Despite the fact that the Philippines is a latecomer to the DJ scene, and that male DJs tend to dominate the charts, a growing number of outstanding female and LGBT DJs are demonstrating to the globe that they too can succeed just as well as their counterparts. According to the 2021 IMS Business Report, the gap is finally closing—albeit slowly. As a female and an LGBT DJ, your confidence will be put to the test. Your level of success will be determined by it. Confidence comes from knowing yourself and your career approach. We at Midnight Rebels have seen these two DJs in the Philippines overcome numerous obstacles in the course of their careers, despite coming from different walk of life. At the end, good music is good music regardless of age, nationality, race, and gender.
MIAOW and DJ Vera have been so kind as to agree to have a conversation with us about what it’s like to be a female and a lesbian DJ in the Philippines, as well as how they overcame the challenges and discriminations they encountered along the way. We are very grateful for their time and insight.
DJ Vera, a resident at The Palace Manila, a proud lesbian DJ, was ready and perceptive despite her busy schedule to describe her experience as a lesbian DJ in the Philippines. She also offered advice to anyone in the same circumstances as herself.
You have been doing a significant number of gigs on a weekly basis; given this, do you ever find yourself in a situation in which your gender is called into question? How do you go about doing this while still being able to achieve your goal of getting those bookings?
I have been lucky enough to say that in all the years that I have been active in the scene, I have never encountered such incident. It’s a welcome sign that at least there is progress that we make sure that the field is not exclusive to a single group. I know I can’t say the same for others in our line of work, and I know there still are instances of discrimination for female DJs.
I think it’s important that we continue to promote and support all DJs regardless of their gender. At the end of the day, doing what you are good at would not be reliant of your biological predisposition. Striving to do your best will surely land you on the kind of people who would treat you with respect and surround yourself to an environment for support and emotional growth.
What piece of guidance would you offer to other artists who find themselves in a similar situation to yours, namely being looked down upon due to the characteristics that define them as individuals?
If you find yourself in an incident where you are being discriminated solely because you are not a man, compose yourself, do not falter and keep doing your work, because you know you would not be there if you did not deserve it.
Dance music has no need to be a boys’ club. Though female DJs are not often given their due in a patriarchal business, there are many of female DJs who can hold their own behind the booth, MIAOW is one among them. MIAOW has always been a dedicated artist, whether it be in the classroom or behind the turntables. In addition to being a battle-ready DJ, she is also able to teach the craft. Her ballet past grants her the musicality to start her journey into the field of music production.
As a female DJ who, truth be told, possesses a warrior’s skill set on the 1s and 2s and the beauty of a star, you find yourself in a position where your skills are neglected yet you still receive gigs due to your beauty. Does it influence you mentally as an artist, and how do you handle such a situation?
First of all, DAMN “warrior’s skill set” I love that. Imma steal that 😻 Secondly, I don’t think I’m that good looking but before djing I did come from an industry that decided I am, so I guess let’s get into that. I think the fact that I started out as a “model dj” right when that concept pretty much exploded gave me the rebel fuel to set myself apart from that… hence the warrior training and constant push for growth. Right now my thing is making music and being a straight-up nerd. About my situation, I don’t think any efforts are neglected. If anything, (and I’m hoping) it all works synergistically especially in the age of social media wherein its just a matter of showing people what I’m capable of. I get great reactions too and I do believe everything contributes to my bookability. I’m far from where I want to be in terms of visibility… but that’s something I need to learn as well and I’m optimistic about my direction.
Do you ever feel like you’re being looked down on because of the fact that you’re a female DJ at different bars, whether it’s in a sexual way or it’s just being rude? What sort of mentality do you need to adopt in order to triumph over a challenge like this, particularly while playing on a set?
Being looked down on… well I’m quite tall so I don’t think that’s possible 😸 Jokes aside, I think underestimated is the better term. I love it tho! Weird but i love being underestimated. I love proving people wrong.
The one gender challenge tho that I do face and I’m learning to maneuver is when it comes to battles and competitions. I literally do not have as much testosterone as a man so I think it can mess with my nerves and fight or flight responses on a biological level. I think the only way around it is to just keep putting myself in competitive situations… dj-related or otherwise.
Also, desensitizing myself to nerves slowly by forcing myself to display some tricks at gigs. Warrior skills are afterall useless if you can’t bring them to the battlefield.
CHECK OUT HOW MIAOW GETS ON THE BEAT
Focusing on one’s basic values, beliefs, and perceived strengths can inspire people to succeed and may even mitigate the harmful impacts of bias. Overcoming adversity can also help people become more resilient and better prepared to meet future problems. One issue with discrimination is that people might internalize the negative opinions of others, even if they are wrong. You may begin to doubt your own abilities. However, family and friends can help you remember your worth and reframe those false views.