‘Bundle of nerves’ a boost for Zsa Zsa’s 35-year milestone
While it’s true that Zsa Zsa Padilla still enjoys turning skeptics into believers 35 years after she first made an indelible mark in the entertainment industry, she says she’s no longer gung-ho about wanting to please everyone all the time.
After all, she’s had her share of sold-out concerts and hit singles, like the enduring “Kahit Na,” “Ikaw Lamang,” “Mambobola,” “Sana’y Maghintay ang Walang Hanggan” and “Hiram,” tucked snugly under her overachieving belt.
“I still get nervous, because the energy you get out of it spells excitement—you need it,” she said. “During my first major concert in Araneta Coliseum, nabingi ako. I couldn’t hear anything but my heartbeat as I was about to go onstage.” But she said performers shouldn’t let “a bundle of nerves” paralyze them.
“I don’t do as many concerts as I used to—and I’m cool with that,” she told us when we met her to talk about her concert “The Best Day of My Life” on May 11 at Resorts World Manila’s Newport Performing Arts Theater (call 891-9999). “It’s not about not wanting to prove myself more than merely listening to what my heart desires.”
“Best Day” is a three-in-one extravaganza that commemorates not just Zsa Zsa’s 35 triumphant years in the biz, but also her 54th birthday (on May 28) and Mother’s Day (on May 13).
All in the family
Directed by her “inaanak” Paolo Valenciano, Zsa Zsa’s “all in the family” concert will be fielding not just her daughters, Karylle and Zia Quizon, and their partners (Yael Yuzon and Robin Nievera), but also special guest Sharon Cuneta, whom she first met during the run-through of her concert at the Big Dome in September 1983.
“I was only 19, and [Sharon] was 17. I was surprised by how warm and friendly she was,”
she revealed on Instagram on Sunday. “I felt lucky that she was so gracious to have guested in my show despite the fact that she was already on her way to superstardom. From that day on, we started a long and lasting friendship bonded over our love for music, movies and food!”
That friendship, Zsa Zsa revealed to us in February, was precisely the reason why she nixed playing catty Lavinia in Sharon’s 1985 blockbuster flick, “Bituing Walang Ningning.”
Zsa Zsa is thrilled to perform with Karylle and Zia because she can’t wait to showcase
the brand of music they have carved for themselves. “Zia possesses a rare contralto that few singers in the world have. Despite her distinctive flair for theatricality, Karylle sounds like me. ‘Rama Hari,’ the last play that I saw her in, was where she sang ‘Magbalik Ka Na, Mahal.’ I watched it twice, but
I cried every time! Grabe ang iyak ko, kasi sobra kong naalala si Dolphy!”
For millennials unfamiliar with Zsa Zsa’s skills as a seasoned performer, they only need to watch the Facebook clip of the concert artist performing her stirring, note-perfect rendition of Paul Williams’ 1970 jingle “We’ve Only Just Begun” during the soundcheck of her “Beginnings” concert in Cebu last February to realize what has made Zsa Zsa the much-admired singer she is.
Serenity and contentment
These days, Zsa Zsa is an alluring vision of serenity and contentment, although that hasn’t always been the case for the 53-year-old songstress, appropriately dubbed the country’s Divine Diva.
“When I turned 52 years old, I started questioning what my true purpose in life was,” she enthused as she looked back at her “bouts with bad temper” after undergoing surgery for a torn ligament on her right limb.
“I know it’s a bad excuse, but I was such a monster because the pain was so unbelievable I couldn’t function without a ‘whoopee’ combination of pain killers and nerve relaxants. It took me 10 months to get out of that state.
“My spirit was restless because I was grouchy all the time. Now you know I wasn’t always this cool (laughs). Perimenopause was also bad. But when all that funk was over, I’ve become cooler and calmer about everything thrown at me.”
We enjoyed our talk with Zsa Zsa so much we hardly noticed that we were chatting with her twice longer than intended, because we had to rush back to the office. She imbued her answers with no-holds-barred expressiveness, but her speech slowed down and her voice would almost drop to a whisper every time the issue in question was something she’d rather discuss off-the-record.
Zsa Zsa’s positive vibe was so catchy that when we ended our chat with her past medical woes, she said, “Let’s not end with that.” She was in such a “happy place” that it even took her a while to answer when asked to recall about her pet peeves.
“Pinaka-pet peeve ko when they pull my hair ‘pag bino-blower, because it makes the scalp tender,” she reasoned. “But now when I get annoyed over a situation I can’t control, I just say, ‘I’m tired,’ because I’m aware that the people around me are just as tired or lack sleep.”
Another source of joy for Zsa Zsa nowadays is the “small” farm lot in Quezon she and fiancé Conrad Onglao recently acquired.
Her excitement was palpable as she started talking about the wild ferns, bromeliads and huge imperiales (a species of flowering plant in the lily family) endemic in the area.
Zsa Zsa then showed us a video of the picture-perfect place in all its rustic glory, as it was starting to get drenched by sudden summer rain whose pitter-patter sounded like soothing music to our ears.
“It’s a three-hour drive from Manila, but it’ll take us two more years to develop the farm,” Zsa Zsa disclosed. “It reminds me so much of my paternal grandmother’s place in Luisiana (a bucolic town known by its residents as ‘the Little Baguio of Laguna’), and growing up poor but happy with my siblings. I love it!”
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