Utt Yours

By Ana Kalaw

Contributed by : Chris



I don't think she likes me very much." Utt says to everybody, and anybody. Everybody and anybody barely acknowledge, carrying on with their Sunday afternoon preparations for this Sunday afternoon shoot. I, the one within best hearing range, the one he's supposedly having a conversation with, and the "she" referred to, pause and reflect on his musings. There's nothing not to like about Utt, MTV Asia's pretty boy veejay, in Manila for a few days a couple of weeks ago. He's friendly, articulate, and has a smile of a kid trapped in a candy store. He's active and agile (that you suspect a caffeine overload in his system), he's versatile (one minute he can be talking to you, the next minute he can be sneaking Frankie the pug into the refrigerator while insisting that he's a big animal lover). He has this playful energy about him that's so infectious, you don't question MTV's decision to stick with him for all these years. Plus, he's great in front of the camera, photographing beautifully from any angle. There's nothing not to like about Utt. So I don't know why he even said what he did. It could have something to do with my asking if he has ADD (Attention Deficiency Disorder), or how I couldn't get over the fact that he had to wear my white ribbed tank top for one shot and fit into it perfectly, or with how I would momentarily pause during the interview trying to figure out if he was taking me for a ride. Just like I did when he supposed that I didn't like him very much. So I laugh in response to his comment. Like I said, you can't not like VJ Utt. You won't have enough energy for it.

YSTYLE: How do you manage to have so much energy at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon?

UTT: I think it's, like, the pizza and the Pepsi – carbonation can really spike it in you…I kind of go in and out…I like traumatizing.

Are you trying to traumatize us?

No, I'm not trying to traumatize you. I'm not usually like this. Believe me. I'm usually quiet. You can ask anyone who knows me. I'm never like this. I'm usually like Frankie.

So you're usually on all fours?

Yeah…that doesn't sound good (laughs long and hard). OK, let's get serious.

Do you really want to get serious?

No (laughs again).

Seriously, how serious can you really get? Are we taping?

We're not even taping. (Eyes the micro-corder planted in front of his face).

Oh, we are! OK. It depends on my mood. Most of the time, I'm not serious because of the work that I do but I'm serious to the point to be responsible with the stuff I'm doing. But I try to come out as light-hearted. Well, not light-hearted but in the end you just need to be yourself.

How is Utt like when he's being himself?

Being who I am is saying the things I say, doing the things I do without having an agenda or thinking about it beforehand. That's who I am. You talk a lot of for someone's who claims he's "usually quiet". I just say anything. I say everything. I think everyone has different sides to them. They have their quiet sides, they have their hyper side. I just tend to be hyper than most people. Anyway, hosting or being a veejay is one profession where it's hard to hide who you are because you're seen day in and day out – you're not in character, you're not acting. You bring out a lot of you to the medium.

How long have you been hosting?

Not including MTV, I've been hosting for about nine, ten years now.

Apart from hosting and veejaying, what gets you going?

I love animals. When I have free time, I like to do a lot of recreational stuff. I like to go out and do something whether it's mountain biking, wakeboarding, rollerboarding. Just go out. I'm an outdoorsy person. Guess you're one of those people who can't keep still. Yeah. I can't stay still very long…I can if I concentrate and stay focused especially when it's regarding work but every now and then I would need to go out and do something just for the sake of my sanity.

How often do you do these things?

I seldom have free time. I think it's probably because I'm juggling work in different countries. I'm based in Singapore and I have a manager there but I also have a manager in Thailand, which is still my home. Last year, I had to commute back to Thailand quite often where I have two soap operas and they took about three to five months each to shoot. I have my work with MTV Asia and they're my priority. If I have to work on a side project, I have to do it on the weekend. My side projects last year were my soap operas in Thailand and a sitcom in Singapore. And I tackled on this show, which is something like Ripley's Believe or Not and it's on Terrestrial TV in Singapore. So in a year alone, I can do many things in different places and these take up my time. You may ask why I'm taking on so much and that's because the opportunity is there. I try to do as much as I can while I can.

Did you have to kill anybody in the soap operas you appeared in?

