John & Camille:
They are the poster boy and girl for good behavior, honest-to-goodness role models who should be emulated by other brother(s) and sister(s), very much unlike the De Rossi sisters Assunta and Alessandra who have been waging an ugly public war, washing their dirty linen at the expense of themselves. If I were the Secretary of Cleanliness and Godliness and Sanitary Environment (is there such a "department"?), I will promptly dump those two girls into the washing machine from which they should, hopefully, emerge cleaner and whiter and more hygienic.
But weíre talking about John Prats and his younger sister Camille whose image has been so spotless attesting to the way their parents have properly brought them up, that they have been among the favorite endorsers from showbiz, with John among the image models for Bench and Hawk Bags, and Camille as the Banco Filipino (Happy Savers Club) endorser.
John and Camille are both Children of Cinema, having grown up under the kleig lights and in the eyes of the public. And yet, the two havenít been adversely affected by the hypnotizing magic of showbiz, keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground and their heads in tune with reality.
On the afternoon Conversations dropped by at the Pratsí condo unit (a stoneís throw from the old LVN Studio in Quezon City, which serves as the familyís halfway house and office of John and Camilleís father Daniel Rafaelís business), there was a brownout which hardly dampened the enthusiasm of the Prats (all accounted for). In semi-darkness, John and Camille gamely posed for celebrity photographer Richard Chen while carrying on a free-wheeling conversation.
Whatís the age difference between you?
John: One year and four months. I was born on Feb. 14, 1984. Valentine Baby ako.
Camille: My birthday naman is June 20, 1985.
How many kids are you in the family?
John: Weíre five; Iím the eldest.
Camille: Iím next, followed by Carlo (12), Naomi (4) and Rafael (3). You started very young in showbiz.
John: I was 8; I started with Ang TV (the defunct ABS-CBN kiddie show). That was sometime in 1992, the same year I did my first movie (Seiko Filmsí Pulis Patola, with Anjo Yllana). Iíve done several movies (the latest being Star Cinemaís Jologs) since then and several TV shows (heís a regular on ABS-CBNís Whattamen). I was with Tito Aga (Muhlach) in Oki Doki Doc.
Camille: I started at 7, also with Ang TV. My first movie was Hindi Pa Tapos ang Labada, Darling (as the daughter of Dina Bonnevie and Vic Sotto). Like Kuya John, I did a sitcom with Tito Aga, Oki Doki Doc (later made into a movie). Iíve done several other films, including Eat All You Can, Sarah Ang Munting Prinsesa and Madrasta (with Christopher de Leon and Sharon Cuneta who won a Best Actress Grand Slam for it). Ang dami na, more than a dozen, the last one being Yamashita: The Tigerís Treasure. Iím a regular on Arriba, Arriba! (an ABS-CBN Saturday evening sitcom).
Isnít there any professional jealousy between you?
Camille:None. None at all.
John: I donít think naman na kung anong mayroon siya dapat mayroon din ako. Lalaki ako, babae siya, so itís impossible for us to have any conflict.
Camille: At home, we donít usually talk about showbiz. Hindi kami showbiz sa bahay.
Donít you have any star complex at home?
John: Ang star sa bahay namin, si Mommy (Alma Quiambao).
Camille: The rest of us, walang pa-star-star.
Do you also help in the household chores, washing the dishes maybe?
John: We do. I run errands for Mom and Dad (Daniel Rafael is the cousin of Mia Prats). Ako ang paboritong inuutusan ni Daddy. Early on, weíve been trained to help in the household chores. In short, hindi kami seŮorito at seŮorita sa bahay.
Camille: Anak ka, so kapag inutusan ka, dapat sumunod ka.
Do you meddle in Camilleís personal life, John?
John: Siempre! Before, I was like a dictator, you know, "Camille, you do this; Camille, you do that!" That was when Camille was younger. Now that sheís turning 18 and knows how to take care of herself, nag-tone down na ako, but I still guide her.
