Sarah Geronimo rocks on
By Walter Ang
November to December 2008 issue
Sarah Geronimo enters the photo studio with Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" clasped between her hands. As she settles into her make-up chair, she raves about the book. "It's great! It's really different," she says about the overnight sensation story of a mortal girl and her vampire boyfriend. Sarah shares that she loves getting caught up in a good book. "You become part of another world. It's a great feeling."
For a few hours this cloudy Friday afternoon, Sarah shares bits of her own not-so-little world. She's not unfamiliar with the concept of being an overnight sensation herself. Five years ago, at the age of 14, Sarah won a televised singing contest that bagged her a cool million pesos and landed her a ten-year recording contract with Viva Records.
Since then, she's racked up a long list of achievements that most girls her age can only dream about. Her public triumphs are but a click away. A quick Google search for her name yields countless results and her Wikipedia entry, when printed out, totals 11 pages.
Her debut album, "Popstar: A Dream Come True" reached a staggering seven-platinum record, selling more than 350,000 copies. Since then, her showbiz career has grown leaps and bounds. From singing, she's branched out into hosting and acting and has established a presence in TV variety shows, telenovelas and movies as well as commercial endorsements for different products and services.
Despite having achieved so much in so little time, Sarah has a surprisingly shy way about her. She has the aura of a little girl thrust into the first day of school, trying to find her way. But she definitely knows where she wants to go. "I feel like I've only achieved a fourth of my dreams. I still have a lot of goals in my life," she shares. "I want to be a successful international singer. I'd like to bring honor and pride for the Philippines."
Evolving The latest revelation in Sarah's ever-evolving career is her comedy acting chops. She was recently partnered with John Lloyd Cruz in the romantic-comedy "A Very Special Love," which earned P14million on its opening day. "It was very fulfilling, we didn't expect it to do so well. We had lots of fun shooting this movie, the atmosphere was very light."
It's a refreshing turn from the string of heavy drama telenovelas she's been in for the past two years ("Bituing Walang Ningning" and "Pangarap Na Bituin"). And a surprise that Sarah can actually be effective in making people laugh.
"It's more fun to do comedy but it's actually harder than doing drama," she says. "With drama, you just feel the situation your character is in and you can get carried by the emotion. With comedy, you have to have the right timing. Hindi ka puwedeng magpatawa para lang mapatawa ang audience. You're not allowed to overact." However, Sarah didn't have too difficult a time since she admits to being a clown in real life. "I'm very makulit and I like to joke around," she laughs.
These days, having wrapped her telenovela and movie, Sarah breathes a little easier and has a little more free time on her hands. "Taping for the telenovelas would take up almost the entire week," she shares. Although she still does concerts and provincial shows while fulfilling hosting duties on weekly variety show "ASAP," Sarah has had more time to catching up on bonding with her siblings. "We usually hang out after going to Mass. We do regular things like malling, watching movies and eating out."
Simple but adventurous "I didn't used to think about what to wear or how I should present myself in public," she says. "But I try hard to keep up." Sarah's partial to outfits from Zara, but she admits to being a typical t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. "I like my stuff from Bench. What's important is comfort, more than anything else."
When it comes to make up, she goes for light blush on and "just a little lip gloss." Peach and pink are her favorite colors for makeup. "I just try to always keep my face clean and I never go to sleep with makeup on," she says.
She's also trying to work out more. "I try to use the treadmill," she starts, then bursts out giggling. "I try!" Her hectic schedules doesn't really allow her much time to fit in a regular exercise routine, but it doesn't really matter though since she does a lot of dancing for her work anyway. "I love dancing! I'd like to learn all kinds of dance if possible."
Sarah's even learning how to play the piano. "One day, I hope to play the piano in one of my concerts and sing `If I Ain't Got You'" she says. Seeing how the photo shoot is portraying "the rocker side of Sarah," she admits that she'd be willing to try other genres or singing styles only if it weren't so difficult on her vocal cords. "I'm open to alternative rock, but I would have to be very careful not to damage my voice."
Big plans She tempers her adventurous side with a strong commitment to diligence and perseverance. Sarah is working towards finishing her Associate Degree in Arts from the Open University and she's already helped her parents put up several businesses such as a beauty salon, a clothing boutique and a panciteria. As for a romantic relationship, Sarah feels she isn't ready yet and wants to concentrate on her career and education for now.
She's happy working with and learning from her idols like Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Kuh Ledesma, to name a few. Her ultimate dream, however, is to perform a duet one day with her idol Celine Dion. International exposure isn't too far off since she's already recorded a duet titled "I'll Be There" with former Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough. The song will be included in Sarah's upcoming album "Just Me." Dorough (or more popularly known as Howie D.) flew in recently to do a music video of the song with her.
Sarah's career is definitely at full steam but she's untinged by any hint of it going to her head. In fact, she even finds inspiration in that Charice Pempengco, one of the contestants in a singing competition that Sarah hosted, has actually gone on to sing with Celine Dion. "I am so proud of Charice. I'm so inspired by her. It really goes to show that people shouldn't give up because God always has bigger plans for us," she says. Sarah may well be biding her time for the day she sings with Celine Dion, but in the meantime, she's certainly enjoying the ride.
Sarah will have a major major solo concert titled "The Next One" slated for late November at Araneta Coliseum and a Christmas album (her first) will be produced and arranged in December by no less than Ryan Cayabyab. She'll end the year with a Special Christmas Concert in December.