Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Sheena Belarmino has her eyes on Hollywood

Karla Rule - The Freeman
Sheena Belarmino has her eyes on Hollywood

CEBU, Philippines — The opportunities knocking on 12-year-old singer Sheena Belarmino’s door are no child’s play.

Placing fourth on It’s Showtime’s “Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids” singing contest, the Badian native soon stole the hearts of many when she joined the recently concluded competition “Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids,” where she, alongside other child stars, impersonated one musical icon after another.

Sheena, who also placed fourth on “Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids,” transformed into Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Regine Velasquez, Ariana Grande, Darren Espanto, KZ Tandingan, Jessa Zaragoza, Sharon Cuneta, Beyonce, among many others.

She was in town alongside fellow Cebuanas and TNT alumni Marielle Montellano of TNT Season 1 and TNT Season 2 grand champion Janine Berdin to promote the Cebu leg of the “TNT All-Star Showdown” which will double as the trio’s grand homecoming.

“I’m really happy because I’ve been given opportunities that I‘ve never even dreamed of,” said Sheena during a press conference held Sept. 9 at 10 Dove Street in Pueblo Verde.

A lot has changed for Sheena, but the young lady doesn’t see herself as a celebrity just yet.

“After’ TNT Kids,’ I was given the chance to join ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar.’ I couldn’t believe it. Is this real? Since then people recognize us and want to take pictures. People ask me what it’s like to be an artista, but I tell them that I’m not an artista. I’m just a person who appears on TV. But I really feel the support from everyone. They go to the venues and attend our shows just to see us. I really feel the love that they give us,” Sheena quipped.

Despite having a bunch of TV commitments and performances, she still goes to regular school. For college, Sheena plans to take an Engineering course, following the footsteps of her parents.

“I go to regular school because I’m not comfortable sa home school. I don’t have someone to talk to, it’s lonely. When I get to college, I’d like to do engineering. I’m inspired by my mom who took civil engineering and my dad who did mechanical engineering. I hope I get to pass my exams,” said Sheena, before adding, “Grade 6 pa ko. Daghan kog absent. Patay jud ko ani.”

Among her goals is to explore theatre and musicals. She also wants to incorporate dancing in her performances because she wants to show all of her abilities.

“I want to showcase my musical passion. The first theatre production was about rock and roll. I was very happy because I was the youngest. Dancing and singing are my two most favorite things to do. For the concert, I have a surprise. Dili jud pwede walay sayaw,” Sheena shared.

Among her greatest influences is the late Whitney Houston. Sheena dreams of being a Grammy winner and maybe reach Hollywood like the late musical icon.

“I have a lot of idols. But when I was four years old, I sang ‘The Greatest Love’ by Whitney Houston. She was my first idol,” she said.

“I want to feel the success that she felt. I sing her songs always, and she feels her songs always. And gibuhat sad na nako. Lisod siya. When you sing you have to understand what you’re singing, every word. You can’t not understand what you sing, because your audience won’t understand it either. And what she’s achieved, like her awards and the Grammys and Hollywood—I want to do that to. Idol nako siya because I’m also inspired by her story even though so many things have happened to her.”

Sheena hopes to bring her fellow TNT artists to her town of Badian in the south of Cebu. If they have time while they’re in Cebu after the concert, she wants to take them to tourist spots like Osmeña Peak.

Among her closest friends are the TNT Boys—Keifer Sanchez, Mackie Empuerto and Francis Concepcion.

“Of course TNT Boys. Since the start of TNT Kids, we’re friends. Especially Francis, he’s our baby. Sometimes he cries and I comfort him because I don’t want to see him sad,” said Sheena, whose favorite TNT mentors are Nyoy Volante, Jed Madela, Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano and Yeng Constantino.

“I try hard to really apply what they teach us,” she said of the many judges she’s had to face throughout her competing days. “I try to really copy the artists we’re supposed to impersonate. I like Sir Gary because he doesn’t have a favorite. Every kid is his favorite. He tells us to always be humble and be respectful and to not talk against our parents. Sir Ogie is funny but also serious. Ate Yeng, my mom said she was crying after TNT because I was her favorite. She was the first one to give me a standing ovation. It’s very inspiring how the Lord gave me a chance for people to appreciate my talent.”

The four-hour “TNT All-Star Showdown,” to be held Sept. 21 at the Hoops Dome of Lapu-Lapu City, will also feature TNT artists like Noven Belleza, Steven Paysu, Ato Arman, Anton Antenorcruz, Eumee, Froilan Canlas, Reggie Tortugo, Arabelle Dela Cruz and the TNT boys.

“Favorite nako, ang opening and closing. It’s when we feel really happy. Everyone is there, singing. I really feel the happiness and the energy and the impact. I feel like we’re really happy together as a family. Nindot kaayo,” Sheena said.

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