Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Charo in chiaroscuro

/ 12:32 AM May 11, 2017
Charo Santos

Charo Santos

At its recent launch, Charo Santos-Concio talked so insightfully about her autobiography, “My Journey—The Story of an Unexpected Leader,” that, when we got a copy of the book, we took our sweet time reading and savoring it.

Weeks later, when we finally put it down, a mutual friend and colleague asked us to describe it in a few, succinct words for a promo blurb—so, licking our chops, we described it as “a delicious read”!


It is that—and more. Charo also intends it to be a how-to book for ambitious, young comers who want to succeed big in the media like her.

Sometimes, it also reads like a teleserye script, going from bucolic small town to take-no-prisoners big city, with top-ratings relish.

But, above all, it’s about Charo trying to make sense and substance of a tumultuous life and career filled with both triumphs and daunting tests of character and spirit—and the life lessons that can be learned therefrom.

At first blush, the tests are unexpected and surprising, since Charo’s stellar and top-executive existence has heretofore glossed over many of the hard knocks that she’s had to reel from and rise above.

Credit her, then, for being honest and daring enough to finally reveal those seldom-glimpsed low moments in her life, both personal and professional.

Who knew, for example, that her high-flying TV-film career has occasionally been threatened by bosses who didn’t believe in her capabilities, or had lost faith in her ability to lead and innovate, thus plunging her into deep depression? Charo appears to be sure of herself that the occasional downbeat revelations must have been painful for her to make—and revisit.

In humbling herself to do so, however, Charo serves notice that she wants her autobiography to be much more than just a trendy and easy-breezy read.

The lessons her recollections impart are valid and vivid, because she’s struggled to learn them first, before
sharing them with readers and learners.

On a more personal level, Charo is effusively grateful to her husband, Cesar Concio, for mentoring her and motivating her to find her own expanse of sky in which to soar. Also profusely and profoundly in evidence is Charo’s appreciation for family and friends.


But, she makes it a point to cite the bad with the good, making possible many more life and career lessons learned the hard way—they stick in the noggin, because they hurt!

The fact that Charo has daringly opted to expose the bad with the good is what distinguishes her autobiography from most of the celebrity and CEO bios out there—and its special reason and unction for being read and learned from.

Yes, it’s a “delicious” read, but its other flavors are sometimes bittersweet, so honesty, fortitude and a daring spirit of adventure are demanded of the readers, as well.

It’s like Charo (who didn’t want to write this book at the outset but was finally convinced to do so) told herself: “Look, you only have one life to write about, so stop fiddling and fussing around—and make it count!”

Hence this unflinching and bittersweetly incisive self-portrait of Charo in chiaroscuro.

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