MANILA -- Now that Cristine Reyes has been in showbiz for two decades, she does not expect that she would last this long as an actress.
Fifteen years of that, Reyes has spent as a contract artist of Viva Entertainment. She was only 15 when she started in showbiz.
“Nagsimula ako batang-bata pa talaga ako at wala pa akong masyadong alam noon,” Reyes told ABS-CBN News. “Nakaka-overwhelm when they say na 20 years na ako sa showbiz at 15 years of that sa Viva.”
Reyes considers herself blessed to have a management like Viva. “They really trusted me kahit ako pumapalag,” she said. “ABS-CBN trusted me with teleseryes like ‘Eva Fonda.’ My first show at ABS-CBN is a starring role.
“I’m really, really thankful to God for all the blessings in my career. I don’t know what I did to deserve all these blessings in my life. Now that I’m more mature, I’m just grateful to have all those blessings.
“If you compare me before, I was very much playful. I didn’t take everything seriously. Now, I appreciate everything that I have.”
After a long while, Reyes is starring in a rom-com, “Kidnap for Romance,” with Empoy Marquez. The last time she did a comedy flick was in 2018, when she starred in Don Cuaresma’s “Abay Babes,” with Nathalie Hart and Roxanne Barcelo.
Reyes is excited to work with Marquez whose flair for romantic comedy was sealed with his blockbuster flick, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s “Kita Kita,” opposite Alessandra de Rossi.
Reyes will also do a drama with Baron Geisler under the direction of “Doll House” megman Maria Ancheta.
She reprises her role as Imee Marcos in “Martyr or Murderer,” Darryl Yap’s sequel to “Maid in Malacanang,” slated to be shown starting March 1.
Reyes confirms she has plans to go international. “I do have plans, but hindi natin pwedeng ipilit ‘yun just anytime,” she said.
“Timing is important and unless there’s an offer that will be given to me, I will love to do an international project. Who doesn’t want that? But we cannot force it right away.”
Reyes also expressed her desire to try writing screenplays eventually. “There are creative things that I want to bring into film,” she said. “I’m just taking my time. Ayokong gawin ng pilit. Who knows where that will take me?”
At this point in her career, Reyes, who turned 34 last February 5, wants to work with award-winning performers, both actors and actresses.
“Number one on my list is Ms. Vilma Santos,” she said. “I also admire John Lloyd Cruz. I want to work with them in my future projects.
“Experiences in life, challenges, trials, losses, wins. I guess maturity also. With your age, you get a lot of learnings. I choose my battle wisely now.
“Now that I’m free, I’m more relaxed. I can focus on myself, with my daughter, with my life.
“I still have a lot of things to prove before I do all my plans. You will know about it. Eventually, I see myself giving back to aspiring actors.”
At the time Reyes started in showbiz two decades ago, she simply tried it out. However, if she didn’t make it then, she planned to finish school and pursue a career outside showbiz.
“I wanted to take up journalism because I also want to be a broadcast journalist, a newscaster like Mel Tiangco,” Reyes said.
She did not hide the fact she wished to have her own family and settle down. “But my marriage did not succeed, it failed.
“I prayed for my career. Kaya ko pa ba? Ang dami ng bagong pumapasok. Madami ng magagaling. That’s why I’m really thankful. Whatever I have today, I really give importance to it. Ayoko ng mawala pa.”
Reyes’ eight-year-old daughter, Amara Khatibi, is a big factor in the life decisions the actress makes.
“Amara straightened up my life,” Reyes admitted. “She is my fortress. When I’m lost, I will always go back to her. Titignan ko lang siya, parang napaka-inosente. I want to give her everything that I didn’t have.
“I’m happy that I have a child who is really very good and very intelligent. Napapatahimik ako ng anak ko when we are outside.”
Honestly, Reyes does not feel she is a single mom to Amara. “I’m happy with everything,” she said. “Gano’n siguro when you’re contented in life. Hindi ka na naghahanap ng masyadong mataas. Contented ka na kung ano ang ibigay sa ‘yo.”
She will allow Amara to enter showbiz as long as her daughter finishes school first. Amara can sing, too, so she can be a singer also one day.