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Toni Gonzaga looks back at her career highs & lows

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star
Toni Gonzaga looks back at her career highs & lows
This year marks Toni’s 20th year in the entertainment scene.
STAR / File

The 20-minute interview was filled with interesting anecdotes about Toni who reminisced her newbie days in showbiz as well as the highest and lowest points of her life. This year marks her 20th year in the entertainment scene.

My first interview with Toni happened 20 years ago right after she officially became a Kapamilya. Her recollection of that one-on-one interview in 2001 revealed the one lesson she learned and she’s been keeping to her heart to this day.

The TV host-actress interviews Ivana Alawi for her You- Tube series ToniTalks
Photos from Celestine Gonzaga-Soriano Instagram account.

“What I learned from that interview is to never let your emotions talk for you,” she declared. “You will learn along the way that when you’re being interviewed, you have to separate your emotions as much as possible because you will truly get overwhelmed.”

Before she became one of the popular names in showbiz, Toni had been through the grinder that would easily drag people down. Obviously, she succeeded in overcoming them with an optimistic view and an attitude of recognizing setbacks as inevitable.

Toni as the title character in the upcoming Philippine remake of My Sassy Girl with Pepe Herrera

“The year 2000 was the lowest point of our family because that was the time when I was laid off from my one and only show (Bubble Gang was reformatted) when I was still in GMA that was helping our family’s income. Then, my grandmother on my father’s side died August and then, September, my maternal grandmother also died.”

Toni considered it as one tough year of her life. “My mom resigned from work because that time she thought, ‘Sisikat na ‘yung anak ko, artista na,’ and then suddenly, I had no work. My dad, on the other hand, ran in politics for the first time but he lost. So, that was the year of loss.”

But 2001 was the year of breakthrough for Toni and according to her, “dahil ‘yan kay Piolo (Pascual).” To recall, she starred in a softdrink commercial with Piolo that became her launching pad to fame. Toni revealed she was originally cast as “background girl” and never the original lead who was supposed to deliver the popular “I love you Piolo” line.

“I never got the lead part. Never did I get lead parts in commercials. That ‘I love you Piolo’ was just an accident. I vividly remember how it happened. It was the day before the shooting of the commercial, a whole day of workshop for different leads that they were trying. Hanggang mag-alas-singko na ng hapon, they got tired magpa-go see ng mga bagong leads,” she narrated.

She continued, “While waiting, they just tested me. Sabi, ‘Alam mo habang naghihintay i-try itong dalawang nasa likod. I-try mo itong isang nakaupo na ito.’ I didn’t have a name then, si ‘ito’ lang ako, this girl (laughs). I told myself that I have to give my all. Then, you know, after I shouted the line, I only heard a chuckle so I just returned to my seat.”

It turned out that Toni got the lead part. “I ran to the CR and locked myself up in a cubicle. Napaupo ako sa isang side and started crying because it was my first time to experience a ‘Yes.’ It was my first time to be accepted (as lead).”

Life for Toni is a lot different now, especially in showbiz. “Before, hindi s’ya ganun ka-competitive. When I was just starting, I would be happy if I had guestings but towards my 10th, 15th year, the competition was getting stiffer, grabeng competitive ang mga nakakasama ko to the point of feeling the pressure or having the thought of losing a job.”

Now that she is marking her 20th year in showbiz, does Toni still feel insecure sometimes?

“Am I still good enough to do this? Am I still capable of doing this? Should I still be doing this? There are always questions (in my head). I think you will never get to the point of, ‘I’m so secure of myself,’ because the moment you feel you know you have it all, is the moment when you stop learning,” she replied.

(To watch the full interview, visit The Boy Abunda Talk Channel or Batalk channel on YouTube.)

TONI

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