Toni Gonzaga appears as one of the most confident personalities on TV – may it be in hosting, singing, or acting – but it wasn’t always that way for the Ultimate Multimedia Star.
Some 15 years ago, when she was just starting out in the business, Toni got insecure about how she looked and performed in front of the camera, as she reveals in Cosmopolitan Philippines’ current issue, where she’s the cover girl.
“Puro mestiza ang artista dati! In this business, beauty is such a prime commodity, na big deal dapat namaganda ka,” she recalls. “It felt as if there was no room for an ordinary looking Pinay, which I knew I was, so sabi ko sa sarili ko, paano kaya ako ma no-notice?”
She adds, “My insecurity was so huge that when I transferred to ABS[-CBN], tapos nali-link sa akin ang mga leading men ko, and may ligaw-ligaw, nahihiya ako.”
Fortunately, she has found a support system in her family.
“My dad, he's really smart, says, 'Work on your personality, on your inner beauty, because that is transcendent. Mas may longevity 'yon,’” Toni says of her father, Carlito Gonzaga.
However, it came to a point where she thought of undergoing cosmetic surgery to wash those insecurities away.
It was her father who talked some sense to her.
“Siyempre, dumating ako sa point na magpapagawa ako, kaya lang my dad said, 'Ano ba, embrance your uniqueness, how can people appreciate you if you can't even appreciate yourself?’” Toni confesses.
Slowly but surely, the multi-hyphenate Kapamilya star learned to appreciate herself – flaws and all.
“Tsina-channel ko si [‘90s supermodel] Cristina Garcia, kung dati ayoko sa panga ko, ngayon ito na ang asset ko!,” she remarks.
Learning the hard way is what may well be what she exactly needed in order to strengthen her core.
“If you stay long enough in this crazy, cruel business, you learn what value. Now, it’s not what I can do, but why I do what I do. The important thing to me in this journey is not to lose myself in the process,” Toni muses.
She adds, “This has always been my dream – dati I only wanted one album, I didn’t even think I’d get this far, but I fought about it, and I realized, maybe my dream was fulfilled not just because of me. Maybe it will inspire others ‘ordinary-looking’ girls that if I could do it, what will stop them from doing it too?”
Aside from “Starting Over Again,” the box office actress has landed lead roles in several other Star Cinema films, namely “D' Anothers,” “You Are The One,” “You Got Me,” “My Big Love,” “My Only U,” “Ang Tanging Pamilya,” “My Amnesia Girl,” “Wedding Tayo, Wedding Hindi,” “This Guy's In Love With You Mare,” and “Four Sisters and A Wedding.”
Read the rest of Toni’s inspiring story on Cosmopolitan Philippines’ August 2014 issue.
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