Q and A: Chasing the Binibinis with Mars Franz
Franz Ivan Bayer has been a pageant fan for a long time. He has been supporting the country's representatives in international beauty contests, cheers them on, goes with friends to fan meets, and gets to know the ladies in his capacity as a correspondent for a pageant blog.
In between the demands of his job as a medical representative, he does video blogs of pageant queens and candidates, including the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 candidates. His passion for pageantry led him to open his YouTube account Mars Franz, "Mars" being shorthand for "mare" or friend in Filipino.
Rappler sat down with Mars Franz to talk about how he started as a pageant fan, how to best support a candidate, and why he feels an attachment to the girls.
Q: What inspired you to finally start vlogging?
Mars Franz: Nakita ko siya last year that most of the underdogs, hindi nabibigyan ng chance to [be] featured sa mga articles. At the same time, sinabi ko, I have a tool na, I have the guts na din and at the same time, with the help of my friends na nag push talaga sa akin na why not go into blogging.
(I noticed last year that most of the underdogs weren't given the chance to be featured in articles. At the same time, I told myself – I have the tools and the guts and my friends pushed me to go into blogging.)
Yung main objective ko naman in doing blogs is for the girls to promote their respective towns and at the same time, yung advocacy nila. And lastly, makilala sila ng mga fans nila... beyond the photos, beyond the interviews, gusto na makilala sila ng mga fans nila in a more fun and deeper way. Through my blogs, nakikita at nakikilala sila ng mga fans nila through their personalities.
(My main objective in doing blogs is for the girls to promote their respective towns and advocacies. Lastly, the fans get to know them... beyond the photos, beyond the interviews, I want the fans to know them in a more fun and deeper way. Through my blogs, the fans will see the candidates through their personalities.)
Q: How long have you been a pageant follower?
Mars Franz: Nag start ako as a beauty pageant enthusiast when Venus Raj (Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2010) represented the country. That time, kakagraduate ko lang yata ng college and at the same time, iba yung controversy na ginawa ni Venus. Nakuha niya yung attention ko and yung story how Venus won.
(I started as a pageant enthusiast when Venus Raj represented the country. I had just graduated from college and the controversy that Venus stirred grabbed my attention. So did her story of how she won.)
Q: What do you love the most about being a pageant fan?
Mars Franz: Kasi ngayon, let's just say I have access because of my certain group na sinalihan ko. With that group, naka get kami ng access with Bb Pilipinas, through the girls.
(I have access because of the group that I am part of. With that group, we're able to get access to the Bb Pilipinas candidates.)
So yung difference is I'm from Negros Occidental and since 2010, naging parang probinsyano fan ako ng pageant. And nung nandito na ako sa Manila, through my work and having access, iba na yung pananaw ko na from a fan, naging friend na ako sa mga girls.
(I'm from Negros Occidental and since 2010, I was a fan from the province. When I moved to Manila, through my work and having access, my views have changed. I became a friend of the girls.)
Q: What do you getting out of video blogging or promoting the girls?
Mars Franz: Natutuwa lang ako kasi, I got the brand na as a Mars ng Bayan. And most of the girls, [ay] tawag sa aking ay Mars. At the same time, hindi na siya fan, hindi na tingin sa akin ng mga girls is a fan. Tingin sa akin ngayon ng mga girls is a friend. Iyon yung masasabi ko na naidulot sa akin na pag YouTube ko —na nakakasalamukha ko sila.
(I am happy because I'm now known as the "Mars ng Bayan." Most of the girls call me Mars. At the same time, I'm no longer just a fan, the girls see me as a friend. I get to interact with them.)
Q: What are do's and dont's for a pageant fan?
Mars Franz: The do's: share, give comments, promote your bets. That's a do for me, and love and support them. The dont's is don't go beyond being a fan.
Q: What do you mean by "don't go beyond being a fan?"
