She may be one of to­day’s big­gest ac­tresses,

Cosmopolitan (Philippines) - - The Cosmo Interview - by larissa jo­son pho­to­graphs by bj pas­cual

but na­dine lus­tre’s life isn’t just cute­ness and charm. in this no- holds- barred in­ter­view, She can­didly talks about fight­ing ( and get­ting over) the blues, deal­ing with haters, and why She’s never been more grate­ful for re­jec­tion.

“it was a roller coaster,”

Na­dine says with­out think­ing twice. If she had to con­dense the year that was into a sin­gle sen­tence, that’s what she would go with—an un­pre­dictable ride that’s ab­so­lutely ex­hil­a­rat­ing and stom­ach churn­ing. This dis­clo­sure is made over lunch in a posh ho­tel lobby in Makati, where the 22-yearold’s pres­ence im­me­di­ately elic­its be-still-my-heart smiles from the wait staff. Af­ter all, offering a prawn salad to prime time’s most rel­e­vant ac­tress would make a great post-shift story.

2015 granted Na­dine Lus­tre her big­gest un­der­tak­ing yet: a star­ring role in On­the

Wing­soflove (bet­ter known to its fol­low­ing as OTWOL), a tele­serye that has rev­o­lu­tion­ized the genre by in­ten­tion­ally be­ing fun, ro­man­tic, and light-hearted at its core.

“Naisip­ni­di­rek Tonet [Jadaone] and the writ­ers to change the peo­ple’s per­spec­tive na ka­pagte­le­serye,da­pat dra­matic,” Na­dine says. And if the show’s rat­ings and so­cial me­dia foot­print

are any in­di­ca­tion, it’s work­ing. “Ang dami­nagkukuwen­tosa’kinna’pag pagod­sila,uuwisi­lasa

ba­hay­atkahit late na, they’ll watch OTWOL kasi it makes them feel good.”

The show’s suc­cess authen­ti­cated Na­dine’s and her on-screen part­ner James Reid’s abil­ity to draw in crowds, prov­ing that their sleeper hits from 2014 weren’t just lucky shots. But film­ing a tele­serye is gru­el­ing, and since last Au­gust, Na­dine’s sched­ule has been run­ning on

bini­gyan ko ng yung sar­ili ko na hindi na­man ta­laga da­pat na mag­ing masaya ako pinahi­ra­pan ko ’yung sar­ili ko.

over­drive with thrice-aweek tap­ings that last un­til 3 a.m. the next day, with other days re­served for en­dorse­ment shoots, shows, and out-of-town events. (Case in point: This Cosmo cover shoot started at 8 p.m. on a Thurs­day and wrapped up on Fri­day at 1 a.m.) There are days when she has no choice but to run on only two hours of sleep, which nor­mally doesn’t faze the self-con­fessed worka­holic, up un­til she pushed her­self to a break­ing point.

Fight­ing For her right to Feel

Mid- Oc­to­ber last year, Na­dine shared a now-deleted poem on In­sta­gram that read, “I am com­ing apart at the seams and it scares me.” Un­sur­pris­ingly, the post made show­biz head­lines and raised red flags among her fans. “I posted that when so­brang­na­puno naako with ev­ery­thing,” Na­dine re­veals. “One of the things I hate the most about what I did was I gave my­self a stan­dard. Feel­ing

ko, since I’m al­ways tired, I’m not do­ing my best. But I am. Pero feel­ing ko, it’s not good enough,” she laments. “Bini­gyankong stan­dard ‘yungsar­i­likona hin­d­i­na­man­ta­la­gada­pat.

So in­stead na­m­ag­ing masayaako with what I’m

do­ing, pinahi­ra­panko ’yungsar­i­liko.”

To pull her­self to­gether, Na­dine asked for a time­out dur­ing her birth­day in late Oc­to­ber to head to one of her dream cities, Seoul. “I had a va­ca­tion kasi so­brang­malungkot ako,mag­u­lona.’yun ’yung­timedinna puroiyak­saot­wol. I was phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, and mentally ex­hausted. So I got de­pressed

kasi­la­hatng is­sues nahin­d­i­na­man­da­pat pina­pansin,nai­isipko, pino­prob­le­mako— at home, at work, with my fam­ily, and with other peo­ple.”

It’s fit­ting that ev­ery In­sta­gram photo from Na­dine’s trip was tagged #Seoulsearch­ing. It was while on top of the N Seoul Tower, amidst love locks and a breath­tak­ing view of the city, that she had a mo­ment of clar­ity. “Na

re­al­izeko, ‘What­ever it is you’re go­ing through, get out of it. Stop.’ Sabi konga,shet,angganda


gan­ito? When I got back [to the Philip­pines], parang

ini­wanko‘yung de­pressed naakosa Korea.” It was a les­son learned for Na­dine, who hopes never to strain her­self that much again. “I’m the type of per­son

i’m the type of per­son who doesn’t like show­ing her weak­nesses. i like peo­ple to think i’m really strong... when i’m really vul­ner­a­ble in­side.

who doesn’t like show­ing her weak­ness. I like peo­ple to think I’m really strong…when I’m really vul­ner­a­ble in­side. But show­ing your weak­ness is ac­cep­tance. Kahit pa­paano, I don’t want peo­ple to think na robot ako, nawalaakong nararam­daman.”

