Gretchen Ho admitted experiencing “culture shock” when she first joined the entertainment business.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle volleyball star said everything was new to her back then.
“Noong una talaga na-culture shock ako kasi hindi ako marunong mag-makeup, hindi ako nag-aayos.
“As an athlete, ganun ka, e, wala kang pakialam, gusto mo lang maglaro.
“I never watched TV kasi I was trained not to watch TV during weekdays, weekends lang.
“So hindi na-instill sa akin ‘yong habit ng [panonood ng] TV kaya wala akong alam about pop culture.
“Wala akong masyadong alam talaga,” Gretchen told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other press people in a recent interview.
HOSTING JOBS. Gretchen co-hosts the interactive sports show The Score with TJ Manotoc, Boom Labrusca, and Tina Marasigan on ABS-CBN Sports and Action Channel (formerly Studio 23).
She is also the newest sports analyst of the UAAP games with sports anchor Boom Gonzales on the same TV channel.
Through her hosting jobs, Gretchen said she gained some insight into the showbiz world.
“Unti-unti akong nae-expose sa mga ganung bagay.
“I can say na I’ve been learning a lot.
“Sobrang ang laki ng pinagbago ng perspective ko sa buhay.
“Parang naging malawak ang pag-iisip ko.
“Dati, ‘yong mundo ko lang volleyball, aral, simbahan, doon lang ako umiikot and sa friends ko.
“Ngayon, mas lumawak, parang. 'Wow, ang ganda pala ng buhay.'”
DEBT TO VOLLEYBALL. Gretchen related being surprised that of all things it was volleyball that paved the way for her entry into television.
“Actually, volleyball has opened a lot of doors for me that I never expected because it was not that popular before.
“I’m into it because I love playing it," she said.
She added that it was her good fortune to be part of the lucky generation of players when volleyball boomed in the country.
“How my life has changed?
"Siguro, 180 degrees.
"Lahat ng ginagawa ko ngayon, I attribute to volleyball.
“Like this sports show was offered to me because of my background in volleyball.”
PROMOTING SPORTS. The lady spiker said her exposure in media will help promote sports in the country.
As host of sports shows, Gretchen said she can encourage people to try different sports and to support athletes.
“Kasi I have a chance to actually speak for different sports that are not usually seen on TV,” she explained.
“The athletes in sports that are not so mainstream need exposure or support from sponsors and the media para mas maengganyong silang maglaro.
“Kasi, siyempre, gusto naman nating lahat na may support tayo, di ba?
“In that way, nakakatulong din ako sa mga active sa sports na ‘yon.”
UNDER WRAPS. It put Gretchen in a quandary that she would be linked to a celebrity, the popular Pinoy Big Brother teen housemate Robi Domingo, when she was still playing for the Ateneo women’s volleyball team.
She told us, “Parang first time ako nagkaroon ng love life, ‘tapos biglang high-profile kaagad.
"I wasn’t ready for it.
“I was still in school, I was still playing volleyball, and our coach was very strict."
She confided how she tried to be discreet about her relationship with Robi because her coach didn’t like his players to be appearing on TV or doing anything else outside volleyball.
"He wanted us to focus on playing.
“So I told Robi, ‘Don’t mention me anymore on TV.’
“But it couldn't be helped because people were talking about it.
"So I had to adjust to it.
"I tried not be affected by it, not to mind what the people were saying.
“So, yeah, it definitely added to my culture shock.”
ON ROBI. Gretchen said Robi's intentions have been clear to her from the start:
"We didn’t get together naman because of some popularity game or hype or whatever.
“He was very sincere and I was very sincere.
“I think knowing each other, knowing our priorities, knowing our intentions, that really help.”
Gretchen further averred that most assuredly she has the support of Robi, who is now making waves as a TV host.
Truth to tell, she gets her best advice from Robi about hosting.
“Kasi I’ve never accepted myself to be in this track.
“Sometimes I have my doubts… am I’m supposed to be here or maybe I should just go into corporate.
“Kasi, di ba, [a hosting job is] very unstable, hindi naman ito constant.
“But Robi is alway there to tell me, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’
“He watches my shows and he tells me, ‘Kaya mo ‘yan. You’re improving already.’
“Very supportive siya.”