by: Benlito Hobayan
“Fate may bring us to the most unusual places and throw upon us gargantuan challenges but that doesn’t mean we cannot bring your dreams along”.
It was a cold winter night about Six years ago that I was invited by a friend to a mini party to celebrate the yuletide season in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Being in this conservative country such kind of gathering could pose offense to the culture of the host country, but Filipino as we are; we always find a way to celebrate our values without defying the laws of the land that served as our second home.
During the mini party everyone was abuzz with the sumptuous food served and one name that always comes to mention was Barbie. I was a bit curious on Barbie and what has “she” got to do with the delicious food. Then, as the party was about to start, along came the talk of the crowd!
Being someone who is a bit critical on everything around me, I couldn’t help the war going on with my two well contoured eyebrows; my initial reaction was… He is no Barbie! He’s a Teddy Bear! -(of course I am not that mean to say such words in a public to a person whom I just knew… I said that to myself only)…
That’s how I get to know Roberto “Barbie” Felix… Fast forward almost seven years to today, the Barbie who make delicious food remains one of my closest friends. Never did I imagine from that cold winter night, I would end up writing an article featuring the “Teddy Bear Barbie” I met in that party.
Fate has many amusing ways to bring us into our dreams. In the same manner that I end up writing an article featuring a person whom I somehow had slight prejudice on our first meeting but ended as one of my closest friends. Barbie also had his own share of “tug of war” with fate in his quest to achieving his dreams of being an accomplished fashion stylist.
Barbie grew up in the City of Malabon in the Philippines, a place famous for its food and delicacies, which explains his exceptional cooking skills. (Ironically, I used to live in the same place for 2 years, the place where I lived was just few blocks to his home, -but never had the chance to meet him then).
Though he grew up in a place known for its cuisine and being widely exposed to music; for some years he was a trainee musician in Banda Malabon 4, a famous Marching and Brass Band in Malabon. A soloist and a formerly choir President in the choral group in Immaculate Concepcion Parish Malabon City. The Mary Immaculate Choral Group and Himig Papuri Chamber Choir. Aside of this, he worked independently as Event Coordinator/Organizer, host for weddings and debut. Barbie had other interests; at an early age he was already fascinated with the glitz and glamour of beauty pageants. Growing up he followed conscientiously local and international pageants dreaming that one day he become a part of it.
Door opened for him during his university days. This was the time when he had the chance to step into the pageant and fashion scene of the Philippines. He started as an assistant stylist cum make-up artist for pageant candidates, his talent however brought him to new heights in the craft he loves most. Later in his career he became a full-time stylist & make-up artist and handler of models, which gave him a considerable success in the local fashion scene.
To further improve his craft, Barbie did an internship with Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Philippines’ biggest cosmetic company. He worked as a Product Analyst, an ultimate realization of his childhood dreams. But then again, the game of fate came in the way.
In March 2010 a job offer to work Saudi Arabia came his way. Barbie was then torn between his childhood dreams and the opportunity of better salary and financial advancement. Like most Filipinos, he chooses the opportunity and stalled his dreams behind in the Philippines.
As they say… Fate may bring us too many different crossroads and throw humps & bumps along the way, but if we keep the flame of our dreams burning in our hearts, our journey will eventually find its way to our destiny.
In 2010, Barbie met Angel another fashion enthusiast chasing his dreams in Saudi Arabia -a rather unusual place to embark a career on vanity due to its young culture in fashion. Thanks to the rapid change in the world today, Saudi is now more tolerant in this field and as fashion enthusiast myself, I can see the biggest potential in this part of the world due to its very high consumer class demographics.
His acquaintance with Angel led into the re-opening of doors to the fashion world for Barbie. With his innate talent and experience, his entrance to the industry was almost like walk in the park. He was then became a part of The Fashion Runway Eastern Region as one of the Board of Directors.
The most notable model that Barbie had under his tutelage was Eunice Domingo, -probably one of the most sought after expat print and ramp model in Saudi Arabia. Having done projects for various local and international magazines.
To this day, while he has a regular day job as Administrator in one of the biggest Petrochemical Companies in Saudi Arabia, he still manages to keep achieving his dreams in the fashion world.
In 2018, Barbie and his group of friends founded the Studio12 fashion house. Where he serves as one of the board of directors taking charge in the Fashion and Style Department. While serving as one of the BODs, he also contributes articles to Cool Arabia fashion magazine specializing in feature writing.
Looking forward to a better career in the fashion world, Barbie continues to improve his craft by exposing himself to more projects in the local fashion scene.
Like what I have said earlier in this article… “Fate may bring us to the most unusual places and throw upon us gargantuan challenges but that doesn’t mean we cannot bring your dreams along.” – Barbie epitomizes this saying at its best. What he achieved thus far is an enormous treasure he can bank on his growing colorful resume in the fashion Industry.