Chips off the old block
Show biz doors are easily opened if you’re the son or daughter of a celebrity. But there are disadvantages, as well—especially once the “novelty” dissipates.
In this forum, celebrity kids Gabby Eigenmann (son of Mark Gil and Irene Celebre), Derrick Monasterio (Tina Monasterio, George Crimarco), Andrei Paras (Benjie Paras, Jackie Forster), Inah de Belen (Janice de Belen, John Estrada), Renz Fernandez (Lorna Tolentino, Rudy Fernandez), Ina Feleo (Laurice Guillen, Johnny Delgado) and Rafa Siguion Reyna (Carlos Siguion Reyna, Bibeth Orteza) share with the Inquirer why they pursue a career in entertainment just the same.
Why did you pursue a similar career?
Gabby: It’s in the blood, since my grandparents (Eddie Mesa, Rosemary Gil), dad (Mark Gil), aunt (Cherie Gil) and uncle (Michael de Mesa) are all in show biz. We were exposed to it at an early age. This is where we grew up.
Derrick: Initially, it was just my mom who wanted me to be in show biz. But, I eventually fell in love because, in it, I discovered new things about myself.
Andrei: I wanted to learn how to direct and see how to make a show or movie work. At the same time, my brother Kobe and I love entertaining people.
Inah: It wasn’t my dream to be an actress. I had been offered acting opportunities many times, but I always declined. My dad would often tell me to grab the chance, so I eventually relented. But, I decided to pursue acting after I did my first TV show, “Oh My Mama,” because I’ve learned to love the craft.
Renz: I want to, because I’m an artist.
Ina: I didn’t want to become an actress at first. I was into sports for a while, and then dancing. I used to be camera-conscious and shy. I only felt comfortable when I was dancing or skating. But, when I had my first acting workshop, it sparked something in me, and I fell in love with acting.
Rafa: I discovered performing when I was in high school. I’d play the guitar and was part of a band. Then, I discovered a passion for dance. Halfway through college, I realized that if I pursued a career in acting, I’d have good mentors in my parents. At the end of the day, I realized I simply had to be a performer. Everything fit pretty well for me!
What sets you apart from your parent/s, and how do you intend to step out of their shadows?
Gabby: When I was starting out in the biz, it was hard for me to step out of their shadows. But, we had the same passion and love for our craft. I’m still in the learning process, so I just give my best to whatever role is given me. I’m grateful for the acting awards and accolades, but I don’t think I’ll ever surpass my father’s accomplishments.
Derrick: I think the characters we portray are different from each other. Mom’s were mostly on the sexy side, while mine are wholesome or conservative.
Andrei: I’d love to be like my dad because he makes people happy—and that’s exactly what I want to do.
Inah: My parents are wonderful actors, so it’s hard to step out of their shadows. I’m still trying to make a name for myself.
Renz: Nothing sets me apart from my parents. I’m an extension of them as they are also an extension of myself. I intend to step out of their shadows by honing my craft and being as authentic as I can possibly be.
Ina: I never make an effort to step out of their shadows. They are a part of me, and I’m proud to be their daughter. They’ve set very high standards for me when it comes to my job, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for that. At the same time, I know that I am my own person. I’m a dancer and an athlete, and both of them weren’t into that sort of thing.
Rafa: What sets me apart is that, as a performer, I had discovered an early passion for dance. Most of the members of my family are actors and singers. My dad’s passion is filmmaking. In terms of stepping out of their shadows, early on in my career, that was something I’d think about. But, the longer I’ve been in the business, the more I realize how much of a privilege my parents’ mentorship is. I’d be a fool if I tried to act as if I didn’t need their help. As cliché as it sounds, the most important thing for me is to continue to just do my best.
What advice did you get from your parents?
Gabby: It’s very simple: Don’t be late. Hone your craft. I was taught to have a good attitude towards work, to love what we do and be respectful.
Derrick: My mom keeps telling me that no matter what happens, I should always keep my feet on the ground.
Andrei: Just be yourself and listen.
Inah: They haven’t given me acting advice, but I’m always reminded to keep my feet on the ground and be myself. They told me they’d always support me.
Renz: One of the best tips my mother gave me is that acting should come from the heart.
Ina: The best advice would be to always have “paninindigan” (stand up for what you believe in), integrity and respect for your work and the people around you.
Rafa: The most important advice I get from my parents usually involves what it means to be a professional—how to talk to people you work with, maintain a sense of pride in the work I create, and deal with problems in the workplace. Their advice keeps me grounded.
Lessons learned from your parents’ mistakes?
Gabby: It’s more of a setback than a mistake: When my dad had kids early on in life. He had me at 16.
Derrick: Mom keeps telling me to finish my studies. It was hard for her to do so because of her hectic schedule back then.
Andrei: I don’t see my dad making mistakes, but I get a lot of advice from him.
Inah: My parents are human beings, and they also make mistakes. All I learn from that is to just focus on my craft and not be “pasaway” (stubborn or a troublemaker).
Renz: Actors need to fail at a certain point in order to learn, but each one has his own process for growth. In the end, the best teacher would be the experience of being on the set as you play a role and living your character.
Ina: They aren’t really mistakes; they’re more of personality quirks. But, what I don’t like about them, I see in myself, too (laughs)!
Rafa: To never be afraid and continue to work. To manage and maintain important relationships. To control my own frustrations regarding the difficulties of being a professional performer.
How do you bond with your parents?
Gabby: My dad was a good cook, so eating was one of our favorite bonding activities. We played basketball.
Derrick: Traveling, going to church and eating out.
Andrei: I love watching TV and playing basketball with my dad.
Inah: I see my dad with my siblings and Ate Pri (Priscilla Meirelles) once a week or every two weeks. We go out for dinner. Since I still live with my mom and siblings, we practically see each other every day. We go to the mall and watch movies. Sometimes, she cooks at home, and we invite Tita Gelli (de Belen), Tito Ariel (Rivera), my lolo and cousins to come over.
Renz: We bond as a family by traveling together and being merry.
Ina: We bond over the simplest things, like eating together every Sunday or going on long drives.
Rafa: We enjoy going out of town during holidays. This allows us to bond, reconnect and have a good time.
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