Wednesday, May 13, 2009

fiesta ni kasia

my friend kasia will hold a birthday show - some supportive friends call it her birthday "concert"- on saturday at 9pm.

she promises it to be a fun night.

for those interested, you can call (714) 527-0226 to reserve seats or you can go directly to this address:

california wok
4466 cerritos avenue, los alamitos 90720. caliwok offers delicious dishes! their chicken tinola is incredibly good!

to get to know kasia more, here is her story:


Born Rei Francisco, Kasia, is the stage name she adapted out of necessity when she was hired to be part of a crew that performs in drag while waiting tables at a restaurant in New York City.

A popular fashion designer in the Philippines, Rei decided to just give it all up one day and explore a new world of adventure into a life unknown after she fell in love with the bustling and unceasingly alive New York City.

For 10 years, she made New York her home and made a new life as Kasia, the waitress/performer. The fashion designer she left in the Philippines will not re-emerge until very much later.

When the 9/11 terrorist attacks put the city under a cloud of fear, Rei/Kasia started thinking of heading out West to explore the possibilities of reinventing herself again. But like most of the city’s inhabitants, she was still caught under the city’s magical spell and she decided to hang on until 2004 when she found herself packing up her suitcase, giving up her career and taking the flight to California.

“I am very bullish”, she says. A typical overachiever who thrives in challenges and adversity, Kasia graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of Santo Tomas. Sometime after graduation she met noted fashion designer Bobby Novenario, who would eventually give her her break in the business.

Her foray into fashion would lead her to design for the Cinderella brand. Later, she would become the fashion director for Kirei Boutique. She mounted fashion shows across Asia and was accorded numerous awards including the coveted fashion designer award in 1991. Her distinctly innovative styles and trendy designs dictated Philippine fashion for several seasons and her clientele grew to include popular movie stars.

All ther success eventually made Kasia weary. She felt that she had already achieved what she set out for herself and she thought it was time to move on before she succumbs to a life in monotony. A trip to New York lit a fire in her heart and inspired her to transform herself into someone that, until now, she realizes, is still continually evolving.

To the surprise of her friends that included a young JC Buendia, whom she was mentoring, Kasia packed her bags, cashed her entire belongings, said goodbye to her friends, and flew over a thousand miles to what would become a life of constant challenges, limitless opportunities, and unbridled fun. “I had everything. I had money, I could do anything I wanted but I gave it all up. I didn’t care. I did not feel fulfilled – something was lacking,” she says. She struggled in the beginning but she hung on and was ultimately rewarded with success.

When she moved to Los Angeles 10 years later, she almost instantly returned to New York after she realized that she would have to adjust her frenetic NY lifestyle to a more laidback LA, but she rediscovered her fashion roots and she decided to stay.

An accidental weekend birthday party at a sing-along bar would lead Kasia to a new career that she never considered even in her wildest dreams. “I know I can be funny when I am with my friends but I can’t sing,” she points out. Joseph Gelito saw Kasia in the audience and invited her onstage. The audience found her funny and she was offered to be one of the hosts. Her break came at the Musikahan Restaurant but she didn’t stay long. She joined California Wok and has been regularly entertaining the audience two nights a week ever since.

She can’t sing. She’s not a natural comic. How does she make people laugh?

“Joseph and Maui helped me in the beginning,” she says. Her talent for designing also helped her define her act. “At first, I started to change my outfits every time I mounted the stage and the audience reacted positively.” Although her stint at California Wok has made her a popular performer in LA, Kasia is still unable to really believe that she is now a “stage performer”.

Away from California Wok, Kasia continues her passion for design. “I want to build a fashion empire someday,” she says. Her designs are now filling the racks of popular teen brands like Forever 21, among others.

Kasia admits that she is enjoying her dual career as a fashion designer and a stage performer, and she doesn’t see herself giving it up again to pursue another wild adventure in another city. “I am happy now. I feel fulfilled and I want to continue doing this. I am having a lot of fun.” A true designer, she has designed and redesigned her life so many times but her sense of style remained: fashion is her life – and performing is now her other life.

Kasia performs Fridays and Saturdays at the California Wok in Los Alamitos.

1 comment:

KASIA said...

This is very sweet of you Raymond....Maraming Salamat!!!

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