CHERIE Gil was presented to the press as one of the judges of the Starstruck Season 7 council, along with Heart Evangelista and Jose Manalo. The hosts on primetime are Dingdong Dantes and Jennylyn Mercado, to start airing this Saturday and Sunday. Kyline Alcantara is the host on the online version on YouTube.
It’s Cherie’s first time to be a Starstruck judge. “I was a judge before in ‘Protege’ but sa Starstruck, ngayon pa lang,” she says. “I wasn’t that familiar with it at now ko lang nga nalaman na si Jennylyn pala came from Starstruck. I already met the contestants and may sarili na akong bets who are standouts for me, two boys and two girls. Pero siyempre, I can’t reveal yet who they are.”
She’s known to be mataray. Will she be projecting that as a judge? “Actually, mahirap ang work namin as judge kasi as much as possible, you want to encourage these hopefuls. But then, it’s a contest at matira ang matibay, so we can’t help but make a choice. I guess we’ll just have to be very very careful in telling them how we feel, so we won’t sound very discouraging to those who will be eliminated.”
In the plugs for Starstruck, she’s seen giving a stern warning to the contestants: “Don’t call me Tita!” Does she mean it? “Oh yes. Actually, wala sa script 'yun, dinagdag ko lang. Kasi ang daming tumatawag sa’kin ng tita, not only young stars but even sa staff, 'yung mga assistant director. So sinasabi ko, bakit, pamangkin ba kita? I wrote about it in social media and many women were able to identify with it kaya it went viral. 'Yun lang mga nephews and nieces ko, family friends, at 'yung talagang mga nakakakilala sa’kin ang puwedeng tumawag sa’kin ng tita.”
Her two kids with Roni Rogoff, Bianca and Rafael, are both very good looking. Would she encourage them to join an artista search like Starstruck? “Well, it’s up to them. Right now, Bianca has just graduated from NYU in theater arts while Rafael is taking up liberal arts in ethics and law. I think he wants to be a lawyer.”
She was a hit as Helena in “Onanay”. Does she have a new soap? “I really enjoyed ‘Onanay’ kasi it’s one show na I was there from start to end. Doon sa iba, pinapatay agad ako, e. They offered me a new one, also to be directed by Gina Alajar, but I was going to the US so I wasn’t able to accept it. I heard they also offered it to my mom (Rosemarie Gil) but she’s also in the US. Then I’m also doing Starstruck Season 7 so dito muna ako. Besides, I’ve just finished two new movies. First is ‘Kaputol’ with Alfred Vargas, written by Ricky Lee and directed by Mac Alejandre. It’s a movie within a movie and I play the director and also one of the characters in the movie. Then I did ‘Mirador’ with Loy Arcenas where I play a balikbayan from the US. Very European ang treatment, puro visuals lang at kakaunti ang dialogue.”
Cherie just won the Star Award for best supporting actress for her role as a high class pimp in “Citizen Jake”, but she was not there to personally accept her trophy. “I didn’t expect I’d win. Kasi one scene lang ako sa movie, but I guess they must have found me effective. Nakakatuwa nga, kasi may movies akong ang haba ng role ko at pinaghirapan ko talaga, pero hindi naman ako napansin. I wasn’t able to go sa awards night kasi I just returned from the US then and I had to go sa last night ng play ni Floy Quintos na ‘Kundiman Party’, so I watched it. I love Floy’s work, especially his play on Atang de la Rama. I told him to write me a similar material about Miss Rita Gomez. Alam mo naman, I also love doing theater.”