One of the rare personalities seen seven times a week on television — as a mainstay of “It’s Showtime” and a dancefloor queen on “ASAP Natin ‘To” — Kim Chiu is also one of the few in her generation to successfully juggle genres on the small and big screens.
Chiu is the epitome of a multi-hyphenate in showbiz -- she’s a host, dancer, recording artist, and an in-demand endorser who, after two years, is finally set to return to acting via the big-screen romance “Always.”
That still-growing list is certainly an achievement, for someone who once considered herself “talentless.”
Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Chiu recalled entering “Pinoy Big Brother” in 2006 without any expectations of evolving into a total performer.
“Sixteen years ago, sumali lang talaga ako ng ‘PBB’ dahil gusto ko lang makita sa TV. Pangarap ko ‘yun noong bata pa ako,” Chiu said, referring to her winning stint in the reality’s show’s first teen edition.
“Wala talaga akong talent ever! Hindi ako sumasayaw, hindi ako kumakanta, hindi ako umaarte. Naisip ko, ‘PBB’ was a perfect show na puwede kong salihin, kasi hindi naman siya ‘Star Circle Quest,’ hindi naman siya artista search. As myself lang ako doon. So confident talaga ako na kaya ko ang ‘PBB.’ Bahay-bahay lang pala, e!” she said, laughing.
Emerging as the edition’s “Big Winner,” Chiu not only won a fortune and a wide fanbase, but also opportunities to hone her talent, or at least discover which ones she had.
“Hindi naman ako magaling in one particular talent. Inisip ko na lang, ‘Gagawin ko na lang lahat!’ Tingnan ko na lang kung saan ako magiging magaling. Kasi hindi talaga, e. Inaral ko na lang lahat!” she said.
“Lahat ng workshop, pinupuntahan ko lahat ‘yun, kasi, sabi ko, ‘Mr. M, hindi po ako talented,’” she recounted, referring to Star Magic founder Johnny Manahan. “Dahil diyan, pinasukan ko lahat ng workshop! Except ‘yung Tagalog workshop! Para sa mga English-speaking iyon, e.”
Chiu diligently attended workshops for dancing, singing, and acting — which would all serve her well as “Queen of the Dancefloor,” “Mr. Right” hitmaker, and teleserye royalty.
She opted for a modest answer when asked which aspect she considers herself most competent in. “Hindi ako magaling talaga. Ako ay jack of all trades. Kaya ko lang lahat, pero hindi ako ‘yung top 1! Pero okay na ako doon, kasi at least nagawa ko,” Chiu said.
In her checklist of genres as an actress, Chiu can boast ticking comedy, romcom, horror, thriller, romance, and drama. Two years after her last film, the horror title “U-Turn,” Chiu relishes the chance to return to romance drama via “Always.”
An adaptation of the 2011 South Korean film of the same title, “Always” sees Chiu paired anew with her real-life partner Xian Lim. Premiering September 28, the Dado Lumibao movie follows the love story of a blind woman, Anna (Chiu), and Lino (Lim), who disappears just after she regains her vision.
For Chiu, “Always” is a gift for her and Lim’s loyal fans, who have followed “KimXi” since it was formed via the 2011 teleserye “My Binondo Girl.” That they continue to support the reel and real-life couple more than a decade later is “amazing” for Chiu, who pointed out that her projects with Lim are now few and far between.
“Hanggang ngayon nandiyan pa rin sila. Ang tagal na naming walang project, e. Pero nandiyan pa rin sila. Naa-amaze lang kami ni Xian, na ‘yung support talaga nila is really solid. They’ve been waiting for this movie comeback, at happy kami na mabibigyan namin sila ng regalo for supporting us all these years,” she said.
Despite her proven versatility in the past 16 years, Chiu isn’t resting on her laurels. Once believing she has no talent to share, the multi-hyphenate now sees showbiz as an ever-expanding world with opportunities just waiting to be seized.
“Masyadong malawak ang mundo ng showbiz. Ang laki-laki ng mundo niya, so ang dami-dami mong puwedeng gawin. Pero depende na rin sa opportunity na binibigay sa ‘yo at pinagkakatiwala sa ‘yo,” she said.