On the outside, Kisses Delavin and Tony Labrusca are complete opposites. With Kisses, you have a small, snow white teenager whose charm and charisma are undeniable. Tony, on the other, embodies a tall, “sometimes grumpy" moreno who, at first glance, you probably shouldn't mess with. Together, it’s as if they were but a byproduct of the forever captivating “good girl meets bad boy” archetype.
But looks don’t tell the whole story, especially not one that’s just begun. When photos surfaced of the La Luna Sangre star acting like a gentleman towards the former Pinoy Big Brother housemate, stans of both went absolutely cray. At the promotion shoot for their upcoming show called He Said, She Said on One Music PH (Its pilot set soon!), we recently spoke to them about their newfound (albeit accidental) ship, and just how they've formed a genuine, mutual respect for one another.
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Can you take us back to when you first met?
Tony: I think I met her at (a) Vivo launch. They were launching all the ambassadors and they were launching her as one of the newest endorsers. We were on stage together. Of course I met her backstage first but generally (it was) at the Vivo event last year.
Kisses: Nag-meet kami sa (isang) look test. Sa lahat ng tao doon, sya lang yung di ko naka-look test. Tapos yung Vivo event, dun kami nag-hi.
What struck you most about each other?
T: Honestly, when I first met Kisses, I thought she was like a little girl. I thought she was super young, very innocent, and she seemed really happy. Always smiling, always laughing…she was talking (to) people from other networks (who) were also endorsers of Vivo. So, I thought, "Okay, this girl is really good at getting along with people."
K: Sabi ko pang action star yung itsura nya. Pero yung first impression ko nung nakita ko siya, oo syempre yung cut nya parang yun yung cut ng mga bad boys pero nung nakita ko parang mabait to. Tapos ayun, mabait nga yan, parang kung ano yung tingin ko sa kanya, yun talaga siya. Nag-practice and nagkasama kami sa concert ko. Ang dami naming ginawa! Nahulog kami, nasubsob kami sa floor, so parang na-realize ko by that time na nice sya.
T: Even though she’s ridiculously tired with her schedule…it’s amazing on how she makes an effort to say hi to everybody and be friendly. She’s still really polite and easily approachable. I still see her as very innocent but not as a little girl anymore. Her maturity level way surpasses her age, so I know this is the year that she’s gonna grow (and) mold herself into the woman she wants to be.
How soon after did you become actual friends?
T: Actually (in) that Vivo launch, we were on stage and I think it was kind of a commotion to get off. I just remembered that she was behind me so I thought, "Okay you know what, ladies first." So I showed her the way to get in front of me and I held her back — just like (a) normal gesture (of) helping somebody, and someone caught that on camera. Some actually took a picture of it and I think it was also filmed. Then I started hearing something about “TonKiss” or “KissTon” and it started getting louder and louder, this little happy shipping. It got so noisy that I (was) invited to Kisses’ album launch. That’s kind of where our friendship started.
K: Feeling ko kasi same kami ng manager, so parang mas nagkikita kami. Tapos naging friends (kami) sa One Music. He said really nice things to me 'tapos parang na-appreciate ko yun. Sabi ko bihira lang kaya guys na openly magsasabi sayo ng nice things about you to you.
T: During her album debut, we were starting to be friends because we heard rumors that (we) will be working together. So I wanted to get to know who I could be potentially be working with in the future. When she guested in One Music Popssss when I was still a host, we made sure that it wasn’t awkward between us. We also had an ASAP guesting. Then we found out about her concert and by that time we were already getting pretty close. The dance routine we did involved a lot of trust; she had to put a lot of her trust to me to make sure that i would catch her. That actually helped us.
