Philippine Star, April 6, 2003
What!?! A debut without a cotillion?
"Yeah, why not?" asked Kristina Cassandra, KC for short, Concepcion, unica hija of Sharon Cuneta and ex-husband Gabby Concepcion (now residing in the US), who's celebrating her 18th birthday tomorrow, April 7, first with a party for the press and the following day with another party for friends and relatives, both at The Tent in The Fort (same venue of the fabulous Ruffa-Yilmaz wedding last March 25).
There'll be the traditional "18 candles" and "18 roses" but the debutante won't be having any "first dance," not even a "second dance" or a "third dance" simply because, she blushed, "I don't know how to dance!"
But why no cotillion?
"For the same reason," smiled KC, the sum total of the best qualities of her parents. "Because I don't know how to dance. Besides, I don't want to bother my friends with having to gather for the rehearsals; it's such a hassle, di ba?"
In short, it's going to be, in KC's own words, "just a big party, far different from her mom's fairy-tale debut in 1984 (held at the Fiesta Pavillion of the Manila Hotel, graced by bigwigs from politics, business and showbiz). "I don't want my debut to be different, really," said KC, "I just want it to be that way ¨¢ you know, a party for family and friends."
KC is an Aries but people not close to her won't notice her being one.
"I don't believe in what the horoscope says but some of it are true. My determination, for instance. Aries people are supposed to be determined; they won't stop until they get what they want."
In September, if she doesn't change her mind, KC will enroll in a course in film and/or communication in an unnamed Paris school.
Meanwhile, just like that of a typical debutante, her mind is whirling with thoughts of her formal "coming out". Let's "dissect" that mind a bit.
1. Do you have any birthday wish?
"Wish ko ma-meet si Janet Jackson. She's my idol! I was a kid when I watched her concert here and I missed several parts of it, especially the sexy ones. I fell asleep because they didn't allow me to watch them. They told me, 'KC, close your eyes!' And I did. Well, I got bored. Hayun, nakatulog tuloy ako. But I just love Janet; I watch all her videos. Star-struck ako sa kanya."
2. Has your father (Gabby) greeted you already?
"Oh, not yet. It's only March (Time of this Conversation ¨¢ RFL) but I guess he will. He has my number and I have his, so... We're in constant touch. I expect him to greet me. If not ..."
3. Now that you're 18, what are the things that you'll be deciding on by yourself?
"My destiny. No, I'm just kidding! I think I've been doing that for the past few years; I've been doing a lot of planning ¨¢ I've been planning my own life! That, I think, is the responsibility of every person in the world. I mean, you can't just leave everything to your parents. Kung wala na sila, ano'ng mangyayari sa buhay mo? If there's an opportunity and I feel strongly about it, then I make a decision and tell my parents about it ¨¢ you know, justify my decision."
4. Do things come easy because you're the daughter of Sharon Cuneta?
"I think there are only two ways of handling that. If you're born into a situation like mine, either you pursue it or you don't. Being the daughter of Sharon Cuneta is only one-fourth of who I am. Even without my name, I'd still be going in the same direction because 'yon ang passion ko, e. Even if I'd just work behind the scenes, I'd still love it kasi nandoon ang passion ko, e."
5. How many percent of you do you think is Sharon Cuneta and how many percent is Gabby Concepcion?
"I think with every person in the world, the ratio genetically is half-half, fifty-fifty. But with me, I think I'm different from both of them. One of my wishes on my 18th birthday is for people to see me for who I am, for what I am... not just anak ni Sharon or anak ni Gabby. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with being identified as anak ni Sharon or anak ni Gabby... okey nga 'yon... because my parents have achieved so much. My Mom is respected for what she does. My only wish is for people to see what I can do and to appreciate me for it. I guess every teenager has the same wish ¨¢ to have her own identity. But as I've said, ibang-iba ako sa kanilang dalawa. I don't know my Dad enough to say how much I take after him... Pero my Mom, I know very well so I can say that 30 percent of who I am is very Sharon Cuneta when she was my age. I'm not out to prove to the world what I can do; I'm just out to prove to myself that I can do things on my own."
6. If you were not Sharon Cuneta's daughter, what sort of life do you think you'd be having today?
"Well, I would definitely be working for what I wanted and that would still be around the media because I'm comfortable in that field. I'd still be exposed to the media because the kind of work that I'm doing now is exactly the one that I love to do. I don't think I'd like to be confined to an office ¨¢ you know, 'yung nakaupo ka lang. That's not the kind of work that I want to do. Ako kasi, I like moving around ¨¢ I can't stay put in one place! Feeling ko I'd still be the same person except that, maybe, I'd be working harder to achieve what I want."
