At first glance, actress Coleen Garcia’s charm is clearly evident in her doll-like features, porcelain skin, and toned physique – stunning qualities that can easily transport her to sultry territory. But a closer, more incisive gaze at this 24-year-old star will let you know that she has a blooming competence and a level of ripeness, proving that she’s beyond what we perceive on the surface.
After ending her four-year stint in noontime program It’s Showtime a little over a year ago, Coleen started focusing more on the acting side of her career. There’s little to wonder on this matter considering the stellar potential she manifests in her craft. Coleen’s knack in acting caught the attention of many when she starred in films such as Ex With Benefits and Love Me Tomorrow where she was paired with seasoned actors Derek Ramsey and Piolo Pascual which attests to her readiness for mature roles. Her latest venture on the big screen is this year’s Extra Service where she shared the spotlight with fellow stunners Jessy Mendiola and Arci Munoz. But her finest moments are found in her dramatic roles such as her appearances in Maalaala Mo Kaya where she most recently played an HIV-inflicted mom opposite actor Xian Lim.
These days, Coleen is anticipating a brimming year ahead. She’s currently working on a new television series for ABS-CBN and Dreamscape entitled Ikaw Lang Ang Iibigin and a yet-to-be-named film under Star Cinema. Apart from her thriving career, she’s on the heels of her engagement with host, performer, and long-time beau Billy Crawford, revealing to us that they’re already planning their dream wedding and future home. She exclaims, “It’s quite thrilling to have many exciting things happening all at once, especially because they’re all in different aspects of my life. It’s going to be a busy yet fulfilling year! ”
As Coleen leaps towards a new chapter in her life, we catch up with her before the real hustling begins. For her second feature with us, we forgo her vixen image and cast her in a softer, more natural light as she lets us in on her engagement, her vigorous lifestyle, and the dating advice she’d impart to her 18-year-old self.
Congrats on the engagement! Did you get any hint that he was going to propose that night?
Thank you! Well, I kind of knew that it was going to happen soon. I just didn’t know how soon! Apparently he purchased the ring over 19 months prior to the proposal, and that’s something I definitely did not know nor suspect. I really appreciate how he went about it though because he bought the ring when he was ready, but he didn’t ask for my hand until he knew for sure that I was ready, too. Generally speaking, proposing is the man’s move, but marriage is something that needs to be discussed between both partners first, so we had to be on the same page. Once we knew that we were, we talked more and more about moving forward in our relationship. We both had known that we want to be together for the rest of our lives, and we also want to do right by God and by our families. So the whole next step was something that we both anticipated, talked about and agreed on, but that day itself was still a surprise.
Are you planning your wedding already?
Yes, we are! I don’t see myself becoming a Bridezilla, but I am quite the meticulous planner. I want to be able to focus on all the smallest of details without stressing over them, and that could only be possible if we give the entire process the sufficient time and attention that it requires. We both have quite a lot of commitments this year, and—just like marriage itself—any commitment must be honored, so we plan on having the wedding next year instead. As far as our dream wedding goes, we are definitely going to see to it that we bring our vision to life! So I’m not ready to spill any details just yet! I know we’ll be happy on that day regardless, so another factor I’m giving priority and utmost importance to is the guests. I want this special milestone in our lives to be something that our loved ones can treasure and remember forever as well. Our wedding planner, La Belle Fete, is heaven-sent! I always thought I wouldn’t need a planner because all my bridesmaids and I are so hands-on. But it makes a massive difference! There are so many things being considered that I never really thought about before. This wedding is probably going to exceed our own expectations! So now I get to relax and work, knowing that our wedding is in great hands.
What would you say is the best lesson your relationship with Billy has taught you?
One of the things I’ve learned from him that really stands out for me is how to forgive and be the bigger person. He has been through quite a lot in his life, and he is ten years older than I am, but the trials in his life have not succeeded in hardening his heart. I also admire his strong faith in God. The Billy I have come to know at this point in our lives is genuinely such a good person to every single soul in his life. Even when people do him wrong, he never allows anything to change that about him. What I value most about this relationship is how we both grew together. We grew stronger, wiser, and closer. Today, we work together, compromise, and practice consideration. We used to fight a lot in the past, but we have learned to truly communicate and put each other first, and it has only strengthened our love and respect for each other. We’ve reached a point wherein we couldn’t bear to hurt each other because it hurts us, too. I never thought that I would ever be able to find someone who not only allows me to be myself, but also pushes me forward and encourages me to find out how far I could really go. He is my best friend, my confidant, my everything!
If you can give your 18-year-old self a dating advice, what would it be?
Don’t lose yourself! There will be people in this world who will inspire you to change for the better, and there will be people who will force you to change into something entirely different. If the person you want to be with doesn’t completely accept you for who you are, then wait for someone who will. Meanwhile, work on yourself and reach for your goals. If there’s anyone who can dictate who you can and can’t be, it’s you. No one else should ever be given the power to take that away from you. All the time you’re wasting with the wrong people could instead be invested into your own betterment. Trust me, there will always be someone who will love, respect, and accept you just the way you are. Your corny jokes, weird quirks, and unique sense of style could turn the wrong person off, but it could also draw the right person in. What the wrong person can’t stand, the right person would surely love and adore! It would be a shame if you changed yourself for the wrong person, and just completely lose your real self by the time you meet the one who would be more than happy to love you for you.
Throughout your years in show business, what philosophy has helped you the most?
