A no-frills outlook on fame
- Maridol Rañoa-Bismark () - October 13, 2002 - 12:00am
If you think she’s been away from the limelight for keeps, think again. Sharmaine Arnaiz’s sporadic guestings in TV series may have failed to establish her continued presence in showbiz, but her role as a lawyer in GMA-7’s teledrama Kung Mawawala Ka (8 p.m., Monday to Friday) surely will. It’s one role Sharmaine has been wanting to do ever since she got hooked on Ally McBeal.

After all, it’s not everyday you play a gray character whose brains can mean the use or fall of an entire family. And Sharmaine is actually reveling in the challenge of playing one role for the first time.

"I considered this role a blessing. I don’t have to go sexy, and I still have time for my studies," she says.

The future veterinarian has several mentors to thank as far as her thespic talent is concerned.

"It was Tita Midz (Armida Siguion-Reyna, producer of Saan Ka Man Naroroon, for which Sharmaine won Best Supporting Actress), who asked Robbie Tan (owner of Seiko Films) if he could permit me to do a movie outside of Seiko. Kuya Germs (German Moreno) and Oscar Miranda (entertainment columnist of Malaya) did the same thing.

After the Seiko Films producer gave his consent, Armida relates, Sharmaine proceeded to work on the young actress’ acting.

"Tita Midz gave me a workshop right on the beach before a scene," recalls Sharmaine. "Direk Marilou (Diaz-Abaya, who handled Sharmaine in Ipaglaban Mo and Milagros), told me what works, what won’t. She even taught me the degrees and intensity of acting," beams Sharmaine.

Given such formidable industry names as mentors, can you blame Sharmaine for turning down offers that are long on sex and short on a good storyline?

"I have my limitations," she admits.

So, when the offers were confined only to sex films, Sharmaine thought it was time to take a break and head for the US. It was also a good time as any to visit her grandmother, who was then recovering from surgery.

Sharmaine returned last November to resume her veterinary medicine studies, which mounting showbiz assignments forced her to shelve.

As a fourth year student (hers is a six-year course) at the La Salle-Araneta University, Sharmaine’s load of 15 units is all she can take in-between tapings and school work. Weekdays are hectic, with tapings on Tuesdays and Thursdays and classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Sharmaine reports to her classes on the dot at 7 a.m., no matter how late taping has packed up the night (or early morning) before.

Her professor is a stickler for punctuality. One time, when Sharmaine arrived at the classroom five minutes late after climbing seven flights of stairs and pausing on the fourth floor, her professor said sorry, she just missed the test.

The policy is five times late, you’re out. So Sharmaine, who has been absent thrice already, moves heaven and earth to go to school no matter what.

Sure, the temptation to be absent is great, especially when taping winds up at midnight and Sharmaine has a report on parasitology to submit first in the morning. But she brushes it off by waking up at 5:30 a.m. after hitting the sack at 2:30 a.m. (that means only three hours of sleep).

Why all the sacrifice?

"I can practice veterinary medicine until I’m old and grey or if something unexpected happens that will change my looks. But with showbiz? That’s not possible," Sharmaine explains.

Today’s young stars, blinded by the glare of the klieg lights which they think will never dim on them, can learn a thing or two from Sharmaine’s no-frills outlook on fame.

AFTER THE SEIKO FILMS ARMIDA SIGUION-REYNA BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS GERMAN MORENO IPAGLABAN MO KUNG MAWAWALA KA LA SALLE-ARANETA UNIVERSITY MIDZ OSCAR MIRANDA SHARMAINE
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