EXCLUSIVE: A Brief Encounter With Megastar Sharon Cuneta
On Sharon: Ensemble by Jot Losa
There is a certain skill to being a star, a certain countenance necessary to hold those in your presence enthralled, hanging on to your every word as if for dear life. That skill is elevated to an art by Sharon Cuneta.
I confirmed this one Friday evening, as I paced outside her dressing room. I strained my ear to catch some of a whiff of their conversations, but all I could clearly hear was the roaring laughter that followed. Words, then laughter. Words, then more laughter.
When the doors opened some minutes after, I saw how easily she held court inside this room, how easily they all answered to her cues, because I was likewise charmed.
“Ay! I like this! This is very me! I love black,” she exclaims after we discuss the concept. “Please bring me my other watch, that looks more powerful,” she signals to her stylist. She was just getting started.
It has been a long day for Sharon, who was in the middle of promoting her movie, Three Words to Forever. Touted as the reunion of Sharon and Richard Gomez, who were last cast together 15 years ago; the Star Cinema offering is a multi-generational family drama that revolves around the demise of the relationship of Rick (Richard) and Cristy (Sharon), along with their daughter Tin (Kathryn Bernardo). Last night, she had a tearful interview for Tonight with Boy Abunda; this afternoon, an appearance in Magandang Buhay; and tonight, dubbing with the film’s director Cathy Garcia-Molina.
This film couldn’t have come at a better time, a way to cap the successful celebration of 40 years in the business that saw movies and even a concert. Her life and her career, she says, can be defined in movies and songs. She traces its nooks and crannies with her discography and filmography, aware of how uncannily her showbiz projects mirror whatever struggles she might have come across.
Mister DJ, when she was just starting out. “It was a call for the DJs to please help this little girl be heard, and because of them, my voice was heard, and I was able to sing more songs,” she says. Dear Heart, a story of first love, and also her first movie. Bukas Luluhod ang Mga Tala, her trial by fire—where she was tasked to prove that she could act away from the girl-next-door roles she had. Then Bituing Walang Ninging; where her character gave up her career for love—exactly what she did when she eloped.
“Later on, people couldn’t believe I was leaving for Boston, leaving an 11-year-old successful TV show,” she says. But this sacrifice came with much happiness—“I had one year with my new family, my new husband and my daughter, away from prying eyes and just being anonymous, which I haven’t had since I was 12. I was 30 at that time, and it was good for my soul.” She talks longingly about her time with her first born KC Concepcion.
While filming Madrasta, it was her husband, Senator Kiko Pangilinan’s turn to experience what it was like to be a stepfather. “I got married during that movie, during shooting,” she says.
And now, on her 40th year, Three Words to Forever, reverberate with her new newfound bliss at her direction. “I’m now mature, and no longer 30 and newly married,” she says knowingly. “And here we talk about the three words that can fix anything wrong in a marriage, or whatever is wrong. There’s I am sorry, I love you. And then there’s Please forgive me,” she says.
“It seems like my career has followed by life, or vice versa.”
While her life might have followed a similar trajectory with her career, it is her family that gives her inspiration.
“I am blessed to have a very supportive husband,” she says happily, and of course, her children—KC, Frankie, Miel, and Miguel. She talks about each one lovingly, admiring how KC has become not only an actress of her own right but also an astute businesswoman, Frankie and Miel, for their love for writing and literature, and Miguel for his intelligence and sensitivity. All of which, she adds, have so much potential to take on her legacy as singer or actress, or even more.
She beams, no, she glows when she talks about them. And everyone left in the room where she holds court could see her truth and that more than her career, all her achievements, her proudest moments are not of herself but of the lives that she has touched—her family, her children most especially.
Her truth, her happiness, it shines through.
Photography by Seven Barretto
Art direction by Butchie Pena
Creative Direction by Chookie Cruz
Styling by Shark Tanael of Qurator Studio
Makeup by Peachy Mariano
Hair by Jeff Aromin
Special thanks to Francis Simeon and Star Cinema