EXCLUSIVE: Ageless Beauty At 55—Cherie Gil Ages Beautifully As She Lives Life To The Fullest
It was June in New York. It’s one of best months to be in the Big Apple since the weather is nice and warm. It’s when the warmth of the summer season begins to be felt. The concrete jungle’s bustling city life can be seen and experienced in every street and park.
But no, this woman wasn’t here for a simple vacation—she was here for a celebration!
Unstoppable at her craft, iconic Filipina actress Cherie Gil needed some time off, so she decided to jet off to NYC. Her three kids—two sons and one daughter—have been living abroad for the past 10 years, and it has been her tradition to fly to this city once every quarter if all their schedules permit.
But this trip was special in more ways than one: it was for her 55th birthday—another milestone to be grateful for—and she sure had a blast!
Joie de vivre
“It went on for two days,” Cherie Gil says about her birthday celebration in NYC. Her eldest son, a sound engineer, had a show on Broadway the night before her actual birthday on June 21, so they started celebrating on the eve of her special day. “We had a nice dinner together. We were complete. It’s been awhile since I had all three kids together since they have different schedules—even my ex-husband, whom I hadn’t seen in two years, joined us, so that made me really happy,” she shares.
“The next day, we went out for lunch—Japanese food, my favorite. The best part was I offered my wallet, but they all paid for it! After which, we watched the soccer games in a sports bar with my son. That day, it was Croatia, who turned out to be the winners, against Argentina.”
That wasn’t the end of her birthday celebrations. After lunch, she went for a quick massage while her son and his girlfriend waited for her at a coffee shop. “By the time I got out, it was cocktail hour. We started on espresso martini,” she says. A bit tipsy and high on love with her family around, their night went on with a series of simple, fun, and spontaneous activities—from looking for a case for Cherie’s new phone (which she funnily requested from her son when he asked her what gift she would like to receive), to checking out a palm reader, to stopping by gastropub & wine bar Caroll Place (which happens to be Cherie’s fave bar in NYC) for another round of drinks while they wait for their turn with the palm reader, to dancing the night away in Washington Square Park.
That time of the year, the Washington Square Park holds music festivals with free street performances, and it was great timing that Cherie and her kids chanced upon this on her birthday. “There were African musicians with their instruments; they had these huge maracas. I wanted to ask what that instrument was, so I went up to them to ask, then I told them it was my birthday. They played us something to the beat of the drums, and we were dancing in Washington Square amidst the fountains and bright lights,” Cherie recounts.
“I was happy. I belonged. I even told my kids, ‘Wow, I found my tribe!’ Then my son says, ‘But of course, mom, we’re always your tribe. We’re always here.’ I said, ‘Not you, them (referring to the band)!’ We were laughing. I was joking. But, of course, I meant them.”
She may have gotten a year older, but she’s definitely happier and more contented with her life as well. Cherie has always believed that aging gracefully has a lot to do with enjoying life, living it to the fullest, and finding joy in every minute of it. “When that happens, everything else happens with grace. And even if you do age as you increase in number, then it’d be nice to go on feeling that joie de vivre,” she says.
The beauty in the villain
As someone who’s been acting since the age of nine, Cherie prides herself in a dossier that has a long list of TV and movie projects. With her sharp features and strong presence, she has been mostly known for kontrabida roles. She has, in fact, been far too associated with being an onscreen villain that it’s often surprising for regular folks to meet her off-cam and be greeted by her pleasantness (and oh, that sense of humor!).
Her iconic role in the 1985 film, Bituing Walang Ningning, which she starred in with Sharon Cuneta gave birth to the iconic scene that showed Cherie as Lavinia Arguelles splashing wine on the face of Dorina Pineda (Sharon’s character, a budding star who is a threat to the stardom of Cherie’s character). In that scene, Cherie said these unforgettable lines: “You’ll never make it. You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat!” Cherie has probably recreated this scene and uttered these lines for about a thousand times now, and people are constantly fascinated by it. Every chance her peers get, they ask to be the “victim” of Lavinia; interestingly, there’s an Instagram account named @the_real_lavinia_arguelles which shares videos of Cherie splashing wine (or water) on people’s faces—even famous ones, like Iza Calzado, Agot Isidro, Ricky Davao, Paulo Avelino, Bea Alonzo, Atom Araullo, and Chef JP Anglo.
In reality, though, Cherie is one good-natured and down-to-earth woman, who lives for simple joys and simple rules even in the aspect of beauty. Even at her age, Cherie stays beautiful with or without makeup. She surrounds herself with positivity, and that contributes a lot to how she exudes that inner glow. But when it comes to maintaining her physical appearance, she sticks to simple, tried-and-tested beauty regimens.
