with KC Concepcion
Daily Inquirer, July 13, 2001 by Gloria P. Sicam
YOU know how Forrest Gump
had this knack for stumbling into important moments in history
without knowing it? He met JFK, was in the same interview as
John Lennon, and mooned Richard Nixon without the slightest
awareness of just how famous these people were. For him, they
were people he just happened to meet. No big deal.
Well, I am the exact opposite of Forrest. I’ve stumbled into
show biz personalities and places and I am incredibly
aware of it. And outwardly, I’ve put on a (what I hope is)
nonchalant expression, but inside, I’m saying… wow, I
can’t believe I’m here!
Like when I sat beside Cherie Gil in a little restaurant in
Singapore (she had come specifically to watch the opening of
“Rent,” to see her brother Michael de Mesa), and she was
talking to me like we were both just regular people. All I could
think of was, wow, I’m sitting beside the woman who said those
famous lines in that movie I watched growing up… “You’re
nothing but a second rate, trying-hard copycat!”
And now it’s happened again. I am working with KC Concepcion,
the daughter of Megastar Sharon Cuneta and her on- and
off-screen (for a time) love team partner, Gabby Concepcion in
the musical, “The Little Mermaid.” She’s Princess Sapphire
and I am her Lady-In-Waiting (translation: glorified alalay).
The significance, show biz-wise, of this young girl is not lost
on me. The history of how she came to be is chronicled in many
newspapers and entertainment shows. Her mother is one of the
consistently famous faces in show business. Her stepfather is
now a senator. The birth of her baby sister made headlines.
How do you cope with all this fame around you? How do you deal
with the fact that your mom is one of the biggest stars in the
Philippines, and that you are the product of one of the most
adored love teams in Philippine entertainment? One would think a
person put into a situation like that would grow up to be one of
two things – a spoiled princess or a neurotic recluse. If you
believe what movies tell you, anyway.
But KC is anything but spoiled or neurotic. She is one of the
most pleasant and affectionate 16-year-olds I’ve ever met. She
is completely unaffected by the fame of her parents, and the
potential fame she could gain if she wanted it. She’s a breath
of fresh air in the stale environment of show biz
pretentiousness. Her mom has done a good job of keeping her feet
planted firmly on the ground.
She enters the rehearsal room in her usual blouse and skirt
(ever since our director told her that princesses wear skirts
and not jogging pants). She gives everyone the usual beso-beso,
and for some, a child-like hug and leaning of her head on
various shoulders. It makes one think, with some fondness: What
a sweet kid! She reminds me of my younger cousins all caught up
in… well, being a teenager.
But while other teenagers
put their barkadas above all else, this 16-year-old values her
family. On her cellphone is an acetate of her and her baby
sister Frankie. One rehearsal, she even brought a photo album
full of pictures of her mom, her stepdad, her baby sister, and
One afternoon, none other than her megastar mom came over and
visited, with Frankie in her arms and two yayas in tow. Our
director, Jaime del Mundo, isn’t one to be fazed by a visit
from a mother and child, but babies in rehearsal are a magnet
for all the women in the cast, and make them act like cooing
Frankie was a good sport through all of this – wonderfully
civil, and didn’t whimper once, even as a flock of strange
women gathered around her and passed her from one person to the
next. But when KC held Frankie in her arms, I thought, this girl
just loves being an “ate”.
It was amusing to watch Sharon’s reaction to her daughter’s
performance during rehearsal. When KC and her co-actor playing
the prince (Noel Rayos) stood up to do the “love scene”
(which is basically when the prince and the princess profess
their love for each other, and therefore involves some hugging
and touching of faces), Sharon cleared her throat loudly, like a
mom reacting to a potential suitor.
KC said, hastily, “Oh yeah, Mom, this is Noel… Noel, my
mom…” as the cast laughed and wagged their fingers at Noel.
When Direk Jaime cautioned KC not to be overly flirtatious in
this scene, Sharon laughed and shook her head, as if to say, “Haay
naku!” It must’ve been quite an experience for Sharon to
watch her own daughter do what she does for a living. She looked
like she was bursting with pride.
KC’s doing quite well, considering this is her first foray
into the professional theater world. She’s got this openness
and willingness to learn that not many young talents have these
days. She and I have made our own private jokes so that we can
laugh together on cue. A bit complicated to explain in this
article, but all we have to do is make a gesture with our hands
and we’re sent into gales of laughter.
And although our director keeps on reminding her to stop leaning
forward so much and to remember to stand on both feet (and not
on tiptoe), she’s beginning to succeed in portraying an older,
more mature woman – well, at least a few years older and more
mature than 16.
Not only is she open to learning, but she’s also open to
forming friendships and… well, bonding with the rest of the
cast. The other day, a big portion of the cast went out to watch
“Tomb Raider,” and KC came along (with her yaya, who
is there for every rehearsal. KC calls her yaya her best friend.
Maybe I should observe her to know what to do as her “yaya”
onstage). We had coffee after, and KC was there, talking it up
and playing games with the rest of us.
What impresses me the most about KC is that she got the job just
like the rest of us did – she lined up and went through
nerve-wracking auditions. When asked what part she was
auditioning for, she said: any part at all. That commands my
respect right there. She didn’t go through the agent/special
Another thing I like about her is just how easy it is to make
her laugh. I feel like the world’s greatest comedienne around
her. There are people who are just like that – you like making
them laugh because you love hearing their laughter. KC’s one
of those people.
Whatever she decides to do with her career – and it’s
beginning to look promising, what with her being the image model
of Human and this role in “Little Mermaid” – I’m just
glad I got to know her and that I can make her laugh. Because
she’s one loveable, down-to-earth kid… someone who’s
really worth knowing.
FROM LEFT: cast members Chari Arespacochaga,
Cathy Azanza, KC and the author.