As Angie King decided she was finally done being "Ian" after many years of crossdressing in secret, Joey Mead said that unknown to a public that revered her for sticking by her partner's side, she herself went through her own transition journey.
In embracing herself as Joey Mead King, the other half of one of the most prominent LGBTQIA+ couples in the Philippines, she had to finally confront her deep-seated issues just so she could get herself out of the pit of negative emotions and accept that from then on, "the Kings were both Queens".
Nineties Philippines' favorite It Girl bared this much in her recent memoir, "Runaway Model" that is co-written with Lara Parpan and published by Summit Books.
"I feel that many people think, 'Wow Joey you're so brave. Good on you. Love is love'. But in truth, it took quite a lot to get to where I am currently today," Mead King said in an exclusive press conference with Summit Media journalists.
"In the book, I shared what it was like within the eight years of Ange's phase of crossdressing—when she started searching for herself, her identity. Going along that journey with Ange, I was also losing control, losing touch, and losing my own identity," she added.
Pushing and pulling
In the memoir, Mead King spoke with all honesty about the cognitive dissonance she experienced while Angie was on the verge of transition.
"[She was] wanting to do more things and I'm the one encouraging her that 'You need to go out. You need to go out on your own and go to another country by yourself'...But at the same time, I was like, 'No don't go to another country. Don't go without me. I'll do your makeup.' There was such a pull," she said in the interview, noting this particular phase of her life as "very confusing and painful".
At some point, she said she even contemplated dressing "more manly", feeling pressured to maintain that traditional dynamic of relationships. "..I felt like we needed to be in a partnership where one has to be predominantly feminine and the other one has to be predominantly masculine because I was still in that coding behavior, that that's a relationship," she said.
All this, she said, "completely got blown out of the water" when she started investing in the one person she needed to stop neglecting and running away from: herself.
In the memoir, it isn't until Chapter Seven out of 12 that readers are introduced to her conventions-defying relationship with Angie. With the title referring to her alone, the book, since the very beginning, is all about Joey and the journey she had long been refusing to look back on until she hit that big roadblock that could've destroyed their marriage.
ALSO READ: Why Joey Mead Chose to Stay With Angie King
Healing her 'inner child'
Mead King did not hold back in telling many challenges she went through, starting with her fractured relationship with her own life-giver. Joey said as a teen, her mother told her she should've been aborted, and in a separate exchange, said to her that her goal should be to become a "top escort in Europe".
This was what she had ran away from in Australia, her reason for moving to the Philippines, where many times she found herself stuck in destructive behaviors and toxic relationships, including one with an ex-boyfriend who nearly killed her.
"I’m so happy that we’re now in a generation where talking about 'shadow work', even expressing your 'inner child' and its different characters. I’m so glad that it’s part of the dialogue now because I don’t think you’d be able to bring this up 20 years ago, we’d be like, “Whaaat?’. So it’s really a good time to talk about aspects of our life which did not make sense but now makes complete sense," Mead King said, recalling how the topic of mental health in the 90s was largely unheard of.
"In my memoir, I shared that in my later years, in my 30s, I started hitting roadblocks because my inner child was not being seen and was looking for help to help myself understand what was going on... It's such a great relief to [do it and realize that], 'Oh, it has to do with how I was raised. This is why my parents are so.. And there's that great awareness that comes with it, as well as forgiveness, and brave, deep understanding," she said.
"I guess the biggest piece is such compelling love that you have for yourself. Like biglaang realization na, 'oh wow I didn't love myself did I? Here I am expressing self love here and there but I haven't really taken the opportunity to see why I was the way I was," she added.
Mead King said she hopes her readers would realize how acknowledging one's experiences with trauma isn't an admission that their life has failed. "That actually, it's just another stepping stone to living your best self now," she said.
What mattered in the end
This was the key she needed to unlock where she is now—quarantined in a farm with the love of her life. In Angie, she found someone she couldn't run away from.
"[It all made sense] when I started investing in myself and taking out titles and taking out roles, and just coming down to the actual foundation of our relationship—two human beings who have chosen each other. That really is it.. I wanted to show in the book that obviously, this wasn't overnight for us," Joey said.
What got in the way was also the public's perception of their relationship, including the media's coverage, that she said in her book was both "fascinating…and invasive."
"There were parts in our years that really tested the connection for us but what was always there though is that we always loved each other no matter what. It was just trying to make sense of the madness that was part of it," she added.
Runaway Model is published by Summit Books, a unit of Summit Media Inc., which also publishes Reportr.