Janeena Chan upfront: ‘To stay healthy, stay away from negativity’
(The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2016 - 12:00am

A new UAAP season has just started, and if you follow collegiate sports like I do, then by now you should know Janeena Chan, one of the talented young hosts of Upfront at the UAAP.

While other kids her age were playing with toys, bright and bubbly Janeena kept herself busy joining singing competitions, modeling, and hosting for local television programs. “Everything started out with my first passion — singing and performing,” she shares. “I’ve been really active in school programs and joining on- and off-campus singing competitions, thanks to the support of my teachers and family. One opportunity led to another and I was fortunate to have met people along the way who saw the potential in me.”

I have actually known Janeena since her college days as she was good friends with my daughter Alex and would even come to our house to work on their projects. Even back then, I could already see that she was a very determined, hardworking and humble young lady, consistently making the dean’s list at Ateneo de Manila University and even receiving a best thesis nomination along with my daughter who was her group mate. Since then, she has graduated from being a great student to a blogger, host, and model with a promising career ahead.

More than her beautiful features, what attracts people to Janeena is her happy, healthy attitude. Let’s get to know her better.

PHILIPPINE STAR: How did you get your start in modeling, hosting, and performing?

JANEENA CHAN: I started out singing and performing. Then it was a domino effect of sorts. From one particular competition, the Search for the Next Disney Singing Princess, an agent approached me and encouraged me to try out modeling. I tried it out to see how everything goes, and I enjoyed it. So, I started modeling at age nine, as a kiddie model for Barbie. Little did I know that it would be a significant part of my life until now. I’ve been modeling since then for ramp, TVCs, and print as well.

From the modeling industry, another agent proposed for me to try out hosting. I couldn’t be any more grateful for this opportunity for I wouldn’t have known that hosting could be such an enjoyable and promising career. So, simultaneous with modeling, I started hosting at age 11 for a tele-magazine children’s show, Kid’s TV, that aired on ABC 5 and RPN 9. The program was fortunate to have bagged a PMPC Star award for Best Kiddie Show, while the hosts, including myself, bagged the Best Children Hosts award. After Kid’s TV, I joined Newswatch Junior Edition on RPN 9 at age 14. There, we were trained to be junior journalists and tasked to produce our own segments, from researching to writing, contacting the interviewees, directing, post production editing, and reporting. Then VJ-ing, and courtside reporting opportunities came along from networks such as ABS-CBN and Fox Sports Asia.

What are you up to right now? What projects are keeping you busy?

Currently, I still host and model, and I also started blogging (www.janeenachan.com) and vlogging under ABS-CBN Digital’s Multi-channel network (youtube.com/janeenachan). I also enjoy being a youth advocate and speaker.

We love seeing you on Upfront at the UAAP. Do you usually follow basketball? What do you like most about the sport?

Living in the Philippines, it’s hard to ignore the massive hype of basketball. Back in high school and college, I’d have friends who were part of our school’s league so I’d watch and support the games whenever I could. Since I was also a courtside reporter for a season for the ASEAN Basketball League, I got to grow more familiar with the sport and learned how exciting it could really be. Now, as a host for Upfront at the UAAP, we’re not only focusing on the game, we’re taking a more holistic approach to all the UAAP games. We strive to bring to the spotlight what goes beyond the court or the playing field to all the UAAP fans by following their favorite teams’ and athlete’s journeys to greatness. From behind-the-scenes clips, to what their favorite apps are, the artists they follow, what inspires them to keep moving forward, their social media activity, and many more.

This UAAP Men’s Basketball season, there have been so many surprising finishes on the hardcourt, and that’s one of the best things I love about the sport. It may have a simple and straightforward side, but it can be really unpredictable and exciting, too! I love watching close games because you just never know which team will take home the win until the very last second.

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?

I enjoy everything I do, but what fulfills me the most is when I know I get to touch lives in one way or another and inspire people to be the best versions of themselves. So, aside from being a youth advocate and speaker, I am extremely grateful to have balanced everything that I have to do and want to do growing up ... as a daughter, sister, friend, student, host, model, artist, etc. Balancing academics with work and play wasn’t exactly an easy feat. But, with the help of my supportive family, friends, mentors, and especially God’s divine guidance and strength, I was able to graduate from Ateneo de Manila University as a consistent dean’s lister with a best thesis nomination. Special thanks to my thesis partners, Alex Dayrit and Emmanuel Hilao, and to our thesis adviser, Sir Severino Sarmenta!

What has been your greatest challenge so far? How did you overcome it?

My father’s sudden death was really tough. You never really know how bad it feels until you get there. Losing someone significant in your life is just terrible, but the presence of friends and relatives definitely helped ease the pain. And until now, I take comfort in knowing that God’s divine plan always has a bigger picture.

Was there ever a time you were too fat or skinny? How did you overcome it?

Being into gymnastics, and with my body type, I grew up to be a relatively fit kid. With that mentality, I thought I could just keep eating and not really care so much about the things I ate. So, this took a toll on my weight and there was a time in my teen years when I wasn’t exactly in my best shape. When I noticed this, I started cutting down on the junk food and sodas. I grew a little more critical in terms of my food choices and ate more in moderation. College PE also helped with my journey to fitness, especially with fencing.

How do you keep fit despite your busy schedule?

Just maintaining a healthy overall lifestyle. From eating food that actually helps nourish the body and not just makes it full… as well as making sure I get enough sleep, keep away from stress, and drink lots of water.

Do you follow any particular diet?

Not really, but I do my best to stick to the good stuff and keep away from stress. You can never go wrong with clean eating and living, but I’d also indulge from time to time. Be it feasting on lechon or on decadent desserts.

How important are fitness and proper nutrition in your career?

I believe it’s important, whatever your career may be. Both on a personal and professional level, being fit, having a proper diet, and just feeling and looking healthy will definitely reflect upon your thoughts, actions, and overall well-being. Being on-the-go most of the time, it’s important for me to always be in the best condition I can be, mind, body, and spirit.

What inspires you to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle?

My mother. She is a cancer survivor and took alternative medications instead of the traditional therapies. It was really challenging at first because she needed to go through a serious lifestyle change. She had to avoid a long list of food choices —from certain meats to dairy, MSG, sugar, and the list goes on. She lost so much weight the first few years because of the drastic change, but as soon as she started eating clean and organic, and avoided stress, she eventually overcame the struggles of battling cancer. This was a wake-up call for our family. Since then, we’ve started to eat better and made a conscious effort to live a more wholesome lifestyle.

Any tips on how to stay healthy and motivated?

Stay away from negativity, and surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better each day. Get enough sleep, and drink your eight glasses of water a day. It works wonders for both inside the body and out!

Do you have any motto or words to live by?

Preparation is key. Start from where you are, work with what you have.

“The grass is greener where you water it.” — Neil Barringham

Success takes preparation, hard work, focus, a good attitude, and a positive, prayerful heart. Never compare yourself with anyone else because God’s plan for you is unique on its own. Rather, be challenged by who you were yesterday, and always strive to be better each day.

* * *

Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

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