Kris Bernal: "Maliit ako, hindi ako mestiza" but she's meant to be a star

by James Patrick Anarcon
Dec 23, 2020
Kris Bernal says her win as StarStruck Ultimate Survivo surprised her: "Laging feeling ko, ako iyong matatanggal kasi lahat ng kasama ko palaban at saka meron silang maibibigay. Ako, minsan, hindi ko na alam paano!"
PHOTO/S: SHE Cosmetics

Kris Bernal is a Filipino TV actress, YouTube vlogger, and businesswoman.

After 14 years of being managed by GMA Artist Center, she has moved on and is now one of the artists in the stable of Cornerstone Entertainment.

The talent management arm of GMA-7 signed her up in 2007 after emerging as one of the winners of StarStruck, the network's reality show.

Kris bagged the Ultimate Love Team title, together with Mart Escudero, during the show's fourth season.


Kris, Kristine Ann Tan Bernal in real life, was born on May 17, 1989 in Quezon City.

The second child of Edgardo Bernal and Analyn Tan, Kris has older twin sisters, Kathleen and Katherine, and a younger brother, Miguel.

Kris finished primary school at Diliman Preparatory School and high school in the Holy Family School.

She started taking up BS Nursing at the Trinity University of Asia, but Kris only finished her first year in college because showbiz beckoned.

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Kris had been wanting to join showbiz and had gone through workshops with ABS-CBN before auditioning for the network's Star Circle Quest in 2004.

Star Circle Quest was ABS-CBN's televised reality search for aspiring artists who wanted to enter the network's talent stable, Star Magic.

Unfortunately for Kris, she did not pass the auditions.

Kris Bernal doing Star Magic workshops in 2004.

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Two years later, in 2006, she once again tried her luck, via the teen edition of Pinoy Big Brother, which would jumpstart the careers of Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson.

Stardom seemed to elude Kris as she narrated in a March 2020 interview with (Philippine Entertainment Portal), "Hindi ako umabot sa pila, as in may resume ako, pumila ako, pero parang nag-cut-off sila, so hindi ako umabot."

Perhaps, the timing just wasn't right or it just wasn't the place for her.

In the latter part of 2006, GMA-7 held auditions for the fourth season of StarStruck, dubbed as "The Next Level."

Kris went in for the audition and this time, luck seemed to be on her side.

She made it to the final auditions, and, eventually, to the Final 14, the level in which aspiring actors had more chances of winning the contest.

But, first, they had to undergo extreme tests, which put Kris on tenterhooks. She never expected to win.

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She told, "Ang insecurities ko talaga, maliit ako, hindi ako mestiza 'tapos mukha akong bata.

"At saka hindi ako sumasayaw, hindi ako kumakanta. Acting lang kaya kong gawin... lahat sila, parang package, e. At saka lagi ako nasa bottom.

"Laging feeling ko, ako iyong matatanggal kasi lahat ng kasama ko palaban at saka meron silang maibibigay. Ako, minsan, hindi ko na alam paano!"

On the night of March 25, 2007, during StarStruck’s final judgment, Kris was declared one of the four winners.

She and Mart were declared the Ultimate Loveteam. The other winners were Aljur Abrenica, hailed as the Ultimate Hunk, and Jewel Mische, the Ultimate Sweetheart.

Kris Bernal on StarStruck: The Next Level

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Although Kris won the Ultimate Love team title with Mart, her career flourished with another love-team partner, Aljur Abrenica.

They appeared together in supporting roles in several projects, among which were: Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan (2007), Dyesebel (2008), Luna Mystika (2008), and the movie Loving You (2007).

Kris and Aljur became known as AlKris.

In 2009, two years after they won StarStruck, they were given their big break in the afternoon series Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin?

Kris Bernal in Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin

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Falling under the umbrella of Sine Novela presents, Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? was a remake of the 1984 movie starring Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion, who played a couple whose marriage was doomed by the husband's affair with an older woman.

During the run of the remake from March to June 2009, Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? was a consistent top-rater in the afternoon block of GMA-7.

It's final episode even finished as the No. 1 program during its showing, with a rating of 30.5%, a number usually seen only on prime-time programs.

Up to now, Kris has remained proud of the show.

She told in March 2020, "Grabe iyong show na iyon! Grabe kasi talagang pinag-uusapan talaga siya.

"At saka hanggang ngayon, tumatatak sa tao. Talagang noong time na iyon, parang kami iyong pinakamataas, parang titleholder iyong Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? na pinakamataas sa hapon.

"Hindi ko lang [matandaan] kung hanggang kailan tumagal iyong ganun, pero tumagal din na pinakamataas iyong Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin?"

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After Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin?, Kris and Aljur top-billed GMA-7's early prime-time series, All My Life, which also registered good ratings.

While doing All My Life, Regal Films and GMA Films decided to launch Kris and Aljur as movie stars via the film Nandito Ako... Nagmamahal Sa 'Yo.

