Joining the newest season of Sony Channels’ interior design reality competition The Apartment is the first Filipino judge Cat Armabulo. “Usually I’m behind the camera for other stuff like styling. This is my first time to be on an interior design reality show ever. My real passion is fashion. Being a judge on The Apartment has enabled me to inspire and motivate 12 talented and ambitious aspiring designers that have come from different backgrounds with completely different personalities and yet are all motivated by one thing alone, their passion for design,” she shared during The Apartment’s special screening held last March 12 in Makati city.
Cat revealed she was initially invited to join the competition as a contestant through social media and then invited to do three interviews through Skype. “After that I didn’t hear from them for like a month so I figured wala na. So I just put it out of my mind. And then the next time they called it was with the producers na and they apologized that it took so long to get back to me. They said, ‘We would love to have you on the show but unfortunately we don’t want you as a contestant. We are actually considering you for the position of being a judge on the show! Would you be interested?’ I thought that would be great but I actually wanted to be a contestant (laughs). A week after, fly out na. It was that fast,” she said.
Even with a busy career as a designer and media personality, Cat is also a hands-on mom to three kids aged 15, six, and two which she said was a big challenge when she had to shoot the show in Malaysia and Singapore for almost two months. “I had to put together all the schedules, the doctor’s appointments, everything. I had to micro-manage that from where I was and I installed cameras in the house so I could see them. I haven’t slept alone in seven years so in my hotel room I was kind of scared. You know how we would sleep? Our laptops were next to each other on FaceTime every night (laughs),” she recalled.
As the only Filipino judge on the show, Cat said she enjoyed working with principal judge Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Tyler Wisler. “The contestants thought I was actually going to be intimidating at first because of the outfits and all that. But they said I was actually kind of nice, even too nice. Parang I’m feisty but I’m not sure. But we’re filming a reality show so there’s no script. We’re not following any process. There’s just a general outline. You don’t know what you’re going to say or do,” she explained.
Working with a foreign crew was also a different kind of experience for Cat on The Apartment set. “It was so different. Because I was exposed to the industry here because before I would style Ruffa Gutierrez and Ehra Madrigal for their shows as a stylist. There it’s so different. The timing is so efficient and fast. We were working in Pinewood studios which is the biggest studio in Southeast Asia. Everything was state-of-the-art. We were filming there the same time as Asia’s Got Talent and sometimes we would see them across the hallway so it was amazing. It was just different,” she said.
The Apartment: Passion for Design premieres on March 22, Thursday at 9 pm on the Sony Channel.