From winning Star Circle Quest in 2004 to leading the daytime series Be My Lady late last year, actress Erich Gonzales has led a remarkable career since she was 14. Working from such an age has given her a long list of accomplishments in her career—she got her big break when she landed her first lead role in Katorse back in 2009, another in Tanging Yaman in 2010, and Magkaribal in the same year with veterans Bea Alonzo, Gretchen Barretto, Angel Aquino, and Derek Ramsay, followed by rom-com movies with Enchong Dee and Thai actor Mario Maurer. But with fame comes great scrutiny, and it’s a life Erich has willingly learned to accept.
The last few months have been an unpleasant ride for Erich. A public breakup with former co-star and beau Daniel Matsunaga after a two-year romance became the subject of heightened debate. It’s a pivotal period in her life that has mildly consumed her because for the 26-year-old, this is only a case for a new start. There is a humility about Erich that is surprising given how long she has been in the limelight. Beneath her delicate exterior is an open, funny, playful yet strong woman who is unafraid to speak out. She projects a quirky confidence and a dreaminess that charms you in. For as she is impossible to resist, she is also a young spirit who approaches everything with unwavering passion.
Today, Erich’s new drive comes from working out constantly with her fitness trainer for an upcoming project. In between her new weekly routine, Erich traveled three hours to spend the afternoon with us—gamely agreeing to everything we ask her to do as the sunset quickly approached the horizon. Her one request? Hip-hop to be played in the background. But her taste for rap music aside, Erich opens up to us about growing up in the spotlight, moving forward, and loving her single life.
You just came back from the US, what was the highlight of your trip?
I was able to watch The Ellen Show, went around LA, went to Palm Springs and of course I ticked skydiving in San Diego off on my bucket list!
Other than traveling, what are your favorite ways to have fun or relax?
Karaoke, watch movies, series and K-dramas, read books, dine out, and stay at home.
You’ve been working nonstop since you were a teenager. Was being an actress always what you wanted?
Yes it has always been my childhood dream. I used to act in front of a mirror when I was like 5!
Was there ever a time you wanted to quit?
No, it didn’t cross my mind although it’s really hard because I started so young.
What was your fondest memory from the time you first joined showbiz?
Joining and winning Star Circle Quest. It paved the way for a lot of opportunities for me and I am very grateful for that.
What was the most challenging part about growing up in the spotlight?
Dealing with intrigues. But I know it’s all part of showbiz, so it’s not a problem.
So let’s talk about your hair. Is this the shortest you’ve ever gone?
Yes, the shortest to date!
Why did you decide to chop it all off?
It signifies new direction, a new life, and a new me.
You’ve recently opened up about your personal life. How do you beat some of the negative energy towards you?
I don’t pay attention to negativity. I just shrug it off. Positive vibes and thoughts make a big difference in our lives.
After the breakup and all the controversies earlier this year, would you say you’re finally happy?
I am moving forward. I don’t live in the past. I have more time for myself and more time to meet new friends. I am more focused with work. I love my single life.
What helped you cope with that challenging period in your life?
When you go through difficult times, you’ll realize a lot of things. You will learn. It’s only a matter of changing your perspective. When you lose something and you find yourself again, you win and you gain.
Do you like the independence of doing things your way?
I’m a very independent person ever since [I was a child]. I live independently and I manage everything myself.
Do you have new habits or self-involved routines you apply to your daily life?
I go to the gym regularly now. It’s different when you have a fitness trainer because he’s going to be there to push you and motivate you. Bok Santos is really good with that. I’m also planning to take advanced swimming lessons and learn surfing. I’d like to enroll in a cooking school. I want to try and do more extreme adventures.
What would you say is your proudest moment?
Whenever I see the fruits of my labor. At 14, I came from the province with nothing, as in zero, [I worked to my success] from scratch. I took the risk and 13 years later, I’m happy with where I am but I will still pursue what I want in life.
These days, women are all about empowerment. What’s one motto you tell yourself?
“She believed she could, so she did!” It’s a simple reminder that there is nothing that you can’t accomplish if you put your heart and mind to it. Always believe that you can, and you will.
Who are some of the women that inspire you?
Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Charo Santos.
Let’s talk fashion, what makes you feel most confident?
I always go for comfortable clothes. I just wear what I want to wear.
If you were to travel to the beach right now. What 5 pieces would you pack in your bag?
Bikini, sunglasses, hat, flip flops, and sunblock.
What’s the one beauty product you’ll wear on the beach?
Do you have a skin regimen?
I just wash my face and put moisturizer after. I trust The Aivee clinic for my skin care.
What’s one beauty secret that never fails you?
I wash my face before going to bed and I never sleep with make up on.
What are your top 3 beauty products?
Lip and cheek tint, eyelash curler, and face powder.
Where are you off to this summer?