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Her Slip is Showing

By Claire Villacorta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:35:00 02/10/2008

Filed Under: People, Internet

MANILA, Philippines - As a young girl, Christine Gambito?s mother used to remind her: ?Be sure to wear your half slip,? which, because of her mother?s thick Filipino accent, came out sounding like ?happy slip.? In school, Christine always referred to the undergarment that way, until her friends asked her if she had a ?sad slip,? too.

?That, to me, is the funny part?that I didn?t know,? she recalls. She started using the monicker ?Happy Slip,? Christine adds, because it served ?the dual purpose of using a memory from the past and getting people to ?slip into happiness? while watching the videos.? So far, the talented Fil-Am comic has over 40 quirky self-produced videos at Happyslip.com and at the YouTube channel, which currently ranks as the 5th most subscribed channel of all time, with over 106,000 subscribers and 4.4 million channel views.

But it was Christine?s family-oriented ?Mixed Nuts,? voted 1st runner-up in the 2006 YouTube video awards for Best Comedy, that made her an Internet superstar.

The enthusiasm towards her material doesn?t just come from Fil-Ams but also from ?across the board immigrant families? who share similar experiences, cultural differences aside, says Christine. High drama figures prominently in her vlog, as exemplified by fictional soap opera twins Claire and Audrey. So do parodies of relevant media, namely the faux reality show lonelygirl15, as well as shopping channels.

More recently, Christine placed second in The Filipino Channel?s ?Balitang America?s Newsmaker of the Year Award? for Happy Slip?s increasing popularity and for being the reigning DIY queen of digitized media. She writes, directs, stars in and edits all her videos.

That?s quite an achievement for an actress with nursing as a fallback. Having once struggled in NYC?s audition circuit, Christine landed roles in commercials and bit parts in films but got more screen time in industrial training videos. Often, she was picked for her ?unique look? in a way that spelled Token Asian Female.

Today, Happy Slip is a full-time one-woman production operating out of her Virginia home, with a little help from Google and Revver. ?Every actor?s dream is to be able to realize their full potential,? Christine muses. She found hers on YouTube. ?With this new media on the Internet, people can create their own opportunities, open their own doors. I was born for this era.?

Christine?s age remains a mystery?she sees the ?guessing game? as part of the appeal. And that?s where her stellar acting skills pay off. In Happy Slip webisodes, she not only plays herself?she impersonates her penny-wise Mom, her pork rind-munching Dad, a granny with a thing for toy trains and a domineering aunt. She can also do awkward and overconfident teen, as well as news reporter and doctor.

Happy Slip dovetails her talent for mimicry with send-ups of her own family, something that her mother encouraged her to do during lulls in family potluck dinners. Her relatives totally ate it up. A keen observer, Christine?s portrayal of certain Filipino traits?like pointing with the lips, the non sequitur digressions?is spot on. But the ultimate compliment, she adds, is making it on YouTube.

While the mother-daughter banter in the vlog reflects the sillier side of their relationship, the off-camera bond is even sweeter. Mrs. Gambito leaves voicemail for Christine, expressing delight at her latest shtick. And even when it took her two weeks to sign on to YouChoob to leave a comment, the elder Gambito has managed to brush up on her web savvy. She currently manages Happy Slip?s MySpace and YouTube comments. When something as inappropriate as porn spam surfaces, she?s on hyper-delete mode, says Christine who adds that she wants to keep the Happy Slip channel clean and family-friendly.

There are no major disagreements between the two women?only typical Filipino mom concerns. ?How do I deal with it? I?ll put it in a video!? And everyone has a good laugh, says Christine.

Very soon, her vlog will feature something as down home Pinoy as her mom. That?s because Christine is in town for a tour of the Philippines? best travel destinations, courtesy of the Department of Tourism. For two weeks, she will be documenting her adventures on both Happy Slip and Experiencephilippines.ph.

The DOT gig is a dream come true for Christine, who was a toddler on her very first visit to the ol? country. ?Growing up, there was no financial provision set aside for us to visit as a family. So I?m not about to refuse an opportunity to come here and see places my family hasn?t even seen.? Her itinerary includes Bohol, Cebu, Boracay, Tagaytay, Palawan and Manila.

From the time her plane touched down in Manila to the short ride to her hotel, Christine took it all in?and promptly wrote about them in her vlog. Feeling deep emotions about her parents? love of country, she dedicates the trip to her Mom and Dad.

Though Happy Slip viewers don?t always get to see Christine?s sentimental side, she?s not one to keep a stiff upper lip either. Clutching a small piece of paper that her mother had slipped into her bag, she shares the written words gladly: ?Trust in the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul??

Apparently, despite the new media and her world-wide audience, Christine Gambito has remained as Pinoy and unapologetically parochial as half-slip. And thanks to such handwritten notes, she and her mom have no sad slip between them. ?

Check out Christine?s main site or YouTube.com/HappySlip

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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