It was the night of the Star Magic Ball, one of the grandest, most-awaited red carpet events in the country. All the big names were there—from the ones our generation grew up watching on box-sized TVs, to the young celebrities we see as we scroll down on our phone screens.
And I was nervous. As an entertainment writer, I knew how important this star-studded event was in our industry. Besides, it’s not everyday you get to talk face-to-face with your childhood idols at a fancy event!
I wore my dress (an emergency LBD I had bought just that morning), put on a pair of brand new 5-inch heels (that I haven’t even had the chance to break in yet), and left my hotel room to head straight to the venue.
As I stepped inside the lift, I got a glimpse of my reflection and was horrified—I had forgotten to fill in my brows! (Come on, self. Of all times you can forget to put on brows, it had to be tonight.)
But the clock was ticking and I had to go. They wouldn’t mind, I thought. Yeah, just THE biggest celebrities in this country wouldn’t mind. I shrugged my shoulders and gave my bangs a quick fix to cover my unmade brows (whoever invented the full bangs hairstyle, may God bless you, your children, and your children’s children).
I got inside the ballroom; it was the calm before the storm. All the press people were patiently waiting for the stars to arrive. The door opened, and the ball began.
I had more or less 2 minutes with each celebrity, and I asked them what I’ve always wanted to know: what were their lives like sans the bright lights and the cameras? They’ve got to have a “human” side, after all.
And they did. And discovering this truth made me respect them even more.
If there’s one thing I learned from asking each star non-showbiz questions, it’s this: the faces we see on newspapers, on commercials, and on gigantic billboards along EDSA, are all humans with dreams and heartaches and passions, just like you and me.
Read the interviews below.
All photos taken by Chris Clemente.
What is one memory from your childhood that you would like to relive?
“Dancing in the rain. Parang ang tagal ko nang di nagagawa yun. I would love to do that one of these days.” - Bea Alonzo
“A car ride home when my dad picked me up from school. Kaming dalawa lang nun. He was just rapping beside me, and he was like, ‘Max, what do you think of this verse?’ And then he rapped freestyle. These are the times you take for granted when you’re still with the person, and when you lose that person, these are the moments you would like to relive. The simple moments.” - Maxene Magalona
“Not worrying about paying your bills. Yeah, I would like to relive that!” - Pia Wurtzbach
"Wow. The times when I was with my family! We travelled, we went to the Grand Canyon, the times I spent with my bother, learning how to ride a unicycle, the first time I rode a dirt bike, my first few skating competitions. We had a family pond, and we used to go camping there every other weekend. Those were a lot." - Sam Milby
"I was 11 then. My dad bought me roller blades, and I skated with my brother outside my house. That was really fun." - Maricar Reyes Poon
"Yung mga panahon na 4 or 5 years old ako. Yan mga panahon na wala kang iniisip kundi anong oras ka uuwi at lalabas. At yung problema mo lang nun ay kapag pinapatulog ka ng nanay mo sa hapon.” - Daniel Padilla
“Yung high school days ko. Kasi before I was so shy, hindi ako masyadong naging open. Yun yung isa sa mga regrets ko ngayon. Sana mas nag-explore ako noon.” - Kathryn Bernardo
“When we were all living in our house back in the States! It was nice when our parents would come home, and then we would get together. I remember we would also take mom to work because she worked late shifts. Family bonding is something I’d want to go back to.” - Megan Young
What is the best thing you learned about yourself from being in the industry?
“I got used to taking directions from other people— from my teachers, my parents, my mentors, my managers. But this time, I know what makes me happy.” - Pia Wurtzbach
“You just have to be yourself, your own person. No matter how hard it is, and how noisy it is, you have to listen to yourself.” - Jessy Mendiola
"That sometimes it’s not about you being the star, it’s about the people. It’s knowing what the people want and what will make the people happy. If you feel like it’s about you as a star, it wouldn't be sustainable. You really need to think about the other people around you so that your work will have purpose." - Hiyasmin Neri
What is the happiest day of your life?
“I spent my happiest moment alone. It was the morning we finished our movie [Loving in Tandem]. It was 5AM, I was sitting alone in the car, waiting for the driver to come, and really happy that it was finally finished." - Edward Barber
What do you want people to remember you for?
“That I was an okay dad.” - Ogie Alcasid
"Definitely a woman who values herself, respects herself, and loves life. I just want to be remembered as a good person more than anything. There are too many bad things happening in the world, and it doesn't hurt to be kind." - Sarah Carlos
"For telling the truth. I'm still working on that." - Maricar Reyes
“Everybody knows that I won Miss Universe, but I also want them to know that I’m also human, and that I’m just like everybody else. I’m funny, I don’t take things too seriously, and anybody can approach me. “ - Pia Wurtzbach