Who’s afraid of Cherie Gil?

Published July 5, 2020, 12:50 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

The award-winning actress holds her first-ever masterclass

MASTERCLASS As an artist, Cherie Gil draws from deep in her gut to enunciate emotions and to articulate feelings, but more than acting lessons, her masterclass is an exploration of the complexity of life

“You are nothing but a second-rate, trying hard, copy-cat!”

“Hindi naman ako kapirasong buto na pwede mong balik-balikan kapag wala kang makain (I’m not a piece of bone you can go back to when you’re hungry).”

These are just two of her remarkable lines from numerous movies she starred in in her 45-year career in the Philippine entertainment industry. And now, for the first time ever, the ASEAN International Film Festival Best Actress awardee, CherieGil, will hold a masterclass. 

In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, the Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actress shares details about this online class and what the participants may expect from it. 

Not an acting workshop

Holding a masterclass is something new for the 57-year-old actress. Cherie shares that she has been working hard to prepare for this. “I am intensely preparing for it with full commitment,” she says. “In this masterclass, I will provide a space for safe discussion, interaction, exploration (through worksheets) and introspection (through exercises). It will be more of a theoretical and experiential discovery of self, through my personally designed syllabus.” 

She then clarifies that this lecture series is not an acting workshop. Based on the syllabus, the Madrid International Film Festival Best Lead Actress in Foreign Film will tackle the business of acting, finding inspiration, understanding the good kind of ego, and a lot more. 

Cherie Gil and Sharon Cuneta in the iconic film Bituing Walang Ningning

“They will all be welcomed into my room in a more intimate fashion as we won’t need to wear masks,” she says. “Here, I will be identifying and addressing some tools and concepts of acting—again, it is not an acting class.” 

Picking the brain of a master

Even though she has been in the industry for decades with numerous awards under her belt, Cherie humbly admits she is still learning about the craft of acting. “As in life, the learning and growing never ends. It’s the desire to continue that needs to be constantly awakened,” she says. “And that too is what we will be exploring in the class. There is still so much to learn from each other—that’s why I prefer not to address the first batch of participants as ‘students.’”

Despite her natural knack for acting, the FAMAS Awards (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards) Best Actress believes that the capability to act is not something that is limited to chosen individuals, instead, it is a skill that can be learned. 

“Everything can be learned as long as one sets his mind and heart to it. There is also no age limit to learning anything,” she continues. “Acting—what is it really but reliving lives and telling their stories. But this requires a lot of work to excavate the instrument to be able to truthfully do just that. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of balls to share one’s personal inner sanctum.”

The masterclass

Cherie’s masterclass will start on July 7. Classes will be held three times a week between 3 and 6 p.m. “I hope I can impart enough of my own knowledge from my 45-year experience, using acting tools and concepts in every area of their [participants’] lives creatively,” she says. “They can look forward to a safe place where they can all be their most authentic selves.”

She encourages the delegates to bring pens and notebooks when they attend her class. She also shares that this lecture is open to participants 18 years old and above. 

“I chose to work with those 18 and up because it will be a whole different playground. It would require a more analytical approach and the willingness to delve introspectively,” the FAP (Film Academy of the Philippines) Award Best Supporting Actress says. “So far, I have received an amazing mix of registrants—from professional actors, one with an MFA, an accountant, to a housewife. I couldn’t be any more excited.” 

Apart from generously sharing her experience to the delegates of this program, part of the proceeds will go to Save Our Schools Networks. This will benefit 73 Lumad students together with their teachers and elders who are currently staying on campus at the University of the Philippines—Diliman. 

“They are the Lumad children of Mindanao. I have a soft spot for them and for education. I am an advocate of many issues, from the environment, mental health, to education. For this particular venture, I chose SOS,” she says. 

Cherie then gives a message to the participants of her masterclass. “Welcome to my wrath and be ready for a roller ride,” she ends. 

To join her class, sign up here.