Let us first establish the name. You’ve had several changes— from Krista Valle to Krista
Sullivan to Bela Padilla. Why the complication?
I was launched as Krista Valle in Star Magic because the guy who discovered me had the surname Valle, and they took it from there, but my real name is Krista Sullivan. My dad is British and mom is Filipina. The first name was more a management decision, they thought it had a ring to it; I was 16 at the time so I really didn’t have a say on it. But when I had a chance I asked them if I could use my real name instead, so I started using Krista Sullivan for guestings and the like. When I moved to GMA, they wanted to give me a stronger name because they thought Krista Sullivan was too reserved and quiet and foreign—and that was really my personality then; I was shy. Plus there was another Krista [Ranillo] in showbiz already.
Some say the name makes the person—that we take on the meaning or attributes of our names, like if it means “a brave person” then somehow you take on that quality. Did those name changes change your personality in some way?
I guess the GMA management was right. When they gave me “Bela Padilla” I started to get my
confidence. It did make me a stronger person. It was a totally different name that I could play with. It’s really like a different character—I’m Krista Sullivan at home and Bela Padilla in front of the camera. I’m a Padilla because my mom is the sister of Ms. Eva Cariño, Robin Padilla’s mom.
How shy and foreign were you back then?
I was the only kid in my batch who was blond—it’s my hair’s natural color, I darken it for TV—and really white. I had a lot of friends but I didn’t do anything that made me stand out in school. Say, if they needed performers I wouldn’t volunteer. I was okay to blend in. For someone who wants to be in showbiz that seems weird but back then I didn’t know I wanted to be in showbiz.
Why didn’t you know and how did you finally know that you wanted to be in this business?
I really just wanted to be someone who could express her mind. I had wanted to be a journalist, mainly I was thinking I could be the next Korina Sanchez, so my internal mantra was “I want to be a broadcaster.” I did take Journalism as an elective in my senior year in high school and it happened that I was discovered when we had a field trip at ABS-CBN for the journalism elective. Charo Santos’s son and Jet Valle saw me, approached, and asked if I wanted to be an artista for Star Magic. But I didn’t think that they [ABS-CBN] were going
to keep me for long because I was just shocked by the pool of talent—everyone was so good. Until now I’m grateful to ABS-CBN for the training they gave me. Now you can put me anywhere and I know I’m ready. I think that’s were it all started; I realized that if I can do this might as well be good at it. My contract with ABS-CBN expired and my manager Claire De La Fuente took me to GMA, and that’s why I’m with GMA now.
They approached you as complete strangers. Did you ask them “why me”?
I thought it was a joke. My first notion was because I was blond and white, so they saw me from afar. They approached me about a month before my high school graduation. I asked permission from my mom and dad because I thought that kind of opportunity doesn’t knock on
everyone’s door, so when something like that comes it’s time for you to take it. They said I could, after I graduated high school. I graduated last day of March, they called first day of April and told me to join the workshops for Star Magic.
There must have been a part of you that wanted celebrity even though you had it in you to just “blend in.”
I guess so. I knew I danced well. I was a cheerleader, so that was already a plus for me. Plus I loved the movies in the sense that I was intrigued by the process of acting; I’ve always wondered how the actresses did it, so I wanted to give it a try.
Your background is a bit more cosmopolitan than most of your contemporaries—your dad moves
in international business circles, you’ve traveled a lot, was in a foreigners class in high school— how do you blend in the masa world of showbiz?
It has been hard. I’m thankful that mine is not the Cinderella story so I’m used to what I’m getting. I see some of my batchmates in showbiz change after they’ve gotten some of the material things that this job affords them. You don’t have to do that. It’s supposed to be the other way around—the moment you start earning more, you should be even more kind. Also, one of the first things I learned in showbiz is that people can be very loud. They talk too loud, they laugh too loud, and this boggles my mind up to now. I think they’re in constant need for attention.
FOR BELA PADILLA'S FULL INTERVIEW, GRAB THE 12TH ANNIVERSARY MARCH 2012 ISSUE OF FHM!
INTERVIEW: ALLAN P. HERNANDEZ
STYLING: ALYANNA MARTINEZ
STYLIST'S ASSISTANT: PATRICIA SAGUIL
MAKEUP FOR MS. PADILLA: CHA CUYONG
HAIR: JEMELSON CELESTINO
MAKEUP FOR MODELS: AMANDA PADILLA FOR MAYBELLINE, RIA AQUINO
SPECIAL THANKS TO MS. IDA HENARES, JENNY DONATO, GMA ARTIST CENTER