Dante gets a nose job…

Posted: April 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

Ok, so I’ve been an actor for most my life now, well over 20 years… When you stop to think about it, it kind of sounds crazy for me to say I’ve been an actor over twenty years… think I’ve had my SAG card since 1985. (That’s a Screen Actors Guild card, simply meaning I’m in the actors union[for those that didn’t know]) See, I started acting as a kid, my whole family really, we came down to LA from the Bay Area, a little blue-collar town called Pittsburg. Well, when we moved down here, I was fortunate enough to book the first audition I ever went on for a television show. The show was called “The Wizard”, it was an hour drama and it starred this actor who is a “little” person. I think that’s the pc term these days. Anyhow, it was an hour show and I actually booked the job and I played a Native American (another pc term). Funny thing, another kid actor booked that episode named Kenny Morrison, who was also playing a Native and would eventually become a really good friend of mine… neither one of us actually being Native American, matter a fact, his mother might have been part Filipino… and he went on to play Atreyu in the Neverending Story II.

Basically, I started working in Hollywood as a child and I actually started working a lot. So much so, I would end up missing school pretty frequently and what I was sad about, missing school functions like the eighth grade dance. Things like that seem almost trivial now, but back then, it was like life and death… Well the point is, I was working and this was actually before I did “Hook”.

One day I remember I had this conversation with my then manager about the possibility of me getting a nose job! Yeah… a friggin nose job! I don’t know, maybe I didn’t get a particular job, probably due to how I looked. See growing up in Hollywood, there weren’t many Filipino actors and there was absolutely no Filipino roles, so my jobs consisted of me playing anything and every thing from any form of Latino to any form of Asian and even some black or white roles for characters that they couldn’t find good enough black or white kids. So this question of a nose job arises… I must have only been 14 and was seriously asked to give it some strong thought…

A nose job… First of all, it was the eighties and nose jobs were in. Of course the manager sighted people like Michael Jackson who got a nose job and how it helped his career.(at least that’s what she said) Even my then acting teacher told me Elvis Presley had a nose job early in his career.(still not sure if that’s true) She even offer to set up the appointment to the doctor that did a friend of her’s nose.

As a teenager, this is a weird thing to think about… Hell, thinking back on it now it’s a little weird. The thing about it is, there were several people putting pressure on me about geting this procedure done and not just business, I know that there are certain people in my family, one aunt for certain that would’ve jumped at a chance to get their nose “fixed”. And its a pretty big thing to go and change the thing smack dab in the middle of your face.

Ok, growing up I was always teased by my other brothers about having a “big” nose… and I can’t lie, it was kind of big, especially on my little body at that time. I look at old pictures of me back in the day and boy did I have a big nose. I guess I was teased, like stories of young Michael Jackson being teased by his brothers. But it was my nose…

Now I’m not sure if the actual appointment was set, but I do remember realizing something… See, my management and what I felt at the time, as “Hollywood,” wanted me to get my nose “fixed”… “fixed”, “changed”… but “changed” to what? I realized they wanted me to change my nose to look more like a white person’s nose. See, I’m Filipino, I’m not a Latin actor or light-skinned Black actor, who maybe if I just changed a little thing, like my nose… all of a sudden I can maybe pass for white. I just figured no matter what my nose looks like, I’m never going to be able to pass for white and all those “white” roles are never going to open up for me, at least not in that way and ultimately, that’s not how I wanted to play this game in Hollywood… I planned to make it  another way.

So I kept my nose, my Filipino nose, some may say “black” nose… this ethnic nose any way you look at it. This Basco nose, the same one that is on my dad’s face, his brothers’ face, my cousins’ and my grandmother’s… & I succeeded in this town anyways.

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Comments
  1. kieraChang says:

    I’m proud of you man! For being proud to be a FILIPINO & for believing that no matter what they say to “change” about you, you’re gonna get to whereever you want to go even if you don’t change anything. You is awesome =) haha!

  2. Tomeka says:

    Hollywood is a strange game to play, i have heard of other actors who were asked to change something about themselves. I dont know from experience am just a movie fan but i do feel for you guys in this hollywood machine. Anyway good for you and its good to know their are real actors especially ethnic actors who dont bow to the machine but embrace their culture. This blog inspires me to do the same, embrace my culture and not change for anyone who doesnt like my features..

  3. Andrew says:

    They were suggesting plastic surgery to *you*?

    Wow, sounds like you dodged a bullet there…

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kirstyn Rae, Dante Basco. Dante Basco said: Dante gets a nose job…: http://wp.me/pJRES-C […]

  5. Mark Hille says:

    “The Wizard” with David Rappaport. I remember that show.. man, there were alot of good shows back in the 80’s.

