Jesse and Christian Perkins (known as The Perkins Twins) are a classic example of two being better than one! The twins’ music hits two birds with one stone: entertainment and good influence as they share inspiring advocacies with kids of all ages (including those of us who are above [Ahem] twenty-five years old).
They were born in Manila where their American dad, Tarny Perkins, and Filipina mom, Tess Pazzuiagan Perkins operated the Coffee California company. When the twins were five years old, the family moved to Northern California where they were raised.
In school, they excelled in academics and sports…both were high school scholars, and recipients of the (U.S.) Presidential Awards for Outstanding Academic Excellence during each of the terms of Presidents Bush and Obama. They were the youngest high school varsity basketball players before they shifted their focus on tennis where they would be undefeated in their high school tennis careers, winning the Grand Prix doubles champions in the state of California. They also played Pop Warner football. They were featured on ABS/ TFC Channel as Filipino Champions. On GMA Power ng Pinoy they were the youngest FilAm Difference Makers on a list that included Dado Banato and Cheryl Burke (dancing with the stars). Both boys received full scholarships to the University of California at Berkeley (CAL).
Both standing above 6 feet tall, they were international fashion and commercial models under their mentor, Charleston Pierce (in San Francisco).
In 2013, the Perkins Family decided to come back to Manila. While Dad and Mom Perkins got busy returning to the coffee business with their Cup of Faith Coffee Shop, the twins got busy too! And how! They released their first album, Para Lang Sa ‘Yo, on their own with original Tagalong songs by Vehnee Saturno. This year, they signed on under Universal Records. This is their Tagalog single, Ikaw Na:
With their latest album, Can’t Stop, all of the songs were written by the twins in English (except for one Tagalog song). Favorites include the carrier single, Can’t Stop, as well as Heart of Gold, and Wanna Be Yours.
Jesse and Christian are focused on singing but also find time for sports, building computer apps, and working at the Cup of Faith.
Teaming up with EDSA Shangrila, they run a tennis training program along with their dad, Tarny, called the Perkins Twins Tennis Academy at the hotel’s two tennis courts (where the IPTL players practiced).
They are also Celebrity Ambassadors for World Vision (Sponsor a Child)
and support the work of Global Impact for Anti-Human Trafficking as Freedom Fighters.
In 2014, they were featured on 700 Club Asia for the episode, Huwaran na Mga Anak (Model Children).
I don’t think this is Two Much Excellence! But wait! There’s more! Their latest endeavor is a project with the Department of Education (DepEd) where they advocate No Drugs, No Smoking, No Alcohol, No Bullying, Yes to Purity (no love teams) and Good Values for elementary, high school, and college level schools all over the country.
They spend three to four days in the beginning of each week in a given locality visiting up to six schools per day where they perform a few songs and advocate doing the right thing. Then they finish the week with an SM Mall Concert on the weekend where they reinforce their advocacies. After the performance, they mingle with the youth and encourage them to stay in school. In addition, the twins make it a priority to sing and share their testimony for church youth groups.
According to Tarny Perkins, “The tour itself is a family affair – with Dad and Mom, Tess (the “mommyger” as she likes to say), always on the tour with them. Their photographer is their uncle Edgar (Tess’s twin). And the videographer, sound person, and security are either family members or friends. The pace of the nationwide tour is not expected to slow down anytime soon as they are continue with SM for mall tours throughout 2016. And the twins are planning an even bigger campus and mall tour for 2017. This is their current mall schedule (with more to follow):
• SM CENTER MUNTINLUPA 10-SepSaturday4PM | Event Center
• SM CITY BATANGAS 18-SepSunday5PM | Atrium 2
• TOWER MALL 24-SepSaturday4PM | Event Area
• SM CITY BICUTAN 1-OctSaturday4PM | Event Center
• SM SAN JOSE 9-Oct (Further details to be announced)”
Butterflyinthespring had a chance to chat with Jesse and Christian. Sharing that with you:
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): What encouragement can you give someone who is struggling with peer pressure? Have you encountered such struggles?
JESSE PERKINS (JP): Oh yes. My brother and I actually grew up in California. A lot of the weekends during High School, some of our friends were drinking, smoking, doing drugs… that was like a “normal thing to do.” My brother and I were sometimes pressured by people into stuff like that but we both knew that if we wanted to do the right thing and be pleasing to the Lord— to delight in safe pasture—we would actually never go to these parties. We would hang out with our friends but not in things that would get us in trouble doing the wrong things. We’re not here to please other people. We’re here, first of all, to please God and then we focus on what we’re passionate about. In our case it was sports, our studies. It’s easier to combat peer pressure if you’re committed to important things; find something that you really love to do. And don’t hang out or be influenced by the wrong crowd.