“I try to not to be too meticulous about this. For one, I’m always in a hurry. I always wanna do things. I want to get out of the house as soon as I can. So, I don’t spend so much time fidgeting about this,” she says. Her only cardinal rule—which her mother often reminded her about, and is a beauty advice she has passed on to her daughter—is to never ever sleep with makeup on.
Ever since she was in her teens, it has been her habit to wash her face with a mild soap, followed by a moisturizer. The products she grew up with, she still uses up to this day—that’s how low maintenance she is, a far cry from what you’d expect from an actress of her calibre! As she grew older, her beauty kit expanded to include sunblock and toner (her toner now is from Italian brand Santa Maria Novella).
As someone who loves basking under the sun, perhaps her only regret skincare-wise is not learning about the benefits of putting sunblock early on. “In my earlier teen days, there were no sunblocks,” she says. “Now, I began to use more sunblock, also because of the ozone layer. Sun is stronger, and it’s a good habit to use sunblock even during tapings with all the lights.” She complements this simple skincare routine with regular facials, just to get a deep cleanse—nothing more, because as she says, “I really don’t have patience, lying down that table while somebody works on my face.”
To be fit and fab
Cherie looks younger than her actual age not only because of how her skin ages beautifully but also with how she has maintained her strong and sexy physique. All those years she spent championing an active lifestyle, she has to thank for now.
“I can’t stay put,” she says. “I wanna rush to the gym when I can, when I’m free. I swim, I do a lot of swimming, and I did a lot of gym work in the past. I’ve tried TRX. I took up dancing lessons—anything physical. I also did running for a while until I hurt my knee and had to undergo meniscus tear surgery. I even did horseback riding, surfing—the individual sports. I also bike, I have a bamboo bike. I’m a restless human being.”
While Cherie enjoys moving around and being constantly on the go, she also devotes time for a breather. For many years now, yoga has been her choice of wellness activity. A discipline that has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, yoga has helped Cherie stay fit and healthy from within. She shares, “It reminds me to breathe, and that’s what life is about, to breathe. And it also keeps my inner organs detoxified.” She even said that when she got pregnant in her 20s, she attended prenatal yoga classes, which she believes contributed to tightening her skin; she can proudly say that after giving birth to three kids, she doesn’t have stretch marks.
Age is just a number, and she cannot agree more. Getting older has never stopped her from doing the things she loves and discovering new things to love. “I’ll wither if I stay put,” Cherie quips.
Turning 60 and beyond
In five years, Cherie will be 60. While the mere thought of it can make even the toughest women emotional, Cherie actually feels ecstatic about the experiences that are yet to come. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ll have discounts,” she jokes.
While social media tends to have a negative effect on people in terms of the habit of comparing oneself to others, she chooses to be wiser and more optimistic about it. Social media inspires and motivates her to be the best person she can be, more so when the time comes for her to mark another decade in her life.
“I’m already planning how I look, how I intend to dress… I look at social media and get inspired by other women who arrived to that place, and are just as empowered,” she says. Among the women she looks up to and follows on Instagram are Lyn Slater of Accidental Icon and models Carmen Dell Orefice and Maye Musk. Looking at photos of women via @over50__style on Instagram also makes her excited about aging and looking fabulous in the process.
Now, if money was no object, Cherie would pack her luggage right now and travel the world. Remote places, such as Kazakhstan, appeal to her and are part of her bucket list. She’d go around the world, to see and experience every nook and cranny if she could. She’d like to go on a safari adventure and explore Scandinavian countries.
If and when she retires from acting, Cherie says that she’d probably learn about organic farming, too, so she could sustain herself.
In the meantime, these can all go under her to-do checklist, a list of goals for when she turns 60. But today, Cherie is still 55. The memory of spontaneity in the big city is still fresh in her mind. And as she looks back on those summer days she spent with her loved ones, she says, “I have no regrets whatsoever.” Despite being used to the spotlight, all dolled and glammed up, Cherie feels most beautiful when she’s her true self.
She says, “I feel most beautiful when I’m with my family. I’m always happy with them. Because of the happiness I feel within, I guess, I sparkle. That’s when my natural glow comes out.”
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Sara Black
Art direction by Butchie Peña
Makeup by Juan Sarte
Hairstyling by Mong Amado
Styling by Pam Quiñones of Qurator, assisted by Sharmaine Tanael
Liaison Editor: Francis Simeon
Special thanks to Yummy Diet