Who among the guys courting Camille do you like?
John (Breaking into wide, chinky-eyed smile): None!
Camille (Pretending to be disappointed): Wala!?!
John: Even if Iíd rather that kami lang ng Dad ko ang mga lalaki sa buhay ni Camille, sheís already of age and she has the right to make her own choice(s). She knows whatís wrong and whatís right. Dad and I are now just here to guide her.
What about Camilleís choice of clothes? Pinakikialaman mo ba?
John: She asks me whatís okay with her and I tell her, "O, ganito ang isuot mo; huwag íyan ang isusuot mo." Same with me. I also ask her what fits me and what doesnít fit me. Sa lalaki, a girlís opinion helps a lot, and vice-versa. I even ask her opinion kung anong hairstyle ang bagay sa akin. If Camille says, "Okay!," I trust her. Okey na rin sa akin.
Camille: One time, he even woke me up just to ask me what clothes to wear and how to comb his hair because he was going to a presscon. Puyat ako noon because I just came home from a taping but I woke up just the same to help him choose his clothes and do his hair.
What about you, Camille? Do you meddle in Johnís personal life?
Camille: Maraming nagka-crush diyan! Oh, yes, I tell him which girl is okay and which girl is not okay. Sometimes, heíd tell me, "O, di ba okey íyan?" Iíd tell him, "Puwede ba, ang pangit-pangit niyan!"
John: Walang maganda sa kanya. Lahat pangit!
Who are your crush(es), John?
John: Iím attracted to older women. My No. 1 crush is Joyce Jimenez. I think íyung face niya masyadong perfect. I observed her closely when we were together in two sitcoms, Da Body en da Guard and Da Pilya en da Pilot (both with Aga). Thereís also Donita Rose who also has a perfect face. Nandiyan din si Gretchen Barretto, another perfect pretty face. Crush ko íyung mga pretty faces.
What about you, Camille?
Camille: Just one--Dingdong Dantes.
Do you give each other tips/pointers as far as your careers are concerned?
Camille: We usually get the pointers and the reminders from our Mom and Dad. They always tell us, "Donít rush things. Take things slowly but surely."
John: They always remind us, "What counts is not pasikatan but patagalan." Some actors think that when they have a movie, sikat na sikat na sila; they feel that they are forever sikat. They donít realize that one wrong move can pull them down. When we were together in a sitcom (Oki Doki Doc), Tito Aga and Kuya Dick (Roderick Paulate) would always remind me that stardom is not forever, that whatís important is not how sikat you are but how long you will last and how far you can go.
You both started young in showbiz. Donít you feel that youíve been deprived of a normal childhood?
John: I donít think so. Because when I started in Ang TV, my tapings were usually done on Saturdays. The tapings felt more like play than work. My co-stars were also kids and we were only playing on the set.
Camille: We had a normal childhood because even when we were doing Ang TV already, from Monday to Friday we went to school just like any normal kids. We also played with the kids in the neighborhood, just like any normal kids. Nangangapit-bahay kami in Bacood, Sta. Mesa, where we grew up.
You still go to school?
John: Iím taking up a business course, major in Information Technology, at the Thames International Business School. I attend classes three times a week Ė Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Camille: Iím in fourth year high school at the ABS-CBN Distance Learning Center.
Have you always wanted to be in showbiz?
John: When I was small, I really wanted to be a pilot. I love riding airplanes! One day, I want to drive (sic) a plane. Iíve been in showbiz for more than 10 years now but it was only two years ago na talagang na-inspire akong maging artist. That was when I saw Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire and movies by Michael J. Fox (whoís suffering from Alzheimerís Disease). I became curious: How can they act that way? How do they prepare for a movie? Bakit ang husay-husay nila? If before parang laro-laro lang sa akin ang pag-arte, now I look at it as a serious job. Seniseryoso ko na talaga.
You are also among the young product endorsers...
John: ... right now, Iím endorsing two, Bench and Hawk (bags).
