Charice Pempengco: The International Star
Charice Pempengco is surfing the airwaves all over the world with her very first international single, “Pyramid.” But even before finally breaking into the mainstream, she has already received recognition from big name media stars like Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey. At the age of 16, she sang a duet with her idol, Celine Dion, who expressed so much admiration for her. At 18, Charice is living the dream, and she’s only just begun. (Fun trivia: Did you also know that the May issue of Total Girl, Cosmopolitan Philippines’ little sister magazine, with Charice on the cover has been picked up by international showbiz site, Just Jared?)
Her life in the limelight has not been without its ups and downs, though, and Charice tells us all about them.
You’re just 18 and you’ve already accomplished so much. What else do you want to do?
Sa ngayon po, gusto ko na lang po munang ipagpatuloy ang ginagawa ko. Siyempre nakakapagod po, pero gusto ko po talagang mag-focus muna sa mga ginagawa ko bago ko dagdagan.
[Charice: Right now, I just want to focus on what I am currently doing. Of course, I get a bit tired, but I really want to first focus on my current activities before thinking of venturing into new things.]
What do you think got you to where you are today?
‘Yung gift po ni God, kasi na-discover ako sa YouTube, may nag-post ng video ko, and na-discover nila ako kasi parang kino-compare nila ako kay Whitney Houston, so siguro pasalamat na lang ako sa talent na binigay ni God. Hindi ko pa naaabot ‘yung top, pero siguro narating ko ang mga nararating ko ngayon kasi mas nagpapalakas sa akin ang mga negative na naririnig ko. Lagi ko nga po sinasabi, kung iinisin nila ako, parang iinisin ko rin sila (laughs). Parang, “O sige, ipagpapatuloy ko ang ginagawa ko as long as may mas maraming may gusto.”
[Charice: It’s God’s gift… because I got discovered in YouTube, someone posted a video of me and they discovered me, comparing me to Whitney Houston. So, I guess I am just thankful for the talent that God gave me. I haven’t reached the top, but perhaps my accomplishments right now is also due to the strength I draw even from all the negative comments I hear. I always say- if they try to annoy me, then I’ll try to annoy them back (laughs)… I say “I will continue what I am doing as long as there are more people that appreciate it.”]
What are these “negative” things? Comments?
Opo. Tanggap ko naman. Siyempre sasabihin nila ‘di daw ako deserving, masasakit magsalita. Sasabihin pangit daw ako. Bakit daw ako nadiscover, birit lang daw ako nang birit, gan’on. So madami po talaga. Diyos ko! ‘Yung iba pa po sobrang sakit magsalita.
[Charice: Yes- I try to just take it… some say I am not deserving, hurtful words, like I am ugly, questioning why I got discovered while all I do is just belt songs. There are a lot… O my God, others are really quite hurtful.]
Was there ever a time that you cried over what has been said about you?
Hay naku sobra, nung talagang nag-uumpisa pa lang, ang dami po talaga. Napaiyak ako, pero na-realize ko rin na may mga fans na sumusuporta sa akin, sila pa ‘yung nag-explain. “Mga inggit lang ‘yon,” so siyempre, sa kaka-advise nila sa akin, nasanay na po ako.
[Charice: Oh Yes, a lot of times! Especially when I was just starting, there were really a lot. I cried over it, but then I also realized that there are a lot of fans that do support me. They were even the ones explaining to me saying, “They are just jealous.” So, of course, after all their advices to me, I just got used to it.]
What inspires you?
Una sa lahat talaga si God. ‘Yung mom ko, kasi kahit saan ako pumunta, talagang kasama ko siya. Siyempre, ‘yung fans na sumusuporta talaga. Isa ‘yon sa mga talagang inspirasyon ko kasi hindi lang sa pagkanta, para ko na rin silang mga kabarkada.
[Charice: First of all, it’s really God. Then my Mom, because she’s always with me everywhere I go. Of course, also my fans who really support me. That’s really one thing that inspires me because it’s not just for their admiration for how I sing, but I also feel that they are my close friends.]
Of all the women you’ve worked with in Hollywood, who inspires you?
Siyempre si Celine Dion. Sa tagal niya sa showbiz, wala talagang issue sa kanya.
Pero nagulat talaga ako kay Paris Hilton. Kasi ‘di ba parang ang tingin natin sa kanya medyo bad girl, gan’on. Nung na-meet ko siya, hindi ko ine-expect na gan’on siya ka-simple. I mean, sa pananamit niya hindi siya simple. ‘Yung mga kilos niya, ang simple-simple ‘pag off-cam. Nung time na nakita niya ako, nagpa-picture siya sa ‘kin dahil nakita daw niya ako sa Oprah. Naninigas talaga ako, ‘di ko in-expect na sobrang bait pala niya, na nakipag-hang out pa siya sa amin, nagkukuwento siya. Nagjo-joke pa siya na hindi raw siya masama, hindi raw siya bad, gan’on. Na-inspire ako sa kanya, doon ko napatunayan na nag-a-act lang pala siya sa harap ng camera. Mabait pala siya.
Hindi ko pa siya nami-meet pero isa siya sa mga inspirasyon ko, si Beyonce, isa ‘yon sa mga legend talaga. ‘Yun po, sila pong tatlo.
[Charice: Of course, Celine Dion. Even though she has been in show business for a long time, there was no real big issue about her.]
