Waxing the stars

Natashya Gutierrez

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Waxing enabled this single mother to send all her children to school and to meet all their needs


Wilma Cruz, also known as the Bulbulizer, waxes pubic hair for a living. Dec. 20, 2011. Photo by Natashya Gutierrez.

MANILA, Philippines – She works with celebrities.

She has traveled around the Philippines for the work she does, a job that has enabled her to raise her four children and her sister’s two children, purchase a house, and buy a car.

While most businesses boom during the Christmas season, she doesn’t see a rise in hers during the holiday season – because quite frankly, business is terrific all year-round. 

Wilma Cruz is 45 years old, successful, and financially stable.

She waxes pubic hair for a living.

Hair begone

Cruz calls herself the Bulbulizer, a play on the word bulbul or pubic hair in Filipino. 

She was introduced to the world of private parts in 1993. Back then, she was working in Saudi Arabia as a beautician, only to discover when she got there, that waxing women’s vaginas was where the money was. 

Pagka may hair ka doon, wala kang sex life kasi gusto nung guy, wala kang hair. Syempre kung wala kang hair, bongga kasi may regalo ka kasi pwede ka gamitin all the time (If you have hair down there in Saudi Arabia, you don’t have a sex life because the man wants the woman not to have hair. Of course if you’re hairless, its great because you’re like a gift to the man. He can use you all the time),” she says. “Kapag kasi may buhok ka, parang yuck! Marumi (If you have hair, its like gross! Dirty).”

Her boss back then was impressed with her speed in doing pedicures, manicures and facials, so she was taught to wax. Her rapidness in getting the job done is a Bulbulizer trademark today. Cruz can finish waxing women in as little as five minutes, although she says waxing men is more challenging because of their balls. Removing men’s hair, she says, is something she was forced to do when she moved back to the country in 1995.

When she arrived at the Philippines, she started grooming penises and vaginas full time. 

Noong una, sa lalaki, syempre nailang ako. Pero pinilit ako (At first, grooming men, of course I felt awkward. But they forced me to learn),” she says. “Sa lalaki dito talaga ako [nag-start]. Bawal sa lalaki [mag-wax] doon sa Saudi (I really started waxing men here. Because in Saudi, they don’t do that).”

Her waxing has enabled her to send all her children to school and to meet all their needs, despite divorcing her husband. She is completely independent.

When asked if she feels awkward about waxing people’s private parts, she shrugs.

May mga nagsasabi, ‘Napaka swerte mo. Ang rami mong nakikitang mga pekpek at mga titi.’ Ang sabi ko, ‘Ang pekpek at titi, pera ang nakikita ko diyan. Salapi’ (People tell me, ‘You’re lucky. You see many penises and vaginas.’ And I say, ‘Vagina or penis, all I see is money’),” she says with a smile.

Celebrity Ruffa Gutierrez tweeted about Wilma Cruz, the Bulbulizer, who waxes pubic hair for a living. Dec. 15, 2011. Screenshot by Natashya Gutierrez.

‘As long as there’s hair, there’s hope’

Based in Angeles City, Pampanga, Cruz travels to Manila twice a week to service actors and actresses, successful businessmen and women, and even goes to offices to wax workers inside cubicled bathrooms during their lunch breaks. Her accuracy, speed and cheap price has gained her a huge number of clients mostly from recommendations.

She is bubbly and cheerful, and talking up her customers is one way she distracts them from the pain, which with her skill, is minimal.

Business has been good ever since she started, and it has only gotten better. The success has given birth to her life motto, a mantra she repeats to her children.

Kahit na iniwan na kami ng asawa ko, nakapag-survive parin kami kaya nga yung motto ko, ‘Hanggang may bulbul may pag-asa (Even if my husband left us, we have survived because my motto is, ‘As long as there’s hair, there’s hope’),” she says.

Over the years, she says she has seen a rise in Filipinos looking for waxing services, including couples. She says that from what her customers tell her, both partners being neatly groomed improves their sex lives.

Halos mga couple. Gusto nila yung mga walang bulbul silang pareho (Mostly couples. Neither of them want pubic hair),” she says. “Unfair naman sa girl, siya wala tapos yung lalaki meron (It’s unfair for the woman. She has no hair and the man does).”

Cruz also says that waxing in the nether regions is hygienic, because while it was used as protection in early times, it is not as necessary today and maintenance is essential, since a thick bush could lead to unpleasant odor.

Unconventional success

Of course, Cruz also waxes legs, armpits and other body parts, but she considers waxing private parts her specialty, or in her words, the family’s “bread and butter.” She also makes her own wax out of natural materials.

Her 18-year-old daughter is her prodigy, a phenomenal waxer she says, whom she personally instructs. Training others is yet another way she earns money. Cruz finds herself constantly refusing offers of salons to hire her, but instead, offers to train their staff from Boracay to Manila. And she takes teaching others, like her services, seriously. She voluntarily lies on her back and spreads her legs open, as the object of demonstration to over sixteen of her trainees who watch as her vagina is waxed. 

With a newly opened salon in her hometown of Angeles called “Nothing But Wax,” Cruz is content. She is satisfied with what she has accomplished, and says she sees herself waxing for another ten years.

Wala na [akong gusto] basta mga anak ko mapatapos ko lang (I don’t need anything else, just to finance my children’s education),” she says. “That’s it, pancit.” – Rappler.com


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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.