Team Kramer and the Promises and Pitfalls of Being a Social Media Family
“I want to drink,” cries Kendra in the now-iconic home video of the Kramers.
She was clothed in a burgundy dress, and her wrist was adorned with bangles. “Why? You’re not yet a big girl,” cajoles her father, Doug, in the background, “you’re still a baby.” She laments this reality, bursting with rage. “Ok, ok, what do you want,” asks Doug trying to calm her down. “I want to drink beer,” Kendra demands, wailing, stomping her foot on the ground. “Only big boys and big girls drink beer,” says Doug. She screams. “I’M NOT A BABY! I’M A GIRL!”
This video of Kendra wanting to drink wine with her dad would go viral in 2013. The family became the talk of the town months later, reaping around 20,000 new followers on Facebook every single day, inadvertently making them the first family of social media stardom in the Philippines. Naturally, the offers came: endorsements, magazine covers, talk show appearances, modeling contracts—the irony being: they’re not really celebrities, and it was never really in the plan. Doug is a professional basketball player, and Chesca used to be an actress but is now a full-time mom.
Their rise to fame came by accident. “That’s exactly why the fans hold on to us, cause they felt how organic we were. It came out very naturally, there were no plans [to become social media personalities], not at all.” Doug has dozens of photos he says: of his wife, of their time together, of their firstborn, of their second, then their third. He was documenting their life even before the fact that they would get paid to do it, and these precious family moments were captured for the sake of posterity.
When #TeamKramer skyrocketed to fame, they were already a family of five. The monikers #KendraSuperstar and #ScarlettDoll were formed to the delight of the viewing public, who by 2016 were reportedly more than six million people. The country was riveted—we wanted more. So much more that when it came time to come up with Gavin’s hashtag, it was attained through an online poll. #Gavincredible was born.
Doug was 23 when he and Chesca frst had Kendra, saying that the time was ripe by then. Being a father comes very naturally for him. “It doesn’t take a lot of effort to me to spend time with them,” he says. He grew up in a very close-knit family, so time with the kids is something he cherishes. Although his father, who worked in an off shore oil drilling company, was a very disciplined and serious man—this sense of discipline is something he carried over into his parenting style.
“That’s exactly why the fans hold on to us, cause they felt how organic we were."
The couple shares that while it was tempting to bask in the light of show business (Chesca reveals that Kendra was offered the opportunity to host her own talk show, and the family of five was offered their own reality TV show), they have turned most of these offers down, wanting their kids not to grow up so much in the spotlight, but as kids. “Kendra, she’s an ate,” says Doug, “if you make her do too many shoots after school, she’ll be so tired. I’m very sensitive as a father to my children’s ‘working habits,’” he says, “it has to be very short.” At the end of the day, there must be time for play and family. A firm believer of discipline, Doug asserts, “You can’t discipline your children if you don’t spend time with them.”
This story originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Esquire Philippines.