[But I really got surprised with Paris Hilton. Because even though she has this ‘bad girl’ reputation, when I met her, I did not expect her to be so ‘simple’. I don’t mean by the way she dresses but more so with how she acts, especially off-cam. The time when she saw me, she asked to have a picture taken with me and said that she saw me on Oprah. I froze, I did not expect that she was so nice, then she even spent time hanging-out with us, telling stories and all. She was even joking that she is really not bad, that she’s really not a ‘bad girl’. I got inspired by her. I realized that she was just acting a part on camera. But she was actually very nice. ]
[I haven’t met her, but she is also one of my inspirations, Beyonce. She is one I really consider a legend. That’s it- the three of them.]
What was it like to share the stage with Celine Dion?
Naku, ate (laughs)! Nung backstage pa lang, doon niya ako pina-stay sa dressing room niya tapos kinukuwento niya sa ‘kin, pinakita niya sa akin lahat ng makeup niya, ‘yung mga makeup daw niya, mula daw 19 years old siya hanggang ngayon ‘yun pa rin ‘yung gamit niya! Tapos nung time na nasa stage na kami, hindi ko makita, pero nanginginig talaga ‘yung tuhod ko! As in talagang, giniginaw na ako, kinabahan pa ako, hindi ko alam kung ano ‘yung gagawin ko, pero nag-start na ‘yung song, nakalimutan ko na lahat. Nung nagsigawan na ‘yung tao, biglang sabi ko, “Okay, kailangan kong gawin ‘yung best ko kasi once in a lifetime lang ‘to.”
Tinapos ko pa po ‘yung concert bago ko siya ulit nakausap. Naiyak siya, niyakap niya ako, sinabi niya nakikita daw niya ‘yung sarili niya sa akin.
[Charice: Oh my! (laughs). Even while I was at the backstage, she let me stay in her dressing room, and she was telling me stories, she showed me all her make-up. She was telling me, the make-up she used as early as when she was 19 years old are still the ones she uses up to now! Then, the time when we were already on stage, I didn’t realize it, but my knees were literally shaking! I mean really, I really felt cold, and I was really very nervous, I didn’t know what to do. But when the song started- I forgot all about that (being nervous). When the crowd started screaming, I said to myself, “Okay, I have to give it my best because this only happens once in a lifetime.”
It’s not until the end of the concert when I got to talk to her again. She cried and she hugged me. She said she saw herself in me.]
Natatakot ka ba na malalaos ka one day? [Are you afraid that one day, you’d lose your popularity?]
Actually, hindi naman po ako takot kung mawala man po. Handa naman po ako. ‘Yung pinasok ko po ngayon, hindi po ako nag-e-expect na magtatagal po talaga ako. Hindi ako nag-e-expect too much. Lagi kong iniisip na nag-uumpisa lang ako. Habang nandito ako, nag-iipon ako nang nag-iipon. Ayoko man isipin, pero posibleng mangyari, kaya habang nandito pa, habang mainit pa, nag-iipon ako.
[Charice: Actually, I am not really afraid of that. I am prepared. I don’t have too much expectation, not even of lasting long in the industry. I always put in my mind, as if I am only starting. While I am here, I try to save up. I don’t really want to think about it, but it can happen, so while I am here, I save up.]
How do you inspire women? What do you think women see in you that inspires them?
Siguro ‘yung tiyaga. Kasi kung napanood man nila talaga ‘yung life story ko, parang hindi nila mai-imagine kung bakit hanggang ngayon ang tibay-tibay ko. Biruin niyo, four years old pa lang ako, iniwan na kami ng Dad ko. Ang saklap pa talaga ng nangyari sa amin noon, nung naghiwalay sila. Nag-singing contest ako, sobrang hirap. Nakaranas kami na talagang lumipat kami na wala kaming dala kundi damit lang at ‘yung radyo ko na napanalunan.
[Charice: Maybe, perseverance. Because if they know my life story, they would understand why I seem to be so strong. Imagine, I was only four years old when my Dad left us. It was really devastating what happened to us that time, when my parents separated. I joined singing contests- it was really very difficult. We even experienced moving in to a new place with nothing except for our clothes and a small radio I won from a contest.]
What’s your favorite activity aside from singing?
Mahilig po ako mag-record-record, mag-cover ng songs, pero hindi ko shine-share kasi nahihiya ako.
[Charice: I like recording and cover songs. But I don’t show them to others, because I get embarrassed.]
Any advice you want to tell our readers?
Kailangan lang talaga ‘yung tiyaga sa life. Mostly ang problema ng mga tao, nawawalan sila ng pag-asa. May ibang tao na gusto nila agad-agad. Hindi gan’on kadali.
[Charice: That we just need to have patience in life. Mostly, the problem is people lose hope in life. There are a lot of people who want things right away. It is not that easy.]
What makes you fun and what makes you fearless?
Siyempre ‘yung trabaho ko po. ‘Yung ginagawa ko po, rine-represent ko po ‘yung Philippines. ‘Yung masuklian ko lang ‘yung mga Pinoy na nakikita ko sa ibang bansa, na proud sila sa akin, na parang nakikilala ‘yung Philippines dahil sa akin (at kay Sir Manny Pacquiao). Nawawala ang takot ko na kahit ano’ng sabihin ng ibang tao na hindi ko kaya, ganyan, as long as maraming nagmamahal sa akin.
[Charice: Of course, my work. With what I do, I represent the Philippines. Just the chance to give back to the Filipinos, especially those in other countries who are proud of me saying that people get familiar with the Philippines because of me (as well as with Sir Manny Pacquiao). Then my fears for what other people might say, on the things they say I can’t do, disappear… as long as there are also a lot of people who show their love for me.]
Photo Gallery (click thumbnails to enlarge image)
Source: COSMOPOLITAN Philippines
Tagalog to English translation by DrTP, Charicemania
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