Trying to rehash her life for the past days, Janine keeps on saying she’s excited and grateful for the seemingly surreal turn of events. There’s joy in the way her eyes would glisten as she speaks about her Kapamilya idols and the dream she thought impossible. She said the last time she stepped inside the ABS-CBN Compound was for a high school field trip.
Janine looks forward to working with Angel Locsin, Angelica Panganiban, Toni Gonzaga, Kim Chiu, and more. She also wishes to star in a series with Paulo Avelino, and JC Santos, her leading man in the film “Dito at Doon” showing this March.
Janine has a Best Actress trophy, won for her portrayal in the movie “Babae at Baril,” to validate her place in the industry. She looks at it as a confirmation that she’s made the right choice of pursuing an acting career.
How did she realize her passion for entertainment? I Feel U host Toni Gonzaga asked. Opportunities came chasing her, and that’s not surprising for someone who comes from a celebrated showbiz clan.
But there came a point when the projects suddenly stopped coming. She was jobless for a year. Ironically, that’s when she also felt the thirst to act more. She was restless, as though a fish out of water, “Hinahanap-hanap siya ng puso ko tapos doon ko talaga na-realize na gusto ko pang matuto na makapagganap nang maayos sa TV at pelikula. Doon ko talaga naramdaman ‘yung gutom, so kailangan kong mapag-aralan kung paano siya gawin nang maayos.”
It’s been quite a long journey for the 31-year-old award-winning actress. Every stop and turn, nonetheless, brought her to her destination. Now she’s certain that acting is her purpose, thanks to her Best Actress feat, “Para siyang malaking yakap ng industriya which is so important din for me na makaramdam ng gano’ng klaseng suporta.”
On being part of a showbiz clan, Janine would admit its good and bad sides, “Ang dami ko agad nakikilala, mga nakakatrabaho din ng parents and family ko. Siyempre nakaka-pressure din kasi bitbit mo ‘yug pangalan nila, ayaw mo na mapahiya sila o hindi ka kasing galing nila.”
It also helps that she has family members to teach her the ins and outs of the industry. Before she entered showbiz, her mom asked her a hundred times to make sure it’s not a half-hearted decision. She said her mother instilled the value of respect and being passionate about her craft.
On the next gap of the episode, Janine’s mom, Walang Hanggang Paalam star Lotlot de Leon appeared on the show for a sweet surprise. The doting mother expressed her pride over Janine’s achievements, saying she’s happy to see her happy. At the end of the day, her only wish is to see her children find joy in whatever they do and learn from life and their mistakes as well.
Lotlot is just as overwhelmed seeing everyone’s reaction to Janine’s transfer, “Nakakataba ng puso. Talagang ‘yung importansya na ibinibigay at ipinapakita nila kay Janine, sobrang nakaka-touch. I know Janine now will work extra hard to prove she’s worth all of that.”
Lotlot had always known Janine got the acting genes. She would remember her ‘panganay’ doing supermodel poses when she was little. However, she and ex husband Monching Gutierrez never forced Janine or any of their kids to follow their paths in showbiz. All they ever dreamt was to see them finish their studies and find jobs they love.
Lotlot was even reluctant when Janine decided to try showbiz yet she’s happy to see her carve her own niche. Lotlot shared, “Iba kasi ang kalse ng professionalism na hinahanap sa atin bilang mga aktor, artist as a whole. Noong una, naninibago siya kasi hindi naman sanay sa showbiz. We’ve always shielded all our children from the intrigues, and the hard work that we do, hindi nila alam. Pero noong nag-aartista na siya, ayan na! Napupuyat na siya. Sabi ko, ‘gusto mo ‘yan ‘di ba?’”
She would describe Janine as a responsible ‘ate,’ having stood as a second mom to her younger siblings. Lotlot doesn’t shy away from sharing how complicated things were after her separation with Monching. But then-little Janine was strong and she grew up as the leader of the pack. It may be a broken home but the siblings grew up bonded and as loving kids to their parents.
The next surprise came from Janine’s grandmother, Pilita Corrales, who’s just as happy over her latest career feat. Pilita shared that her grandkids would come over on weekends for lunch or dinner but Janine was absent last time due to busyness.
Just like Lotlot, Pilita has fond memories of the young Janine showing her potential. There was a time when she took her to the States for a series of concerts and then-young Janine would come up on stage in the middle of her performance. She would call her apo a sweet and nice girl.
On the other hand, Janine revealed that her Mamita loves to shower them with affection and gifts, “Kahit suot niya ‘yan, pero kung sa tingin niya bagay sa akin o kahit sinong apo, tatanggalin niya ‘yan, ibibigay niya sa amin. She’s really the best. We’re lucky that she is our Mamita.”
Janine has Pilita to inspire her about humility, noting how the Asia’s Queen of Songs remained humble over the years despite the status as a music icon. Her goal is to make Pilita proud in anything she does. Pilita chimed in, “You make me proud.” Janine also looks up to her Mamita as a fashion icon, saying Pilita would look like a queen in whatever she wears be it a gown or a simple pambahay.
Janine is grateful that her ‘Mamita’ is always there to help and is always present, “She’s only one call away. She’d always check up on us. She makes sure that we’re okay, may kailangan ka ba? You would feel that someone is looking out for you talaga. We always feel super loved by Mamita.”
Pilita mentioned that she’s always seen Janine entering showbiz one day. Now that Janine is becoming one of her generation’s finest actresses, Pilita would always tell her to be professional because that’s how respect is gained.