However, the movie was a commercial failure.

While their first solo movie did not take off at the tills, Kris said it was the right time for her and Aljur to be in the movies.

She dismissed it as a case of right timing but wrong material

The movie required Kris to wear a bikini and dally with Baron Geisler, who was a bit older than her and Aljur.

Kris explained in the interview, "Parang it's the right timing naman to do a film kasi malakas iyong love team, pero feel ko, the material just did not work for us.

"Kasi ang movie, ang concept niya nagbi-bikini bikini ako, parang not yet right for my image or age, and hindi pa sanay mga tao na mag-bikini ako, parang bata ako.

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"If it would have been a different genre, baka puwedeng nag-click iyong first movie namin."

After their movie, Kris and Aljur top-billed their first solo prime-time series, The Last Prince, which also had good ratings throughout its run.

Kris Bernal and Aljur Abrenica in The Last Prince


After The Last Prince finished its run in mid-2010, GMA-7 decided to give Kris and Aljur separate projects.

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Kris admitted she fretted over doing a project without Aljur, her perennial on-screen partner for three years.

She said, "Noong una talaga, natakot ako noong naghiwalay kami ni Aljur kasi mas alam kong mas nagta-thrive iyong career ni Aljur noon, e.

"'Tapos parang feel ko, kumakapit lang ako sa fame niya.

"Sabi ko talaga noong nagsolo ako, nagsolo siya, paano na kaya iyong career ko?

"Kasi alam kong siya iyong magbu-bloom kaysa ako, kaysa sa akin."

It turned out Kris worried over nothing because GMA-7 gave her the title role in the afternoon series Koreana.

She had a strong support system of veteran actors in the show: Lotlot de Leon, Eula Valdes, Angelu de Leon, and Eddie Garcia, no less.

Eventually, the show earned its own following, and registered high ratings in its timeslot, which was also the same timeslot as her previous successful show, Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin?

At one point, Kris's Koreana registered a whopping 8.6% against its ABS-CBN rival, Juanita Banana, which only registered 2.8%.

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The success of Koreana earned for Kris the tag GMA Drama Princess of her generation.

After Koreana, Kris immediately moved up to prime-time slot when she joined the latter part of Machete, which was top-billed by Aljur Abrenica.

As Machete wrapped up after her short stint in the show, the Kapuso actress started another teleserye titled Time of My Life.

After Time of My Life, Kris did the afternoon show Hiram na Puso (2012).

She then reunited with Aljur in the remake of Coffee Prince (2012) and in the pre-prime-time series Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko (2013).

Kris also worked with Dennis Trillo and Koreana leading man Rocco Nacino in the prime-time series Hiram na Alaala (2014).

According to Kris, her most favorite project would be the light-hearted prime-time series Little Nanay that aired in 2015.

Kris Bernal in Little Nanay

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In Little Nanay, Kris played Tinay, a girl with an intellectual disability who got pregnant by her neighbor, played by Hiro Peralta.

Years later, 25-year-old Tinay had to raise her nine-year-old daughter, same age as her mental age.

Kris said about the project last March 2020, "Pinaka-favorite ko Little Nanay kasi first prime-time ko siya na title role ako, 'tapos nakatrabaho ko si Miss Nora Aunor, Sir Bembol Roco, and, at the same time, tumatak din talaga sa tao iyong Little Nanay.

"Nagustuhan nila iyong role ko tapos ginagaya gaya nila.

"Hanggang ngayon, naririnig ko pa rin iyong Little Nanay. Nahirapan talaga ako pero iyon iyong masaya. Na-challenge talaga ako, hindi lang basta drama show."


After Little Nanay wrapped up in the first quarter of 2016, Kris found herself in limbo, as it took a while before she was able to star in her own teleserye.

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Because Kris was not doing any regular project with GMA-7, reports came out that the actress had plans of leaving her mother network.

In an exclusive interview with in November 2016, Kris admitted she was exploring other options.

But on January 1, 2017, GMA-7 released an omnibus plug for its 2017 programs, and it was announced that Kris would top-bill a remake of Impostora, ending speculations about her network transfer.

Kris's Impostora received high ratings throughout its run, and its original 13-week run was extended twice.

Kris Bernal in Impostora

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After Impostora, Kris did two more afternoon shows: Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko, and Hanggang Sa Dulo ng Buhay Ko.


In September 2020, Kris did a guest appearance in TV5’s talk show, Chika BESH.

Kris Bernal in Chika BESH

Kris did a vlog showing the behind the scenes of her taping in the new normal, and it was also in that vlog where she revealed that she is no longer with GMA Artist Center.

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According to Kris, her contract was not renewed as it expired during the pandemic.

After 13 years with GMA-7, Kris has become a freelancer and had been looking for a new manager.

In separate interviews, Kris admitted that she got depressed when GMAAC decided not to renew her contract.

