The anatomy of Mocha Uson’s ‘popularity’

The anatomy of Mocha Uson’s ‘popularity’

After much thought and her staggering ‘virality,’ I have decided to put into writing the curiosity that’s been building up in me regarding this entertainer-turned-blogger-turned-government official Margaux ‘Mocha’ Uson. Yes, friends, it has come to this: that I dedicate a column for the purpose of analyzing what the fuss is and why this woman is gaining popularity – for contradictory reasons.

I do not know Uson personally but my newsfeed is filled with news about her – some good but most of it are not-so-good, all the while leading to my ultimate question: who is Mocha Uson?

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve read that she was an entertainer (she also did a few movies) who became a blogger and has about 5.4 million followers on Facebook, then became a government official specifically the appointed assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Apparently, the ‘giant leap’ from her former career to her present role was met with much controversy not only because of her reputation as a former ‘sexy star’ but because of her relentless devotion to President Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential campaign – which some said was the reason why she was appointed in the first place.

There were also allegations that she has been spreading false information and that did not sit well with the mass majority. Another reason she is drawing flak is because of her blog, which they say, “glorifies President Duterte and sends the message that the President can do no wrong.”

But before we dig deep into whether these observations are factual or not, I wanted to allocate some writing space for these information I’ve put together about Mocha Uson.

Born Margaux Justiniano Uson on May 17, 1982 in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, she is known professionally as Mocha Uson or by her stage name Mocha. She is a Filipino singer, dancer, model, blogger best known as the lead vocalist of the Mocha Girls. Her mother, Estrellita Uson, was a pediatrician in Dagupan. In 2010, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer but is now cancer-free after undergoing treatment.

Uson first gained popularity as the leader of the Mocha Girls, an all-female dance group. They have released a couple of albums and performed in various venues throughout the Philippines, United States, Dubai, and Guam.

She also had a series of online videos giving sex tips. She once stirred controversy for the ways she showed her support in causes like breast cancer awareness and the passage of the then-Reproductive Health Bill.

Uson started as a solo singer-dancer blogger performing in bars around Metro Manila. She was popular for her sexy image & on-stage antics, which included lap dances. For a time, she served as the lead vocalist of the rock band Mocha With Spin Art.

Unbeknownst to most people, Uson earned a degree in medical technology from the University of Santo Tomas, she then attended medical school in the same university for two years before dropping out to pursue a career in the music industry. She attended the Mother Goose Special School System for her elementary and high school education.

Uson maintained a blog which made her one of the most widely read commentators in the Philippines. She uses her blog to provide commentary and advice on sex-related issues and to host online video chats. The blog has over 20 million hits as of June 2016.

During the 2016 Philippine presidential elections, Mocha’s blog posts started to focus on politics. Her Facebook page, MOCHA USON BLOG, contained posts actively supporting President Rodrigo Duterte and his anti-drug campaign. The blog also criticizes the Philippines’ top newsgroups – ABS-CBN, GMA Network, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Rappler which she has labeled as “Presstitutes” – a portmanteau of press and prostitute. She has also criticized Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes, and the Liberal Party.

One of the reasons behind Mocha’s support for Duterte, whom she believes would end criminality in the country, was the failure of justice in the assassination of her father, Judge Oscar Uson.

On May 8, 2017, Uson’s fearless attack on President Duterte’s detractors and her unyielding campaign for President Rodrigo Duterte paid off. The president later on appointed Uson as assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), handling the social media department of the PCOO. Before taking on the PCOO post, she was a board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Her term at the censor’s board started in January 2017 and was supposed to end on September 30, 2017.

Sometime in March, Mocha Uson’s Twitter account got suspended. According to Twitter, the common reasons for suspending an account include spam, account security is at risk or abusive tweets or behavior from the user. After the suspension, hashtag #MochaUsonIsOverParty became the top trending topic in the Philippines. She went live after to criticize supporters of the Liberal Party, who she claimed was responsible for reporting her account. Her account went back immediately in the afternoon.

Why the hate

The question is rhetorical for some people. For them, “who wouldn’t hate this piece of trash?”

But is she really what they accuse her of? Or are we being too judgmental just because she dresses sexy? Well for some people it has more to do with her blog, which they find disconcerting because its main message is that President Duterte can do no wrong.

As if to add fuel to the fire, her articles contain stories about the president being bullied and maligned for doing his job. She is quick to name names and call out government officials and the media for being “pro-Pnoy” or “Maka-dilaw.”

The majority claims that Mocha Uson is the epitome of anti-intellectualism. A netizen twitted: “Mocha Uson is the epitome of Pinoy anti-intellectualism. Regardless of what she does w/ her body, she invites Filipinos to disregard facts.”

But more often than not, those who are against Uson are not necessarily assailing her validity as a political commentator, rather, are merely challenging her assertion that citizens should just accept and support everything that the President says and does.

Where’s the love coming from

The irony here is that Filipinos actually love her for the same reasons she is criticized for. I mean, who doesn’t love a classic story of rising from the ashes or (to put it plainly), “a sexy star-turned-government official?”

Uson is your classic “been-there-done-that-and-look-at-me-now.” Many believe that she represents the minority and they can identify with her being judged and bashed for being passionate and fighting for what – or who – she believes in.

Well, I do not speak for any party but I am hoping that if she is fighting for a good cause, that she remains steadfast and succeed. And maybe, just maybe, we would see her beyond the sexy persona that she’s being condemned for.

***

Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing campaigns. Monet is also the founder of the revolutionary all-natural beauty products such as Enlighten, your solution to discoloration . To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at monetsalon@aol.com

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