Small and mighty, Bruha waltzes into bazaar’s meeting room with an effervescence and confidence as though she’s been there a million times before. “I came with gifts for you ladies!” she says, toting a range of her handcrafted slides, just one of the many beautiful artisan pieces she designs and sells under her offshoot brand, By BEA.
“This bag is made from pineapple fiber,” she tells me enthusiastically, gesturing towards the tote her one-of-a-kind creation was packaged in. “And the upper for the slippers is made from the same fabric and pattern that Islanders used as loincloth,” she says, with a wicked smile.
Wicked is the way to describe the enchanting Bruha, (whose name, in Tagalog by no coincidence means “enchantress”) but not in the traditional sense of the meaning. The word’s definition tends to connote evilness, but Bruha is the extreme opposite of that. She’s honest, raw and exudes a “what you see is what you get” nature. As she goes on to tell me about her method of painting with her hands, and the fact that her canvas art, the time she takes to create, and her internal self are darker than she’s externally perceived, it’s clear that she just has the soul of an artist.
“An artist, to me, is someone who isn’t afraid to create – isn’t afraid to be themselves.” She tells me, as she describes her life with gusto: her Philippines hometown Nueva Vida (where she was recently given an award: The Outstanding Daughter of Nueva Vida) her cats – subjects who have made themselves present on Bruha’s canvas, many a time –and her (notso-secret) passion of cooking, expertly plating her creations, and hopes and ambitions to one day own a restaurant.
Amidst it all, her fiery ball of energy, her ever-changing ice-blue hair, catch my attention as she says “Let me tell you about my background: then, you will understand me.”
Bruha Eve was born in the Philippines some 30 years ago on the Island of Zamboanga. Her family soon after relocated to the jungle landscapes of Nueva Vida, where, despite their lack of income, Bruha was given every opportunity her mother, aunties and her favorite Uncle, an American man working for the military, could give her. “I remember, I went to a public school” Bruha begins one charming anecdote in particular, reminiscing about a local poster competition held by the county’s schools.
“Most of the the private school kids had their fancy craypas oil pastel crayons, but I had nothing, and my mother couldn’t provide me with the same tools everyone else had.” But Bruha isn’t one to give into such parameters! She reportedly went home, gathered the pigment-releasing begonias from her backyard, and proceeded to produce colors out of them, thus creating a poster her school would never forget. “I didn’t end up winning the contest, but I did get an honorable mention for being the most creative!” she beams.
Anyone with eyes can easily see that Bruha is in fact, the most creative, and especially the name brands she has worked with. On her resume, her close collaborations boast bits and pieces of marketed illustration with Alyasra brands such as Jimmy Choo, Alshaya brands like West Elm and our local Louis Vuitton – one that is in fact, a collaboration she’ll never forget.
“I was commissioned to implement customer-requested illustrations onto everyday items from rubbish bins to tissue box holders and other knick-knacks and tchotchkes. The rich are quirky,” she grins “but I love that they appreciate my style!”
And because people appreciate her style, her use of color, raw emotion and organic matter to create beauty, Bruha birthed her art world to distribute her wearable art to the masses. This galaxy of art in fashion includes her customization skills, and restoring and revamping vintage pieces for clientele. By BEA offers an earthier approach, with paint-splattered and customized wide-brimmed straw hats, crossbody bags with tropical emblems, those gorgeous slippers we’re obsessed with (which are, by the way, extremely comfortable!) beach-ready handbags, sunglasscases… just to name a few.
The cherry on top is the fact that many of the fibers and materials she uses also hail from her roots, as a nod to the raw materials that are abundant in the jungle. “I love implementing my heritage onto these accessories, and I love that locals in Kuwait can appreciate my use of color and patterns.”
Her heavily incorporated jungle-style motif is a transparent appreciation for the close ties Bruha keeps with her homeland – the place where she has indeed, left her heart. “I’m actually darker than I appear to be (artistically speaking.) But I really just make art with emotion. That’s why I paint with my hands – to really feel everything that I’m doing.” With that, and a peaceful smile, she excuses herself to go back home to be with her art, her husband, cats and beautifully plated concoctions. Meanwhile, we’re just excited to see what the enchanting Bruha will create next.
TRUTH OR DARE QUESTIONNAIRE
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
“Nice hair, you work in the salon?!” (Very racist.)
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Quitting my job as a US army contractor.
What is your theme song?
Nosi Ba Lasi (Reverted Filipino words meaning “ Who are they”).
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
Where would you like to live? What is your dream retirement location?
Beach house, somewhere isolated.
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
“Stay hungry, stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs.
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
What do you miss about your childhood?
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I would add a “!” (Click sound) to my name.
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
What is the toughest part of your character?
I’m too opinionated – I speak the truth.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
What in the world do you least desire?
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of would make the world a better place?
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
Because I’m charming and straightforward.
Finish this sentence:
“Happiness is a thing called…” Contentment.