What keeps Heaven Peralejo grounded amid international recognition | Inquirer Entertainment

What keeps Heaven Peralejo grounded amid international recognition

By: - Reporter
/ 12:10 AM October 19, 2023

Peralejo poses with her Luna best actress trophy.—HEAVEN PERALEJO FACEBOOK

Peralejo poses with her Luna best actress trophy. —HEAVEN PERALEJO FACEBOOK

International recognition was something Heaven Peralejo never dared dream of. She wasn’t even sure she had what it takes, she admitted. It thus came as a complete shock when she learned she had been nominated for best actress at the upcoming Asian Academy Creative Awards (AACA) in December.

“I never dreamed about something like this because I never believed in myself. I didn’t think it was possible. I was like, ‘Wow I didn’t realize I was actually limiting myself’… and I shouldn’t. I should believe in myself. I should be the first one to have faith in myself,” she said at a recent press conference hosted by Viva Artists Agency. The AACA gave Heaven an acting nod for her performance in the 2022 horror flick “Nanahimik ang Gabi,” the same film that won for her the best actress award at the Film Academy of the Philippines’ Luna Awards last August. “Acting is my passion … I feel proud because all my hard work is being recognized somehow. The work you put into your projects is something most people don’t really get to see. I’m thankful,” she said. “I appreciate all the directors and actors I have worked with because they helped me bring out what I’m capable of.”


The AACA is a Singapore-based award-giving body that “recognizes excellence in cinema and television, across 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.” The best actress category is stacked. Some of Heaven’s fellow nominees include South Korean superstar Song Hye-kyo (“The Glory”), Japanese actress Ryoko Yonekura (“Angel Flight”) and Thai actress Tu Tontawan (“10 Years Ticket”).


No expectations

But no expectations, Heaven said. “I just watched Song Hye-kyo in ‘The Glory’ and I’m a fan. If I get the award, then I will be very grateful. But if not, being nominated alongside her and the other actresses is already a huge honor,” she said.

Last month, Heaven—together with director Paul Soriano and costars Enchong Dee and Mon Confiado—attended the premiere of the indie film “The Fisher” at the 10th Silk Road International Film Festival in Fuzhou, China.

“That was a dream come true. When we filmed it a year ago, we were teasing our director that we wanted a premiere abroad. And it happened! It was my first time to go out of the country to represent a film,” Heaven said adding that she met some Chinese fans who knew her from the series “The Rain in España.”

“I’m getting recognized little by little,” she said. “It’s such a humbling experience.”

But while this recent string of achievements is a confidence booster, Heaven also knows that she shouldn’t let these things get to her head.

“The validation comes from moving people through my craft—with or without an award. That means I’m doing my job well. I know that the emotions I pour into my characters are raw, from the heart,” she said. “I think I can call myself actress even without an award.”More than a pat on the back, the acting recognitions are a gentle nudge to continue working hard and giving her best. “I still have a lot to improve and change. Hindi pwedeng petiks lang,” said Heaven, who hopes to play a spy in an action flick a la Angelina Jolie in “Salt.”


Challenging projects

“I have been working out, so I will be ready just in case! Baka lang naman,” she said, laughing. “But seriously, I want to take on projects that will challenge me and bring out the best in me, projects that will help me get closer to my goals.”

Asked by the Inquirer how she rewards herself, Heaven said she doesn’t crave material things. She just wants more time for herself to enjoy the little things in life.

“I enjoy walking my dog in the park. I like being at peace with myself whether I’m doing pottery, arranging flowers or going to the gym. I don’t want to lose myself in the extravagance of show biz,” she said.

More than anything, it’s her pets—a Yorkshire Terrier dog and a British Shorthair cat—that keep her grounded.

“Every morning, I have to clean up after them. Walang arti-artista. They’re the boss!” she said, laughing. Working with veteran stars also puts her life and career in perspective.

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“Looking at them, I’m like, ‘I want to be a veteran actress, too.’ But I know that I still have lots of steps to make, that I will fall and rise back up again,” she said. “I want to stay humble and be a good person, friend, daughter and actor.”

TAGS: Heaven Peralejo

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