CHRISTIAN PERKINS (CP): A lot of people tend to be insecure giving in to peer pressure from people who tell them to do this and that but I think you can combat that if your security is in the Lord. My brother and I were raised in a Christian family. Our parents taught us since we were young to follow the Lord and His commandments. They taught us to read the bible which is the most important thing. That can give you strength and wisdom to fight against any temptations you may have. For us, it’s just putting God first in everything you do; and think about, “Is this going to be glorifying to God or is this going to cause me to stumble?” We used to have bracelets that said, “What would Jesus do?” That kind of mindset helps a lot in trying to be more like Jesus.
JP: It would be cool if you surround yourself as much as possible with people who share the same values as you who support what you stand for who will help you be accountable and be a good person. Be role models for your friends and don’t let your friends change you. Youth groups in church are good.
CP: We also had role models.
JP: They inspired us.
CP: Yeah, exactly. One of our role models was Tim Tebow, a professional football player in the US who was actually born here [in the Philippines]. He’s a man of God, he walks in the light of Jesus. It’s important to know that not everyone was doing bad stuff. It’s cool to be good. Of course, Number One: turn to Jesus.
JP: You don’t have to be like other people. If you’re rooted in the Word, you’ll know what’s right and wrong. Obviously, we can’t be perfect but we try as much as possible to stay away from bad situations.
BITS: When you say you want to “be accountable,” what do you mean by that?
JP: At church, we have a group of young guys that we’re accountable to; we study the bible. My brother and I are also accountable to each other. I think that’s really important because that way, you have someone else helping you to fight the devil. Sometimes someone tells you, “You have to stop doing this… you have to get back on track.”
CP: The group is also encouraging… being open to be corrected, being honest with people and yourself and ultimately, to God.
BITS: I am curious if you were isolated that’s why you could remain pure?
JP and CP [Amused]: No, no, it wasn’t like that. We had a bunch of friends… They respected our values… No one ever said, “You guys are killjoy.”(It helped that we played sports so we kind of had respect from that) But it was like, “You don’t need to do what we’re doing. You’re still friendly to us.” We were still friendly to everyone. We just didn’t do things or go to places that would get us in trouble.
BITS: Did anybody ever make fun of you for sticking to your values?
JP: If you establish right away where you stand in your values and faith, people will understand that right away as opposed to if you’re on the edge [or in-between]. Obviously, we [make mistakes]. We’re human beings also. But if you just make it known right away [what you stand for and] try your best to live that Christian life, people will respect that. It’s not a bad thing to try to be as good as you can.
BITS: What’s your take on girls? What can you say to someone who might be wondering if following the Lord is boring, restrictive, and not enjoyable?
For those of you who want to know if you can adopt the Perkins Twins, here’s their answer:
Tarny and Tess Perkins serve as the twins’ manager and “mommyger.” Tarny says, “What makes the story of the twins unique and one might say ‘a miracle,’ is that the Perkins Twins are bringing their message of hope and inspiration to massive campus audiences and packed SM Mall Shows, with virtually no visibility from the entertainment community (Philippine TV, press or radio). We as a family believe that God has a bigger plan than the plans of men. The twins are bold in expressing their values and will not compromise their faith. They work hard to bring quality and brotherly love (after all, God first loved us) to the Philippine market — which is appealing to all ages. If you have not seen the twins live, you really need to. It truly is a phenomenon. Their commitment to the fans is to stay until the last person gets their picture (or hug).”
I found out that the reason why Jesse’s name always comes first before Christian’s is that before Tess gave birth and was looking for baby names, she wanted the twins to be named J and C (to be like Jesus Christ). Thus, Jesse and Christian! They are half-American and half-Filipino, but wholly inspiring. Their Fan Club is called Perkinspired and I think I just became an unofficial member.
Mommy Tess says, “There is no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in God’s truth. Whenever there are mall shows, they point their fans to the One they admire. Many of the fans have come to visit at the Cup of Faith while the twins work. I would say, ‘Follow the twins but ultimately follow Who they follow… Jesus.'”
Lord, how wonderfully the twins turned out, being salt and light to the world with some neons, too! May You continue to guard and guide them as You expand their borders as they joyfully and passionately walk in the path You have planned for them giving glory to Your name wherever they go. Thank You for Tarny and Tess and the people who surround them for their diligence and perseverance to finish the race and all for the glory of God.