Ciara Sotto’s new focus

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - April 18, 2013 - 12:00am

It’s been three years since actress-singer Ciara Sotto got married. Since then, she hasn’t been that active in mainstream entertainment, although that doesn’t mean she has stopped performing. The only difference is that she has been focusing on theater, instead of television, recording or film.

The last time Ciara was seen on TV was in Walang Hanggan where she starred as the younger version of Doña Margaret, a character played by her mom, Helen Gamboa. Ciara is proud of her mom because she is able to do what she loves, and earn rave reviews for it. Meanwhile, Ciara’s fans who miss seeing her on TV and in more mainstream fare will have to wait because for now, she’s busy with theater.

Ciara is marking another career milestone this month as she plays — for the first time — a married woman in The Full Monty, a stage musical produced by Viva-Atlantis Theatricals. Playing Ciara’s husband Dave is Jamie Wilson. It’s a landmark role for her because not only is it a bit more mature than anything she’s done in the past; Ciara’s character will also have scenes that will require her to do pole dancing wearing a sports bra and cycling shorts.

Ciara, who has been married to businessman Jojo Oconer for three years, says being a wife in real-life has helped in this latest acting challenge she faces. “It’s my first time to play a wife. Siyempre nakakatulong that I’m a wife in real life because at least, naiintindihan ko ang issues ng isang married couple.”

Although Ciara and Jojo have basically kept their marriage out of the limelight, Ciara shares that their partnership is happy and peaceful. In the last three years, they have continuously discovered and learned more about each other. This is one of the reasons that they have not yet started a family. According to Ciara, friends (including married couples) advised them that for the first few years of their marriage, it would be a good idea to hold off on starting a family so they can focus on themselves first and really get to know each other inside and out. In a way, this has helped make their marriage stronger, just like that of her parents who have remained together all these years and despite controversies that are part of her father’s political career.

As far as her own marriage is concerned, Ciara is grateful that her husband continues to allow her to work and seek her own star in showbiz. “He’s my lucky charm,” she says of her husband. “He’s very patient and understanding, especially when it comes to my career. He’s really supportive. Wala siyang mga demands or limitations as far as my work is concerned. When I did Rent I had more than one kissing scene, pero wala naman siyang sinabi. He really supports me in what I want to do.”

When asked if she misses being in mainstream entertainment, Ciara says she does, but unless there’s a really good offer, for now, she’d like to concentrate on theater. In the last few years — or since returning from Las Vegas where she was based from 2007 to 2009 for a show that unfortunately did not materialize (“Nagka-problema sa producer,” is how she explains it) — she has been appearing in plays and also did two indie films. She is currently signed with Stages, and is exploring her options with the guidance of her management. Aside from theater, there are also plans for her to release an album, either this year or next. As for television or movies, that’s still up in the air, she says, as she’s waiting for what she describes as “a good offer” before making an honest-to-goodness comeback.

She nearly made a full mainstream comeback last month when TV5 came forward with an offer for a soap; unfortunately, nothing came of it. “But I really enjoy performing, so I think I’ll still be here,” she says of the entertainment industry. “It’s just that right now, there are opportunities here in theater, and I enjoy working onstage because you have a chance to explore the character, which for an actress like me, is just the kind of thing we love to do.”


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