Why Zephanie chooses ‘kindness’ when dealing with bashers
Zephanie considers herself fortunate not to have experienced bullying in school. Show biz wasn’t as kind.
“As a student, there was just the typical asaran. It was when I joined the entertainment industry that I encountered hate online. The littlest things [you do to] me … some people will always find something wrong or something to criticize,” she said in a virtual conference for GMA 7’s new youth-oriented anthology series, “Sparkle U.”
As a singer, criticisms related to her performances are par for the course. It’s a different story, though, when comments start getting personal. Case in point: The bashing she endured when she transferred to the Kapuso network two and a half years after winning “Idol Philippines” on ABS-CBN.
“There were some people who were affected and couldn’t accept it. But we all have our reasons for the decisions we make. I’m just grateful that there are people in my life who always remind me not to let [the negativity] affect me; that it’s normal to receive hate, because it will always be there,” she said.
“It can also help you balance your mindset or remind you that there’s no pleasing everyone. It can help you stay grounded,” added the 20-year-old artist, who’s now comanaged by Sparkle GMA Artist Center and Cornerstone Entertainment.
Zephanie would be lying if she said the bashing didn’t faze her one bit. Still, she chooses kindness and understanding when dealing with online bullies.
“At the end of the day, I choose to be more open and understanding of people. You don’t really know why they say the things they say. Who knows? Maybe they’re going through something difficult. I think it pays to be kind,” said Zephanie, who aims to use her platform, not only to share her talent with the people, but also to spread positivity.
“As long as I know who I am and what’s real, then that’s what matters. What’s more important is what I think of myself … what the people I value think of me. I know I can take their word because they know me better,” she added.
“Sparkle U” is Zephanie’s first acting project, and she hopes the project can serve as a springboard of sorts for artistic endeavors beyond music.
“Sparkle U,” which airs on Sundays at 6 p.m., takes place in a fictional educational institution called “Sparkle University.” Each story arc or installment delves into different sets of issues the youth face today, from family conflicts and bullying to the effects of social media in their lives.
Is there any particular school memory that stands out?
“I’m a sentimental person, so I feel like every moment was memorable. But if I have to choose one, it’s probably being a varsity table tennis player and being excused from class to practice!” she recalled. “I miss that feeling of doing other activities and being trained by the school so you can compete. Sports was also a passion then.”
In the opening installment, “#Frenemies,” Zephanie plays Sue, a lively and fun-loving girl, who will do everything she can to fulfill her dreams of becoming a celebrity. “A lot of people will be able to relate with my character,” she said.
The story also touches on backstabbing and friendships turning into rivalries. “I prefer to be real with people I’m not OK with … I believe that there’s karma for saying something bad about people behind their backs. As they say, ‘Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you,’” she said.
As she goes about life in university, Sue senses potential romance with Marco (Michael Sager), whom she couldn’t stand at first.
“It’s one of those relationships that starts off with two people being annoyed with each other, only to realize later on that they’re starting to fall for each other. It’s nice to be able to do a show like this because I’m able to express my kilig—a normal feeling that everyone feels,” she said. “I’m also happy to work with Michael because it really helped our friendship.”
“Working with people who share the same passions and dreams of inspiring people through your craft is a core memory for me as a Kapuso artist,” Zephanie said.
“It has been overwhelming. By trying out acting, I have realized there are other wonderful things and experiences outside singing, too. In a way, I was able to discover what else I can do. And I know that no matter how difficult it gets, you will find a way if you want it.”