Why Janine didn’t want to follow in parents’ footsteps as a kid
Originally, Janine Gutierrez couldn’t imagine herself being in the same business as her actor parents. But the film and TV actress eventually learned that it was a career in show biz that she wanted all along.
“I didn’t want to be an actress when I was younger,” Janine tells the Inquirer. “I saw how erratic the schedules of my parents were since they were both active in show biz. May kaunting tampo ako sa trabaho nila. We would make plans, but they’d suddenly have work, so those plans wouldn’t push through. I would get asked if I wanted to be an actress, and I’d say no.”
This changed in 2012, when she was in her early 20s. That year, she landed roles in three GMA 7 shows. “I grabbed the opportunity and decided to give it a try. Sobrang na-in love ako sa trabaho,” says Janine, now 29.
Aside from being the child of Lotlot de Leon and Ramon Christopher, she has grandparents who made their mark in entertainment some decades ago—Nora Aunor and Christopher de Leon (maternal side), and Pilita Corrales and Eddie Gutierrez (paternal).
Was there ever pressure to excel in the same field?
“Malaki ang pressure,” she admits. “When I was just starting, people had high expectations because they thought I had talents that may have been ‘inherited.’ There’s still pressure. I use it as a motivation to work hard—and to represent my family well. I want to make them proud.”
Among the characters she’s portrayed, her favorite is from a 2017 drama series. “The most special TV show I’ve done is ‘Legally Blind’ because of my character, Grace. It presented how differently-abled people should not be isolated in society, and that no matter what your situation in life is, you can always be strong and rise above its tragedies.”
As someone who’s seen by many, Janine understands being looked up to by young women and girls: “I’m so excited about my upcoming show, ‘Dragon Lady,’ because it’s about growing up and becoming an empowered woman. That is something I aspire to be, and it’s what I enjoy watching, especially when I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do. Whenever I see people on TV whom I can look up to, I also get inspired.”
According to director Paul Sta. Ana, Janine will play Celestina, the titular character. “She was cursed with a half-dragon, half-human body when her mother, Almira (Diana Zubiri) took possession of a dragon statue believed to bring good luck to its current caretaker, but also a curse on the person’s firstborn,” he says.
The director elaborates on the show that will start airing in March: “This will be Janine and Tom Rodriguez’s first pairing in a telefantasya, and her first time to play a freak. This requires the actress to wear prosthetics. Celestina’s transformation as a character is also imminent—from an insecure young woman, she will change into a beautiful and empowered businesswoman.”
Janine, now comfortable with acting and the influx of work, recalls mom Lotlot’s most crucial piece of advice: “Love what you’re doing … it’ll show in your work ethic and will reflect in all aspects of your work.”
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