"Kapag alam mo yung goal mo, which is to get that medal or in life... project or anything, makukuha mo pala talaga siya, ginugulo ka lang ng isip mo."
On the night of June 3, 2006, at 16, Kim Chiu was hailed Big Winner of the first Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition.
She was not looking beyond the moment.
That was it, the fulfillment of her wish to send herself and her siblings to school with her hard-won prize money.
But fate had bigger plans for her.
Twelve years later, at 28, Kim has become known by her Chinita Princess moniker after starring in a string of hit teleseryes and box-office films, and recording top-selling albums.
"Sinong mag-iisip na sa pang-6,000 plus number ko, e, makukuha pa ako!" she says now, recalling her audition for Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition.
Kim puts PBB as one of the risks she took that paid off.
"Bawal din ako pumunta doon!" she says, remembering her grandmother warning her against joining contests and opening herself to the public.
"Hindi ko siya sinunod!"
RULE BREAKER. But Kim has been breaking other rules as well and defying her asthmatic condition.
She has to take it easy.
But her scheduled shoot for PEP.ph’s (Philippine Entertainment Portal) Headliner is sandwiched between a hosting stint on It's Showtime at noon and mall shows in Bulacan and Pampanga to promote her movie Da One That Ghost Away later in the day.
Being asthmatic, Kim is also not allowed to do hard-core workout routines.
Yet, she did the 2017 teleserye Ikaw Lang Ang Iibigin, which required her to train assiduously for her character as a triathlete.
According to her, the series brought out her interest in sports, mainly in duathlon, which involves long-distance running and cycling.
Kim narrates, "I run naman na before, pero run-run lang sa treadmill.
"And then, noong nabigyan kami ng teleserye, which is yung Ikaw Lang Ang Iibigin, na-enjoy ko na siya noong ginagawa ko na siya during taping."
However, she did it against the advice of her doctor.
"Hindi naman sa inaayawan ko yung doktor, ang sabi ng doktor, 'Huwag, huwag mong gagawin, hindi ka makakahinga.'"
And it did happen, during her first duathlon, she had an asthma attack.
"Yung first race ko, first duathlon ko na April 2017, hinika ako in the middle of the race, so naglakad na lang ako.
"Imbes na tumakbo ako, nilakad ko na lang kasi wala din akong dalang inhaler, ganyan.
"Hinika ako pero hindi nag-stop doon, gusto ko pa rin.
"Noong tumawid na ako ng finish line, nati-teary-eyed ako, ‘Oh my God, nagawa ko first time!’”
What about her asthma attacks?
"Nawala siya, sometimes na lang siya, 'tapos hindi na din ako nagme-maintenance.
"Hindi na din ako nagne-nebulizer, one puff, two puffs lang.
"Minsan nga walang puff a week, e, next week pa.
"So parang nagbawas, nag-open.
"Siguro, lumaki yung lungs ko or nag-open up yung lungs ko."
GET SWEATY, GET HAPPY. Her hardheadedness notwithstanding, Kim says doing workouts and participating in races have a lot of benefits.
Beyond vanity, "Nawala yung puson ko, kasi pusunin talaga ako," Kim emphasizes her happy disposition after a workout.
"Nakaka-happy pala siya pag nagre-release ka ng super daming pawis. Kasi toxins sa katawan, nakaka-store ng fats at saka nakaka-stay ng mga nakaka-stress na mga bagay-bagay. So parang pag nagsu-sweat ka, nagre-release ng endorphins, happy cells, so nakaka-happy din."
But what she likes most about joining the races is bonding with other participants.
"Kapag sumali ka sa race na ganun, lahat kayo, pantay-pantay.
"Parang walang special treatment na, 'Artista siya, paunahin natin.’
"Yung artista siya, 'Uy, ang init, payungan natin.'
"Yun hindi, lahat kami, parehas kami ng sufferings.
"And at the end of the race, sa finish line, pare-parehas kami makakakuha ng finisher medal.
"It’s that feeling na yung camaraderie doon sa race is really equal and happy yung vibe…mapi-feel mo na pare-parehas tayo dito."
LIFE AS A RACE. Most important to Kim is how an active lifestyle has changed her perspective in life.
She explains, "Kapag nagsimula kang mag-race, meron kang gusto.
"Yung goal mo is to finish the race.
"In the middle of the race, ayaw mo na, gusto mo nang mag-give up, nasasaktan ka na.
"Parang life, parang may gusto kang kunin pero hirap, e, hindi ko talaga kaya pero nasa isip mo lang pala yun.
"Kapag alam mo yung goal mo, which is to get that medal or in life... project or anything, makukuha mo pala talaga siya, ginugulo ka lang ng isip mo.
"So, at the same time, yung race na mga sinasalihan ko, exercise din siya sa mind ko and willpower ko.
"Ang dami niyang nagagawang maganda sa akin kaya gusto kong sumali sa mga ganun."
In fact, Kim works out her body when she feels down.
