Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oprah tells Filipino pop star Charise: Don't fall in love, yet!

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Whatever Oprah Winfrey says, Charice Pempengco follows.
"The last time we talked, she told me not to fall in love or have a boyfriend yet," the 18-year-old Filipino international pop star said, referring to her benefactor and main career adviser.
"I agree with her because I myself am not ready for that. In Ms Oprah's eyes, I'm still a baby," Charice told journalists. She had just flown in from Los Angeles, California, to do a Valentine special for GMA 7.
Her crush: JT
The petite Pinay admitted she did have a crush on Justin Timberlake, whom she met in 2009. "I sang for him at an event and my knees started shaking when he smiled at me. I nearly forgot the lyrics," she recalled, laughing.
But has she ever fallen in love? "There are guys who are hovering... but that's about it," she replied, adding that her mom has even allowed her to entertain suitors.
Charice pointed out that Winfrey - who topped the list of godparents during her church baptism last year - plays a key role in her US management's decisions: "Ms Oprah is part of the Charice team. We seek her permission for every project that I do, like 'Glee.' When I went to a number of auditions, including some movie projects, there were a few of them that Ms Oprah didn't like. She's very strict. She doesn't like kissing scenes."
One phone call
It was actually US TV host Ellen DeGeneres who gave Charice her break on American television by inviting her to guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Dec 19, 2007. Winfrey took the singer under her wing the following year, after Charice made a series of guest stints on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
A powerful and influential media mogul named by Forbes magazine as the richest African American of the 20th century, Winfrey made one phone call to record producer/songwriter David Foster and asked what he could do for Charice. Foster responded by putting Charice on his concert tour lineup. Then he signed her to a record deal with Warner USA.
Foster likewise tapped his (and Josh Groban's) manager, Marc Johnston, to handle Charice's international business deals.
The last time she performed in Manila, on January 8, before an estimated crowd of 70,000 at the SM Mall of Asia open grounds in Pasay City - as endorser of a perfume brand - local media men were miffed. Reporters who had regularly covered her arrivals and concerts wondered why, suddenly, she had too many bodyguards and couldn't give interviews.
"My US management is super-strict and I just follow," Charice explained. "I always tell Marc that, in our culture it's very important for an artist to be within easy reach, especially by media and the fans. He doesn't fully agree; he's concerned about security."
Oversized eyewear
As for other criticisms - for instance, a tabloid columnist wrote that her new signature look with oversized eyeglasses as a recurring character on the hit US TV show "Glee" didn't quite fit her - Charice said: "I don't take negative comments badly. That's an opinion, and I consider it as an advice."
She recalled that she tried putting on the glasses while preparing for her role as exchange student Sunshine Corazon in "Glee." She was afraid the producers wouldn't like it, she recounted, "But they did. I actually told them that I had worn reading glasses as a student in the Philippines."
Using Wayfarers, she said, was a personal choice. No, RayBan is not sponsoring it. "How I wish!" Charice quipped.
The rigors of a busy schedule requires Charice to observe a strict diet now. "Less rice and no fried foods," she disclosed.
She has also started a training programme in an LA gym. "My trainer wants me to develop my abs. The things I have to do are difficult because I'm quite heavy," she complained.
But, she noted, these could also prepare her for a four-night concert series in Japan from February 19-25. "My repertoire has many dance songs ... Beyonce tunes... I easily get tired when dancing while singing," she said.
Rich kid
Asked how it felt to be ranked among the Top 5 richest Filipinos who have made it in the international scene, Charice said: "I don't know that I'm rich. I'm able to provide for my family. I bought my mom a house; and my brother, a car. As for me, I'm happy that I can buy all the gadgets that I want."
The website celebritynetworth.com estimates Charice's current worth at US$12 million.
She recently bought a Blackberry Torch and an iPhone G4, she said, adding, "I also collect G-Shock watches. What I want to buy next is a van."


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