By Celene Sakurako
Everyone has something about themselves that they feel insecure about. For 22-year-old Jeremy Sancebuche, popularly known by netizens as the whimsical “LOcq4l j3j3 gHuÖrl” vlogger Mimiyuuuh, it was his extra fang awkwardly situated in between his two front teeth. A look through his blatantly daring vlogs that parade his unique attributes, like the now notorious “Dalagang Pilipina Challenge,” one would never guess that there was a time that this comical online personality was riddled with crippling insecurity.
Clad in kicks, high-waist jeans, and a sheer mock-neck black tee, the lanky Mimi hastily bursts into the studio, profusely apologizing for being two-hours late. “Sorry po. Sorry po,” he repeats, as he quickly sits himself down for hair and make-up, tightly clutching onto his cellphone and nothing else. His hair awry, straight from getting off a motorcycle ride from his home in Baclaran, he hysterically explains, “Kasi po akala ko po bukas yung shoot!” Having grabbed his things in a rush, absent is the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II that a fellow vlogger gifted him to shoot his vlogs with. For the day, he goes back to basics and documents the shoot with his cellphone.
As he changes into his first outfit, Mimi is a ray of sunshine, cracking witty jokes in between takes as he does in his vlogs which convinces us that he's born to be in front of the camera. Despite this being his first shoot, he proves himself to be a natural. Striking poses of his own, by the second outfit Mimi is comfortable enough to request the song “Pauwi Nako” by O.C. Dawgs, zealously squealing, “Good vibes eh!” and begins to dance on set. Completely unafraid to make a fool out of himself, Mimi is playful until the end of the shoot as he banters with everyone and opens up about his own personal stories of being, in his words: “Gay AF!”
“Parang 5 years old pa lang ako. Alam ko na, babae ako sa puso,” Mimi shares, admitting, however, that he felt like being gay was wrong while growing up. Tears begin to form in his eyes. “Mahirap talaga maging part ng LGBTQ+ community sa batang edad, kasi maraming factors talaga na nakaka-affect—'yung family mo, religion mo, ganun. I think, somehow, kelangan namin i-prove kung bakit kami nandito.” Thankfully, for Mimi, his family accepted him in time. “It’s not a big deal anymore. It used to be,” he says. He explains how the determining factor for his family’s gradual acceptance was through his achievements in school and in his career as a vlogger and fashion designer of the streetwear-inspired line FANGS.
Bred in Baclaran by parents who are street vendors of clothes, Mimi grew up with a penchant for fashion at an early age. Sandwiched between two other siblings, Mimi’s family was too financially unstable to send all of their children to college. Fortunately, Mimi excelled all throughout grade school to high school, which allowed him to earn a full scholarship at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde where he took up Fashion Design and Merchandising and graduated in 2017 with honors. Fondly recalling his four years there, Mimi expounds that Benilde was where he truly came to embrace all aspects of himself. “They really accept individuality there,” he says.
While Mimi admits that growing up gay was difficult, he discloses that there was another thing that was harder for him to overcome: coming to love his now trademark chomper. “Nung bata ako, insecure ako sa ngipin ko,” he explains, while pointing to the extra tooth that lays between his two front teeth. He painfully recalls how growing up, kids would tease him, “Bakit lima pangil mo? Tatlo sa taas, dalawa sa baba!” Bullied by his peers, not only for his sexuality but also his looks, Mimi felt ashamed. However, things changed for him when he dived into the world of fashion.
Surrounded by creatives, who strived to differentiate themselves from others, Mimi began to see his idiosyncrasies as blessings that put him ahead of the pact. He began to realize that, “being different, nagiging edge sya. Mas nagiging stand-out ka. Mas napapansin ka ng tao.”
And noticed he was. In 2013, during his first year in college, Mimi was handpicked from a pool of millions by a researcher from reporter Doris Bigornia’s ABS-CBN show Mutya ng Masa to make his wish of designing clothes for comedian Vice Ganda come true. Marking this to be his first time to be on Vice’s show Gandang Gabi, Vice!, Mimi gushes, “Sobrang thankful ako. Siya 'yung fashion icon ko noon. Siyempre kasi bakla nga ako, I wanted to look up to someone na nakaka-relate ako. Si Vice kasi sobrang inspiring nya, kasi hindi rin sya talaga galing sa yaman.”
It took four years of college, a summer of interning for ASAP celebrity stylist Bang Pineda, and a year of working for fashion designer Mark Bumgarner, before Mimi found his true calling: vlogging. Contrary to what his avid subscribers might think, becoming a vlogger was never in the cards for Mimi. His first viral dance video that got one million views within its first week of posting earlier this year in February, “Kahit Away Mo Na Challenge,” was something he posted just for gags. Still working for Mark Bumgarner at the time, Mimi adopted the nickname he got from Mark’s sister Michelle who used to call him Mimiyuh. Remembering how he made a Facebook page, specifically to post the video, he laughingly utters, “Gumawa talaga ako ng page. Ayoko kasi makita ng nanay ko.” Little did he know that this video would be the beginning of his YouTube career.
A month after, dissatisfied by the beautiful (yet unreletable) Filipinas posting clips of themselves lip syncing to Allmo$t’s song “Dalaga,” Mimi posted his own version of the “Dalagang Pilipina Challenge” and broke the Internet. Stacking over four million views up to date, his 40-second-long ode to the "jeje" poses he grew up doing made him an Internet sensation overnight.
Once again called to be on GGV, as well as to guest star on MYX, Mimi now reigns queen of over 338k subscribers on his YouTube channel, 115k likes on Facebook, and 56k followers on Instagram. He says, “Ang lala! Feeling ko lang maraming manonood, pero hindi ko alam magiging thing siya talaga.” By then, Mimi resigned from his day job, and made vlogging his 9-to-5.
While Mimi still looks to pursue a career in fashion with FANGS—wherein he plans to release a line of street-inspired t-shirts this year—he’s happy to say that he’s focused on providing fresh “good vibes” content for his growing "Miminizationizm" clan. As he cheekily says, “Expect more content. Expect more good vibes. Pero okay rin na hindi na mag expect. Kasi, ako, hindi ako ng e-expect!”
Photographed by Renzo Navarro
Creative Direction by Madel Asuncion
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by JL Crespo
Makeup by Angeline Cruz
Hair by Jeff Valenzuela
Video by Heintje Mendoza
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