Growing up, Amanda Vu recalled lip synching as a kid while listening to Celine Dion and Merril Bainbridge. What she didn’t know was that fascination with mimicry was going to take her in a path of fame.
“When I was (still) in Cebu City, I lived with a few friends and my uncle. One lazy day in the boring year of 2010, my friends Ruru Chan (a director) and Jay (who is into make-up and outfits) saw me do my usual lip synching, and they thought of making a video just for fun and to kill boredom. I was excited about the idea. It started with just the three of us, and then my uncle eventually joined in,” Amanda said.
That first video – uploaded in Facebook – saw Amanda lip synching Regina Spektor’s “Fidelity”, which was chosen because “it was catchy and it has a story”. “I just had to share it to my friends because I was so excited about it,” Amanda said. But then “people enjoyed our video and requested for more.”
Not surprisingly, “making people happy watching our video inspired us to do more.”
Amanda, by the way, got her name from parts of her real name: A from Aaron, MA from Mark, N from Nortiga, and DA from Dagangon. Vu was derived from Beyoncé’s song “Déjà vu”.
In Amanda’s videos, the songs were chosen “because they are catchy, and the artists are at the peak of their careers” – a move that is intended to can get as many viewers and likers.
“These parodies are not the same as the real videos. We create our own concepts and plots,” Amanda said.
So far, they have done – aside from Spektor – Beyoncé, Nicole Scherzinger, Rihanna, and The Cardigans.
While the videos have become ways for Amanda and her people to showcase their talents and skills, “we also allow others to be recognized and showcase their talent as well by allowing them to help out on the outfits and make-up. We had a few guesting of people who we made friends with through Facebook because of our videos.”
Eventually, from Facebook, the videos found their way to YouTube (re-shared in Facebook). By then, “we got a lot of attention, with people saying and commenting that we made them laugh and that they felt happy. This kept us going.”
Amanda and her people got more noticed when a late night show on ABS CBN CgeTV aired their videos. This led to Amanda guesting on the show.
Yes, Amanda said she would like to be an artista (an actress). If this is a way to make people happy, she said, then she wants in. “Seeing people happy is just so fulfilling. I live by my motto in life: ‘The beauty of life does not depend on how happy I am, but on how happy others can be because of me.’ With my team, they help me in making my motto come to life.”
But the lip synching is also serious stuff. Cebu-based NGO Cebu Plus hired Amanda and company to create a parody of Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, particularly to promote safer sex. The effort was, even for Amanda, eye-opening since “it made us aware of the growing number of HIV infection in the Philippines.” “With this, we did not only entertain but also informed others about an important issue.”
“That was a moment I was so proud of because it had a greater purpose,” Amanda said.
Amanda has already made the rounds of the some local media, including RCTV in Cebu City, as well as local dailies. Cebu photographers also tap her as their subject for photoshoots.
In the end, “people tell me that they watch our videos when they are stressed, and then they are relieved. This is so wonderful, and it makes this experience worthwhile” she said.