QUEEN ANNE'S GAMBIT
MEGA|August 2021
There is no other person quite like Anne Curtis. Clad in the latest and signature pieces from Louis Vuitton, the iconic multi-hyphenate is as captivating as ever
PIPO GONZALES
It would be easy to say that for a woman with genes like Anne Curtis, a prestigious status in show business would have already been predestined. But in an industry that has witnessed the rise and fall of thousands of good-looking faces, to attribute her success to beauty alone is presumptuous, especially when you disregard her enduring relevance. A career that has spanned more than two decades with an enviable list of artistic experiences unmatched by peers is enjoyed only by a select few. And this woman is unlike any other.

The aughts saw the half-Australian actress blossom from teen drama sensation to teleserye royalty. It was a trajectory expected of any actress who has grown in the local spotlight, and Anne has had a good head start at twelve years old. But her incredibly unexpected career decisions laced with her brand of pure ambition have become explosive creative reemergences in the years to come. And these have served as testaments to both range and perpetuating star quality. Everything has, by all means, been proven and well-deserved.

Her ubiquitous presence demands a certain degree of self-assuredness on top of passion and dedication. And all these Anne has given graciously. One might say that perhaps it is this approach to the craft that endears her to her throngs of adoring fans and even to critics as well. And with an admirable level of commitment, it would be difficult if a self-confessed workaholic like her hasn’t learned to confidently love herself yet. After all, in this line of work, where one faces self-doubt and public scrutiny constantly, conviction earned is worn like armor.

NO OTHER WOMAN

Among many hallmarks of an illustrious career was Annebisyosa, her 2011 debut album. While the idea of recording one was unheard of until VIVA’s suggestion, Anne dared to take on the unthinkable. And within months after the album release, the opportunity to stage a concert at the Araneta Coliseum was within reach. Amid inhibitions, her true mettle prevailed.

“Doing a concert at the Araneta Coliseum, that was a dream of mine,” she exclaims. “When we did the album and when it was offered, I was like, ‘Yeah! Totally, Boss! I want to do an album!’ That’s my dream. And then the concert happened. I’m like, ‘Yes, let’s do it! I’m so game!’ But then after, you realize, ‘Wait lang, is anyone going to come watch me?’ This is Araneta Coliseum. I was super getting so much anxiety. That’s why I cried the moment there was a reveal onstage because I was just so overwhelmed.” A couple of concerts soon followed, both producing similarly positive results.

Equally unprecedented was BuyBust, a 2018 action thriller that had her playing a gritty role many other veteran actresses of the genre could have otherwise taken. Film reviews were divided, but her committed performance was generally well-praised. It was the perfect setup to exhibit range in a portfolio that has often seen her in classic leading lady roles. And she absolutely nailed it.

She proudly shares the exciting experience, “That took up almost a year and a half of my life. I was just talking to Jasmine, my sister, last night about it. It’s really like going on a graveyard shift when we were shooting for BuyBust because all the scenes were in the evening. It wasn’t in the studio, it was outdoor. We would shoot from 6PM till sunrise. Would I do that again? I think I would. Lalo na if it’s with Direk Erik (Matti), his team, and his script. I definitely would. I really loved BuyBust and I love doing these kinds of films that I really get challenged and I feel are so far from everything that I’ve ever been given before. So, if a script happens to fall on my lap again, yes, for sure I’d love to.”

Anne is admittedly aware of the many twists and turns of her much-followed journey to stardom. Was it all set by design? She says, “I think, if you look at my career, I’ve really kind of gone with the flow. It wasn’t a smooth-sailing ride to end up where I am today. So, I guess I’ve never been really calculated with my moves and steps in my career. Would I do that now? I think it would be calculated in a way where my priorities have changed. Whereas before, I’d be like, ‘Okay, game! Let’s do this! Let’s do that! Laban!’ And then now, it’s kind of like ‘Wait lang, I want to do it but how do I find the time to do it?’ It’s kind of calculated in that sense.”

THE GIFTED

Mustering enough confidence while staying cognizant of the high risks involved in each career decision is something Anne continues to do, amid the mixed reactions of her audiences. Backlash, like praise, is a dime a dozen. And to be able to navigate her industry without feeling would be out of character for one with an exuberant personality like hers. With life in the public gaze getting more difficult thanks to the speed of online feedback, she has had to develop her own set of mechanisms to steel herself.

“I try not to read it,” she affirms. “In my mind, I’m like, ‘I’m doing this for the people who want to watch this film, or I’m doing this for the people who understand I’m not a singer but enjoy watching these performances.’ I still like to read what people are saying, but I’ve learned not to let it affect me. And that didn’t come easy. Throughout the years, when you read, you get devastated by negative comments, or you’re elated by all of these positive things.”

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