It was in 2009, during Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” era, when 20-year-old Vinzon Leojay Booc, a.k.a. Lady Gagita, started impersonating the “Poker Face” hit maker. His “Telephone” parody video, one of his firsts, attracted the attention of netizens and Filipino fans of Lady Gaga, garnering more than 100,000 hits on YouTube, and was shared many times on Facebook. Since then, he became a household name as one of the – arguably – best and funniest parody artists in the Philippines.
“I started from scratch. The videos that I made before weren’t as polished and accurate as the ones I have recently made,” Gagita said.
All of Gagita’s parody videos were done with minimal budget. “The production cost comes from my own pocket and sometimes, some of my followers donate to help produce the videos,” he added.
And if you will notice in all his videos, Gagita uses recycled materials to recreate the actual props and set used by Lady Gaga. Surprisingly, the finished products closely resemble the originals.
Gagita admits that, of course, his end product may not look as polished, but his main objective in recreating the videos – that is, to entertain the viewers – are accomplished.
The lack of budget didn’t stop Gagita to continue doing his parodies. He didn’t consider it as an obstacle, but rather a challenge. With the help of his friends, known as the House of Gagita, one by one, he recreated all of Lady Gaga’s music videos, album and single covers, and photo shoots.
The production of his parody videos improved through the years, and though he still uses recycled materials, the quality of costumes, props, and editing got better.
In the end, his hard work paid off.
PINOY LADY GAGA
The local entertainment industry eventually noticed Gagita’s talent. He was invited to guest in different talk shows and entertainment programs, while being dubbed as the “Pinoy Lady Gaga.”
Bars and clubs around the metro, from BED Bar, Palawan 2, and Vizio, among others, also took notice of his incredible impersonation and talent. Every so often, Gagita performs Lady Gaga’s latest material, and he never fails to get a loud applause every time he finishes his number.
Every time Lady Gaga releases a new single, music video, or performs live, in a month’s time, those following him can most definitely expect Gagita to release or perform his own version of it.
That his passion to mimic Lady Gaga earned Gagita fame is an understatement.
But more than the fame, “aside from being a Lady Gaga parody performer, which I already considered as part of my life, it is also my advocacy to empower the LGBT people in the entertainment industry,” he said. “I want to inspire the youth to release their inner talent as well as their true self, especially those who are afraid to come out.”
Gagita also became one of the faces of the 2010 LGBT Pride celebration.
“Every time I perform, I want people to see that LGBT people (should not) be discriminated, and that we should be heard by the government,” he explained.
IMPERSONATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Gagita has taken the art of parody to the next level. He spends all of his time practicing dance routines, recreating the costumes and props, and visualizing how he will execute his next parody.
“A big change occurred to me, especially in my lifestyle. I get to meet a lot of new people all the time, work with prominent artists and performers, and I gained more followers as the years passed. And I will continue doing this to entertain people and to empower LGBT people,” Gagita said.
Aside from Lady Gaga, he also impersonates Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Amy Winehouse, and Elsa the Snow Queen (from the movie Frozen).
“I consider what I’m doing as a performance art. It’s not just about copying Lady Gaga or other artists, it’s actually embodying the character of the person and not a lot people can do that perfectly,” he proudly said.
Currently, Gagita is busy making the parody video for G.U.Y.
For Gagita, what matters at the end of the day is self-fulfillment. And so, after he washes the make-up off his face and removes the costumes, he just wants to “live a normal life with my family and with my long time partner, Raymond,” he said.
And for as long as Lady Gaga is in the limelight, “I will continue being Lady Gagita and being an inspiration to LGBT people,” he said, “I would also like to send my appreciation to my fans for their unconditional support. I will not stop giving you full entertainment. Come out and be discovered, maybe you can also make a difference.”