K: Grabe yun! Dati parang kinabahan ako sa concert. I didn't treat it as a once in a lifetime kind of experience na parang dream come true. Okay sige, opportunity (siya) pero (nung) dumating na, parang you don't know what you want unless its right in front of you. Iba kasi yung saya ko pag movie (o) pag teleserye. Nung concert (sabi ko), "Ehh, it's not what I do." It's not my comfort zone; it's not my forte. Kailangan ko ng maraming preparation. So nung nalaman ko na may concert, nastress ako pero nung natapos na I (was) so happy. Talagang fulfilling yung feeling! Siyempre nakatulong talaga si Tony lalo na yung sa prod namin, sa aerial. Nako, I can't think of any guy na kaya yung mga ginawa niya — yung nag tumbling siya, na-carry niya ako…Sobrang lakas ng endurance and strength niya for a guy.
What do you think makes you guys “click”?
T: Kisses and I are very family oriented. But what's cool (is) how (we) take care of our parents. I think that's what we have in common. Kisses holds her parents very dear to her and now I'm kind of the breadwinner for my mother and sister. I like to protect them and I also like to take care of them. We (also) share a lot of ideas and views in life that I really appreciate, because for her age, she's already very open minded and ready to learn a lot of things, (just) like me.
K: Feeling ko yung pagka-dedicated sa work kasi si Tony naalala ko kahit gaano siya ka-antok from La Luna taping, pupunta talaga siya sa calltime tapos excited to work (and) excited to do his best sa ginagawa niya. (May) drive si Tony. Ganun din ako. Nakikita ko yung sarili ko (sa kanya).
T: Kisses and I aren't just ready to work but ready to stand up for what's true to our hearts. In showbiz sometimes you don't always get to be in the position that you want and it may be hard to turn down stuff or say “no” to things.
K: Similarity (din) namin yung di kami magaling sumayaw. Nag G-Force kami. Palagi ako (nandoon) pero first time pa lang niya (dun). Nagyaya siya na mag G-Force kami together and free naman ako that time, kaya sabi ko, “Go”. Dati nagpractice naman siya for Boyband (because) it's required. Pero ngayon parang nag initiate siya na, "Uy, mag G-Force tayo please." So ayun. Ang saya pero ako lagi akong nandun kasi nga I want to develop my dancing kaya.laging nag-dance sa ASAP at nastress ako pag di ako marunong so palagi ako.
T: We're learning together. Kisses is actually better! She had her own concert but we’re both newbies at dancing. I think for now it’s all about having fun on my end. I haven't seen progression (but) Kisses improved a lot cause she did a great job at her concert. Honestly, that was full on dance prod.
You definitely have a lot in common! But what are you guys like behind the scenes? How do you bond when the cameras aren’t around?
K: May natural swag si Tony. Kahit di niya sinasadya, may swag siya. Di siya marunong sumayaw pero nung nakita ko siya, kahit na hindi siya laging nag wo-workshop, parang bagay sa kanya. Siguro din dahil gymnast siya kaya may confidence siya na gumalaw sa stage.
T: We love eating and we both like ice cream. When we are not working we still kinda are ‘cause we're rehearsing for something. Other than dance lessons and having dinner together we just like chilling. We both really like ice cream. She likes chocolate and I like strawberry. Yeah, strawberry is my all-time fave.
K: (One time) after G-Force, may dala pala siyang ice cream. Nilagay niya sa ref ng G-Force tapos sabi niya, "Tara mag-ice cream tayo!" Tapos agad agad meron na siyang dala. Ang sweet niya kasi kumuha siya ng kutsara tapos kumain kami. Rocky road flavor. Ang sweet nga naman sinacrifice niya yung favorite niya. Chocolate, Rocky Road — mahilig ako doon.
T: Another thing that we have in common: patola. Her other fans may not know this but we both fall for the dumbest jokes and we take it seriously. We were at G-Force and our teacher was really good. I was joking around like, "Oh, he's been dancing for like a hundred years, probably since (he was a) fetus" and he ended up saying, "Oh yeah, I've known Tony (since) way back." So Kisses goes, "Tony, so you've been dancing for a while you’ve already known coach for a long time?" Coach looks at Kisses and (says), "Kisses, patola joke yun." So stuff like that. (Laughs)
How do you feel now that you’re being linked together?