Camille: ... Ako naman, Banco Filipino.
Have you always wanted to be an actress, Camille?
Camille: Always! But I also wanted to be a pediatrician because Iím fond of children, especially babies. Feeling ko, ang sarap-sarap mag-alaga ng baby, take care of them especially when they are sick. Kaya lang, I found out that it would take me 10 years to study and then train as a pediatrician. I told myself, "Hindi ko kaya!" At age 4, I decided that I wanted to be an actress.
Who inspired you to be an actress, Camille?
Camille: Si Aiza Seguerra. Idol ko siya, noon pa when I was small. Like Aiza, I also joined Eat, Bulagaís Little Miss Philippines Contest. Pareho kaming talo. That was in 1990. I won as Best in Gown and I got only as far as the semi-finals.
Who are your idols naman, John?
John: The Guwapings (Jomari Yllana, Eric Fructuoso and Mark Anthony Fernandez). Remember their first movie (Guwaping Adventure)? Horror íyon. We were there during the shooting. I told myself, "Ang sarap siguro maging Guwaping."
Camille: Yeah. Nanonood kami noon.
John: Since then, palagi kong ini-imagine that I was a Guwaping. When the JCS was formed (a singing group with John, Carlo Aquino and Stefano Mori), at least I realized my dream to be in a trio, just like the Guwapings.
How do you divide your time between school and showbiz?
Camille: I attend classes only three times a week Ė Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, I tape for Arriba, Arriba! Iím free on weekends but on Saturdays I usually have a meeting with the members of the (Banco Filipinoís) Happy Savers Club. Iím the president of the club. Among our plans are to hold a tree-planting project, donate to orphanages and help in protecting the environment.
John: With me, I always remind my schedule master na huwag gagalawin ang Mondays, Tuesdays at Wednesdays because these days are for my school. On Thursdays, I tape for Whattamen. Maluwag ang schedule ko from Friday to Sunday, and thatís when I can relax a bit.
How do you relax... enjoy yourself?
Camille: Sundays we spend with our family, talagang nag-e-enjoy ang buong pamilya. We stay home lang, eat out sometimes and watch a movie together. Or we visit our grandparents in Bacood and our relatives in Cainta.
John: I enjoy both school and showbiz, so working and studying feel like relaxation to me. Enjoy kasi, e!
How are you similar to each other?
Camille: We are both bungisngis (giggly). Once we start laughing, maguntugan lang kami, we canít stop laughing na. Like when we were on a plane, magkasabay kaming sasandal sana sa kanya-kanyang shoulder pero nagbangga ang mga ulo namin. So we started laughing and laughing; we couldnít stop laughing throughout the flight.
John: Medyo makulit din siya.
And how are you different from each other?
Camille: He doesnít want anybody messing up his things.
John: Ganoon din siya.
What do you splurge on?
Camille: I used to collect "Hello, Kitty" stuff until I filled up all the cabinets in my room. Tama na!
John: Besides, dalaga na siya, too old for "Hello, Kitty."
Camille: Maybe Iíll give away some of them to my relatives and friends.
John: Ako naman, I collect F1 items, Michael Schumacher caps, etc.
What about lovelife? Too young for that?
John: Weíre still in the kilig stage.
Camille: Nothing serious.
Being with a closely-knit family, youíll surely miss each other once you have families of your own and live apart from each other.
John: You know, Mom and Dad are planning to buy a big lot where we could stay together. Theyíll have a small house of their own at kaming mga anak will each have houses of our own, in the same compound. So, sama-sama pa rin kaming lahat.
Whatís the best thing you can say about John? Camille: Hard-working at malambing... hindi lumalaki ang ulo. And you, John? John: When I need help, sheís always there for me. Whatís the worst thing naman that you can say about John? Camille: Sobrang malambing to the point na nakakasakit siya; mabigat ang kamay, e!
And you, John?
John: None. Mataray lang kapag malapit na ang period niya.
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