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People Asia Online
August 19, 2000

Kristine Hermosa became a TV celebrity by accident. She just tagged along with her sister who was attending an audition and ended up getting the part instead. BING PAREL-SALUD gets the tale. 

Her mother describes her as schoolmarmish because she often stays at home, does not love the nightlife and absolutely can not stand the smell of cigarette smoke . 

And beauteous as she is, 16-year-old ingenue Kristine Hermosa once didn’t even have the guts to audition for a TV role and got it only out of sheer luck. 

“I was with my older sister Kathleen, who was originally auditioning for Ang TV. She was the one who knew how to sing and dance, and I didn’t,” recalls Kristine. By a stroke of luck, the hesitant would-be star caught the eye of the people in charge of screening the hopefuls. She ended up as one of the kids in Ang TV, a comedy show way back in 1995 that was some sort of a Mickey Mouse Club spin-off. 

“I did not really enjoy my stint with Ang TV,” admits Kristine, who was, like the rest of the dozen or so kids in the show, relegated to the sidelines, occasionally appearing to make a few funny faces after a skit. At that time, the more prominent child performers were Antoinette Taus, Jolina Magdangal, Roselle Nava, Lindsay Custodio,Victor Neri, Guila and Gio Alvarez. 

Things started to change when she was chosen for ABS-CBN Talent Center’s Star Circle Batch 4, which included Vanessa del Bianco, Jericho Rosales and Dominic Ochoa. By this time too, Kristine has grown to be a PYT — Pretty Young Thing — and was beginning to attract a lot of following. 

The big break came last year when she played Agnes, a 21-year-old teacher who eventually marries her childhood sweetheart (played by Marvin Agustin) in the mini series Sa Sandaling Kailangan Mo Ako (Book One). Though she played a minor role in Book One, Kristine’s acting savvy was noticed by the series followers, as well as the producers of the show — so much so that in Book Two, the story already revolved around her. 

Like most Filipino soaps, Sa Sandaling Kailangan Mo Ako was a tear-jerker that had all the dramatic elements meant to tug at the heart strings: a young and beautiful martyr who gets slapped around, forced to eat stale food by a tyrannical villain — this time the mother-in-law — convincingly portrayed by Tessie Tomas. 

Asked how she was able to play the role of a 21-year-old teacher when she was in fact just in her teens, Kristine replies, “It was my director Olivia Lamasan who coached, taught and motivated me. It was more difficult to adjust in Book One since that was my first time to do heavy drama and then play the role of a teacher. Then I sort of became used to the role, so that when Book Two started, I didn’t have such a difficult time anymore,” she elaborates. 

Then came the movies, with Minsan Minahal Kita, a Sharon Cuneta-Richard Gomez starrer; and Pera O Bayong, the spin-off of the popular game show portion directed by Edgar Mortiz. 

This early however, Kristine is learning that her new-found celebrity status doesn’t come without a price, usually in the form of intrigues like the one where she was accused of boyfriend-stealing. 

“You get accused of doing things you didn’t do,” she avers. “At first, it was so disheartening, but after some time, I learned to cope. I used to explain repeatedly (about the issue) even to friends, but then sometimes it gets to be irritating because there’s really nothing to explain. I felt like saying, “C’mon, that’s enough!” Needless to say, Kristine’s family was also affected, specially her mom Mai, who was upset that her daughter was painted as a scheming and devious hussy. 

Fact is, it is difficult to imagine the winsome lass to be anything but sweet. During the photo shoot, she was uncomplaining even though it was apparent that the heat was making her itchy and uncomfortable. During breaks she would sit quietly and hum to herself, every now and texting on her cellphone. 

“That’s enough to make her happy,” her mom laughs, adding that Kristine has been given the moniker “manang” (old sister). 

Understandably, Mai (from whose side Kristine got her Spanish looks) is protective and at the same time proud of her daughter. “She gets a lot of fan mail,” Mai discloses, “sometimes through email, calling her the ‘gold mine’ of ABS-CBN. They also ask her what she thinks about the fact that many are irked with her because she’s very young but she’s getting all the breaks, and that she seems to be a favorite of the Talent Center.” 

Kristine realizes though that the fame she is experiencing now could be fleeting. 

My ambition before was to be a flight stewardess,” she adds. “But not anymore. I really don’t know what I’d like to be; things have changed. But what I am intent on doing right now is to finish my studies until college.” 

Kristine’s mom puts it this way: “So why should they be envious of her? She’s hot right now, she’s pretty, and that’s the way things go. Tomorrow she may not be so hot anymore; it’s just that it’s her time right now.” 

But that’s precisely why.

~ e n d ~


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