Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Heart Evangelista on authenticity and respecting political choices

Vanessa Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  “Favorite ko yun sa campaign na pumunta sa market. Yan ang lagi kong nire-request kasi gusto ko rumampa sa market,” the actress and social media star laughingly says in a press conference at the Golden Prince Hotel.

“Ang totoo favorite ko siya kasi hindi ako masaydo nakakapunta sa market. Kanina nakita ko may nagdala ng supot ng kamias, at napabili ako ng Sweet Corn, so I really enjoyed. Nagugulat sila pag nandoon ako, but it’s refreshing to be able to see them na bagong gising sila, ang babango ng hair mga bagong shampoo. Nakakatuwa. Kung pwede yun lang yung buong campaign ko, yun ang gagawin ko.”

Heart utilized her brief stop in Cebu to talk up Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero – and for someone who already admired the man from afar even before they got acquainted, the task just comes naturally for her.

“In 2007 I didn’t know him personally and I remember I saw him at an event. He spoke so well and it was really refreshing to find somebody that really knows what he’s saying,” she shares. “Eventually he became my husband, and seeing the difference, I realized that he was so much more than what I thought he would be. As a politician I think he’s something else. He’s a rare gem.”

When on the campaign trail that almost always includes speaking about her spouse’s projects, platforms and worthwhile attributes, Heart says she tries to be as organic and natural as possible.

“Just being around him…I’m not oblivious naman of what he does. From time to time, I do look at what he does, nakikibasa ako sa mga papel.”

“May kwentuhan kami sa bahay although in the house we don’t talk much about politics,” she adds. “Mostly, showbiz. I guess subconsciously I know what he does. I don’t research as much because I see his hard work firsthand.”

When asked who she favors to be the country’s next president, Heart says she’s gravitating towards one in particular but is taking her time to make a final decision.

“I do respect everybody and the colors that they stand for. Huwag tayo magmadali. We all carry certain colors, and we should all be kind and respect each other. Pag dating ng halalan, what’s important is that we carry the colors of our flag.”

Heart finds it saddening that many of her fellow celebrities are bickering on social media or taking it against the other for their opposing political leanings. She reminds others that at end of the day, “we all stand for the colors of our flag.”

Outrightly dismissing the possibility of her someday running for public office, Heart explains that her current platform is already more than enough to create awareness for certain advocacies, and be of help.

For someone leery of posting every charitable act, Heart was almost cringing while enumerating some of her Sorsogon projects, in answering a question on what she’s contributed as first lady.

“Ayokong mag-panggap to do something na hindi talaga ako. Doon ako kung saan ako nag e-excel.  So that would be native goods. For a time, I helped in designing the pili nuts, a big percentage of which comes from Sorsogon. I distributed bracelets and bags,” she shares.

“During the pandemic, I tried to also help single moms or the mothers making handicrafts thru Maison Love Marie. I also tried to create more awareness about Sorsogon by collaborating with GMA with the series ‘I Left My Heart in Sorsogon’ and because of that it really helped with the traffic of tourists. We just also recently opened our dog shelter which is open to all Sorsoganons. We also came up with a home for the aged for gays.”

If there’s one thing she isn’t shy to show off, it’s having a blissful married life. The couple just celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary in February. While they had a “very rough start”, Heart says things on the home front have been “really, really good.”

“We were very much ourselves when we started out and got married. Hindi na kami nag-panggap na ganito ganyan. Mas malambing na nga siya eh. Dati masungit. Kaya ayoko ng humiling ng kahit ano pa kasi okay na naman lahat,” she says.

“I actually really enjoy married life. I guess because he’s also not the typical na bawal ganito, bawal ganyan, hindi ka pwede maglakwatsa bahay ka lang. He’s also very supportive. Me being married to him I feel like I bloomed as a person. And I’d like t think na nag-bloom din siya.”

Not only does Chiz allow her to pursue her interests, he even encourages her to learn to do things on her own – which was how she found herself on her very first solo trip abroad. For the formerly sheltered Heart, that was as daunting as it could get.

“Traveling solo for Paris Fashion Week, hindi siya biro. It may appear pompous, or that fashion is puro kaartehan lang. But for me, it is a career. When I travel madami akong kasama kasi matatakutin ako at hindi ako marunong mag fill up ng forms. Tapos kapag change flight nag-iiba din yung mga…sumasakit na yung tiyan ko. But sabi nga ni Chiz, you know 37 ka na, medyo it’s time to step up.”

“So you know I was able to learn. Mukha kong tanga, ngayon lang ako nakaluto ng sunny side up. I really enjoyed because just like anyone who experiences something new, you learn that you can do it. Given the situation again, you know that you can step up to the plate and be independent.

A fun experience, so would she ever do it again? “The answer is no. Charot! Siguro kung wala talagang choice, alam kong kaya ko. Kasi Diyos ko, ang hirap talaga. Natatakot ako.”

Heart’s international travels aren’t slowing down any time soon. She’s leaving again in May, June, July, and then “hopefully for one of my most exciting projects by August.”

Everything’s coming up roses for Heart, that anything else that comes her way at this point she just regards as a bonus – including having a baby.

“When I was young, I wanted to become a vet, an ice skater, mag-artista – ang dami ko gustong gawin. As you get older you realize na alam mo na yung capacity mo. Kumbaga hindi ako masyado nangagarap ng todo kasi dapat kontento ka na kung anong meron ka. Kung may dumating, it’s a bonus. The only thing I ask is [good] health for me and my loved ones, safety for everyone, na okay ang lahat – okay na ako. Everything else, bonus na.”

She adds, “Kung may dumagdag, thank you. But okay na ako, sa totoo lang.”

To those who look up to her and hope to follow her lead as a fashion icon and successful influencer, Heart says that the key word is authenticity.

“Being yourself, embracing your flaws, and embracing the good stuff. If you pretend to be somebody that you’re not, you’ll be unhappy. It will always come out with the reality that everybody’s holding their phones, somebody’s going to record something. Kung nagmumura ka, hayaan mong lumabas minsan. But of course be polite. I’m just saying be as true as you can because people will appreciate you more for that.”

She says she used to get bashed a lot for being “maarte”. But she consoled herself that yes, she may be one, but she is also a good person who isn’t stepping on anyone’s toes.

“Eh di na-appreciate nila ako eventually. Not all because you can’t win them all,” says Heart. “If you have a set of people who like you and a bunch of people who don’t, what matters is you make a difference with those ten people.”


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