Sue Ramirez has been doing quite a lot for her career in recent times. Fresh from the success of her first-ever solo concert Sue Ramirez is Rock Chic, the actress-singer continued shooting for one of her four movies Cuddle Weather, which is an entry in the 2019 Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP).
In fact, right before her shoot and interview for pikapika.ph, she came from the shooting of her other movie Kid Alpha 1, which ended at 5:30 in the morning. After taking a bit of rest for several hours, she went straight to the photoshoot to be dolled up and posed fiercely in the lights and lenses of the camera.
With these recent achievements, Sue looks like she has been living the life in show business right now. However, for her, life in the entertainment industry is not all glamorous as everyone thought it is.
“It’s really, really not what you expect it to be,” she says. “It’s not the super glamorous na buhay na iniisip ng mga tao. It’s maybe one of the most unglamorous jobs. Maybe, you find it glamorous because we have to put on make-up all the time but andami naming kailangan gawin para sa trabaho namin na ’to.”
“May mga artistang kailangan gumapang sa putik, may mga artistang binibilad sa araw nang matagal, mga artistang ginagahasa sa sagingan ng alas siyete ng umaga the next day of shoot o taping,” she continues to narrate. “Hindi talaga siya sobrang dali. ’Yun ’yong gusto kong maintindihan ng mga tao. When they look at us, it seems like our job is so easy when it’s definitely not.”
Yet, despite having a prosaic perspective on show business, Sue pushed herself to love the craft she fell in, finding her passion for such.
“I really had to find my passion about it,” she answered. “I had to really fall in love with it, and that’s what I did.”
Although, before we all knew her as the actress and the certified Rock Chic, Sue was a simple girl who enjoys playing outside and switched the television to music channels and jammed to the beat of every song.
“I loved to sing,” she began narrating. “I used to watch MYX or MTV or Channel V all the time after I get off from school.”
That was the childhood of Sue back then. A life where playing patintero, going to school, going home, and watching performances of acclaimed singers like Ne-Yo and Lady Gaga was where she found her simple joys in life.
If you asked her back then, showbiz was not really part of her goals in life. Never did Sue imagine that she would be in tapings and stages, entertaining the crowd. Her dream back in high school was to become a doctor or a lawyer. It was only in 2010 when she thought of trying out for Star Magic, the training and management subsidiary of ABS-CBN.
“I actually just tried it out lang kasi may napanood akong commercial on TV,” she recalls. “May auditions for Star Magic, pipila kayo sa ganyan, so sabi ko ‘Why not give it a try?’ kasi kumakanta naman ako. Tsaka ’di ba kapag mestiza ka, mga tita mo [sinasabi nila] ‘Huy, mag artista ka naman!’ So, trinay ko.”
THE START OF A JOURNEY
Curiosity was her number one motivator that pushed her to try in showbiz. Her family was all support for her decision at the time so she went straight to the Star Magic auditions, despite the nervousness. Sue recalled the effort she had to go through upon arriving at the audition grounds, recollecting that she was 697th in line.
“Six AM pa lang, nandoon na kami ta’s andami na agad nakapila noong time na ’yon, ta’s mga 11PM na rin ako natapos,” Sue remembers of that long day. “Wala akong cellphone, wala akong perang kadala-dala. Kasi akala ko mabilis lang ’yong mga ganu’n-gano’n! Wala naman akong background at all.”
“Pumasok pa ate ko para ipahiram niya phone niya sa akin,” she went on. “Binigyan ako ng P100 pambili ko ng pagkain. Ang daming pangyayari doon sa loob pero siguro tinakda talaga [’yon] ni Lord. Kasi p’wede akong napagod ta’s umuwi na lang ako sa sobrang haba ng pinila ko doon, pero hindi ko napansin ’yong oras. [...] Ayun, nandito na ko.”