Kill someone. No! Oh no! Did you have to slap anybody? Did I slap anybody. No. I got slapped. Oh my gosh. In the last soap opera I did, I played the role of this young advertising executive who took over his father's company after the father passed away. He's supposed to be in the process of having a family – his mother had already arranged for him to marry somebody – but he really just wants to have fun. He has two interns whom he's seeing separately and I have an extra girlfriend…

So you were a playboy in this soap opera?

Yeah, I was.

Is that how you are in real life?

I think, in every character I play, I bring some parts of myself into it. It's not me as a whole, just some parts in there. It's really cool because in that soap opera, the three girls that I was seeing were best friends and they didn't know that they were all seeing the same guy…

Has that ever happened to you outside of the soap opera?

Once. But not just three…Anyway, let's go back to the soap opera. Man! In that soap opera, I got slapped by my mom, by my girlfriend's mom, by my girlfriend, by my girlfriend's girl friend. My face was numb. When I go into acting, I want the real thing. I picked the girls that I acted with and they were all new and quite scared to slap me because they weren't used to it. I know soap operas are supposed to be cheesy and give what the market likes so it's good to go real. So I was slapped.

How many times in one day?

No, not that much. Throughout the whole 13 episodes, I was probably slapped ten times. I was telling the director that they should just change the name of the soap opera into Slap my Face or something like that since I got slapped so much.

Tell us about your new show in Singapore. It focuses on supernatural activity… Ghosts, spirits and the like?

Yeah. That will be airing in Singapore next month.

Have you had any encounters with the supernatural?

I have in Thailand. I think Thailand is kinda mysterious and there are strange occurrences happening. I see things here and there like shadows but I'm not sure if they're really shadows or something else. But that's how I'm supposed to be. I have to be objective and say, "Was it a figment of the imagination or did it really happen?"

Do you believe in the supernatural?

I believe there are spirits out there. I believe there are a lot of things you can't really explain.

Scariest movie you've seen.

Scary Movie. That was so cool. I so freakin' laughed through the entire thing. But seriously, it would have to be the classic Exorcist. That was pretty cool, especially when Linda Blair was like this (opens mouth, sticks out tongue and makes a noise resembling a gargle).

How'd you end up being called "Utt"?

"Utt" is a nickname from Uttsada, which is my Thai name. Greg is my English name but in Thailand, they can't really say "Greg" – they say "Glek" or "Klek". My nickname "Utt" was easier to use. I used "Greg" for six months when I started MTV but my boss thought I needed to go more ethnic. It was really difficult in the beginning when they would refer to VJ Greg and people in Thailand thought it was a different person from VJ Utt.

Would you consider yourself a metrosexual?

I don't know. I'm a slob. I think I can groomed to be a metrosexual, especially for the magazines, since I have such a pretty boy face, you know, a bubble gum face, really cute and all that. But I'm more a slob than anything. Just because of how I look, I think it's easier, in editorials, to put me in a suit, or put some cologne next to me or a facial wash and say, "He's a metrosexual". But I'm really just a soap and water kind of guy. I've been upping it, though, because my manager wants me to be more conscious of taking care of my face and all that stuff.

How do you usually dress?

It varies and it depends on my mood. I've been very fortunate to have been sponsored by different brands so I have a diversity of clothes to choose from when I go places. I'm usually quite slobbish – like a T-shirt and cargo kind of guy – but I do enjoy picking out clothes.

Would you consider yourself an actor?

I don't know what to consider myself. I have a passion for acting and I also host. I guess you could say I'm an entertainer. I don't know…

Well, can you sing?

I guess…not to entertain…

Can you dance?

I can't dance! Maybe not an entertainer.

A multi-tasker?

You know what, that's an interesting question. I don't know what to label myself. For the Singapore market, I'm known more as a host because MTV is quite huge in the region. When I go back to Thailand, I not affiliated as much with MTV; I'm more known as being… The guy who gets slapped around. Basically, yeah. But it's growing. Since I started with this new sitcom for Singapore, I've reached out to a wider audience who don't know about the entire hosting aspect…I guess I'm an actor slash host slash model.

Taken from: http://www.philstar.com/philstar/Lifestyle200403269713.htm

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December 2003 - January 2004