"Gusto ko lang noon, maging regular employee working from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm."
Such was her simple aspiration when she was a kid. But at the young age of 13, the bright lights of Tinseltown beckoned her.
Now, she's the famous actress Anne Curtis.
During her birthday press conference last week at the Steak Plus restaurant in Quezon City, the VIVA talent told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an exclusive interview, "konti na lang," when asked about her goal meter.
One goal that requires her immediate motivation is going back to school. The Kapamilya star added, "Aside from going back to college, of course, I wanna be with my family, and I wanna travel pa..." But before she could continue her sentence, she realized, "medyo marami pa rin pala gagawin!" Then she let out a hearty laugh.
Going back to the topic, "But I already made investments, and [even] bought a house for my mom [Carmen Ojales]. For my career naman, marami pa. I mean, I just wanna keep on exploring as an actress."
Earning the nods of film critics for her portrayal in war-time story Baler in 2008 has given her impetus to be better at her craft.
Studying a character is "mahabang proseso," she said. "Kung walang immersion, binabasa ko and then pinaplanado mo, ginagawan mo ng sariling background—kunwari, ano ba siyang klaseng babae, lumaki ba siya sa ganito, nag-aral ba siya sa ganito, sino kaya mga friends—basta may ganun."
She also wants to go beyond the usual roles played by leading ladies. Talking about her dream character, "Gusto ko lang talaga, offbeat roles kasi wala pa dumadating sa 'king script na ganun, e."
And if given the chance, she'd want to be paired with "Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, and Dingdong Dantes."
Though she spent almost half of her life on the camera, not a tinge of tiredness crosses Anne's face, which lights up each time she talks about her upcoming projects—a TV series, a movie with Sam Milby, and another movie with Richard Gutierrez and Claudine Barretto.
But whenever the topic tackles her age (she turned 25 last February 17), alarm bells seem to ring in her ears. "Ay, that's like a quarter of the century!!! I feel old. Matanda na ba iyon?" she said while chuckling and fretting at the same time.
Then suddenly remembering her resolve this year, she dropped her panic tone and stated, "Sige na nga, puro positive lang. Ayoko na ng drama. Ayoko na ng negative."
Her optimistic outlook, according to Anne, is something she got from her realizations in life.
LESSON # 1. "We cannot plan love or marriage just like that."
When she was younger, she made a pronouncement: "25, ready na ako." She was then talking about getting married.
Now that she's 25, the matter was brought up again, and she gave a safer answer this time, "Hindi ko muna iniisip, bahala na, I'll cross the bridge when I get there."
She says most girls her age should be flashing their diamond rings already, but Anne's pace is now much slower as far as love is concerned.
"Siguro dapat, 26 or 27, yun yung tingin ko na dapat maging committed. From there, dire-diretso na."
Does she already have a candidate?
"Wala," was her quick answer.
But who's this guy, whom she dates exclusively, that her ex-boyfriend Sam Milby mentioned in an article posted in PEP (CLICK HERE to read related article.)?
"Sinabi ni Sam yun?" she asked back. "Ano ba naman yun. Hindi!!! Maraming...open lang ako sa mga dumadating but I'm not ready for anything serious."
LESSON # 2. "Be true" is the best policy in showbiz.
For a lady who has been working in showbiz since her early teens, Anne is both glad and grateful that despite the demands of her work, she's able to lead quite a normal life.
After a hard's day work, she gets to unwind. Aside from her co-stars, she's got a lot of friends outside of the business. "Hindi ko hinayaan na the showbiz world will take over my life," she explained.
When it comes to dealing with public scrutiny, Anne thinks that the star should be open to criticisms.
She elaborates, "Marami din kasing lumaki in the limelight na masyado nilang inisip yung image nila, so they were deprived in a way.
"As for me, if I do something na medyo offbeat na, 'Ay ano ba yan?' sasabihin nila. Pero okay lang dahil ganun talaga, e, since I'm human being. I never made an effort na the public would feel it na I'm some goody-goody.
"Personal opinion ko lang naman 'to of having a normal life, turning bad into a good stay, and learning from it."
LESSON # 3. Give intrigues a "dedma na lang" approach.
A few of her detractors had described her before as "maarte," "OA," "playgirl," and even "mahilig mag-party"—which all brought her distress.
But these days, "If it's something about my career, I take it either constructive or yung nanglalait lang. Yung ganun na lang...May galit siguro sa 'kin to, ganun lang."
She doesn't let these criticisms diminish her dignity.
"Ako, pinagdaanan ko yung ang dami kong bad publicity. Pero ako, no regret kasi at least, na-experience ko. I learned from my lessons and dun na ngayon magugulat yung mga tao because they know that's how I am. That's why ang daming mga artista ngayon na magkamali lang ng isang beses, sobrang laking gulat. That's because masyado silang na-shelter. So long as you know the truth, learn from it if it hurts, 'tapos if hindi naman, just leave it," the Showtime co-host said.
LESSON # 4. Her general rule in life: Be patient.
As the public witnessed, Anne's climb in showbiz has taken the slowly-but-sure route.
"Myself, Bea [Alonzo], John Lloyd [Cruz]—we all started with all the kapatid-ni-ganyan, kapatid-ni-ganito roles. Kapatid ako ni Angelu [de Leon], kapatid ako ni Kim delos Santos. So it's a gradual time lang, unti-unti makikilala ka din, makikilala ka as an actress," she recounted.
And if she has an advice for the newbies: Take your time.
"Ang daming nagmamadali na kailangang ganito, ganyan...But if you really take things slowly but surely...Ang suwerte na ng mga nagsho-showbiz ngayon [dahil] ganyan lang kaagad nila nakukuha [ang stardom] with all the reality shows. But still, never lose hope. It's like, tanggapin mga maliliit na roles, one-liner, gawin mo kasi mapapansin ka naman kahit one-liner kung talagang magaling ka, makikita nila na may future ka naman."
Life and time, indeed, have given Anne a lot of maturity. "Pati showbiz na rin," she added. "In the beginning, it wasn't on my mind, but now, it's a massive part of my life."
And wherever her journey takes her, or the bright lights bring her, nothing can put Anne Curtis down.
"Whenever you get knocked down, keep on standing up," she said with more than enough positivity.