T: I think it’s like an “opposites attract” kind of thing going on but at the same time (we) have a lot in common. I have an edge to me; I (can) look really maangas or look really suplado. But at the same time what bonds me with Kisses is that deep inside I'm the type of guy that takes care of my family. I try my best to be as nice as possible even though the fans know that I'm a grumpy guy sometimes. (Whereas) she's like a really sweet girl that's kind of like the rock that's always constant.
K: Na-notice ko lang (na) sabi ng mga supporters ng KissTon is parang comfortable kami sa isa't isa. Totoo naman yun kasi he's mature. Alam na niya kung papaano magtreat ng girl. Kahit sa work he knows how to respect a girl. He won’t make you feel nervious to work with him. Parang he'll make you feel like it's okay to make mistakes, we'll make mistakes together kung mabulol ka okay lang, parang hindi siya judgemental ganun parang chill lang siyang tao. Pag nagwo-work kami I feel comfy lang. I can be myself na parang di dapat ako maiilang, so that's why I think shini-ship kami ng mga tao. Tony kasi will never make you feel like he's unexcited to work with me. He's very much willing to work with me and yun yung gusto ko. Syempre sa showbiz, I just want to enjoy. Sa lahat ng nakaka-work ko I want na gusto din nila na maka-work nila ako. He's the (kind) who reaches out and rare yun.
Tony, has Kisses’ other potential pairings — say DonKiss — ever bothered you?
T: I knew there was a shipping with Donny (Pangilinan) and Kisses. Sometimes I joke about it but I never thought, "I need to work on this so I can beat him." Donny’s a great guy and he’s really nice. Even though he’s (showbiz) royalty, he’s not using his parents’ name to get work. He’s really putting in the (effort). He (fights) for his spot in this industry and I respect him for that. I'd (also) rather not put myself or Kisses in a position where we are stressing ourselves out or hoping that we'll be the loveteam that will be picked. That wouldn't be genuine anymore. I just wanna have a good time. Kisses is already my friend and as a friend I'm just gonna be there. If we have prods, great! If we have work outside the country, (that will be) awesome cause we can go to adventures. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, I made a new friend in showbiz.
It’s safe to say then that there’s no other label to you guys other than friends?
T: For (me), it’s more (of us) just having a good time. I mean we're blessed that we have projects together. Whether we become official or not, all I could ask for is to be able to work with Kisses. I’m already having so much fun ‘cause we’re friends. The KissTons are really supportive. (The) shipping is bringing them a lot of happiness, which makes us happy as well, and for the other guys that are being shipped with Kisses, like (Donny), I’m sure they’re also having a really good time.
K: Friends talaga kami. Focus kasi talaga ako sa work, I know I'm 18 but sobrang wala pa dun sa stage ng pagbo-boyfriend. Wala dun (sa) isip ko. I don't know what happened to me. (For) the past six months sobrang focused lang ako sa career ko. Mapasaya ko lang supporters ko, family ko, tapos pag dating sa boys tuloy parang ang layo (sa priorities) ko. Love ko yung mga friends kong boys pero as friends talaga. I don't see them as may malisya.
Kisses, are you ready for a relationship?
K: Feeling ko mag bo-boyfriend ako pag 25 (na) ko kasi by that time nakatapos na ako mag school. I'm a girl and okay lang kung parang, "Uy, infatutated daw si boy sa’yo." Pero kung yung girl ay infatuated tapos itatanongin yung guy…ayoko. Never ako nagsabi ng crush except for one time. I turn red everytime naalala ko yun. Kahit sinong babae i-advice ko, wag na wag ka magsasabi ng crush mo lalo na kasi baka may nangyayari na. Tsaka I have this audience na nanunuod sakin. A lot of them are kids. Would I want na mag-amin sa mga crush nila ng ganun? Nabother talaga ako na ako umamin kasi ayoko naman ma-influence yung mga kids na dahil umamin ako sa crush ko, okay din (na) yun ang gawin nila.
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Photographs by Vyn Radovan. Banner Image by Erika Ocampo.