Sue entered the audition room with her singing talent in tow. When the judges asked about her talent, she belted out Angels Brought Me Here by Guy Sebastian and Dahil Minahal Mo Ako by Sarah Geronimo which rewarded her eight callbacks from Star Magic.
Anxiety erupted when Sue saw her co-auditionees disappearing one by one each callback until the time came when all who were left auditioning with her were now-huge stars Coleen Garcia and Daniel Padilla.
After the final callback, Sue started walking home and, to her surprise, was chased by a representative from Star Magic who asked if she could do a workshop. Sue immediately agreed, who then began attending free workshops on ballet, jazz, singing, and acting until she was given an opportunity to audition for her first major television appearance.
After numerous auditions, Sue was slated to appear in the teen variety show Shoutout!, her first television appearance where she got to showcase her skills in acting and singing while being paired with Paul Salas.
However, describing what she felt when she was about to make her first TV appearance, Sue says it was not what she expected at all.
“Hindi ko in-expect na ’yong mga taong nakikita ko sa TV, makikita ko rin dito harap-harap ta’s makakausap ko,” she explains. “Nakasama ko mga Goin’ Bulilit kids, sina Miles (Ocampo), sina Jane (Oineza), so s’yempre childhood ko ’yon eh. Kahit magkaka-edad kami, iba ’yong respeto at tingin ko sa kanila. Nakaka-overwhelm ’yong pakiramdam, nagpa-picture ako kay Enchong (Dee), nagpa-picture ako kay Robi (Domingo), so may mga ganyang fangirl moments ako talaga.”
That same year, she was given more opportunities to act with her first teleserye taping through the Oka2kat, the stand-alone sequel to the 1997 paranormal drama !Oka Tokat. Sue admits that she got scared on the first day of taping because she never taped any scenes on-cam.
“Nasa set ako from 6AM hanggang mapack-up ako ng madaling araw, walang nakuha na eksena sa akin,” she says. “Nakaka-trauma siya for a first-timer.”
BASKING IN SUCCESS
However, despite her fears, Sue continued on with acting and got her first teleserye appearance aired last 2011 in the form of Mula Sa Puso which she starred in alongside JM De Guzman, Enrique Gil, and Lauren Young. After that, teleseryes showered Sue with opportunities. Through the years, the actress bagged supporting roles from shows like Annaliza, All of Me, Pangkayo Sa’yo, My Dear Heart, and Hanggang Saan.
However, despite being flooded with blessings by her teleserye gigs, there came a time where Sue felt like she did not want to be in showbiz anymore, especially when her father passed away back in 2013.
“I grew up with a sick father,” she says. “My dad passed away when I was 17-years-old and that’s when parang nawalan ako ng purpose of why I’m doing it kasi I was doing it (showbiz) to help somehow sa gastusin. ’Yong namatay ’yong dad ko, na-lost ’yong track ko. Saan ba ko pupunta? Tama pa ba na nandito ako kung wala ng purpose.”
She goes on explaining: “A lot of people [who] want to be in this industry, they don’t know the consequences and all the sacrifices that you have to make just to stay in the industry for this long. I’ve been here for 9 years, and hindi talaga madali.”
Despite the sacrifices she had to go through, Sue realized that she is already in the industry, and she would not want to let an opportunity like this be taken from her hands.
“The purpose will be not only for anybody else but for me,” she says. “Kailangan mo talaga siyang gustuhin. You really have to want it, kasi if you’re half-hearted about it, just stay home, do something else. Don’t even think about getting into this industry ‘cause ’pag ’di mo siya talaga ginusto, kakainin ka ng buhay ng industriyang ito.”
Indeed, Sue is loving her career these days because of the many blessings it gives her. Right now, apart from shooting four movies and a teleserye, she enjoys life as a billboard and commercial model and one of many performers who has headlined the Music Museum with her first solo concert.
RETURNING TO HER FIRST LOVE
As the shoot goes on, Sue cannot contain herself from singing the songs being played in the background. As Sarah Geronimo and Taylor Swift majestically serenade the people in the room, Sue joins in with her beautiful voice, while posing in every flash of the camera.
