December is a busy month. But while most people are preoccupied with waiting on bonuses, planning holidays and thinking about gifts to buy, Jasmine Curtis will be jumping continents and splitting her time between finishing school requirements in Australia, and coming home to the Philippines to a full calendar of activities—thanks to her showbiz commitments.
Jasmine, 17, is the younger sister of Anne Curtis, the star of the hit film No Other Woman, and who is nine years her senior. While it’s not easy to live in the shadow of a popular older sister, the teenager credits hers for opening the industry doors for her. “Everything that I've been doing so far is thanks to her. People wouldn't know me if it wasn't for her … and I am very grateful,” Jasmine points out.
Inspired by Anne’s accomplishments, Jasmine adds, “I think it would be nice if I got to do even half of what she's accomplished 'cause she has done so much.”
Born in Australia to a Filipina mother and an Australian father, Jasmine’s family moved back to the Philippines when she was two. They stayed here for about nine years—by then Anne had been discovered and had already broken into show business—after which the family moved back to Australia, leaving Anne behind. Jasmine says she only started consistently coming back to the country when she herself had started her own showbiz career.
Her sister’s almost-maternal protectiveness and guidance have proven invaluable in a world where anyone can get easily lost. Despite their age gap, she and Anne are very close. “She styles me, she puts makeup on me. At times she can be a motherly figure as well since [our] mom's not here when I am here. And, of course she has to take responsibility over me.”
All grown up
In her desire to pursue her career, Jasmine’s given up her vacation time and being with friends for something she truly hopes would become a long-term occupation. In fact, if things work out for her, she may even consider going to college here.
As an example of determined planning, if not a completely shrewd one, Jasmine reveals, “I was planning on auditioning or going to the casting of Australia's Next Top Model. But just, you know, to try it out. And then I got an offer for showbiz, for TV5. So I didn't go to the casting but [it’s] TV 5—the offer was bigger and it’s better so, you know, why not? And it's guaranteed.”
What isn’t guaranteed, however, is how her chances would play out and how fate would have her fare in an industry that’s already seen as many casualties as success stories. But this young lady on the verge of womanhood seems to have all the cards to keep playing the game so far. And in a way, keeping herself healthy is an ace up her sleeve.
While she denies being a health freak or a workout nut, Jasmine nevertheless knows what’s good for her. Anne sometimes takes her to the gym when her schedule permits. Whenever she’s in the country, the younger girl participates in fun runs, “but I only do the short distances ones kasi I get tired easily,” she gives a shy laugh. “And I get cramps sometimes.” She also learned a bit of Muay Thai back in December 2010. It was an activity TV5 required her to do to bond her with her Ang Utol Kong Hoodlum co-star JC De Vera. She liked it despite initially coming out of the first session “with my body so sore,” she shares, laughing.
Back in school, she also plays volleyball and badminton, and has competed in school teams for the past five years. “But next year, I'm dropping out of the team so that I can focus more on getting the high grades,” she declares.
And while a lot of teenagers are determined to do as little as possible, Jasmine enjoys that her campus in Australia is quite big, “and every class we have to move and … it's up the stairs and everywhere.” Apart from that, she chalks up some “abdominal workouts at home with my brother, so I'm getting my body the exercise and not always lying down.”
Jasmine had a busy two-week stay in the country last September, during a school break—she is currently in Year 11 in Australia, equivalent to a fifth year in Philippine high school. Whenever she’s here, she promotes her TV series, and does photo shoots and magazine interviews. As of publication, there are plans for Jasmine to star in another teleserye. By the time this issue comes out, she should be deep in preparation for it as she would be on another long break from school and back in the country.
Apart from work, Jasmine admits to being excited about spending Christmas in the country “with my Ate. And we're gonna drive up to my dad's house again,” she shares.
“I used to attend Simbang Gabi,” she smiles, referring to a fond custom typical of the extended Filipino family. “And then I’d go with my friends tapos I'd have Noche Buena with my family at home and my mom [who’s from Bolinao, Pangasinan] would invite all her cousins and siblings.”
Jasmine relates that Christmases are different in Australia where she moved back to in 2005. “[It’s] so quiet and walang mga paputok,” she laughs. “You can only see the fireworks from a certain part of the area kasi it's illegal to have your own fireworks there.” While in the Philippines, though, she “really enjoyed … having it right in front of your house and ikaw na‘‘yung magpapaputok.”
Another fond memory involved caroling. “Namamasko kami before [while] I was still living in the subdivision [in Mandaluyong].” Apparently, some people would also get mad at them because “we'd come back every night,” she says with a laugh. “I hope that one day I could spend Christmas like that again here.”
For more on Jasmine, her healthy habits and plans for 2012, grab a copy of the December-January issue of HealthToday, out now in newsstands and bookstores.