"Kapag may active lifestyle ka, nag-iiba yung outlook mo in life, e.
"Yung mga ka-negahan mo sa sarili mo, naiiba mo kasi nagre-release ka ng endorphins, e.
"So mas nagiging happy ka, hindi ka nalulungkot kung ano man.
"Minsan down ako, pero magta-tatlong workout lang ako on that day, o dalawa, sobrang happy na, 'Sige na, okay na yun.'
"Hindi ko din naisip na ganun pala yung effect sa isang tao na pag naga-ganun, so maganda talaga.”
Sweating out has a better meaning for Kim since she started having an active lifestyle.
"Ako, ina-advice ko lahat na may pinagdadaanan or something, ipawis nila.
"Parang ang sabi nila, 'Ipawis mo na lang 'yan.'
"Totoo pala na may mangyayaring maganda sa 'yo."
HORROR PRINCESS. Aside from being an actress, Kim is also a singer and a TV host.
It turns out she’s a natural at multitasking, “Thankful ako siguro ako sa self ko noong kabataan days ko.
"Kasi gusto ko ng extra-curricular activities, e," she says, laughing.
"Hindi ako masyadong nag-e-excel sa written, e, doon ako sa extra-curricular.
"Nasa nature na sa akin na gumawa ng kung anu-ano, kung ano ibato sa akin, sige gagawin ko.
"Kung anong gusto mo, sige gagawin ko, ito yung best ko."
Truly, with all her comedic and dramatic talents as leading lady of Gerald Anderson and Xian Lim, add to it her sudden interest in sports, Kim is now being tagged as Horror Princess.
Who would have thought?
It started in late 2017 when she starred in the horror movie The Ghost Bride.
The movie grossed a whopping bonanza—PHP51 million in five days, according to its producer. Star Cinema.
Currently, less than a year later, the actress is headlining Da One That Ghost Away, a horror-comedy.
Kim says transitioning to horror films is one of the biggest moves she made in her 12-year career.
Especially when she alone among her contemporaries dared venture in the genre.
"Yung bago kong pinasok na mundo ngayon, mundo ng horror, siguro wala pang sumasama sa aking mga ka-edad ko.
"Siguro in the next few months, may sasama na sa akin sa genre na ito pero sa ngayon, ako pa lang yung nandito sa age group ko," she says, chuckling at the thought.
THE FANS! Turning serious, Kim acknowledges the huge contribution of her fans to her success.
"Kung ako lang yung gumagawa lahat noon, hindi naman yun magiging, in a way, successful kung hindi dahil sa mga fans talaga.
"Sa mga super solid na supporters through the years, sinusuportahan nila yung mga kalokohan ko.
"Yung pagkanta ko, yung mga pagho-host ko, yung mga pagpapatawa ko, pananakot ko.
"Kung wala namang naniniwala sa akin, siyempre, hindi ko naman kayang buhatin yung sarili ko na, 'Hey guys!'
"Siyempre, yung mga supporters is also one of the keys to have a good project also."
On a personal note, how does Kim see herself in the near future?
Letting out her trademark giggle, Kim is back in kikay form.
"Siyempre, in the near future…gusto ko in the next ilang years, mga 30-plus ako, meron na akong mga eight na anak!
"Lima sa isang irihan, sa likod yung iba, yung iba sa legs!"
Don’t get her wrong, Kim does want a family of her own.
She muses, "Siyempre, gusto ko din magkaroon ng family; gusto ko, siyempre, iba-iba naman yung chapter in life."
"Hindi naman tayo forever nasa showbiz and lalo na ngayon, sobrang fast-paced. Unlike before, noong nagsisimula ako, medyo mabagal yung pacing, e, ikaw at ikaw lang. Ngayon, medyo mabilis na, because of social media. Dati, wala namang Instagram, may YouTube pero not so, iba na ngayon."
"Natutuwa ako na nadaanan ko yung all kinds of stage…
"Dati PinoyExchange lang ang tinitingnan natin, di ba?" Kim says, referring to the online forum frequented by netizens years back.
She continues, "Ngayon, ang bilis na, silipin mo lang yung Instagram, puwede ka pang makapag-comment, di ba?"
She is jolted back from her musing when asked what all this means?
Does she have plans of slowing down, settling down, maybe?
Her answer makes everyone in the room laugh.
"Ay, wala naman! Sabi mo kasi what’s in the next… question mo kasi yun!"
But she admits, smiling, "Lahat naman, gusto talaga and siyempre pagtanda mo, ayaw mo namang mag-isa ka, di ba?
"So dapat, meron ding kasama."
SHOOT COORDINATOR: Irene Mislang
ART DIRECTOR: Jeremiah Idanan
STYLIST: Patty Yap
MAKEUP ARTIST: Jake Galvez
HAIRSTYLIST: Haidee Fernandez
PHOTOGRAPHER: Shaira Luna
VIDEOGRAPHER: Rommel Llanes
VIDEO EDITOR: Marlon Salazar