By Ana Villanueva Lykes
WHILE we love to hate Kris Aquino for constantly crying on TV, she is laughing her way to the bank. Although we find her pathetic, she is one of highest-paid celebrities in the country, earning about 150 million pesos in 2011 alone. And there is nothing pathetic about that.
This drama queen can teach us a lot about money, relationships, journalism, politics, good citizenship, and the art of Taglish. She is a role model on what to do and what not to do to achieve success in life.
Sobbing to success
We all know Krissy too well, not only because we’ve watched her grow up from a quiet girl to one of the most powerful celebrities, but also because we had mourned for her while she stood by her hero father’s final resting place. That was the first time we saw her tears. We cried with her too when she laid her beloved mother to rest.
But the tears never stopped as we followed her on her trail of failed relationships. And before long, our tears dried up and sympathy turned to irritation. We cradled her like a daughter when she was orphaned, but she has turned into a whiny little brat who cries at the mere poke of a playmate. The problem is that she tends to choose mates that don’t play nice. There’s the bad boy of Philippine movies, then her live-in married partner with whom she bore a love child, and the gun-toting comedian who supposedly gave her STD.
Desperately seeking love, she turned to a basketball player, 11 years her junior, and entered a whole new ballgame called marriage which crumbled over time. There were other affairs in between, the most recent one was with the child actor-turned-mayor, an affair which ended quickly with Kris chopping her hair off. Through all these, the sniffing under the spotlight never stopped.
In spite of the shameful tears, she upholds shining qualities that many of us can only try to emulate – honesty, humility, and courage. While many of us hide our failures in shame, she bravely admits defeat –in public. Perhaps this is part of the reason why we dislike her. We see ourselves in her, our stupidity – yes she has gone as far as claim that she has been “stupid” in matters of the heart.
Even the women’s group Gabriela applauds her for her candor. “Kris has broken the Filipino women’s culture of silence on domestic violence,” announced a Gabriela representative. “We admire her courage and we hope more women will learn to fight back.”
As we make fun of her, unknowingly, we are contributing to her continuously fattening bank account. After all, we are her audience. She won’t talk without us listening. And while she’s lamenting under the limelight, she also swears by Pantene and claims that she may be unlucky in love so far, but she is fortunate with Lucky Me. And we’re buying it.
She is one of the top endorsers in the country – if not the top. You will see her everywhere: TV, billboards, magazines, and your cupboard. Even the OFWs are wanting to wear what she’s wearing during one of her TFC shows.
Her manager, Deo Endrinal, explained to Yes Magazine that “Kris… has always been transparent… [and] there is always an attempt at authenticity.”
She also chooses her products wisely. “My mom taught me to place importance on something that the masses can identify with… something of quality as well and is consumer-friendly,” she said in one interview.
The Kris Aquino brand extends beyond commercials. Not only is she a drama queen but she is also the Queen of All Media, dabbling into different avenues of entertainment from talk shows to game shows, TV dramas, and movies. She also has her own magazine called K and a home collection called K Everyday aside from several business ventures and movies she co-produced.
Criticize her all you want, but she is several millions ahead of you. She is also being lauded by the BIR for being a model citizen, beating Filipino US dollar-billionaires on the Forbes list as one of the leading taxpayers in 2011.
The Kris brand
Surely, there is more to her success than just tears and celibacy (she recently admitted she hasn’t had sex in a while). She claims her name is her asset, and she’s not talking about the Aquino name, her title as the daughter of two of the country’s beloved icons of democracy and as the sister of the current president.
She is talking about herself as a woman who bares all. She is also talking about herself as a professional who shows up to work no matter how tired she is – even when her heart is breaking. In fact, she revealed during her presentation for the 6th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit, that “this is my 22nd straight day of work na walang day off.”
What is her motivation? “I learned to have a purpose,” she replied in Tagalog. “I’m lucky because I go home to two people every day who give me strength no matter how tired I am.”
And while she gives advice on what to do, we can also learn from her on what not to do, because even when her transparency has catapulted her popularity, using our personal life to further our career may not be the best advice.
While many work hard to leave work in the workplace when they go home, she takes home to work, including her sons. Bimby, her youngest, is already reaping millions at a young age in his first movie, My Little Bossings, a movie she co-produced.
She also brings her brood to her interviews, making seemingly innocent remarks in the background. In an interview with Andrew Garfield for the Spiderman movie, Bimby reportedly piped out that her mother fell asleep while watching the film. Maybe to cover up for her embarrassment, she goes ahead and boasts how Bimby’s movie beat Spiderman in the box office.
Apparently success can really get in one’s head as she tells Jamie Foxx that she is the Oprah of the Philippines. As Queen of Talk like her idol, she talks for sure, whether she’s the interviewee or the interviewer. She said so herself in an interview with Inday Badiday.
“Masyado akong vocal about things so sana I’ll learn to control myself. As my mom says na sana mag-tone down ako…”
Whether she tones down or not, we need to listen, because we have a lot to learn. And if we can’t stand her, we need to learn to tolerate her. After all, she may be the next president of the Philippines. (May 31, 2014)