Ciara Sotto does a Helene (not Gamboa)

/ 07:44 PM July 10, 2011

Ciara Sotto does Helene—no, not “Shing-A-Ling” mom Helen Gamboa, but a taxi dancer in a coming production of the Bob Fosse musical “Sweet Charity.”

In many ways, Ciara is turning to mom Helen in creating her character—a woman who comes of age in the swinging 1960s.


“My peg is my mom,” she told Inquirer. “And she’s my stylist for this play, too.”

When she learned that Nine Works Theatrical’s version of “Sweet Charity” would be set in the late 1960s, she rummaged through mom’s closet.

“First off, my mom told me to wear the boots she earlier gave me,” Ciara related.

Ciara has somehow influenced and inspired mom Helen to try theater as well. “My mom is doing ‘Larawan’ next year. She has always wanted to act onstage.”

Their roles have been reversed, as daughter is now giving mom tips on theater. “I told her that she could never be late for rehearsals. I said there’s no star system in theater… that everyone is equal. Therefore, she needs to be always prepared.”

Ciara’s husband, Jojo Oconer, an executive in APT Entertainment, is just as supportive as her mom and dad Senator Tito Sotto of her theater endeavors. The three are almost always in the front row on her opening nights. “I can’t ask for anything more. Jojo is patient and understanding.”

Meanwhile, Ciara also found time to do another indie, Joel Lamangan’s “Patikul,” an entry in the Directors’ Showcase of this year’s Cinemalaya.

“I play a Muslim mother. I had to study my character very well, and learn about Muslim culture and traditions,” she said.

Aside from acting, Ciara teaches pole dancing at Movements Dance Studio in Ortigas, Pasig. “I meet different kinds of women. I have students from ages 14 to 50.”


For Ciara, she is not just teaching her students pole dancing; she’s also equipping them with tools for empowerment. “As a teacher, you have to be encouraging and help them build their confidence. I want them to believe in themselves… believe that they can shine onstage and off.”

Ciara underwent a similar transformation—when she learned to pole dance in Las Vegas, where she lived while in the cast of the revue “Fever” in 2008.

With her pole-dancing skills, she emerged as the ultimate champion in the celebrity edition of TV 5’s “Talentadong Pinoy” this year.

“I won twice,” Ciara said. “After topping the initial contest, I came back and won the ‘Battle of the Champions.’”

She is exceptionally proud of this achievement. “Every day, when I wake up, the first thing I see is my ‘Talentado’ trophy in our bedroom,” she said.

“Sweet Charity” goes onstage from August 5 to 27 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

E-mail: [email protected]

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TAGS: Celebrities, Ciara Sotto, Entertainment, Philippines, Sweet Charity, Theater
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