[PHOTO - Rhian Ramos after the storm: Wiser and stronger. ‘I think I can handle myself better now. I have learned how to say no.’]


What do you get when you fall in love?

A guy with a pin to burst your bubble.

That’s what you get for all your trouble;

I’ll never fall in love again,

I’ll never fall in love again…

Don’t tell me what it’s all about

‘Cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out,

Out of those chains, those chains that bind you,

That is why I’m here to remind you.

What do you get when you give your heart,

You get it all broken up and battered.

That’s what you get, a heart that’s shattered.

I’ll never fall in love again,

I’ll never fall in love again. — from the song I’ll Never Fall In Love Again by Burt Bacharach

I am dedicating that song to Rhian Ramos who is promising never to fall in love again (knock on wood!) after surviving her own annus horribilis. We all know what happened, so no need to recall the details of that sordid episode that nearly shattered Rhian’s life and career.

She’s back — with a vengeance.

On the set of GMA Films’ My Kontrabida Girl, in which she plays the title role, Rhian tried to appear cheerful but a certain sadness in her eyes betrayed her. She was smiling over a dinner of Misua with Patola (“My favorite,” she said) and it was a pained smile, stopping me from asking her anything even remotely connected to her recent experience.

Instead, we talked about her movie My Kontrabida Girl, showing nationwide starting March 14, which is directed by Jade Castro (who wrote the hit rom-com My Amnesia Girl starring John Lloyd Cruz and Toni Gonzaga).

“I like my role,” said Rhian. “It’s not a nice-girl role as you can see in the title. It’s different from my past roles.”

In her other movie, The Road, Rhian plays a girl kidnapped along with her younger sister. Together, they are tortured by their captors.

Directed by Yam Laranas, the horror-thriller produced by GMA Films will have a premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood on May 9 and will be shown in about 50 mainstream theaters all over the US and Canada starting May 11, not in small theaters but in big ones like AMC, Landmark and Loews to name just a few. The film’s US distribution is handled by Prodigy, the same group behind the promotion of movies like Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways and Crash.

“The movie’s release in the US and Canada is good news not just for GMA Films but for the Philippine film industry because it would inspire especially our new generation of directors, writers, cinematographers and other artists to perfect their skills and aspire for greater heights,” said GMA chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon.

[PHOTO -Asked if she’d fall (crazily) in love again, Rhian (with Alden Richards, one of her co-stars in Yam Laranas’ The Road,set for a premiere in Hollywood), Rhian said, ‘Not so soon. Wala sa plano ko.’

During the following Conversation, her first after the storm, Rhian refrained from harking back to the past and focused on the future. There was no, as the title of John Osborne’s novel put it, looking back in anger; only looking ahead albeit misty-eyed.

How did you spend the last parts of 2011?

“Hmmmm, I went abroad…to Bangkok to visit my dad who has been based there for two years. Previously, he was based naman in Dubai. He’s remarried to a Thai. Then Smart brought me to the States for a convention on the new technology.”

How did you spend the long holiday (Christmas and New Year)?

“I spent Christmas with my family. Then, the Ramos family went to Boracay for New Year. I spent a lot of time with my family. I haven’t valued my family more than I do now.”

Did you do some soul-searching?

“Yes, in a way. I shied away from showbiz. Di ba when you’re inside it, you don’t see the forest for the trees? You can see the shape of the house only when you step out of it? That’s what happened to me. I saw my whole life in that perspective. I weighed what’s important in my life and what I have to unload, what my priorities are.”

What did you realize about showbiz?

“When you’re in showbiz you enjoy so many privileges, so many perks and you shouldn’t really take them seriously. It’s just a job. My (self-imposed) vacation was an eye-opener. It made me see what I got in exchange for those privileges and those perks. I felt like Somebody Up There knocked me back to my senses. I was heading in the wrong direction and God brought me back to the right path.”

And what did you realize about your life?

“You know, I used to be a yes girl. I would say yes even to something that I knew would lead me to the wrong way, or something that I knew would devalue me as a person. I don’t know why. Now, I’ve learned how to say no. I have to draw a line somewhere; I have regained my self-respect. You can’t use love or being young as an excuse all the time. I have learned how to read between the lines — what people tell me and how people treat me.”

What have you learned about the people around you?

“Well, my experience made me see who my real friends are. Now I know who will stand behind you during trying times. When you are in showbiz, it’s difficult to decipher things. You are, uhm, required to just be nice and it’s hard to tell who really means it and who doesn’t.”

Name your best friends, those true to you.

“One of them is Bianca King. She’s one friend I can trust and on whom I can confide, and vice-versa. She’s nice to my mom, she loves my mom. Belle (Isabelle Daza) is another good friend. We don’t really get to see each other often but we’re friends. There’s also Lovi (Poe) and Solenn (Heussaff).”

Does your being half-British make you act that way (liberal)?

“I don’t think so. I was brought up here, although I think I’m more like my dad than mom. But I grew in a culture where the family is important. I never really lived in England where my dad came from; I would just go there for summer vacation. I was schooled here. Most of my friends are Filipino. My dad is very western in thinking but I wouldn’t say that he’s overly liberal.”

What are the things that your parents, especially your dad, always remind you of?

“He always reminds me that relationships should be based on mutual respect.”

You have a lot of things to look forward to, including your two movies, The Road and My Kontrabida Girl.

“This year is turning out to be a good one for me. I look forward to walking the red carpet during the world premiere of The Road. It will be a dream come true. Every time I watch Hollywood stars on the red carpet during the Oscars, I wonder, ‘Kailan naman kaya ako?’ I’m happy with the roles I’m getting. It’s a new chapter in my career. Mature roles na. My Kontrabida Girl, where I play a diva, I get a lot of advice from kontrabida like Cherie Gil and Gladys Reyes who are appearing as themselves. Nanay Lolit (Solis) plays herself, too, as my manager.”

Do you have any regrets over what happened to you?

“I have, definitely! It took time for me to, you know, ‘wake up.’ It was a difficult stage and I’m glad that I survived it.

Would you dare fall (crazily?) in love again?

“Not so soon. Wala ‘yon sa mga plano ko. I think I can handle myself better now. As I said, I have learned how to say no.”

What about the rumor linking you to KC Montero (Geneva Cruz’s ex-husband who denied it)?

“The last thing that I need right now is a romantic involvement. I’m still learning from my mistakes. I know now that there is wisdom in what my parents have been advising me about love. This rumor about KC and me is not true at all. Even the rumor linking me to another man (Said to be the son of a popular politician. — RFL) is not true.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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