Secrets of Mega’s 40-year milestone
The usually loquacious Megastar herself seems at a loss for words when asked what sets her apart from her peers in the 1980s—that singular trait that has made her endure the storms and entertain legions for 40 years in the business of show.
“That may just be this X-factor thing or whatever that we always hear people talking about,” Sharon Cuneta surmises.
On top of that indescribable quality, she credits her success to “God’s plan and my devotion to my work.”
And then there’s “humility”—a lesson best learned when you are down and out.
“My parents and family never let up in reminding me to keep my feet on the ground and to never let my head get bigger than my hat,” she says.
Sharon enumerates the important lessons of the past 40 years: “Never become complacent. Never be too tired of your work that it becomes a ‘chore’ more times than it is a ‘blessing.’ Never let your childlike wonder die. Never be ungrateful. Never, ever lose your smile, your respect for those you work with, your fans (those who come up to you and ask for an autograph or photo with you), or yourself.”
To celebrate the ruby milestone, she has a new movie (a family film, directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, under Star Cinema) in the works, and a major concert (“My 40 Years Sharon”) at the Araneta Coliseum on Sept. 28, apart from her TV show, “Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids.”
“In a way, I am a bit daunted because people have always expected me to beat myself at whatever I last did in any medium,” she owns up. “On the other hand, that high expectation of me has always only fueled my desire to do better in my craft and establish an even better work ethic. What I find wonderful and unbelievable is that it never gets old for me!”
Every time she goes up onstage is like the first time, flying high on “the same mix of nerves and excitement.”
“Only, the stage has become more of a comfort zone, a home for me with each performance, that I look forward to all that energy the audience throws directly at me while I stand before them,” she asserts.
It’s the same thrill she gets on a movie set. “It’s like when I would go to the set of my first movie, ‘Dear Heart,’ but with more knowledge, experience and maturity. But always with childlike wonder and an eagerness to learn.”
That could very well be the secret of her mega-success. “I just refuse to stop learning or enjoying working on another character—including the freedom and ‘license’ to ‘become’ a whole other person for a few months,” she says. “And I truly enjoy being in the company of all my coworkers—all of them, from my director to my costars to the staff, crew and utility men. They are and will always be my other family.”
Sharon will be the first to admit that she has had her fair share of failures and disappointments in her seemingly charmed journey.
She elaborates on the “challenges” of the last few years. “Being forced to eat humble pie because you made a couple of wrong decisions or moves in your career, letting your weight get out of control, being complacent, and after a couple of decades in the business that has become a part of you, being ignored by people … [who] used to adore you. If these do not succeed in knocking some sense back into your head, I don’t know what will!”
Instead of letting heartbreak discourage her, she used it to motivate her in her climb back to the top.
She looks back, with candor and nary a trace of regret: “Also, I reached a point wherein I was ashamed to face my loyal fans whom I no doubt had let down. But they never lost faith in me even when I had lost faith in myself. I had to do something if only for their trust in, and love for, me.”
Life’s curveballs, however, have not only made her stronger and wiser, the ups and downs, the highs and lows, have made her “star” more brilliant.
Through it all, she has remained “very grateful.”
“I still cannot believe that God has made me come this far,” she remarks. “Four decades ago, I could never have imagined achieving any of what I have. I am in awe of God’s faithfulness and goodness.”
When she joined the music industry at age 12, all she wanted was “to sign autographs and be seen by my parents, brother, relatives and friends on TV!”
Oh, she also wanted to pester older brother Chet by playing her debut album, “DJ’s Pet,” all day at home.
Back then, she thought that, after a few concerts and records, she would “get married and have babies,” before retreating quietly to blissful anonymity. “I thought my life would go that way. How wrong I was!”
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