âShowbiz will always be a part of meâ
Julia Clarete (with husband Gareth McGeown and son Sebastian): I’ve been blessed with a job and a career that has been so good to me through the years.
STAR/ File
‘Showbiz will always be a part of me’
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2020 - 12:00am

Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, not in showbiz anyway where the rule is “out of sight, out of mind.” Rather, it makes the absentee grow fonder for the field that he/she has grown to love so much.

Julia Clarete will agree. She quit co-hosting Eat, Bulaga! a few years ago after she married Gareth McGeown (the CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, whom she simply calls “G”) and lived in Kuala Lumpur (KL). Several weeks ago, she surfaced on Bulaga not as co-host but a guest, looking as fresh as she did when she left. We’ll be seeing more of Julia in Paano ang Pasko, produced by The IdeaFirst Company for Cignal Entertainment that premieres on Monday night, Nov. 23, at 9 o’clock on TV5.

Julia updates her fans (and friends) in an exclusive free-wheeling interview.

Are you back for good?

“I didn’t expect to be back but life sometimes gives you opportunities. I loved my time here but also loved the thought of living away and experiencing new things which I did. But with all that, I have to say I love being back home, and as long as I’m here, I will do all I can to enjoy and help where I can. We (also with son Sebastian) are in Manila for another two years, then we move to another country.”

Julia and Gareth, CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, lived in Kuala Lumpur for three years.

What made you come back?

“We got an amazing opportunity to come home. Both G and I love the Philippines and when we got the call, we felt we should. But not because it’s the Philippines, but because in our own way, we felt we could help, maybe be change agents and help in a small way the Philippines live up to its potential. There is so much potential here and we committed to each other to help and promote the amazing talent that is here in the Philippines.”

How has your life been in KL?

“We lived there for about three years, before transferring to Manila. It was a great experience to see other cultures. As Filipinos, it’s nearly innate that we travel and evolve, and for me, to experience, learn and be part was something that I treasure. Don’t get me wrong I am Filipina and proud of who we are, but to experience other cultures makes me understand more, and be proud of the Philippines.”

They are in Manila for two years before moving to another city.

Did you do any showbiz-related activity in KL?

“I wouldn’t say showbiz, more the ability to support the Filipinos in KL and specifically the Philippine Embassy for OFWs, supporting fund-raisers for displaced children of Sabah, through Forex and Puan Sri Sylvia Merican. It was new to me but fulfilling to help those that needed help. I do believe we have an obligation to give back to our country, wherever we can, and in KL we were blessed to have that opportunity.”

What do you find interesting in your role in the Christmas series Paano ang Pasko?

“That ‘Love,’ true to her name, is a mysterious woman who can bear a lot of pain for the ones she loves, but can also be heartless when provoked. Simply, to help in a time of crisis...when optimism is needed at these times more than ever is actually a privilege. Honestly, when the call came, I didn’t have any interest in getting back, but seeing the challenges and circumstances we are facing, I thought maybe, in a small way, this could actually help people.

“Sometimes, we all need a nudge or help, or maybe even a little inspiration to get us through. I feel that the cast is amazing and in some small way I can help people in these challenging times to realize there is nothing we cannot do, in fact nothing we cannot achieve if we support, help and encourage each other. This for me was inspiring.”

Paano ang Pasko mo this year compared to your Christmases in KL?

“I grew up in the Philippines, so para sa akin, wala nang mas sasaya pa sa Paskong Pinoy at sa Pilipinas. Home will always be home. I have traveled and been away, and while hard to explain, Christmas in the Philippines is unique, special and something to be treasured. It’s really lovely to be home and in these most challenging times be around the people we love. Now more than ever, family is the center of all we do and we aspire to do.”

What are the challenges of making a comeback in a field where absence doesn’t really make the fans grow fonder?

“Great question assuming it’s a comeback...It is not a comeback. I have been blessed with a job and career that has been so good to me through the years. It’s been a blessing that has made me great friends that I will always treasure in my years in acting, singing and hosting.

“As for the fans, it’s been inspiring, at times intimidating, but they have always pushed me to be better, to try new things and to be honest and authentic...and for that I am truly grateful.”

Any regrets about quitting showbiz?

“None. I have been blessed with great times, great supporters, fans and friends. Marriage is a new chapter of my life, but it doesn’t mean I am turning my back on all previous chapters, including show business. It will always be a part of me.

“In my mind and heart, I never really left. Who knows what the future brings, but it’s important to keep options open. I truly feel blessed to have had the opportunity in my own small way to contribute. There is so much I, and my fellow actors/actresses, can do to create awareness, provoke and inspire. But in these challenging times, I hope we can help people and relay our hopes that better days truly lie ahead.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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