The incomparable Cherie Gil talks about her legacy, finding purpose in the great unknown and starting a clean (shaven) slate. Read an excerpt of her cover story below.
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Her nearly five-decade career has been fueled with power but when the pandemic came, it became a restricting scenario for her and everyone in the industry. Theaters are still closed and filming schedules pushed back even further, making local material even more limited. “And that’s when things became more apparent to me that it’s not an easy progression for the industry to compete with the challenge. And I could not actually go on waiting,” she says sadly. Gil went on to leave the middle of a teleserye at the start of 2021. “People thought there was something going on between both camps but hindi. Artistic differences lang naman ang nangyari. Pamilya ko na rin sila. This is not the first time I’ve done something like that. I’ve done it in the past—I’ve walked out of sets. So I would like to think that they know and understand me enough by now. I feel grateful that they have been there for years, hiring me, and supporting with whatever it was I was wanting to do.”
Gil decided that her artistic ambitions were being stifled, and with plans all ready to move to New York, her search for a creative rebirth seemingly fell into place. “I just had to make sure that first and foremost, my mental, emotional, spiritual states were getting the priority. I was getting tired of myself. And I was just so angry and unhappy, so I sold everything and packed up,” she divulges. And if you’re wondering if the villain is scared over the new role in life she’s facing? “Yes!,” she answers honestly, “I am human. We all get scared sometimes, if not often. But I have found my own tools to deal with them. By not focusing on the fears but instead on trust and most of all gratitude.”
A classic beauty with a stern voice that can make anyone tremble in their seat, Gil seems to be the quintessential antagonist. Even so, when she arrived in the Empire State, she became highly aware of starting over and what it meant. “I got rid of all the clothes I had that symbolized a past life,” she reveals the layers of herself that she had to shed including her glamorous villain persona, from her wardrobe to her hair. “I’m completely finding myself and coming to terms with who I really am. It’s just great to have this opportunity and to be alive to start over. It’s like a rebirth of sorts,” she now speaks with a sense of lightness in her voice, like all the weight on her shoulders was lifted alongside her hair. “I won’t deny that I have gone to therapy and counseling. Years and years of doing that, I learned that it just boils down to doing the hard work on and with yourself by whatever means. What’s hair diba? It grows back. It’s symbolic to my personal growth. When a woman is in distress, she cuts her hair.
Shaven-headed now, her same piercing eyes glow with vitality and her yearning to take risks. “When’s the last time I did something for the first time?” she would often ask herself these days. So, she would host acting masterclasses online or walk up the street to mingle with all kinds of people. She’s even thinking of officially going to acting school but most of all, she’s spending time with her kids as they are now all in the same city.
So, it’s great to also walk into the unknown in the sense that you have to just take a leap of faith and be continuously connected to your spirituality. I always believe that when things are in sync with what is meant to be with the entirety of the universe, your higher power, whatever you want to call it, it just happens effortlessly and even miraculously,” she shares.
While her profession may also be in a very uncertain place, it doesn’t matter to her. “May mga nagsasabi kasi marami akong pera but in fact, they don’t know anything. I’m just a human being. We go through the same ropes of the downs, the highs and the lows. I am not going to be surprised if I die a pauper, but I have lived a life.”
This villain never acted for the money, she acted out of passion, and this time she’s acting with purpose–ready to face the world, still fearless, but her very own version of Cherie Gil.
Discover more about Cherie Gil’s creative rebirth and whole new look in MEGA’s 30th Anniversary issue now available on Readly, Magzter, Press Reader and Zinio.
Photography DENNIS TEJERO
Creative direction JANN PASCUA
Makeup TOMOYO SHINOME
Styling BRONSON VAJDA
Shoot coordination KZ FRANCISCO and MJ ALMERO
Shot on location LONG ISLAND CITY, NEW YORK