s their version of chocolate milkshake called Willy Wonka. It consists of chocolate flavored vegan ice cream, soy milk, and banana. It’s actually really good and tasty. Read on as Raf and I talk about him being a vampire, why he thinks people think he’s good looking, and his biggest frustrations in life.
HOW DID WE MEET?
It was on social media, and you had this liking for Bob Marley T-shirts, and I have a major passion for Bob Marley. You wanted to give me some T-shirts and share some love, and then we met downstairs at your building. And we had a “chill session” in my car, and I think I gave you this glass souvenir to enjoy. It was one of those awesome afternoons, as far as I can remember.
He’s right! I gave him some shirts but unfortunately they were the wrong sizes so he couldn’t wear them. Oh and I just want to clear that when he said I wanted to “share some love” it’s not what you guys think. He was referring to the shirts…I think. And yes, he did give me some presents, which I thought was such a kind gesture.
WOULD YOU RATHER BE A VAMPIRE OR KILL A VAMPIRE?
Rafael: I don’t like killing so I’d probably be a vampire because they glorify them on TV series and in the movies. Have you seen how cool it is to be a vampire? I would rock it so much. I mean, like the clothes, the abilities, living forever, aren’t those what we want?
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’D BE BETTER AT, A HUSBAND OR A FATHER?
Rafael: Don’t you have to be both?
D: Not really because there are married couples that don’t have kids.
Rafael: Okay. Let’s start from the beginning, I think you have to be a very good husband because you can’t just become a good father, if you’re not going to be a good husband first, at least that’s how I think. Although there are a lot of men who are good fathers straight away na wala namang mga asawa, and kudos to those strong people. But personally, I would want to be a good husband first.
WHAT THREE SONGS CAN MAKE YOU DANCE?
Rafael: There’s this song I play in the morning, and it’s called “Thank You, Lord” by Bob Marley. It has a very church feel. It reminds me of Sundays, and I love Sundays, I like waking up to the feeling that it’s a Sunday. The second song is “Three Little Birds” also by Bob Marley because it’s a reminder that no matter what ever pain this world has caused you, time will heal all wounds. It’s a reminder that no matter what happens, just sit through the bullshit and you’ll survive no matter what. The third song is “They Don’t Really Care About Us” by Michael Jackson. Have you heard the beat? Contagious! The guy was a genius.
“I think I have a good mind, I think I make sense sometimes, and I think I have a good heart. Good looking physically? I think I’m okay. I accept myself the way I am.”
DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOOD LOOKING?
Rafael: I think I’ve been exposed to television, and television changes how people think so no matter who you put on TV, with enough exposure, that person will be found good looking by at least 50% of the crowd. Am I good looking within? Yeah, I think I have a good mind, I think I make sense sometimes, and I think I have a good heart. Good looking physically? I think I’m okay. I accept myself the way I am.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST FRUSTRATION IN LIFE?
Rafael: I can’t draw. I can’t put what’s in my mind on paper. And also, I can’t sing so well, I’m out of tune lagi. It takes a long time for me to learn a song. If I could sing and draw, I swear, the world wouldn’t have a chance, Denise! Ha ha!
IF ONE DAY YOU WAKE UP A WOMAN, WHAT KIND OF WOMAN WOULD YOU THINK YOU’D BE?
Rafael: A strong activist. I would stand for something, something that would benefit the people. Kabutihan para sa karamihan. I would spread information that in some cases would be looked upon as taboo, blasphemous, or against society, the system, and this monetary BS that we’re all captured in. I will also probably have a vegan restaurant. Yeah, I’d probably be a strong, independent woman spreading knowledge, and fighting for something. Go women power! Spice up your life! Ha ha!
“If I could sing and draw, I swear, the world wouldn’t have a chance, Denise!”
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE TRANSPORTED TO AT THIS VERY MOMENT AND WHAT WILL BE THE FIRST THING THAT YOU’LL DO THERE?
Rafael: The basement and secret corridors and storage areas of the Vatican. What would I do there? I’ll have a translator translate all the scriptures that they haven’t release to the public. I want to know the truth; I want to know what they’re hiding. You never got that answer before no?
D: I was expecting like a beach somewhere but no.
Rafael: No, because I’ve had a lot of beach experiences and a lot of my beach trips I can’t beat anymore, so might as well do something different that would benefit the people, right? Vatican, secret scriptures, release it to the public, let them know the truth.
ASIDE FROM YOUR PARENTS, WHO CAN TALK SENSE INTO YOU WHEN YOU’RE ACTING STUPID?
Rafael: Ate Janice Damasco, she was my handler when I was still in ABS. She’s like my second mother here in the Philippines. In my head, she will always be 27 but she’s 30 something. She acts like my second mother, sister, and best friend. Those times that I would veer away from my original self, she’d be the one to say, “Uy! Gumising ka nga!”
WHY IS THIS CHOCOLATE SOY MILKSHAKE YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?
Rafael: I’ve had chocolate milk since I was a little boy; maybe my mom put some chocolate powder in my dede milk, I think, because I’m a really big fan of it. I like it because it’s sweet, and it reminds me a lot of my childhood.
Interviewed on October 24, 2015