EXCLUSIVE: This Is How Jericho Rosales Stays Grounded Even After Many Years Of Success
After walking away from the improvised office-studio to let the lead stars of The Girl in the Orange Dress get their photos taken for their digital cover, I see a man having lunch all by himself amidst empty office cubicles.
He is Jericho Rosales’ makeup artist, as I later learned, and he has been working since earlier in the morning, doing the makeup of news personalities at an internationally-franchised network, but he made sure to show up for this particular shoot. When asked if the food was any good, the man replies, “Yes. Binigay sa’kin ‘to ni Echo. Pagkain niya ito.” At this point, "Asia’s Prince of Dramas" walks past us, on his way to change his outfit for the next round of pictures. “Ganyan siya, namimigay ng pagkain,” the man continues. Later, the movie star zips by us again, gives us both a look of recognition, and disappears back into the office-studio. The man adds that he has worked with Jericho on many projects over the course of a few years, and that he was kind and working with him feels good.
Earlier, when he had arrived for the shoot, Jericho was jovial, greeting everyone in the room, but a bit quieter than usual; he is known to joke around a lot. He’s feeling a bit under the weather, he tells us, but he was instantly ready for the shoot and more than willing to answer any question I had.
We settled by the snack table, and started the interview. Our first point of discussion was his latest Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) movie, a lighthearted romantic comedy opposite Jessy Mendiola, one of the most beautiful and talented young actresses in local showbiz. Jericho explains, “In the movie, I play Rye, who is a heartthrob. At first, I was reluctant about it. Maybe [if I was asked to do this] when I was in my early 20s, in the Pangako Sa’yo days, [I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable]... I’m not saying that the role really needs to have a superstar, but it’s too close for comfort. Artista kasi 'yung role and artista kasi ako.”
But, when thinking of who best to portray a matinee idol of high caliber with legions of devoted fans, only a few names come to mind, and Jericho Rosales is one of them. This is no surprise, as the actor had enjoyed a stratospheric rise to fame. Remember that this all happended before the emergence of social media, when people became famous not merely because of likes and follows. Catapulted into national recognition by "Mister Pogi” and later, the steady stream of TV series, movies, endorsements, accolades, and news items that are at best, adulating, and at worst, potentially defaming, Jericho has become a household name. To this day, he remains as one of the country’s most prominent stars. “I’ve been in the business longer than my normal life. I entered showbiz when I was 14 or 15—so, now, I’ve been an actor for much more than that,” he says.
Fame is a curious, elusive thing—not everyone gets to keep it, some get to experience it for a good fifteen minutes and try to cling to it for dear life, and then, of course, like most of us, there are those who don’t experience it at all. But for the few who manage to hold onto it, remaining level-headed, if not kind, seems like a truer accomplishment. “It’s so easy to lose yourself when every day, people tell you you’re so good, you’re so successful, ganyan. It can get into your head. You have to be careful. You have to be self-aware," Jericho shares. "I tell myself, I don’t want to bring this home. When I come home, I’m a normal person. When I come home, I’m a husband, I’m a son, I’m a friend.”
This mindset is one of the things that keep him centered. He says, “To be honest with you, I keep a set of friends I admire, my barkada. We all ride motorcycles. Gary V is one of them. My friends, the Bible, and obviously, my wife, are my guides. Then of course, there are my mentors in the industry.” As he says all this, Jericho’s face lights up. These are the positive forces in his life that he is very grateful to have.
A figure in his life who always helps him find his True North is his wife, Kim Jones. A true creative soul, she motivates Jericho to pursue excellence. This, he says, is one of the many things in their marriage that has enabled him to grow and become a better version of himself. “She’s just a super mega positive force in my life. Kim is very creative. She never stops. She’s always evolving and growing,” the proud husband shares. The actor pauses a bit and his facial expression softens as he speaks of his better half. He continues, “She doesn’t like to accept it, but she’s very intelligent and a highly creative person. Never settles for 'okay lang.' I like the fact that she brings excellence into the house, into her own career, everywhere. I love her beautiful heart. Actually, she’s a very kind person [who] cares about people, our friends. Kim’s very... she knows how to value people through words, through gifts, and through time. She’s a time kind of person, she’ll give you time. She values people and she’s very respectful. Those are some of the few things I admire [about] her.”
While Jericho has grown in his marriage, he also makes it a point to nurture his craft. Even after many years in the industry, he’s not one to take anything for granted. He says he’s lucky and has always been blessed to have many projects and in fact, has never felt a lack of it. But in terms of maturing as an actor, he adds that it’s a long process that will possibly take a lifetime. Jericho tells Metro.Style, “An actor’s job is never done. It’s never over. It involves a lot of mental work. It’s not just about jumping into character. A lot of it is about comprehension, about understanding the story. Once you understand that in your brain, your heart will understand it. Things start to make sense. I always have to put myself—allow myself to be in workshops, to be in discussions, to be reading whatever kind of material just to get that spark of creativity or understanding. Whether it be inspiration or learning or knowledge. Magazines, books—I’m not a big reader, but I force myself.”
Jericho Rosales doesn’t intend to stop acting; there’s also a possibility of him working behind the lens. He has started doing this in his work for the hit primetime TV drama Halik. In pursuit of better understanding his character, Jericho would make improvements on his lines for the sake of authenticity and impact. “One of my favorites is 'Malaman-laman ko lang,' that’s the warning to Jade na 'malaman-laman ko lang' na nagchi-cheat ka. Another is 'pag-untugin ko kayong dalawa,' [which I said] to her best friend. And I have a new line, kay Ace (Sam Milby's character) naman, so nahuli ko siyang nambababe na naman, so I told him, 'Busy ka boy, ah.' Mga short lines na [p'wede] ilagay sa t-shirt. You’ll probably see [some] one of these days.” The actor chuckles as he talked about these lines, amused at himself and grateful for the opportunity to be working in one of the country’s most riveting soaps.
The photo shoot with Echo is about to begin and our interview is about to wrap up. Before saying thanks to each other, I asked him one last thing: What has he learned from his many years of success? Usually, it would take someone a while to answer such a question, but not Jericho. To him, it was simple, easy, and at his very core, true.
“[Becoming] this person that I am now, I am grateful about everything. Even though sobrang daming hardships na pinagdaanan, I am this guy who’s chill lang and light somehow. So many things have changed. It’s a long career. [I learned] that success is relative, it shifts. It’s not always the way people define it. I just always ask myself a lot of questions and check myself. I put in a bit of humility and acceptance. I open my ears and my heart to good advice.”
After he says this, I ask to take a photo with him. Even before I could position my phone properly, he takes it from my hand and says, “Let me do it.” He smiles and gives the phone back to me. We shake hands, say goodbye, and he walks to the improvised office-studio to have his pictures taken.
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Dookie Ducay
Sittings Editors: Geolette Esguerra and Judy Arias
Makeup by Kusie Ho
Grooming by Jeffrey Bungcasan
Styling by David Milan