She said in her November PEP Exclusives, "Honestly, may weeks talaga na na-depress ako.

"Hindi ako lumalabas ng bahay. Hindi ako nag-aayos. Hindi ako nagpapakita to anyone kasi nga, parang I couldn't figure it out at first."

But eventually, Kris moved forward and accepted a new project: TV5’s weekly series Ate ng Ate Ko.

She was also able to do a guest appearance in TV5’s noontime show, Sunday Noontime Live.

Months later, in November 2020, Kris signed a management contract with Cornerstone Entertainment, headed by Erickson Raymundo.

Cornerstone manages the careers of Sam Milby, Erik Santos, Angeline Quinto, Kyla, who are mostly connected with ABS-CBN.

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Kris said in her PEP Exclusives interview, “Naramdaman ko rin na star ang treatment sa akin ng Cornerstone.

“Kahit hindi naman ako star at wala akong karapatang maging star, iyon ang pinaparamdam nila sa akin.

“So lahat ng inquiries, lahat ng projects, before they get them or before they approve it, they make sure na it will bring a greater value for me as an actress. Hindi lang basta-basta.

"So ang sarap-sarap lang din kasi, at least, we have one vision one goal of putting a greater value to my image, to my career, to my image, to my placing in the industry.”

Right now, Kris is looking forward to her next career move under a new management.


Kris is now engaged to her boyfriend, Perry Choi.

Kris and Perry met while Kris was putting up her business venture, MeatKRIS. Perry was her meat supplier.

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The two got along and eventually got together. They got engaged on February 7, 2020.

Kris Bernal with fiance Perry Choi.

Before meeting Perry, Kris also had a share of showbiz relationships.

She got involved with former love-team partner Mart Escudero, singer Jay Perillo, and model-actor Carl Guevara.


Apart from being an actress, Kris is also a businesswoman.

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She calls herself the “SHE-E-O,” a play to the word CEO, of her own make-up brand, S.H.E. Cosmetics.

The brand began with four shades of lipsticks.

The brand’s success paved the way for Kris to launch her second product, which was a 4-in-1 dual cover crystal skin cushion, a first in the Philippines.

Kris Bernal SHE Cosmetics

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Kris also has a Korean BBQ grill restaurant named House of Gogi, located in Banaue, Quezon City.

Kris is also a proud owner of a modern-minimalist family house in California, U.S.A. that has a lot size of 3,750 square feet and a floor area of 2,022 square feet. It also has five bedrooms and a loft.



  • Boys Nxt Door (GMA, 2007) as Coffee
  • Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan (GMA, 2007-2008) as Amy Maltayra
  • Dyesebel (GMA, 2008) as Sheila Mae Legaspi-Montemayor
  • Luna Mystika (GMA, 2008-2009) as Malou
  • Sine Novela: Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin? (GMA, 2009) as Myrna Ramos-Sanchez
  • All My Life (GMA, 2009) as Romina Estrella
  • The Last Prince (GMA, 2010) as Reyna Lara Fernandez
  • Koreana (GMA, 2010-2011) as Jennifer "Jenny / Jenna" Bartolome-Jung
  • Machete (GMA, 2011) as Jessa Ledesma-Romero
  • Time of My Life (GMA, 2011) as Lisette / Shane
  • Hiram na Puso (GMA, 2012) as Lira Banaag
  • Coffee Prince (GMA, 2012) as Andrea "Andy" Gomez
  • Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko (GMA, 2013-2014) as Princess "Cess" Inocencio-Grande / Elizabeth Salazar
  • Hiram na Alaala (GMA, 2014-2015) as Andrea "Andeng" Dizon
  • Little Nanay (GMA, 2015-2016) as Celestina "Tinay" Vallejo Batongbuhay-San Pedro
  • Impostora (GMA, 2017-2018) as Nimfa del Prado-Saavedra / Rosette Cuevas
  • Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko (GMA, 2018-2019) as Rachel Santiago
  • Hanggang sa Dulo ng Buhay Ko (GMA, 2019) as Naomi Espiritu
  • Ate ng Ate Ko (TV5, 2020) as Marikit "Riki" Gonzales
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  • Loving You (2007, Regal Films) as Tonee Tienza
  • Mag-Ingat Ka Sa… Kulam (2008, Regal Films) as Maggie
  • Nandito Ako… Nagmamahal Sa ‘Yo (2009, Regal Films) as Stephanie Luzano
  • Ang Panday 2 (2011, GMA Films) as Alira Naswen
  • Guni-Guni (2012, Regal Films) as Shirley
  • Kontradiksyon (2019) as Jessica Puyat


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Kris Bernal says her win as StarStruck Ultimate Survivo surprised her: "Laging feeling ko, ako iyong matatanggal kasi lahat ng kasama ko palaban at saka meron silang maibibigay. Ako, minsan, hindi ko na alam paano!"
PHOTO/S: SHE Cosmetics
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