Sue has made a name for herself in the industry as an actress, but in the past, only some knew about her ability to sing. However, after Sue Ramirez Is Rock Chic made its rightful place as a successful concert back in July 2019, lots of people became aware of how Sue rocks it out as a performer.
“It was amazing. I just really wish I had more time to rehearse,” she describes of the concert. “I had like a just a couple of rehearsals for it pero siguro kung mas madami, mas maganda ’yong kinalabasan. Though, I’m very very contented, I’m very, very happy with the outcome. Music Museum, ang daming artist na ang nag-perform doon and I’m in line with all of those amazing artists. It’s just a huge honor for me.”
The actress-singer expressed gratitude over the concert’s director, Frank Lloyd Mamaril, who was the one who urged her to do a major solo concert.
“He saw something in me na siguro walang ibang nakakita,” she spoke of Direk Frank. “He was the one who really took the chance and gave the chance to really share my talent and passion for music which was actually the real motivation to get me into show business, kasi mahilig talaga ako kumanta.”
Sue then recalled the way she was offered to do the concert, who originally did not have any confidence that she can have a jampacked show in the famous performing center.
“’Yong tinanong na ako, parang tinaga ako. Sabi ko ‘Kaya ko kayang punuin ang Music Museum? Who’s gonna watch me?’ People barely know that I sing.” she says. Maybe the people who would watch me are the people who really knew me and sabi ko, ‘Oh my God! Bakit ba ako nagpa-panic? E, ‘yon naman ang mahalaga.’ ’Yong mga taong manonood sa’yo ’yong mga taong sumusuporta at nagmamahal sa’yo at kilala ka talaga.”
Doubts started to seep into Sue’s head just as she was about to accept the offer of doing a full-on concert but chose to pursue it for the reason that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance and not everybody gets to have an opportunity such as the one being handed to her.
“Successful naman ’yong naging concert,” she proudly announced. “All the people who watched, I think, really enjoyed it. It’s very personal, very close to my heart because most of the people there were people that I knew and the people who really supported and know me too. ’Yon naman mahalaga at the end of the day: ’yong mga taong nakakakilala sa’yo. It doesn’t really matter what other people say about you as long as the people who know you support you.”
Yet, right now, she has no plans of pursuing full-time as she is busy with her endorsement and acting projects, especially Cuddle Weather which premieres in cinemas today August 13.
The Regal Entertainment flick directed by Rod Marmol follows Adela Johnson (Ramirez), an experienced sex worker, who meets Ram (RK Bagatsing), a newbie callboy, who she takes under her wing to teach her what is in store in her industry. It is all fun and games until one wants more than just loveless lovemaking.
“It’s one of the bravest roles I’ve ever had to take,” Sue reflects. “It’s a very new thing for me to do, and bago rin ’to sa mata ng tao na makikita nilang gagawin ko. It’s a risk, and it’s a risk I’m willing to take. I want to show people that I am an artist, not just a celebrity. Whatever you guys want me to do, I do it for you.”
The actress pursued the role of Adela because, for her, at this point in her career, she wants to take on roles that she is afraid to do, roles that will make her think, roles that are something new and she has never done before.
“It’s very different. The script is beautiful. Kung ’di ako ’yong gagawa nito, sinong gagawa nito?” she says. “’Yon na ’yong inisip ko talaga. I really really wanted to do it. First pitching pa lang nila, nagulat ako.”
Her jaw dropped when during the first pitching of the movie, she was told that she was going to play a sex worker. Without hesitation, Sue accepted the role.
“I’m a very open minded person,” she says. “Wala akong malisya sa katawan, so this is so perfect for me. I can change anywhere, I’m telling you. I don’t really sexualize my body. Ito na talaga ’yong project na matagal ko na rin hinihintay, but it came exactly at the right time.”