One must be passionate about what he or she does, no matter what that is. If you’re not passionate about what you do, then go do something else. Show business is no exception to that. You can’t be in this business if you don’t want to be here, because I have to admit, it’s a much more difficult job than I used to imagine. This job pretty much becomes your life because it affects nearly all aspects of it, and that’s what sets it apart from other jobs. You will always be recognized for it, even when you aren’t at work, and even when you’re no longer a part of it. You have to love it, otherwise it will be nearly impossible to attain that longevity that we all should hope to sustain in our careers.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m not passionate about everything in showbiz—everyone knows I don’t dance and sing—but I love acting! Especially when it challenges me. I’ll never forget that one time I landed a difficult role and I worked extra hard to study for it, and someone told me, “Huy, masyado mo na ‘yang kinakarir!”, and I answered, “Kakaririn ko talaga because this IS my career.”
What do you think is the key to longevity in this industry?
It’s a cutthroat industry, regardless of whatever you are led to believe. It can be vicious at times. The key is to find your place between confidence and complacency. Believe in yourself enough so that you don’t get insecure and end up comparing yourself to others. But at the same time, be hungry for improvement in your craft. If at any time you feel the need to compete, compete only with yourself. Also, respect goes a very, very long way.
Who are the women you look up to?
I really love Natalie Portman because she is simple, intelligent, and dedicated to her craft; Emma Watson because she fiercely and bravely stands up for what she believes in, and Gwyneth Paltrow because I share her love for natural alternatives and skincare (I actually use her products!) Locally, I look up to Miss Angel Locsin. I’ve met a lot of nice people in this industry, but she comes across to me as the most genuinely nice actress I have gotten to know.
Which actor/actress do you wish to work with?
I would love to have the chance to work with John Lloyd Cruz because I think he is a brilliant actor, and Coco Martin because I hear that everyone who works with him learns so much from him! I also want to work with Coney Reyes, Sylvia Sanchez, and Maricel Soriano, among many others.
What do you do to keep improving in your craft?
I study! There is no limit to what you can learn, and there will always be ways to learn as long as you are willing. I try to watch more movies, read up on different stories, and just keep an open mind so that I can absorb new information from the people I encounter. You learn something different from everyone you talk to. Also, I make sure to do my research if the role calls for it.
What are your pre-taping rituals?
I have a bed in my car, so it allows me to move around sluggishly. (laughs) I can continue sleeping until I’m needed for my first scene on the set, and that’s a pretty big advantage. We need all the rest we can get! I also do my own makeup so that I can keep it light, and also make sure to use the products that are compatible with my skin. I bring a lot of food and healthy snacks, and sometimes reading materials, along with me. I need to keep myself busy!
What keeps you motivated in your line of work?
I strive to be better and to make something of myself. And the one thing that will keep me going no matter what is my faith. I believe that God has blessed and equipped us all with everything we need in order to fulfill the purpose we were given. We just need to maximize our potential. I could fail in everything, just as long as I don’t lose my faith, because it’s the only thing that helps me stand up after falling down over and over again.
What do you like to do when you want to pamper yourself?
Believe it or not, I’ve only recently started to appreciate massages! I love the spa! I also try to make sure my nails are always painted. But more often than not, I relax at the end of the day by staying in bed and watching my favorite series as I eat everything in sight! When I want “me time”, what really relaxes me is taking time in the shower and extending my skin care routine by using scrubs then lotions.
What are your favorite pieces in your closet right now?
Joggers! I really don’t like to dress up much when I’m not working, and I love to be comfortable more than anything. I like clothes that are easy to put on, and I’m always cold in malls. Wearing joggers and pairing them with the right tops and shoes help me stay comfortable without looking sloppy.
How would you describe your style when you’re at work and when you’re off-duty?
When I’m at work or at events, I get to play around with my style more. I get to experiment. I wear heels and clothes that complement my body type. It’s like I become a completely different person, because otherwise, I’m just so simple when I dress up. Most of what I wear in front of the camera, I would never wear off-cam on a regular day in the mall—the cropped tops, super tight clothes, high heels, revealing stuff, or anything fancy.
Which clothing will you never be caught wearing?
I’ve answered this question multiple times with items of clothing that I still ended up wearing anyway for whatever purpose there was, so I guess the right answer here should be… never say never. (laughs)
What’s in your travel bucket list this year?
We’re still deciding, actually. We do want to see more of the Philippines this year. We’ve always opted to go out of the country whenever we had the chance since our vacations are limited, but we have less time to spare this year and things are going to be quite hectic, so we won’t really have enough time to go out of the country. We’ve been wanting to explore the beaches here in the Philippines, though! Hopefully we get to do that this year .
What has been your most memorable trip so far?
Most of our trips have been life-changing. Spain taught me so much about my family and our culture. It just felt so much like the other home I’ve always had and only just found now. Africa, on the other hand, was a trip that truly opened my eyes and heart, and brought so much awareness. I love nature, so that was a winner trip for me! But if, at any time, we decide to drop everything and go somewhere to escape, it would be to Maldives. That place was nothing short of amazing, and if I could go back repeatedly, I know I still wouldn’t get tired of it! They weren’t lying. It’s not overrated. It is a piece of paradise here on earth, especially for people who love beaches like we do! We promised ourselves that we would visit all three places again one day.
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
I’m a pretty adventurous and outgoing person, and I’m always game to try different things especially when traveling! I’m completely terrified of heights, but I love the thrill of it! I torture myself by getting on the scariest rollercoasters there are, by skiing, bungee jumping, and other things like that. I also enjoy hiking and camping. I love the outdoors! Just don’t put me in the cold because my tiny frame will shiver its butt off. (laughs)