Stand­ing For What's real

Out of all the roles she’s played over the course of her 15-year ca­reer, it’s only her char­ac­ter in OTWOL, Leah Oli­var, a golden-hearted girl whose nag­ging Amer­i­can dream leads her to an amus­ing ar­ranged mar­riage, whom Na­dine man­aged

to “take home” with her. “Ac­tu­ally, Leah was writ­ten dif­fer­ently, but then pinat­tern­nila [the writ­ers] sa’kin. So it’s easy for me to be Leah. Kayanau­uwiko­rin­siyakasi pare­haskami,” she says. They’re both a lit­tle quirky, both ex­tremely de­voted to fam­ily.

“Pero­may dif­fer­ences din na­man kami,” Na­dine con­tin­ues. “Leah is scared. Madal­isiyang­tu­mumba, madal­isiyang­matakot. Dati si­nusuy­onasiyani Clark (Leah’s hus­band, whom James Reid plays), ayawniyapa. Ayawniya­mag- take ng risks.” She refers to a fa­mous scene in the show, where Clark asks Leah to whole-heart­edly com­mit to their re­la­tion­ship: “May scene panasin­abini Clark, ‘ Su­mu­galka­na­man, Leah.’” Na­dine’s nar­ra­tive then takes on a play­ful, chal­leng­ing tone. “Kun­gako‘yun,mata­gal­naakong

sumu­gal,” she de­clares. One of the rea­sons why OTWOL has gained a strong, ded­i­cated au­di­ence is that the show sticks as close to re­al­ity as pos­si­ble. It’s that rare gem in Philip­pine TV that un­abashedly shows its twen­tysome­thing ac­tors do­ing stufftwenty some­things do in real life. Like ac­tual mouth-on­mouth kiss­ing, with­out lame-ass cam­era tricks. “Kasi it’s real life, eh! Huwag­mosabi­hinsa’kinna mag-jowakay­ona 20 or 21, hindi kay­onag-ki- kiss?” Na­dine says, in­cred­u­lous. “Wagkayo! That’s real, eh. That really hap­pens. We’re ac­tors—in Hol­ly­wood, it’s nor­mal.

Bak­it­saat­in­hindipuwede? ’ Yun ngakasi we’re really con­ser­va­tive. Ehkami [ ni James] hin­d­i­na­man kam­i­nag-ki-kiss in real life, sa TV lang. Act­ing lang’diba?” So to any­one who’s won­der­ing if the two “prac­tice” their kiss­ing scenes of­f­cam­era, well, there you go.

Na­dine un­der­stands that hav­ing a fer­vent fan base means that both she and James will end up do­ing things that won’t make ev­ery­body happy. She’s blasted for not be­ing con­stantly vis­i­ble, he’s slammed for go­ing out too much, and both of them are crit­i­cized for hang­ing out with peo­ple who aren’t each other. “Me and James, we don’t wanna pre­tend,”

HINDI LAG­ING Meron, HINDI LA­HAT IBIBI­GAY Sa ’yo, HINDI LA­HAT Ma­pupunta Sa’yo. GA­NUN Ta­laga.

Na­dine says, set­ting the record straight. “Ayaw namin. gusto namin, kung ano ta­laga kami, gan’un lang. On TV it’s dif­fer­ent, be­cause we’re act­ing. But those are char­ac­ters in a story—that’s not Na­dine and James.”

But just be­cause the two don’t act like Clark and Leah IRL, doesn’t mean their cur­rent re­la­tion­ship is any less spe­cial. Na­dine words it per­fectly: They were there for each other from “the start of the re­birth of our ca­reers.” Their suc­cess is mu­tual, their prob­lems, shared. When Na­dine was go­ing through her feel­ings of de­pres­sion, “James was there, al­ways making me laugh, al­ways cheer­ing me up. That’s what helps me get by din,” she shares.

Fi­nally at the Wheel

If there’s a nasty habit Na­dine is more than will­ing to leave be­hind in 2015, it would be putting un­nec­es­sary pres­sure on her­self. But, for­ever self­aware, she knows it’s a long shot. “I can’t say din nai­i­wanan ko kasi it will hap­pen again, for sure. It will be dif­fer­ent next time, but I can’t say na hindi ko siya mau­ulit,” she says. As for her 2016 Bucket List, Na­dine is no longer the kind who expects. “I didn’t see Diary ng panget com­ing, so since then, sabiko na hindi na ako mag-e- ex­pect,” she rea­sons, re­fer­ring to one of her sleeper hits in 2014. “I’m not gonna plan any­thing. Gusto ko sur­prise lang la­hat.”

Her stint in show­biz— where she has done ev­ery­thing from host­ing to singing to danc­ing, with­out catching a real break un­til re­cently—has taught her to take things as they come. “Hindi lag­ing meron, hindi la­hat ibibi­gay sa’yo, hindi la­hat ma­pupunta sa’yo. ga­nun ta­laga.” Na­dine says.

She re­calls a time in her ca­reer when she was in­vited for a sup­posed con­tract sign­ing, but af­ter she ar­rived, noth­ing hap­pened—peo­ple barely no­ticed she was there. “Umiyak ta­laga ako. Feel­ing ko walang kuwenta ako,” she says. It’s ex­pe­ri­ences like those that keep her grate­ful for her rock­et­ing ca­reer, no mat­ter how crazy her life has got­ten. “I’m just really happy with what’s hap­pen­ing now and ’ yung sa mga nang­yari be­fore. I don’t re­gret na nawalan ako ng mga projects. Now, when I look back, I re­al­ize na okay lang na nang­yari ’yun. Things really hap­pen for a rea­son,” she says, nod­ding sagely. “If a door closes, an­other one will open na mas ma­g­a­nda. So kung anoman ang mangya­yari ngayon, I’m just really happy.” ■

Wanna see Na­dine par­ody

otwol’s Clark and Jigs? Check out her BTS videos on WWW.


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