Having emceed the G2E Asia Awards and Asian Gaming Power 50 Gala Dinner in 2018, Jose Chan Rodrigues and Yamilette M Cano are quickly becoming known as the faces of the local gaming industry event scene. IAG finds out a bit more about this highly sought after young duo.
If you’ve ever attended a major corporate function in Macau, chances are you’ve come across Jose Chan Rodrigues and Yamilette M Cano.
The duo have established themselves as two of the city’s leading events hosts, presenting everything from major awards ceremonies to government presentations and all manner of media gatherings. They also stood out as emcees at both the inaugural G2E Asia Awards in May 2018 and IAG’s Asian Gaming Power 50 Gala Dinner at Studio City in November, while Rodrigues is well-known as opening ceremony host of G2E Asia and MGS Entertainment Show each year.
So how is it that someone becomes the face of Macau’s many gaming industry events? For Rodrigues, who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Macau, the transition was a natural one after studying Communications and theater during four years away studying in the United States.
“I started doing emceeing when I was in high school, some small school shows, then I participated in an emcee training course in Macau,” he recalls.
“Afterwards I did a bit more while at college in the US, some college events, and when I came back to Macau I tried to do some more but I didn’t treat it as a career, just as an interest. Then in 2010, TDM organized a new TV show called “Make or Break” which was a competition format and Season 1 was for emcees. I joined Season 1 and afterwards more people knew me. They said they really wanted some new faces in the industry – especially someone who could speak Cantonese, Mandarin and English. That was really the start of me entering the emcee industry.”
Cano travelled a longer path from her birthplace of Mexico City to her current home in Hong Kong, but the career journey wasn’t so different.
Having spent 20 years performing in South America, Canada and Ireland as a ballet dancer, she launched an event management company, Maya Events, in 2011 before seeling the business five years later and moving into emceeing full-time.
“As a former ballet dancer, the stage had always been my happy place,” Cano explains. “That’s why, when I started producing events, I also pursued my passion of presenting and hosting at these events. Since 2011, I started emceeing at various corporate, government and private events, growing year by year my client portfolio and styles of commanding the stage depending on what was required.” Like Rodrigues, who speaks three languages fluently, emceeing has also allowed Cano to utilize her own multi-lingual skills, which include English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian.
But just as important, she says, is the ability to adapt to your audience.
“It is very important to study the script and decide which style and direction to take depending on the event style and attendees,” she says. “Choose to be formal, elegant, energetic, calm, fun or playful.
“In the end the crowd mood and event ambiance will determine the emcee style required. Some large events have very respectful attendees that listen and are quiet when required, while some other smaller events may have hipper attendees that may be more challenging to grab their attention. All has to be done with professionalism, kindness and respect to the audience attention span.”
Adds Rodrigues, “One of the big challenges when I started emceeing was the use of language because some of the shows you have to be more polite and use different words. The way you express yourself has to be more formal, whereas when you emcee at a music festival, for example, you can be more playful.
“You really have to be able to do a wide range of events [in Macau] because there aren’t enough events to specialise in just one genre such as weddings or expos. If you are in Hong Kong you can just be a wedding emcee and you can do a wedding every night. It’s not like that in Macau.
“The other challenge for me is how I can make each show different. I have been doing G2E Asia for many years but if you give the audience the exact same thing each time they can get a bit bored. They see you all the time and I think they have a higher expectation of Jose nowadays so each time I try to be a bit different to give the audience a new feeling.”
In the space of a month, Rodrigues and Cano – whose paths cross with relative frequency these days – can find themselves emceeing everything from conferences and private corporate events to gala dinners, awards presentations, charity events, festivals, roadshows and various events for local associations.
Gaming industry events, Cano notes, tend to be “very well organized: the attendees are very respectful and are interested on what is happening on the stage. They are also informed and like to attend these types of events as most of them get some kind of recognition.”
Yet with such diversity awaiting at every turn, preparation is key to ensuring a flawless performance on stage.
“I make sure to practice any names and surnames beforehand so my pronunciation is on point,” Cano adds. “I normally learn the script by heart so I don’t require any queue card support to express my message, which makes the presentation more real and relatable. I also theme my wardrobe to the event colors or theme, making the whole experience better for both myself and the guests.
“And for any event size it is very important to prepare with some vocal and breathing exercises to control the pitch and be able to enunciate properly.
“The rest is just to have fun and really enjoy the moment – the stage is my playground!”
Jose Chan Rodrigues can be contacted via Facebook at Josethemc, Instagram at Jose_c.r or by email at pitch. [email protected]