Bench Body’s biennial fashion “The Naked Truth” held last September 20, 2014 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay was the talk of the town. Some of the notable celebrities who took part in the fashion show were Georgina Wilson, Borgy Manotoc, Solenn Heussaff, Paulo Avelino, Ellen Adarna, Tom Rodriguez, Dennis Trillo, Kim Chiu, Jake Cuenca, Carla Abellana, Sarah Lahbati, Richard Gutierrez, Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, and more. The evening was highlighted by revealing outfits and sensual performances.
Enchong Dee climbed a steel pole like a professional. He wore white sleeveless top, white shorts, white sneakers and a long white garment that resembled something like a trench coat and a cape. Dee was an image of pure white as he went up the pole. The audience was surprised with Dee’s acrobatic act that entailed upper and lower body strength. The crowd was pleased with his effortless delivery of the stunt.
Kim Chiu first wowed the viewers when she demonstrated her amazing flexibility in the reality series Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition in 2006. She maintained her flexibility through the years. During the Bench Body’s biennial fashion show, people were fascinated with Chiu’s dramatic bending and flexing of her body on top of a moving platform. She wore white jeans and white body corset.
Jake Cuenca is not new in strutting his bare butt in front of the audience. During the 2008 Bench fashion show, Cuenca pulled down his shorts to display his behind to the delight of the crowd. This year is Cuenca’s last Bench Body Fashion appearance so he gave the people an unforgettable performance. He was applauded for his daring act. Cuenca went down the catwalk wearing only a jockstrap to flaunt his exposed rear. He did a trapeze-inspired stunt and pull-ups in the air. Cuenca was accompanied by other models wearing red headdresses. A lady in the trapeze swung upside down to give Cuenca a kiss, reminiscent of Spider-man.
Paulo Avelino kissed Solenn Heussaff on the lips during “The Naked Truth” Bench Fashion Show. The kiss surprised the people because the two are not romantically linked in real life. Heussaff’s boyfriend was watching in the audience and he made a funny gesture pretending to mock Avelino. The two may not be real life lovers but they look good together on stage.
Newly engaged Marian Rivera looked incredibly sexy during “The Naked Truth” Bench Fashion Show. She did not chronicle her workout routines and diet on Facebook or Instagram unlike other celebrities but her toned body was proof of her behind-the-scenes effort and discipline. During her performance, Rivera held a hula-hoop high in the air and one of the acrobats flipped through it.
Basketball teen hunks Jeron and Jeric Teng and Andre Paras made an appearance in the fashion show. The Teng brothers wore cut-off jeans with their top wrapped around their waist. They showed off their bare upper bodies as they held on to their basketballs. Andre Paras, on the other hand, was fully clothed. He wore a muscle shirt and denim.
Real life partners, Sarah Lahbati and Richard Gutierrez gave the audience a sizzling performance as they kissed each other passionately in front of everyone’s eyes. The sexy momma came out wearing shorts and a bra while Gutierrez walked shirtless. The hot couple engaged in public display of affection twice during the evening.
Filipino-American transgender right advocate Geena Rocero proudly walked the runway. It was considered a momentous moment for the LGBT community.
Teen sensations Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo also appeared on the fashion show but they didn’t show any skin unlike other models. Their wholesome participation was warmly received by the people. They exchanged a tender hug at the end of the performance.
StyleBible.PH conducted an online survey. Netizens responded to the question, “Which Bench bombshell stole the show at the MOA Arena last Saturday?” Here are the results as of September 28, 2014.
• Solenn Heussaff – 42.8%
• Mairan River – 31.9%
• Kim Chiu – 17.05%
• Georgina Wilson – 4.49%
• Kathryn Bernardo – 1.92%
• Max Collins – 1.01%
• Dominique Cojuangco – 0.55%
• Jessy Mendiola – 0.27%
Not everyone was mesmerized by “The Naked Truth” Bench Fashion Show. Some people found specific portions of the show disturbing.
Senator Pia Cayetano criticized the portion of the show that illustrated man as master and woman as pet. She mentioned two offensive online photos that circulated on social media sites degrading women. In a particular segment, a female model wearing a skimpy attire pretended to be a pet as she walked on all fours. Actor Coco Martin walked fully clothed as he held the leash attached to the female model’s neck. The scene portrayed a master and pet relationship which attracted negative reactions from several groups.
Cayetano told the media that she immediately expressed her opinion about the matter to Ben Chan, chairman and CEO of Bench. The image of enslaving women came out in bad taste. It disrespected women in general.
“I told him that while I respect the artistic license of the team that conceptualized the fashion show, the derogatory portrayal of women is offensive and should not be tolerated. Such portrayals reinforce society’s sexist view of women, instead of contributing to the gender education of our people, especially of our youth,” the senator said.
Gabriela Women’s Party List also expressed the same sentiments about the humiliating portrayal of women during the fashion show.
On September 23, Tuesday, Bench issued a public apology on their official Facebook page. “We at Bench apologize to the public for all the offensive elements of the show, ‘The Naked Truth’ We will take all these concerns seriously and will serve as a lesson learned when we plan our next show. We at Bench shall continue to uphold the dignity of women and our commitment will remain so,” the statement said.
Another segment during the Bench fashion show alerted the attention of LGBT. The near-kiss of Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez and the lip-locking moment of two female models while the two male celebrities watched “ostracized gay men while objectifying women.” It gave the wrong message that it is alright to see women display affection such as holding hands or kissing but it is malicious to see men in close proximity.
Photo c/o Bench Official Facebook.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a chocolate lover, full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.