It's nice to see that 2013 has come in with a lot of exciting and challenging experiences for actress and former MTV Asia VJ Giselle Tongi.
She was last seen in ABS-CBN’s successful fantaserye Aryana, where she starred as the antagonist Stella.
After her eventful TV comeback, she deliberately took a break and shifted her focus to theater and radio.
BEING MARLENE DIETRICH. Giselle— simply known as G— currently stars in the local adaptation of Piaf, a musical written by British playwright Pam Gems.
It tackles the life of French chanteuse Edith Piaf, popularly known for her song “La Vie en Rose.”
Atlantis Productions is in charge of the play's local production with acclaimed director Bobby Garcia at the helm, and G playing one of the important roles— that of Hollywood icon Marlene Dietrich, a close friend of Piaf’s.
“I did research [for the role],” G tells PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview earlier this year.
“I have a book called Venus in Hollywood. It was written at the height of her success.
“There’s a lot of things I’m finding out about her that… you know, she was one of the first few women to wear men’s clothing.”
Indeed, Dietrich is a well-loved character in the fashion world. She is basically credited for making men’s white shirts a cool fashion statement for women.
She was also one of the early progenitors of the androgynous look, which she effortlessly achieved by wearing trousers and military-inspired coats along with pointy heels and a curled-up blonde hairdo.
Apart from copping her fashion sense, G is also learning to walk and talk like Dietrich.
“She’s German, so she has a German accent, so I’m playing around with that.
“But she also gets to speak French, so it’s exciting, it’s challenging for me as an actor.”
To get into character, G dyed her hair a pale corn hue to match Dietrich’s hairstyle back in the day.
But while she has learned a lot about Marlene Dietrich through her research, G refuses to think about how she compares with the openly bisexual actress, who began her career in the late 1910’s.
“I don’t want to compare ourselves, what we have in common, because then I might just start playing myself.
“So, I really want to discover what’s unique about her and try to imbibe that in my character.”
Piaf runs from March 8 to 23 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC Plaza, Makati. Playing the title role is singer-actress Pinky Amador.
ONE OF THE BOYS. Meanwhile, G has also started dabbling in radio hosting.
“I’m deejaying every Thursday night on Boys Night Out,” she says about her new stint on Magic 89.9.
Although G is no stranger to hosting— she used to host GMA-7’s Sunday afternoon show S.O.P. and ABC-5’s (now TV5) EZ Dancing— she says working on radio is quite a different experience.
“Oh, radio is so much fun! Talagang... you know, people call and ask for advice,” she says, describing her job as a sort of “love guru” to their listeners.
“And I get to work with really fun people… the boys are crazy!” G says of co-hosts Sam YG, Tony Toni, and Slick Rick.
NO TV FOR NOW. With things going great for G in theater and radio, will she ever find time to get back into television and film?
“Well, I just finished shooting a film last year, so… it’s a pro-RH [Reproductive Health] film and that’s going to come out some time February to March.
“But I’m just really focused on the musical now. It’s my first musical in the Philippines, so I’m looking forward to that.”
G also played a role in Saved By The Bell: The Musical in Hollywood several years ago.
As for TV projects, she disclosed, “I don’t have TV as of yet because I blocked up my schedule to do theater. But I’m very happy to take a break from the schedule.”