Mars Franz: Because some of the fans, gumagawa na sila ng dummy accounts para gawing masama yung mga comments sa ibang girls. Using dummy accounts, using all social media platforms, na nagiging borderline na sila stalker. Kasi minsan, nagugulat na yung mga girls that paano na n'yo nalaman, paano n'yo nalaman na may ganito ako, ganyan na hindi ko naman ginawang public... stalking is nakakatakot.
(Some fans make dummy accounts do write mean comments about some of the girls. They use dummy accounts, all social media platforms, and they border on turning into stalkers. Some of the girls are surprised – how did you know that? How did you know I have that? I didn't make that public. Stalking is creepy.)
Q: What do you love the most now about what you do?
Mars Franz: Siguro nalolove ko ngayon kasi nakikita ko na yung behind the scenes, mga personality ng girls. May mga girls na front runner na ganito ang personality, may mga girls dark horse na ganito ang personality. So naweweigh ko ngayon kung ano ba sila after the camera shut off. Iyon yung nasasayahan ako.
(I guess I love it more now because I'm behind the scenes and I get to see the personalities of the girls. Some girls who are front runners have this kind of personality, some of th dark horses have this kind of personality. So I'm able to weigh who they are after the camera is shut off. This is what gives me joy.)
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of what you do?
Mars Franz: Yung advantage lang in my position right now is I have access. I really have access and at the same time, nakikilala ko yung mga girls. I also have connections with you guys [in the media]
(I have have access and I get to know the girls. I also have connections to you guys [in the media])
Downside lang on my case is nakikilala ko yung 40 girls now and it’s very hard, it’s heartbreaking for me come coronation night. Because I have an attachment sa kanila. So what if hindi makapasok itong si candidate. It’s heartbreaking because alam ko yung struggle ng girls ngayon, yung advocacies why they joined. [But] it’s a win-win situation then for me, kasi kilala ko yung magiging winner. Madali akong makakakuha ng scoop.
(The downside is that I've met all 40 girls now and it's going to be very hard and heartbreaking for me come coronation night. I have an attachment. What if this candidate fails to make it? It's heartbreaking because I know the girls' struggles this time around, the advocacies and why they joined. It's also a win-win for me because I know whoever will win. I'll have access that way.)
Q: Do you care about bashing?
Mars Franz: In my case wala pa naman akong basher. And if ever there’s one, I just ignore the basher. At least yung basher na iyon nanonood ng video blog ko.
(I don't have any bashers yet. If I do find one, I'll just ignore the basher. At least the basher's looking at my vlog.)
Q: Do you miss being a fan?
Mars Franz: Minsan namimiss ko siya. Pero parang sabihin na lang natin nag-level up lang ako. That’s the correct term — nag-level up lang ako from being a fan now to being a friend and at the same time, a blogger, a YouTube blogger na magiging influencer siguro sa mga viewers ko. I am the middle man between the viewers and the candidates. Through me, nakikilala ng mga fans yung mga girls.
(Sometimes I miss it. But let's just say I've leveled up. That's the correct term —I've leveled up from being a fan to being a friend and the same time, a blogger, a YouTube blogger who can be an influencer to my viewers. I am the middle man between the viewers and the candidates. The fans get to know the girls through me.)
Q: How have you improved since doing your first blog?
Mars Franz: Nakakatuwa kasi first blog ko is Samantha Bernardo. It is a burger challenge. Madami siyang struggles. Hindi ko pa alam paano mag edit ng video… masasabi ko ngayon, most of my friends, mga kilala ko, nagpapahiram sila ng mga equipment to improve my blog.
(It's funny because my first blog is Samantha Bernardo. We had so many struggles. We did a burger challenge. I did not even know how to edit a video.... My friends now lend me their equipment to improve my blog.)
At the same time siguro yung mga quality ng mga questions ko, yung quality ng mga style when it comes to attacking interviews sa mga girls iba-iba. Kasi yung mga personality ng mga girls iba din. So doon ko na improve yung self ko na paano ako makaka adopt sa isang situation na agad-agad.
(And at the same time, the quality of questions have improved. My interview with the girls are different all the time since their personalities are different. I have learned to adopt to a situation right away.)