H.E.R. Celebrates Her Vogue Philippines Cover In Hollywood

H.E.R. Celebrates Her Vogue Philippines Cover In Hollywood

Photo by: Chris Anthony

The Grammy-winning musician fronts the February 2023 issue.

“The impact that this cover is creating” says Gabi Wilson, aka H.E.R., the Filipino-American, Grammy– and Oscar-winning musician. “This is for all the young Black and Filipino girls out there!”

To celebrate the cover, an exclusive intimate party was held at The Thompson Hotel’s Bar Lis, a rooftop lounge in the heart of Hollywood. The space was transformed to a gallery that showcased H.E.R.’s cover shoot from the issue, which was mostly shot in Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, the multi-hyphenate’s maternal hometown.

The venue was turned into a gallery of H.E.R.‘s fashion editorial | Chris Anthony

A homecoming

“I felt like it wouldn’t be special if I didn’t do it where my mom came from. I wanted to really make it connected to the reason why this is so special to me in the first place. The fact that my mom was born and raised in the Philippines and then came to America and met my dad,” shares Gabi Wilson, aka H.E.R. 

The artist says she wants “people to get to know who H.E.R. is, know the person behind the music. I’ll always be H.E.R. and that’s just one layer of who I am. And now, I’m ready to show people the other layers.”

“She wants to do a fashion shoot that feels like she’s revealing Gabi Wilson and with that in mind, we also wanted to really bring her back to her roots,” adds Pam Quiñones, fashion director for Vogue Philippines. “But that also came from her, like she wanted for the rest of the world to know about her being a Filipino.”

Focal point in the venue was a humongous cover that mirrored the actual one: H.E.R. donning a Randolf white tulle and grommet suit set, photographed by Shaira Luna, with a team of almost 30 people lasting for three days. 

Vogue Philippines Fashion Director Pam Quiñones, Vogue Philippines Editor-in-chief Bea Valdes, H.E.R., and MEGA Global Licensing Inc. Chief Operating Officer Rhoda Campos-Aldanese | Chris Anthony

“It was a huge process. I think we had started talking in October and I think one of the things that she really wanted to do was have the shoot in the Philippines. Just having her in like that sense of place,” says Bea Valdes, editor-in-chief of Vogue Philippines, who flew in to California together with the magazine’s COO and publisher Rhoda Campos-Aldanese, “that’s what’s amazing about people who are artists. They find themselves at a certain point being rooted. So again it was sort of central to this idea of friends, of family, and of our community.”

Valdes continues: “I think with her music and how she inspires people, she really does bridge cultures and generations together. It’s quite universal.”

Warm gathering

The cover launch was relaxed and feel-good. Adding to the ambiance was DJ Siobhan Bell playing old school hip hop and RnB, which was actually H.E.R.’s playlist. Making it warmer, especially on a chilly night in Los Angeles, were those in attendance: Gabi’s family, friends, and community. 

Beaming with so much pride in the midst of the party crowd was Agnes, Gabi’s mom. “I’m a little bit teary. I can’t believe it. It feels surreal,” she says, upon seeing her daughter’s cover for the first time. “But at the same time, I’m so proud of my daughter. She works so hard. It’s humbling to be recognized and represent the Filipinos. That’s why I always remind her of where and how I grew up. It’s always about family.”

H.E.R. and her mother, Agnes Sarmiento Wilson | Chris Anthony

Also spotted during the night were siblings Willow and Jaden Smith, rapper/singer Cordae, fashion model Winnie Harlow, singer/songwriter Tiara Thomas, film director Owen Thiele, makeup guru/social media influencer Patrick Starrr, record producer Swagg R’Celious, painter/artist Isabel Maddahi, among others.

Top executives from RCA, H.E.R.’s current label, were also present. Meanwhile, the Filipino-American community came in full force to show support to their superstar homie. Leading the list were Dreamworks’ Paolo De Guzman with wife Lisa, Almar Guevarra, fashion designer Puey Quiñones, host Mond Gutierrez, actor Yassi Pressman, PR/entrepreneur Christina Benthall, JP Reyes-Mallo of HBO Max, and Yong Chavez of The Filipino Channel.

Chef Justyn Mallo-Reyes of Justyn Cafe prepared a Filipino dessert spread that included artisan ensaymada, ube pandesal with melted cheese, as well many of H.E.R.’s favorite Filipino snacks like polvoron and suman.

Sans the usual fashion litany about who wears who, the core of last night’s cover launch could simply summed up as: Family. Homecoming. Music.

Willow Smith, Vogue Philippines Fashion Director Pam Quiñones, Vogue Philippines Editor-in-chief Bea Valdes, Raymond Ang, Jaden Smith, Ray Brown | Chris Anthony
Yassi Pressman, Winnie Harlow, and Kristy Sarah | Chris Anthony
Photo by: Chris Anthony
Elmer Catungal, Oli Sara, Patrick Starr, and Filbert Kung | Chris Anthony
Robert William, Vogue Philippines Fashion Director Pam Quiñones, Mond Gutierrez, MEGA Global Licensing Inc. Chief Operating Officer Rhoda Campos-Aldanese, and Vogue Philippines Editor-in-chief Bea Valdes. | Chris Anthony
Photo by: Chris Anthony

The Vogue Philippines February 2023 issue is available now. Get your copy here.

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