Decoding the Artista Factor


WITHOUT a doubt, the Philippines is an artista-loving nation. Whatever walk of life you are from, you are not exempted to get that little jolt of kilig whenever you see celebrities in real life. And while others play it cool, most Filipinos squeal in delight, whip out their phones, and Instagram their artista experience immediately.

This phenomenon makes one wonder what it feels like to be in the limelight. Fortunately, young and promising actress Joyce Ching helped me understand what it’s like to live the dream.

Twenty-year-old Joyce started her career in GMA 7’s Bubble Gang Jr. in 2005, and soon the projects, particularly teleseryes, started flooding in. Known to produce some of the best teleseryes for TV, GMA gave Joyce lead roles in primetime shows like Anna Karenina, Paraiso Ko’y Ikaw, and most recently Strawberry Lane. These shows has catapulted her to be a household name.

When asked how she feels to be an artista, the sweet and unassuming Joyce replied, “It’s fun to be an artista in the Philippines because people get really happy when they see you in person. Whether you’re a big star already or just starting, they’re just really excited to see you. I love that I am able to make people happy effortlessly, seeing smiles on their faces is enough to make me happy.”

She also noted that just like any other jobs, hers also comes with challenges. She explained, “There are a lot of challenges. You don’t get enough rest or sleep, you always have to look good, people judge you easily, you have to play with your emotions during taping. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings just like everyone else.”

And with her typical humor, she added, “With all the sleepless nights, it’s hard to be glamorous!”

Joyce also shared that being an artista is prone to misconceptions and judgments. For example, people sometimes take her as mean or rude when she doesn’t take a photo with a fan. In defense, she explained, “That’s not true at all. There are really a lot of reasons: sometimes we’re in a hurry, or the venue doesn’t permit picture taking, or we’re really extremely tired that we didn’t hear you call our name.”

Having known Joyce personally for awhile, I can attest that snubbing is definitely not in her nature. In fact, she is actually “really shy” when away from the camera. She even wants to be a campus missionary one day.

When it comes to the temptations that are attached with her job, Joyce credits her faith in God to keep her grounded. “At the end of the day, I always go back to God. I always make sure that away from all of it, I live a simple and normal life,” she shared.

With family as her priority, Joyce often spends her days away from the camera pursuing her college degree, spending time with her family, catching up on social media like any teenager, and developing her other talents such as writing.

The sit down with Joyce made me understand that no matter how we see things from the outside, we could never truly know what a celebrity’s life is from the inside. After all, all we have our images based on our own perceptions that are hardly ever accurate.

The only best way to know is to ask and in asking, we realize that indeed, artistas are just like everyone else—human beings with strengths, weaknesses, and dreams of their own—despite our tendency to put them on pedestals.