Nikki starting to live her ‘dream’ after 25 years in the biz
Although she has been in show biz for 25 years now, it’s only in recent years that Nikki Valdez has started to feel that she’s finally reaching her peak—like “wine that gets better with age.”
“I feel like there’s more trust from producers and writers because I have, somehow, already proven what I’m capable of in terms of work. Back then, I just accepted whatever was given to me. But I’m at a point in my career where I know I can be trusted to do more substantial roles,” she told the Inquirer in a recent interview.
“I hope it continues that way,” the 43-year-old actress said. “I love trying different kinds of projects that will be memorable to viewers. I hope to continue contributing to the television and film industry.”
Nikki starred in two Metro Manila Film Festival movies in 2022: “Family Matters” and “Labyu with an Accent.” The last two years have also been busy with Nikki bagging various television projects, including “A Soldier’s Heart” and “Flower of Evil.”
“When I was launched as part of Star Circle batch four in 1997, I remember being asked by the media, ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ I remember saying that I wanted to have longevity, that Gloria Romero was my peg. And I feel like I’m starting to live that dream, now that I have been acting for the past 25 years,” she said. “In a way, I feel like I have only started reaching my peak in terms of the projects I’m doing. I’m happy that, in my lifetime, I was able to do movies like these and work with the likes of Noel Trinidad and Liza Lorena.”
The idea of stardom was something Nikki had long put behind her. At her age, the goal is to build a reputation as a “dependable” actress.
“I yearn for the day when my name would remind people of dependability and respect. It’s heartening when people go, ‘O, kapag si Nikki, OK ‘yan. She can do it.’ It feels good … that it’s as if you’re wine that gets better with age. I don’t dream of stardom. I just want to continue doing good projects that can hopefully make an impact,” she said.
“Things have been going slowly but surely,” added Nikki, who used to be known for playing supporting and “best friend” roles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “I would rather be someone dependable; someone who’s always in the minds of producers. And I do feel grateful because I don’t run out of projects.”
Outside work, Nikki is a devoted mother and daughter. After going through 2015—one of her life’s toughest years—she vowed to make sure her family is always well taken care of.
“My dad and my grandmother on my mom’s side passed away in 2015, only 21 days apart. My lola was in the United States then. I remember that it happened during the week of the Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit. Flights were being canceled left and right, and I didn’t know if I would be able to fly to the States and bring my lola home. That’s when I surrendered everything to the Lord … it was a challenging year,” she recalled.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Nikki urged her mom to move in with her. “I fetched her from her house in Laguna, where she used to live alone. I knew she was doing fine but what if something untoward happens?” she pointed out.
Throughout her career, Nikki remained loyal to ABS-CBN and Star Magic. She got offers from other networks at some point, but opted to remain a Kapamilya. “I couldn’t imagine myself transferring and having to adapt all over again to a new environment. I chose to stay with ABS-CBN because I was comfortable and content with them,” she said.
Asked what piece of advice she had for up-and-coming stars, Nikki said that the way you treat your coworkers can be just as important as good looks and acting talent. “Part of our workshops back then were lessons about dealing with people. You should know who you’re working with from the director to the utility people, because there’s no such thing as a big or small production job,” she said.
And never assume that everyone knows who you are. “Don’t assume that people know you just because they see you on television, or you have a big following on social media. You still have to introduce yourself—because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.