Time for Janine Gutierrez’s star to shineBy Rito P. Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s only been a year since Janine Gutierrez was allowed by her parents to “formally” enter show biz, but she had already appeared in two teleseryes, “Makapiling Kang Muli” and the just-concluded “Together Forever”—and she’s loving it!
Janine beams, “Actually, it’s my lolas who really wanted me to join the entertainment scene—since I was a kid, inabangan talaga nila ang pag-a-artista ko!
“I was only given the go signal to pursue acting after I finished college (she has a degree in European Studies from the Ateneo). Graduating gave me a greater sense of security, because if this doesn’t work out, I can do something else.”
The lovely 23-year-old actress speaks about her lolos and lolas with a twinkle in her eyes. But, Janine’s grandparents—whom she lovingly calls Mamita, Papa Elvis, Lolo Bo and Mama Guy—aren’t your average Joes and Janes: Pilita Corrales, Eddie Gutierrez, Christopher de Leon and Nora Aunor, the parents of her dad (Ramon Christopher) and mom (Lotlot de Leon), respectively, are local show biz “royalty!”
Her uncles and aunts include Ian and Matet de Leon, Tonton, Ruffa, Richard and Raymond Gutierrez, Jackie Lou Blanco and Ricky Davao. Another notable lola is the irrepressible Annabelle Rama, who Janine says has a very good relationship with her Mamita (whom she’s closest to): “They’re good friends, kasi pareho silang Bisaya—which is funny and endearing, because Mamita was Lolo Elvis’ ex.”
Aunor is the country’s one and only Superstar, De Leon is the Drama King, and Corrales is Asia’s Queen of Songs. Don’t those titles intimidate her? Janine replies, “Not at all! Yes, it’s hard to live up to what they’ve accomplished—it’s challenging, but in a good way. They give me something to aspire for—and I’m taking it one step at a time. They never make me feel that I have to surpass them.
“The public has preconceived notions about me, because of the people in my life. Kaya, now that I know how it is to bring a character to life, lalo kong naa-appreciate ang galing ni Mama (Lotlot), because when she was starting out, getting people to acknowledge what she could do as an actress was an uphill battle. It wasn’t her intention to surpass Mama Guy’s achievements. All she wanted was to find her own niche, ‘yung hindi lang s’ya basta anak ng Superstar!
Janine, who’s being managed by her mom, impressed us when we met her for this interview. She won us over with her gentle demeanor and larger-than-life presence—and, unlike most celebrities, she came to the interview with no fawning or overeager alalay in sight!
The shy and soft-spoken actress is candid when she talks about her family: “Being the eldest, ako ang nagpapaalala sa mga kapatid ko (Jessica, Maxene and Diego) to do their homework. They’re not scared of me—but, if you ask them, they’ll probably say that I’m masungit (laughs).
“I confide in my parents when I have problems—but, if it’s something romantic, I talk to my mom. My dad’s super chill, while my mom is more serious but never scary. Growing up, we were taught not to believe everything that’s written about our family.
“My parents are separated, but they’re good friends. From that experience, I learned a lot about the industry, and how people think they know their favorite actors—or own them. I got my optimism from my parents—and that’s how I deal with heartbreak, or when I don’t get what I want: I know that it’ll pass, and things will only get better!”
What’s her relationship with her Mama Guy like? Janine smiles, “She calls me ‘baby,’ and she’s very malambing! A few weeks before she left for Venice (where ‘Thy Womb’ competed), she texted me, ‘Daan ka naman dito sa bahay.’
“Mama Guy always wants to spend time with us, because she wasn’t here for eight years! She’s happy that we can see each other more often now—and we spent Christmas with her. Now, even our bunsong kapatid is taller than she is! Nagjo-joke pa s’ya. ‘Ay, ang mga apo ko, puro mestizo—manang-mana sa akin (laughs)!’”
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