Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Life as a 'showbiz' mother

POP ARAZZI - POP ARAZZI By Nathalie M. Tomada -
Mothers of showbiz personalities come in sundry temperaments and personalities. They can be a hovering presence or a quiet force that prefers the background.

While it's true that a mother's presence can be a good reason (or excuse, for that matter) for an artist who doesn't want to be interviewed, in my experience, her presence can also help put an artist's defenses down and loosen tight lips.

In the following interviews I've had with two "showbiz" mothers, one thing that struck me most is that the children's showbiz careers are, in one way or another, an extension of the mothers' childhood dreams as well.

Like QTV's "Bongga Ka Star" and GMA 7's "Bahay Mo Ba 'To" star Francine Prieto (born Anna Marie Falcon) and her mother (Mommy Amy). Mommy Amy was really the one who dreamt of klieg lights and all and actually had one foot at showbiz's door when she became a professional dancer in a TV variety show back in the late 70s. However, she said that she found her dreams realized when showbiz beckoned to her 5'11, beauty-queen material daughter.

The mother and daughter are almost mirror images of each other, except that Mommy Amy is morena, while Francine, whose father is Norwegian, is fair. How alike are they in terms of character? They are both "kikay" and can raise quite a temper. Try striking up a chat with Mommy Amy, however, and you'll find out that she's more gregarious than her daughter.

Francine swears that her mother is strict but is not a stage mother. And you're lucky to have convinced her to talk to the press, Francine shares.

The 24-year-old still single sexy star, who's now making a mark as a comedienne, doesn't deny that her mother, like any well-meaning parent, screens her suitors. A TV reporter for GMA 7 is one of the openly ardent admirers and nearly a permanent fixture at their home. It's hard to tell the chances of Oscar Oida going by the mother-and-daughter's reactions, but the reassuring thing going for Mommy Amy is that Francine is having friends outside showbiz.

Both admit that they have a lot of "kulitan" moments between them, and that they are almost inseparable especially as Francine is a certified homebody. Mommy Amy says that her daughter has not courted controversy, save for photos that leaked out in the Internet that supposedly caught her daughter in various states of undress. She maintains that it was not intentional. "Those were backstage photos during a shoot I did for a telecommunications company in South Korea," stresses Francine.

"Ito ang pinakamabait na anak ko," Amy proudly refers to Francine, who has taken it upon herself to be the family's breadwinner. Despite offers, Mommy Amy said that they have been standing their ground on not giving in to pressure to be part of webs of intrigues deliberately weaved to stoke interest for many newcomers and even old hands in showbiz.
"I want to be with her in any way I can"
Another "showbiz" mother I've come across recently is Mommy Jane, mother and number one fan of Pinoy Dream Academy Headmasters' List Honoree Panky Trinidad. Mommy Jane admits that one of the deciding factors to quit her job with a telecom company was to be with Panky.

"Panky is still new in this [industry], I feel that she needs, not really guidance, but someone to be around. Siyempre, Panky, who is a true-blue Cebuana, has been uprooted. I want to be always there for her in any way I can, labi na kung mingawon siya. I'm very happy for her because this is her dream."

"But it's not the only reason, of course, na-timing lang sad. Everything just fell into place," adds Mommy Jane, who's still based in Cebu, but travels at least once a month to Manila to visit her daughter.

Is she shaping up to be a stage mother? "Definitely not!" she reacts. "I don't want to be a stage mother at all, pirmi gyud nako i-correct 'cause there are some people coming up to me calling me one. Dili jud ko stage mother."

Mommy Jane relates that ever since Panky was a child, she knew she could sing. But it was two years ago during a family outing in a Makati restobar, wherein Panky was called up the stage to sing-and brought the audience to their feet to jam with her-that Mommy Jane realized that Panky was destined for bigger audiences, bigger things.

Ever the supportive mother, she remembers telling her daughter then, with no inkling her words would be prophetic, "Panks, two years from now, your life will change."

According to her, watching Panky over the defunct ABS-CBN reality talent search PDA was also not easy. "Everytime Panky cried, I also cried. Panky went through a lot, buwag baya mi sa iyang papa. Kana pa lang daan lisod-lisod na. Growing up, dako-on na si Panky so i-bully gyud na siya. Daghan na siya ug trials growing up which para nako di pa unta angay."

In one episode that showed Panky tearfully pouring out her troubles to her mom on the phone, Mommy Jane asked her daughter to forgive herself. "I think daghan na siya ug kasakit sa iyang kaugalingon. Maybe she even blames herself so ako to giingon sa iyaha na whatever happened to her parents, or sa iyang surroundings, dili na niya kontrolado. She has her own life to live, and her obligation is to live a good life."

Describing their relationship, she enthuses: "Opposite kaayo mi ni Panky at first glance, pero vibes kaayo mi. Friends kaayo mi."

And when asked about her thoughts on a Panky-Chad loveteam, "Kung mahimo pa lang ako'y motulod ako na lang. Ha ha ha! Chad is very nice, whatever friendship they have, nindot kaayo. Pero if there'll be a chance na mag-ka-close sila, it would be okay since I know these kids. I've met their mothers, too."

Actually, Mommy Jane had in the past taken an interest in performing, and in her student years was in fact involved in theater productions. So, apart from the mestiza-"artistahin"-looks, wonder no more where Panky inherited her "artistic" genes.

As for her perpetual words of advice to her daughter: "Constant advice nako niya is to be grounded all the time and be nice to everyone. "'











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