Cover In an oversized suit jacket and embellished earrings, all from Gucci's f/w 2019 collection

22 years into a stellar career, Anne Curtis remains one of the most adored personalities in Philippine show business. There is little this multi-hyphenate, who has achieved superstar status, has not done—though she herself would beg to disagree

At this stage in her life and career, there is much that Anne Curtis has achieved. The actress, host, singer, model, entrepreneur, and UNICEF goodwill ambassador has been in show business for 22 years now, and she isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Despite the emergence of many new faces and young talents, the entertainment industry still holds its doors wide open for Anne, who, with her striking features, effervescent personality, and exceptional work ethic, remains very much in demand.

The public adores her. As of this writing, she has 12.4 million followers on Instagram and 11.6 million on Twitter—and without a doubt, the numbers will continue to rise. But social media statistics matter less and less to Anne now that she is older and wiser. “I’ve learnt to stop stressing over the small things,” she says. “Unfortunately, such pressure is part and parcel of the industry I work in, where one unkind word can truly upset you.” This, among other things, is why she is advocating for courage and kindness. This is now the story she wants to tell.

Anne was born in Yarrowonga in Victoria, Australia, to James Curtis-Smith and Carmen Ojales. She has two siblings: a brother, Thomas, and a sister, Jasmine. She entered show business at the age of 12 when she auditioned for and won the part of Princess Dahlia in the film Magic Kingdom. More and more projects arrived at her doorstep, and she quickly built up a substantive resume for her hosting and acting work. In 2011, her impressive performance in Ruel Bayani’s romantic drama No Other Woman wowed audiences, earning her a Best Actress nod at the 60th FAMAS Awards.

“I enjoy challenging myself,” she shares. “Last year, I did an elevated horror film called Aurora and an action film called Buy Bust, which is definitely the most difficult acting project I’ve taken on to date. We would start shooting at 5pm and wrap by sunrise the next day. There was this particular scene that I will never forget having to film—it was one long shot taken using one camera that was being passed from one cameraman to another. I did my own stunts, so I had to climb up on the roof, jump down, and then do a fight scene in the rain. And if anyone committed a blunder during the take, we’d have to do it all over again. It took us 56 takes spread out across two nights to get it right. The finished product was worth all the effort, though.”

Anne enjoys exercising her acting chops by taking on unorthodox roles, making every effort to fully integrate herself with whichever character she is tasked to portray. Just a few months ago, she played a married woman in her mid-30s who begins an affair with a younger man while on holiday in Portugal in Jason Paul Laxamana’s Just A Stranger. While they are of similar age, this character’s story is not at all like hers. Bubbly by nature, she is perfectly at home on the set of It’s Showtime, the daytime variety programme she co-hosts. “Depending on the role, the transition from what It’s Showtime requires of me to what the film requires can be jarring,” she admits. “When it comes to characters who are far off from who I am, I delve into the script and build from it: who is she, what is she like, where did she come from, and so on and so forth.” But Anne, a chameleon through and through, does a fine job.

“I’m proud of how the local film industry has evolved,” she says. “More and more directors, scriptwriters, and producers are coming out with good quality films that are unlike anything we’ve seen before. With the way things are going, I hope that we can soon develop TV series of such calibre—maybe we’ll even have our own Handmaid’s Tale or Game of Thrones!” When asked what advice she has for young actors who are building their careers, she emphasises on the need for patience, adding, “Nothing in this business happens overnight. It’s a slow climb. And this slow climb is what will allow you to fully appreciate the fruits of your labour. Also, take care of your private life. Try to surround yourself with the right people and choose the friends you keep close. What they say about quality over quantity is true.”

Tatler Asia
Above In a Moire jacket, lace dress, stockings, and silk head scarf

She has branched out into the beauty business, too, having launched her PETA-certified and cruelty-free brand, blk cosmetics, in 2017. Since its inception, blk has rolled out a number of conceptual collections, among which are a K-beauty line and a ’90s-inspired line. This year, it released its Universal collection, which offers an array of face and lip products in nudes and neutrals perfect for any age, race, and even gender. “At blk, we are always pushing the envelope and thinking of creative concepts outside the norm,” says Anne, who is also the brand’s creative director. “We don’t play it safe. We don’t just stick to products and formulas that we are sure people will want. We want to be known as a beauty brand that guarantees great quality at an affordable price, but still takes risks. I’m happy with the way things are going; more and more Filipinos are embracing blk and showing support for local cosmetic brands.”

Never the type to rest on her laurels, Anne is always on the lookout for other challenges to conquer. “I hope I get to star in a psychological thriller someday!” she exclaims. “Something like Gone Girl or Girl, Interrupted. That would be so exciting.” There are also other launches in the pipeline—business-related, she confirms—but none she can speak of too openly just yet. “The secret will be out early next year, if not towards the end of this one,” she says with a twinkle in her eye. “This is another thing I’m very passionate about.” And she is good at keeping secrets—almost as good as she is at telling stories.

She adds, “I’m an open book. Because I have been living in the public eye since I was a young girl, it has been innate for me to share so much of myself. At this point, I doubt there isn’t anything that people don’t know about me. And if ever there is, then it is something I am keeping to myself by choice.”

On her social media accounts, Anne proudly calls herself a ‘pursuer of dreams.’ And this truly defines who she is as her story began because she had, once upon a time, dared to dream. Always gracious and grateful, Anne pays it forward by supporting and promoting children’s rights through her work with UNICEF, among other charitable endeavours. “Doing good doesn’t necessarily mean going grand,” she says. “Simply being kind to someone can already do so much. People have asked me why I’ve been able to stay in the industry for this long. I like to believe that it is because I’m still putting in the work and doing my best to be kind to the people I work for and with, and to the environment I exist in.”

  • PhotographyMark Nicdao
  • ArtworkMark Nicdao
  • StylingMonique Madsen
  • Make-UpRobbie Pinera
  • HairRaymond Santiago
  • Creative DesignJustine Bumanlag
  • OutfitGucci
  • AccessoriesGucci