IT’S PAST midnight but Cowboy Grill, a resto-bar along Quezon Avenue, was crowded.
The scent of alcohol and smoke hung in the air as people gathered around tables filled with drinks and ashtrays. Their eyes directed toward the stage, focused on the performer with long black hair donned in a tight gray crop-top.
She’s Mocha Uson, widely known in the entertainment industry as the lead vocalist of Viva Record’s all-female singing and dancing group Mocha Girls.
But before she was Mocha, she was Margaux Uson, who studied medical technology in the University.
MINUTES before going on stage, Uson—clad in her signature camo jacket—sat down with the Varsitarian in her dressing room and recounted her “unhappy” stay in the University.
“[I was] so sad because I didn’t like my course. I was forced to take medical technology because my mom was a pediatrician and my dad was a judge,” she said.
Uson finished medical technology in 1998, and entered the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in 1999.
Uson had always been inclined to music and performance. In her senior year of medical technology, she formed a band with Lord Byron Cristobal, a student from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Uson juggled her studies and band commitments. “Even while I was still in medicine tsaka fourth-year med-tech nagbabanda na ako so sinabay ko ‘yon,” she said.
Ultimately, Uson chose to pursue a musical career full-time and dropped out of medicine during her second year.
“Nagme-medicine siya, magbabanda siya sa gabi. So ang nangyayari, nale-late siya medicine o kaya naman unprepared siya sa band,” said Cristobal, now Uson’s manager.
“The defining moment was nagbabasa ako ng libro … tapos sabi ko what am I doing with my life? Why am I wasting my life doing something that doesn’t make me happy?” said Uson.
In 2006, Uson and Cristobal recruited cheer dancers from Adamson University. She quickly shifted from being a band vocalist to being leader of a pop group, which earned the name Mocha Girls.
Uson rose to prominence as a social media personality and staunch supporter of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 national elections.
Her Facebook page, Mocha Uson Blog, a political advocacy page catering to Duterte supporters, has over 4.8 million followers as of writing.
“When Duterte first came out, his womanizing was the first hit that his enemies threw at him. He wasn’t even campaigning yet.That’s when we first got angry so we released the truth. That’s the first blog post Mocha did: Duterte is not a playboy,” said Cristobal.
Cristobal, who helps Uson run her eponymous Facebook page, boasted of Uson’s strong political convictions.
“What we are aiming is tunay na pagbabago. Magbago ang Pilipinas, magbago ang Sistema, magbago ugali ng mga Pilipino… kahit mamatay siya, ang ipaglalaban naming is tunay na pagbabago,” he said.
Last January, Uson was appointed board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
Before Duterte, Uson advocated for breast cancer awarenessafter her mother was diagnosed with the disease. In 2010, she served as ambassadress for Philippine Foundation for Breast Care, Inc.
AS THE interview drew to a close, Uson’s song began to blare through the doors of her dressing room, beckoning her to go out on stage. Uson eagerly stood up and grabbed a microphone.
Before she stepped out, she left a message for Thomasians: “Do what you want and be responsible!”