"Sa kalye mahirap mabuhay, wala kang pangarap..." Rocky Gathercole mentioned to Ginger Conejero in an interview as he mused about his past as a homeless teen. Armed with a quirky American surname from a biological American father, many wouldn't imagine the pain and longsuffering he endured in his tender years in Manila. Before becoming a revered fashion designer, Rocky had once run away from an abusive childhood and took to a life of poverty on the streets of Manila as a teenager. This is your veritable rags to riches tale strongly seasoned with style. This Saturday, July 1 at 8:30 PM, Rocky's true story will be retold on Maalaala Mo Kaya and handsome Ang Probinsyano kontrabida actor Arjo Atayde will be portraying Rocky Gathercole as an adult.
As a young teen with a sincere passion for fashion design, Rocky eventually came out as gay. But it was not without difficulty and struggles brought in by his alcoholic, womanizing stepdad. Rocky shares, "Kasi may identity crisis ako, nag-aaral naman ako pero di naman nagbabayad ng tuition Daddy ko so parang wala rin. Di ko alam kung ano mangyayari sakin. Parang hindi ko nakita future ko so lumayas ako, hinanap ko sarili ko. Tumira ako sa kalye."
Rocky roamed the streets, "Sa Roxas Boulevard, Luneta, mostly sa Lawton, sa ilalim ng LRT." Later on, a while after a stint as a waiter, he had an opportunity to work in design houses in Saudi Arabia.
"Nung '86 kasi, na born-again ako, 'tapos yun yung time na na-meet ko yung mga taga church. Tinulungan nila ako mag work as a waiter in Makati."
Fast forward to today and the tables have turned, Rocky Gathercole is now an in-demand fashion designer with strong clientele in the high fashion and A-list entertainment scene. A mere handful of the clients he's designed for are the likes of Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Thalia, and the list goes on. One of his designs was strongly cited after Katy Perry wore a gold creation of his for her "Misery" music video.
Zaijian Jaranilla portrays Rocky as a teenager. But we can't help but get more excited about Arjo Atayde in what seems to be his first role as an all-out fashion designer in, shall we say, full bloom.
Catch the story #MMKRockyGathercole this Saturday night at 8:30 PM July 1st, on Maalaala Mo Kaya.
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Photos from: Instagram.com/verygathercole, Instagram.com/arjoatayde