Squeals, selfies: Trudeau mania hits even gov't officials

ROCK STAR? Candian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepts selfie requests from government staff and ushers.

Photo by Patty Pasion/Rappler

When he entered the room, women were heard squealing with delight. The large media center, usually uncrowded, was filled to the brim. Seats were not just taken up by media, but by volunteers and government officials as well.

The guest in question? Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

But what raised eyebrows in particular were the government officials who fawned over the world leader like he was a member of a boyband.

During his scheduled press conference at the ASEAN International Media Center, the Presidential Communications Group was in full force as they welcomed Trudeau. Trudeau is often talked about on social media because of his charisma and good looks.

Officials – such as Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, along with Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretaries Mia Reyes, Ana Marie Banaag and Department of Public Works and Highways Karen Jimeno – were all present in the center’s main briefing room.  

Chairs reserved for Andanar’s family members were also spotted among the VIP seats. 

Seats were interspersed with journalists and PCOO officials, who were suddenly present in the room. Even ushers, volunteers, and young staff working outside the briefing room gathered at the venue. 

AIM, FIRE. Trudeau prompts those in attendance to take out their smart phones.

Photo by Patty Pasion/Rappler

Trudeau's arrival was delayed by more than an hour, which may have heightened the excitement even more. But when he did arrive, smartphones became suddenly visible as those in the room started snapping photos.

When the dashing Canadian leader went up the stage, squeals were heard from the audience. Phones of VIPs, staff and journalists, pointed toward the Prime Minister for the first few minutes of his press briefing. 

But it was when Trudeau left the stage and finished his briefing that all hell broke loose.

Trudeau exited through the left side of the hall. Journalists and government officials stormed toward him for a chance for a selfie.

SELFIE TIME. Admirers take selfies with Trudeau.

Photo by Jee Geronimo/Rappler

An official from the Presidential Communications Office was also seen taking Trudeau's water glass, which he used when he spoke at the podium. She then shared it with her PCOO colleagues to take photos with.

She was overheard squealing: “Iuuwi ko talaga 'to. Baso 'to ni Trudeau!” (I will really take this home. This is Trudeau's glass!) 

This is not the first time Trudeau experienced such a frenzy. Ushers, volunteers, and even some members of the media welcomed him with their smartphones and cameras even before he stepped into the briefing room for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015.

There has been no similar behavior observed of government employees who attended a press conference of a visiting world leader. – with reports from Natashya Gutierrez/Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.