You might remember hearing sudden cries of terror coming from all around the campus in response to the undead pointing towards Haunted Hall during University Week, but possibly the most terrifying among all of them was the main villain of The Conjuring 2 herself. Complete with a nun outfit, ashen skin, and ghostly white eyes, Valak greeted students when they least expected it, staring coldly into her victims’ eyes even after they had lost their breath while screaming.
But those who bumped into Valak while she was out to scare people missed out on her more playful side. Several videos showed our resident ghost living the life of the usual DLSU student, making funny poses around Henry Sy, playing sports with friends, and just generally having a good time. These videos that went viral revealed more of the girl under the costume and makeup, Harlequin Theatre Guild’s Lin Javier (III, ADV).
The face behind the phantom
While expecting to interview Valak in all its hair-raising glory, we were pleasantly surprised to be met with a reserved, almost timid student outside our office. What some people do not know is that the person behind the nun ensemble, Halloween makeup, and comical viral video is, in fact, a girl.
A third year student in Advertising Management, co-captain to the Lady Shuttlers, and a bonafide member of the Harlequin Theatre Guild, Lin Javier is no stranger to performing a multitude of roles. She begins her day with training at 5:30 am, and attends classes that start at 11 and ends a little before 6, just in time for her rehearsals. With little to no sleep, Lin is still able to balance her hectic daily schedule. While most would balk at the mere mention of such a routine, Lin says what keeps her going is her passion for what she does. “Para ma-balance, love what you’re doing. Be happy. Kasi di ko siya kino-consider as hassle at all. Hassle lang naman ang bagay if ayaw ko siyang gawin,” she says.
Growing up, Lin recalls having a passion for acting ever since she can remember, but says the drive to really pursue it came with becoming a member of the Harlequin Theatre Guild. She shares, “Doon ko nakita na may something pala ako na mabibigay, malalabas na talent for the guild and acting itself.”
So when University Week came and it was time to promote the Haunted Hall, she jumped at the opportunity to shake things up a bit. Since blood and prosthetics were the go-to props, Lin thought of doing something fresh, and quite timely; on the first day of the Haunted Hall itself, she made an improvised costume and dressed up as Valak, for what she thought would be the first and only time she would do so.
Act of Valak
On their last day of Haunted Hall, Lin decided to record a video commemorating another successful run for their event, and as a goodbye to her stint as the demonic nun from The Conjuring 2. Afterwards, she went home, edited the video on her phone a bit, uploaded the video, and called it a night. The next morning, her video had 30,000 views, and within the day it hit a million. Lin’s reaction to going viral? “Initial reaction ko, sobrang tawang-tawa ako. Di ako natawa sa ginawa ko, natawa ako na umabot siya ng ganun karaming views.”
Her video became popular online so quickly that even the local media took notice, with The Inquirer writing a short article, and established broadcast journalist Jessica Soho doing a feature on Lin in an episode for her show. When asked about all of the sudden attention, however, Lin was very down-to-earth, stating that when she had the idea to dress up as Valak and record a video in the first place she had no intention whatsoever to do it for fame. “Gumawa ako ng video na wala akong purpose na magpasikat. Purpose ko lang na gumawa ay kasi nakakatawa siya.”
A little over a month has passed, and while the buzz surrounding Valak has died down a bit, Lin does not harbor any untoward feelings about the issue; she shares that it is as if nothing in her life has changed one bit. “Alam ko naman nung nag-start pa lang na kumakalat yung video, for a mean time lang yun. Everything is temporary,” she says, showing that her newfound popularity did not affect her in any way.
While creating humorous videos is a hobby she cultivates whenever she has free time, it mostly depends on whenever she feels like recording, and usually there is no occasion to call for it. Lin is spontaneous, so anyone who viewed her Valak video and is expecting to see more from her soon will not be getting a definite timeframe for when she posts again. While she does not mind being known as a certain character, the public should also be aware that at the end of the day, she is just like the rest of us; but she is no one-hit wonder either. “Siguro wag masyado mag-expect na laging may ganap. Wala pa naman plans. Just wait and see,” she says.