  6. hopper says:

    u should send this 2 the racebending…they post stuff like this bout how nonwhites get screwd by holywood a lot…zoe saldana talked about talk about “being fixed” to and she was all “wat im fine just like i am”

  7. clearduet says:

    wow…you should be proud of yourself, everyone’s different and beautiful for a reason

  8. NotoriousMLE says:

    This post made me laugh because it seems we have a few things in common. My Dad is Filipino and I grew up in Pittsburg too and when I was in 2nd grade I was pulled from my class and paid $20 to serve as a model of a “Native American” kid saying the pledge of allegiance. I live on in infamy in some Japanese textbook. The nose issue is sad all around. It infuriates me that any child would be pressured to get plastic surgery. Hollywood is ridiculous. My mom is white and hates her nose, she always says she’s grateful that we ended up with my Dad’s beautiful “Filipino” nose. Too bad some people want everybody to look like one version of what’s “ideal”

  9. Marissa Lee says:

    So I’ll be honest, when I was growing up, part of the reason why I liked Rufio so was because Rufio’s nose kind of looked like mine.

  10. […] as a teenage actor of color in Hollywood, to get plastic surgery to look less “ethnic”- Dante gets a nose job. “…Growing up in Hollywood, there weren’t many Filipino actors and there was […]

  11. Nami says:

    I had a huge crush on Rufio growing up, and I was a middle class white kid. (I had your Burger King toy!) I never thought your nose looked big, and I appreciate the respect you gave your heritage and the cultures of the roles you were cast in. Rufio’s complex identity as a character impacted me as a young artist and writer, and to be honest, I don’t think Hook would have been as enjoyable without you in that role. It hurts to think we’re still fighting this battle, and the unfairness of it makes me feel ashamed of my own people.

    Race and racial identity are something to be celebrated. The creators of Avatar did a spectacular job representing the diverse Asian and Native American cultures in the show. They showed America that we don’t need to rely on slanted eyes and yellow skin to identify characters as Asian. With the wild success of media like Avatar and Slumdog Millionaire, how could any marketing director still believe their target demographic isn’t ready for lead actors of color? I would prefer casting be done nationality for nationality, because cultural identity and language are intense parts of someone’s character. I would be satisfied if Hollywood would at least TRY, though.

    For me, being dropped into a new culture is an intensely gratifying experience. It’s a chance to explore the world through someone else’s eyes. I resent being coddled as a ticket holder. Regardless of M. K. Shyamalan’s intentions, Airbender is a step backward. He could cast a sea of Asian American and Inuit extras, and it doesn’t change the fact that Sokka, Katara, and Aang are white. It’s distracting to see the siblings mixed in among dark faces, and it detracts from the film’s (already shaky) integrity.

  12. Kim says:

    I am really proud of you for making this decision and sharing it with us. You are incredibly talented and you don’t need to change for anyone. You are a wonderful role model; thank you.

  13. Adriana says:

    As someone who’s been ridiculed for her large, and very distinct Aztec nose, I feel your pain. I come from a mix of races (Chinese, Italian, Spaniard and Aztec) and thus I have very distinct ethnic markers on my face. My nose is quite big, but I don’t mind it now, bt back when was young, my family, especially my cousins used to sing “Adriana, ball face, gun nose” in Spanish all the time to get me to cry. I did want to get it “fixed” many times, but my Mom made me see that it was ok the way it was and to stop listening to them. Now I like my nose, and if they ridicule me, I turn around and leave them behind.

    Thank you for writing this!

  14. Shin says:

    I did a study on how to draw a Filipino for animation as my thesis called for it and I find that the Filipino nose has this unique bump to it. Like… it’s nose and.. two bumps on either side… or something It’s quite distinctive and pretty cool, really to notice something like that! Just thought I’d share. 😀

  15. Lurial says:

    I’m glad you didn’t do it! You look great just the way you are – plastic surgery would’ve ruined that. 😦

  16. Francis de la Pena says:

    I am glad you did not join the Filipino actor bandwagon of getting your nose done. I think Filipino noses is what distinguishes us from all the other Asians.

  17. How sick is it, that someone would expect a teenager to get a nose job, anyway? As someone who has had six failed sinus surgeries, I’m really glad you didn’t go through with it. Besides, you have a very nice nose, it gives you character. I think Hollywood needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

  18. Kate says:

    Dude your nose is NOT even big.

  19. Damn. Even your prose sounds like poetry.

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