“’Wala kaming ibang makitang gagawa nitong role na ’to kundi ikaw,’” Sue recalled being told by the film’s writer-director Rod Marmol, which she finds an honor. Sue remains thankful that she became part of the film, which is now part of the 2019 PPP which makes it the actress even prouder of the movies she had done in the past. This has been the second time her movie was part of the acclaimed film festival, the first one being Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wi-Fi with Jameson Blake.
“Two years in a row kasali ’yong mga movies na kabilang ako,” she proudly says. “I’m really, really proud and whatever happens, I’m going to be proud of the movies I will do ’cause I know they’re really different.”
Indeed, this role is different from every character Sue has done in the past. In fact, to get to know her character better, she and co-star RK Bagatsing met with sex workers to understand why they do what they do.
“It really was a shift sa mindset ko din,” she recalls. “It really opened my mind. This is their profession. This is what they have to do for a living. This is what they have to do to eat, to support their families. Lahat ng bagay na pinaghihirapan ng tao, hindi ko idya-judge, so mas nabuksan ng pelikula na ’to ’yong isip ko.”
Indeed, the Kapamilya actress enjoyed filming, especially when she had a cast and crew that made her feel comfortable in every way. She began praising her co-star RK, whom at first she did not know what to expect from because she only met him through this movie.
“’Yon siguro ’yong pinaka-challenging on taking on this role,” she reveals. “When you work on a maselan role like this, it has to be with someone you’re comfortable with, maybe someone who is familiar to you para ’di ka na maiilang, but even on the first day, RK did not give me any reason to be uncomfortable. If it was somebody else, hindi ko alam kung ano magiging outcome. But because it was RK, it was very comfortable, walang malisya, and walang ilang. Alam ko na safe ako sa lahat ng ginagawa ko.”
And to conclude the interview, the actress vows that we will see a different Sue Ramirez once viewers lay their eyes on the Cuddle Weather flick, even something she has not yet seen before.
“Hands down and a pat on the back for myself for just finishing it and getting through with all I had to go through, for this movie,” she proudly says. “I’m so excited na mapanood ’to ng mga tao. This is gonna make you laugh very hard. I hope this opens people’s minds, how they see things, how they look at people, how they judge people. Lahat tayo may pinagdadaanan and, at the end of the day, we just want somebody there.”
She then gives a teaser as to what to expect from her character Adela, who gives company but does not receive one back.
“Si Adela, sex worker siya. Nagpapaligaya siya ng lalaki for a living, pero walang nagpapaligaya sa kanya. She’s alone in a bed, ang kayakap niya unan. Imagine mo ’yong buhay na ganyan, di ba? Nagbibigay-aliw ka para sa kabuhayan mo pero wala namang nagpapasaya sa’yo. Ang lungkot, ang lungkot.”
As Cuddle Weather premieres in local cinemas today, Sue remains thankful for opportunities coming her way. The actress proudly announces that apart from Cuddle Weather, she is also filming three movies and an unnamed ABS-CBN teleserye. These blessings will continue to keep the hustle and bustle of her already-booming career in show business.
And with these triumphs in tow, does Sue believe she finally made it in showbiz?
“I have made it in showbiz in 2010,” she says. “Not because you’re given small roles, not because you’re not as big as the other artistas doesn’t mean you haven’t made it. You’re already in the industry now, the problem is how you’re going to stay. It doesn’t matter how big you are, it’s how long you stay is what really matters to me. So, if I have to do supporting roles until the end of my career, then I’d be happy to do so.”
TEXT & INTERVIEW: Adam Laurena
PHOTOGRAPHY: Stephen Capuchino
ART DIRECTION: Jobo Antonio B. Nacpil
STYLING: Ryuji Shiomitsu
MAKE-UP: Julius R. Cabanisas
HAIR: Julia Fresh
BTS VIDEO: Melo Balingit
SPECIAL THANKS: Regal Films, Regal Entertainment, and Aiz Domingo