She may be one of today’s biggest actresses,
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.