Cris Vil­lonco-Valder­rama

Philippine Tatler - - FEATURES -

This tal­ented th­es­pian learnt the sig­nif­i­cance of hard work and hu­mil­ity early on, when she en­tered the theatre arts in­dus­try at just nine years. “My mum—who was of­ten re­ferred to as the sec­ond com­ing of Lea Sa­longa’s own mother as she was al­ways at my side—kept me grounded,” says Cris Vil­lonco-Valder­rama. “She made sure that I was liv­ing a nor­mal life out­side of show busi­ness, say­ing, ‘Cris, this isn’t real—this is just your other life.’”

Through­out her ca­reer, Cris has won sev­eral ac­co­lades for work in mu­si­cals and plays, the lat­est be­ing her fifth Gawad Buhay Award for Fe­male Lead Per­for­mance in a Play for Red Turnip Theatre’s Con­stel­la­tions. She is of­ten lauded for her ver­sa­til­ity, which she ac­knowl­edges as an im­per­a­tive re­quire­ment for all stage per­form­ers. “To suc­ceed in the busi­ness, you must be knowl­edge­able, ded­i­cated, and pro­fes­sional,” she adds. “You have to know your lines and be ready to do what­ever the di­rec­tor re­quires be­cause it is their vi­sion be­ing re­alised. Peo­ple have at­tempted to en­ter the in­dus­try with­out hav­ing stud­ied, only to fall short.”

She is no stranger to stage fright, which she freely ad­mits she has. “Each time I do some­thing new, I’m al­ways a bit scared,” she says. “I start ques­tion­ing if I will be able to de­liver. But ev­ery­thing melts away when I go on­stage—kind of like magic.” She of­ten finds her­self ris­ing to meet chal­lenges, too. In Novem­ber 2016, she took on her most dif­fi­cult role to date, play­ing a 43-yearold les­bian in At­lantis Pro­duc­tions’ Fun Home. To fully im­merse her­self into the char­ac­ter of Ali­son Bechdel, Cris made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to live apart from her hus­band, Paolo, for some time.

For Cris, artists have re­spon­si­bil­i­ties out­side of en­ter­tain­ing, es­pe­cially in the face of to­day’s so­ciopo­lit­i­cal cli­mate. “As artists, we must be able to ex­press our opin­ions in the most diplo­matic way pos­si­ble,” she says. “It’s good to be hon­est, but the truth some­times hurts. Above all, I believe in be­ing kind.”

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