7. What do you think you can do that your Mom and/or your Dad cannot?
"I don't know! I'm taking one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. But you know, things are changing so fast now. 'Yung mga nagagawa ngayon ng mga 10 years old hindi pa alam gawin ng mga 40 years old noon. I guess I'm just more open to things that my Mom and Dad were not during their time. Like, if I have to achieve something, I want it to affect not only the Philippines, but the whole world. Parang ganoon. Mataas ang ambisyon na 'yan, I know, but it's better to aim very high than not at all, di ba?"
8. What can you say about your Dad Francis (Kiko Pangilinan, her stepfather)?
"I think he is a fabulous parent. He's a very, very good Dad. I'm not saying that because we're under the same roof but because he really is. Ano, e, alam na alam niya kung paano ka imo-mold para maging successful sa buhay... para maging successful professionally and spiritually. He's just considerate and so aware of what he's doing. Alam niya kung ano ang influence niya sa tao ... sa mga kids niya, so he knows what to do to make you feel secure with yourself para kahit wala sila, okey ka. I'm also close to Frankie (Her half-sister. ¨¢ RFL)."
9. What are your most cherished memories as a child?
"The times when I was with the Gamboas (Her mom's maternal relatives. ¨¢ RFL). You know, my extended family. Marami ang Gamboas. Sa Lola ko, nine silang magkakapatid (Including Sharon's mom, Elaine Cuneta, and Helen Gamboa-Sotto. ¨¢ RFL). I'm super-close to the Gamboas. We'd always be doing things together, including traveling together."
10. And your most painful memories as a child?
"When I realized na hindi na magkakabalikan ang parents ko. I don't even know how old I was then. I remember that I even asked Santa Claus kung magkakabalikan sina Mama at Papa and when they did not, I was heart-broken. 'Yon ang first heartbreak ko. Feeling ko noon namatayan ako."
11. What's the best lesson that you learned from your Mom?
"I learned a lot of lessons from my Mom. One of them is that I should never forget the people who'll be there even if, quote-unquote, the machine breaks down. I would meet a lot of people, that's for sure, but in the end, only the ones true to you will be around. Like my Mom, she has only like three or five best friends, true friends, most of them now living abroad. But everytime they see each other, friends pa rin sila. Close na close sila. It's as if they parted only yesterday when, in fact, they haven't seen each other for years and years. Do I know who my real friends are? I guess I do. I can count in the fingers of my hands kung ilan ang true friends ko talaga. I have a limited number of friends. I've learned not to be too trusting. But the friends that I have have been with me from way back. Talagang old friends, since kindergarten days. I guess there are five of them na parang members na ng family ko."
12. Are you choosy when it comes to suitors?
"Yeah. Actually, not suitors. Pagdating sa boyfriends na, I know I'm gonna be choosy. But suitors, okey lang; talagang kinakausap ko sila. I'm not naman the type as, you know, 'Ayoko sa'yo dahil hindi ka cute!' Hindi naman ako ganyan. Do I have to consult my Mom about my suitors? Oh, yes, sinasabi ko naman sa kanya. You know, 'Mom, nanliligaw si ganyan... parati kaming nag-uusap ni ganito...!' You know, just to let her know."
13. What type of boys do you find attractive?
"I'm open to all types ¨¢ lahat, e! First of all, I'm like that siguro because love ko 'yung iba't-ibang cultures, I just love different cultures. If a guy has grown up in a culture different from ours, hayun, I get curious about him. That I find attractive; I want to learn about other cultures ¨¢ you know, things na makaka-expand ng aking views."
14. Name three guys you find sexy.
"No. 1 is Piolo Pascual. Sexy ang eyes. No. 2 is Brian McKnight. Sexy ang voice. No. 3 is Richard Gere (especially in Unfaithful). Sexy as in talagang sexy!"
15. If you were Sharon Cuneta, what would you change in your life and what would you retain?
"If I were Sharon Cuneta ... Let me see... Okay, she has been having problems with her weight and I think one of her wishes is to have her genes changed. Papalitan niya ang kanyang genes. You know, it's also my problem because I inherited the same genes."
16. Which song of your Mom means so much to you?
"Of my Mom's song, my favorite is Hanggang Kailan Kita Mamahalin, composed by Willy Cruz, the theme song of Madrasta (The Star Cinema family drama with Christopher de Leon for which Sharon won a Best Actress grandslam in 1997. ¨¢ RFL). Why that song? Well, I just love the song!"
17. What's the best thing about being Sharon Cuneta's daughter?
"Well, the best thing is that I've been exposed to the field of work that I want to pursue. You know, I've been given a front-seat view of what goes on backstage during a show, such aspects as directing and the like. Someday, I'd like to be more of a director than an actress."
18. And the worst thing about being Sharon Cuneta's daughter?
"Parang wala kang sariling identity.