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Why Bench endorser Jessica Sanchez is more Pinoy than people think |


Why Bench endorser Jessica Sanchez is more Pinoy than people think

KISS ASS - Ana G. Kalaw - The Philippine Star

The first thing you notice about newest Bench endorser Jessica Sanchez is her petite, lithe frame. A girl that’s a little over five feet, she’s given curves thanks to a nearly-cropped top and fitted dark-wash jeans. Then it’s her slanted almond eyes, this time heavily lined with eyeliner. Later on, during the interview, she displays that toothy smile that has become her unofficial signature, a smile that manifests that she’s all of 17 years old, despite the rhinestone choker and volumized hairdo. A smile that, conveniently enough, manifests even more her Filipino roots: 50 percent on her mother’s side but pure-blooded through and through by the way Filipinos have claimed her, cheered her, voted for her on American Idol and mobbed her at every stop here in Manila.

But just as she has fans, so does Jessica Sanchez have critics (notably, in recent days, the manager of another internationally-feted Pinoy talent). They ask if it’s really true that she’s not proud of her Filipino roots, because she doesn’t speak Tagalog and because she didn’t sing the Philippine national anthem in the Pacquiao-Bradley fight last June. They wonder why this is her first time in the Philippines.

But maybe her critics judged too harsh and too fast. How much of an issue is Sanchez’s unfamiliarity with Tagalog when even privately schooled Filipino kids raised here in the Philippines don’t even speak it? Yes, this is her first time in the Philippines but it is also her first time out of the United States.

Her devotees come to her rescue and will point out that it’s enough for her to look Filipino. But that wouldn’t be too fair. Jessica Sanchez, though born and raised in the States, is Filipino because we recognize so much of us in this little slip of a girl, in her dreams, aspirations and principles. She’s Pinoy because of her attachment to her family: she speaks of how much she misses her brothers, stoutly proclaims a wish to visit her family in Bataan, and has photos of herself with her maternal grandmother on Instagram.

The author, Ana Kalaw, interviewing Jessica, who gave us a glimpse of personal style in last season's American Idol

Jessica Sanchez is Pinoy because of her faith; Wikipedia will tell you that “she always carries a rosary and prays quietly before going onstage.” She’s Pinoy because she walked the path and fulfilled the dreams of every Filipina girl who wants to make it big in the entertainment industry; joined talent competitions in her pre-teens and persevered well after until she finally got her share of the spotlight.

Jessica Sanchez is half-Pinoy and that half is as strong and resilient as we like it to be. In this interview, she reveals how much she loves taking pride in her roots. But she also reveals a Jessica that’s 100-percent teenager who, though successful, still misses some of life’s little pleasures.

YSTYLE: You’ve done so much in your first visit to the Philippines: shot a campaign for Bench, had a sold-out concert, sang in a noontime show, ate balut oncam. Is there anything else you’d like to do while you’re here?

JESSICA SANCHEZ: There’s a lot of things I want to do. I’d like to experience every little thing here. But the one thing that I’d really love is to visit my family in Bataan. I want to see them and give them hugs and spend time with them and thank them for all the support they’ve given me.

Is there any other place you’d like to visit?

Filipino idol: Jessica Sanchez is half-Pinoy and that half is as strong and resilient as we like it to be.

Bataan is the main place but there are definitely so many places I’d like to explore and I would love to learn about everything.

You’re the newest endorser for Bench. Were you familiar with Bench before they approached you for an endorsement?

Yes, I had heard about them. I had heard that Bruno Mars did an endorsement, that Adam Levine also did it, and I was ecstatic! It’s amazing. I can’t believe that I’m here today and part of the family.

How does Bench complement your personal style?

I’m wearing Bench now and this is pretty much what I wear on a daily basis: jeans with a comfortable fit and a regular, simple top. They also have these really cute dressy tops there and nice tank tops. When it comes to clothing, I’m pretty much simple and laidback. But when it comes to shoes, I go all crazy.

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

Tons! We’re going to move to LA when I get back and we’ve already packed. I’ve got boxes and boxes of shoes.

And all of them heels?

Not really. I’ve also got some tennis shoes in there. I like to get all dolled up and I can also be very laidback with what I’m wearing.

So far, what are your favorite pieces from Bench?

Everything! We went shopping there for a bit on a day off and everything just fits me so perfectly. I tried on jeans the size of which won’t normally fit me in the States but here they’re just perfect! That’s why I’m so glad to be part of this family; I can support something that I actually really, really love.

Your life has been a whirlwind of activity since placing second in American Idol. What do you miss most about your pre-Idol life?

I really miss my brothers — I have two brothers, one is nine and the other one is 12 — and my family back home in San Diego. I’ve been on tour and I’ve been really busy. This has been the busiest year for me with the tour and the album and other things — it just has been complete craziness. But everything has been so positive and amazing for me and I’m just pushing for more to come in the future. I love working and traveling but I really miss my family because I used to be with them 24/7.

Two choices: tell me quick which you choose and why. For example, Twitter or Instagram?

That’s hard. I think Instagram. I love Twitter because you can communicate with people but I love Instagram for the pictures. It’s more visual and more creative.

What’s your user name on Instagram?

It’s @jaylovesyuu.

Mariah or Whitney?

I love Mariah but I’ve been listening to Whitney since I was a child. She was the person who taught me about music. I learned how to sing by listening to her. So out of anybody in the world, I love Whitney.

Chocolate cake or ice cream?

Ice cream. I loooooove ice cream.

What’s your favorite flavor?

Chocolate ice cream. So yeah, it’s a win-win situation.

Heels or flats?

It depends on what kind of day it is or what I’m doing. When I’m onstage, I definitely love wearing heels. I feel like a diva in the spotlight. But, at home, I won’t be wearing heels. I just want to be able to relax. It’s really hard to pick.

Beach or mountains?

Definitely the beach. I haven’t been to the beach in a long time. A really long time. In San Diego, I live about 20 minutes from the beach. I live in the suburbs which is already near the hills so I’d like to see some water and sand.

You definitely have to visit Boracay then.

Everybody has been telling me about that place and I really want to go. Maybe next time…

Sweet or savory food?

I love both but it would have to be sweets. Sweets just win by a little bit.

What’s your favorite cuisine though?

I love Filipino food. I haven’t had it in a long time but every time I have it, I can’t stop eating it. I can eat pizza here and there and then get tired of it, but I can eat Filipino food like rice and adobo and pancit every day and never get tired of it.

I read somewhere that you love sinigang…

Oh, my gosh, I love that too! My mom makes it all the time at home. My brothers are little monsters and we just all gobble up all the rice and the soup and everything.

What would be your dream project or dream collaboration?

I love Bruno Mars. I already love his music as it is — he’s such an amazing artist, his music has such a different feel — but when I heard that he’s also half-Filipino and half-Latino, I was so excited. This is such a big, breaking point for us: to be played on radio. We really love showing off our pride and representing for our people.

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