Janine: Does it make me an activist?

Because she’s visible in rallies and making comments about this and that issue (including the “military on UP campus” issue), Janine Gutierrez is perceived by people to be an activist.

“Ha?” exclaimed Janine in a one-on-one phone interview with Funfare. “Normal na mamamayan naman lang po ako. Isn’t it normal for an ordinary citizen to comment on issues affecting us? Natural lang naman ‘yon, di ba?”

Reminded that she is a Janine Gutierrez and her every word or move could be picked up, blown up and (mis)interpreted, Janine said, “Ah, ganoon po ba ‘yon? But it doesn’t stop me from being involved as an ordinary citizen.”

She added that she was trained that way in school.

“Ever since high school, we were assigned to make a news report every day.”

At Ateneo de Manila University where she graduated with a degree in European Studies, her awareness in current events became even sharper.

“As a Foreign Affairs student,” added Janine, “we had to be up-to-date with what was happening around the world; we had to be politically aware. So hindi ko na binitiwan ang habit ko na ‘yon. I always keep up with what’s happening by reading the papers and watching the newscast.”

Janine with boyfriend Rayver Cruz
Photo from Rayver Facebook Page

Janine has become so vocal, so outspoken, that her mom (Lotlot de Leon) advised her to hush up.

“Dati, pinagsasabihan niya ako. But guess what…now she is also very vocal. Nahawa sa akin, hahaha!!!”

Someday, mused Janine, “I would like to be an ambassador that’s why I took up a course in European Studies.”

For now, Janine is focused on her career, especially since she has just signed up with the ABS-CBN Kapamilya Network after 10 years with the GMA Kapuso Network. Questions that popped up on the trail of her move: Did she have sama ng loob (hard feelings) towards GMA? Was she trying to avoid somebody? Wasn’t she happy with how GMA groomed her to be where and what she is now?

“No to all that,” assured Janine. “I am grateful to GMA and they (big bosses) even wished me well. My relationship with GMA is good and will always be good. Did anybody push or pressure me into moving to another network? No, it’s my own decision, with the guidance and support of my family and my manager (Leo Dominguez). After 10 years, I thought that it was time to try something new, so I grabbed the opportunity to explore.”

Her boyfriend Rayver Cruz left ABS-CBN for GMA and their fans were hoping that they would do a Kapuso project together. How’s that now?

“When he moved to GMA, I was really looking forward to us doing a project together pero wala, eh. But we can still do a movie together even now that we are not in the same company. I can do a movie naman for any company.”

Such as the TBA Studios for which Janine has just finished a movie titled Dito at Doon with JC Santos, directed by JP Habac. Showing next month, the movie is about an online romance set during the pandemic.

“It’s an interesting story,” said Janine. “It shows that even with all the protocols, it’s possible for two people to have a relationship, first online and then…why not face-to-face?”

Maybe Janine should do another movie like Babae at Baril (directed by Rae Red) for which she won Best Actress awards (from FAMAS, Urian, QCinema and Urduja).

“Ganda ng kuwento,” gushed Janine. “People have been asking me how I internalized for the role since I never held a gun all my life. The role was beautifully described in the script, buong-buo. I just followed it. We also did workshops under Tita Ruby Ruiz. Direk Rae helped me understand the character better.”

Janine has always been independent. Even before the pandemic, Janine has been living alone in her own condo unit in Mandaluyong City. Her brother Diego (also now with ABS-CBN; they are together on the Sunday show ASAP Natin ‘To, now airing on Cignal-TV5) is staying with their dad, Ramon Christopher, in Fairview, Quezon City, while their two other siblings are with Lotlot and her husband Fadi El Soury in Parañaque City where Rayver also lives. When Janine visits her mom, she and Rayver see each other (although they keep in touch via calls, texting and Skype-ing).

“Living alone, especially during this pandemic, is a learning experience,” admitted Janine. “Pre-pandemic, I used to have a kasambahay who helped me with the household chores. Now, I have learned to cook, to clean my place and to do the laundry. ‘Yung mga sinampay ko andoon pa sa balkonahe (foyer). The pandemic is helping me grow up.”

She and Rayver are both 31. No plan of settling down yet?

“We are both focused muna on our careers.”

They have been going steady for more than two years.

“It’s been smooth-sailing so far.”

No fights?

“None. So boring, no? Hahaha! Malaking ginhawa.”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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