With camera-ready looks and fluent English skills, one would think Adi Amor was born to host. But it took more than that to succeed and land what she calls her dream job as a host for O Shopping.
Her first attempt happened on a reality TV competition in 2014. “The funny thing is, I was eliminated on an episode about hosting,” she recounts. “Of course, I was sad. I really wanted to win. But that motivated me to try becoming a host.”
Adi spent the next few years attending workshops to improve her craft. She then joined another competition—this time for aspiring VJs. Though she was eliminated from that too, she credits the experience for kickstarting her career. “I’d apply and audition for things just to get hosting gigs where I can. But none of it was regular. That’s what it’s like to be a freelancer. You have to find ways to earn or else you’re not going to,” she stresses.
Everything changed in 2019 when she saw a call for auditions for O Shopping, the leading home TV shopping network in Asia. “At the time, I wasn’t aware it was a full-time job. I thought it was a one-off where I would just host one episode. When I did the audition that’s when they told me, ‘This is full-time, Monday to Friday, 9 to 6.” She tells her audition story like it was another high stakes contest—except this time she bested the other candidates.
Joining the corporate world made Adi weigh her options. On the one hand, she was hesitant of trading her flexible schedule for regular hours. On the other hand, it presented opportunities too good to pass up. “I’d get to do what I love every single day,” she says. “Another motivation was I wanted to be on TV! I’d never hosted on TV before.”
As exciting as it was, hosting for O Shopping didn’t come naturally for this seasoned professional. She had a lot to learn, from its style of product selling to speaking Taglish. Luckily, the O Shopping crew supported her since day one. “I wasn’t sure if I could do it,” she admits. “But they trained me by throwing me into situations where I had to perform. They tell you what to do and try to help you because we all understand that if one person doesn’t do well, it’s not going to be a good episode,” she explains.
To Adi, O Shopping wasn’t all work. She had plenty of fun off-cam, so much that she now considers the O Shopping team her family. “After we shoot an episode with food, everyone comes together and eats it. We get free lunch but at the same time, we’re laughing, bonding, talking about the episode, and talking about random things. When I entered, I didn’t think I would make that many friends. In the end, the entire broadcasting department ended up getting close."
The O Shopping channel was run by ACJ O Shopping Corporation, a joint venture between ABS-CBN and Korean firm CJ ENM Company Limited. Like many ABS-CBN businesses, O Shopping was impacted by the NTC-ordered shutdown. Days before the House committee voted to deny the media giant its franchise renewal application, O Shopping announced it would cease operations by the end of 2020 and lay off employees by August. “We all cried. No one could believe it,” she recalls. “We didn’t know what to do and the worst part about it was because this was all happening in a pandemic. We couldn’t even see each other! A lot of my officemates don’t know where to go next because they don’t want to leave.”
[related: In Focus: How ABS-CBN's Shutdown Represents A 'Chilling Effect']
Adi, however, knew exactly what she wanted to do. Prior to O Shopping, she’d been thinking about starting her own business. After learning of her retrenchment, she and her partner Matthew Azada revisited this idea in a way that combined their personal interests: sustainability and solving everyday problems in the beauty industry. Together they launched QRaye, a line of eco-friendly beauty products designed to make Filipinos’ makeup and skincare routines better, cheaper, and easier. Their flagship product is the QPuff, a “just add water” reusable makeup remover made with microfiber technology. Unlike a regular cotton pad, one QPuff can be used up to 200 times.
“I have a list of products that I want to do. And the one I really wanted to start with was the reusable makeup remover. I feel like it’s not offered a lot in the Philippines. I want Filipinos to have access to this type of product and for them to know that it even exists. If you go to other countries, reusable makeup removers have a market share. Here, there’s none. The majority of makeup removers here are one-time use. So this is something I thought the Philippine market would benefit from. And the great thing about it is it's sustainable; you save the environment plus you don’t add chemicals to your skin,” she explains.
Interestingly, QRaye wouldn’t have been possible without her stint in O Shopping. As Matthew explains, O Shopping helped Adi grow both personally and professionally. It made her realize that it’s possible to pursue your passions and still achieve financial stability.
QRaye is just the beginning of her work as a full-time entrepreneur. But O Shopping isn’t the end of her hosting career. Despite the quarantine restrictions and losing her dream job, Adi has every intention of hosting again—whether it's speaking in front of a crowd or a TV screen. “I still love hosting,” she declares. “I plan to make sure my co-hosts and I continue to because l believe in doing what you love. It’s very hard now to be a host but no matter what’s happening in the world, we still want to do what we love for other companies.”
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Photographs and videos taken from QRaye and Adi Amor's personal Facebook page