MANILA, Philippines -- "It wasn't a quick rise to fame. I had to accept all the roles I could back in the day para makilala. And it paid off."
Now one of the most sought-after actresses of her generation, Anne Curtis has the pleasure of deciding on some aspects of her projects, as opposed to being simply "assigned" to take on certain roles.
During a press conference held Thursday night for the upcoming ABS-CBN drama series "Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw", the 27-year-old actress said she had been offered once to portray a mother in a film, but declined.
"Before a 'Secret Affair' kasi, there was a script that was given to me na ayokong tanggapin, kasi may anak, na anak talaga," Curtis said, referring to a film she topbilled in 2012.
"I said, 'Boss Vic (del Rosario, founder of Viva Entertainment) not for anything, but coming from 'No Other Woman' (2011), baka it's a drastic jump. Baka pwedeng young? Young-young muna, ta's tsaka na tayo mag-move on when I'm a little older.
"Kapag nag-anak kasi, that means you're ready for mother roles. So at least ngayon, pinapapakinggan na ko ni Boss Vic, mas open na siya," she related.
Curtis credits having a say in such matters to some 15 years of "waiting" to make it big in show business.
'Rise to fame'
In the years following her debut film in 1997, Curtis had to do with supporting roles in TV and her subsequent big-screen projects.
The year 2004 marked her slow-but-sure rise as "national sweetheart" -- a tag associated with her since she started hosting the noontime variety program "Showtime" (2009), where she endeared the "madlang people" with her candidness and comedic antics.
Curtis has since starred in around 7 TV series, topbilled numerous blockbusters films -- including "No Other Woman," the current third highest grossing local film -- and even headlined her own concert tour.
In 2008, she won her first Best Actress trophy (Metro Manila Film Festival) for her portrayal in the historical drama "Baler". Her "No Other Woman" role also earned her another Best Actress trophy (FAMAS) in 2012.
"Now, I'm so happy na finally binibigyan ako ng pelikula na may substance, dati kasi hindi. At least now I have a say in the role, I have a say in the script.
"Dati kasi parang, and I think I speak for all of us mga artista, parang wala kang choice, kailangan mong gawin. Na sa kontrata mo, kailangan mo gumawa ng dalawang pelikula, kailangan mong gawin. Pero ngayon, may say na 'ko," she said.
Curtis' say in her career now extends to suggesting possible co-stars in her movie projects. She related on Thursday that she had expressed interest to Viva Entertainment to co-star with actors outside of its talent agency's stable of contract artists.
On the small screen, the actress is set to topbill a new series with renowned showbiz personalities.
Whereas she played supporting roles to Robin Padilla in her teens, Curtis now co-stars with the actor in "Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw". The two are joined in the series by Kris Aquino.
Directed by Malu Sevilla and Joyce Bernal, "Kailangan Ko'y Ikaw" will premiere on ABS-CBN on January 21.
The soap also features actors Ian Veneracion, Smokey Manaloto, Emilio Garcia and Lito Pimentel, as well as child star Xyriel Manabat.