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A Lea Salonga Interview


US ASIANS: Many people have stated that "Lea is one of the most disciplined performers in the whole world” – how did you developed the necessary discipline to achieve your present/future success?

LEA SALONGA: Simple. A few years with Repertory Philippines will shape you up better than the army could.

US ASIANS: Which award was the most rewarding – career–wise and/or brought wide-spread recognition within the general public? (Note: It’s acknowledged that People Magazine recognized you as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world in 1991, won the Olivier in 1990, Tony/Drama Desk/Outer Critics Circle/Theater World Awards in 1991 for Best Actress for Miss Saigon, 1981-1983: 3 Aliw Awards for “Best Child Entertainer”)

LEA SALONGA: I don't know that receiving an award is, in and of itself, rewarding. Exciting, sure, but not necessarily rewarding. The work itself is far more rewarding, and seeing an audience's reaction... that's where the reward is.

US ASIANS: What lasting and memorable impressions do you have of performing “A Whole New World" live at the 65th Annual Academy Awards, where the song won an Oscar?

LEA SALONGA: Just being at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in front of a lot of movie stars. I even got my photo taken with a few of them at the Governor's Ball after the show. Pretty cool!

US ASIANS: In addition to being “Eva Perón” in the musical Evita, what roles would you like to perform in the future?

LEA SALONGA: Oh, I don't know... Elphaba in Wicked is a good one... haven't thought of any others.

US ASIANS: What factors were involved with not having aspirations for acting and concentrating on musical theater to taking acting lessons in preparations for future dramatic parts?

LEA SALONGA: I just like to stretch myself to places that are scary and seemingly unreachable. I like increasing my skill level, and broadening my horizons. It's always fun to learn something new about what I do.

US ASIANS: Did your experience in your “game experiment” in participating in David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Proof” in Manila provide additional motivation? What were some of the many differences and/or things that you’ve discovered about acting between your portrayal in “The Bad Seed” and “Proof” – as the result of your maturity and experience in musical theater?

LEA SALONGA: Proof only showed me that there was so much more to learn. It was a humbling experience, in that it showed me that I had a lot of rice to eat still before I can consider myself truly skilled.

US ASIANS: Is your training in the craft of acting includes the ability to act on stage and on film?

LEA SALONGA: Each medium is very different, and it takes a particular skill level to excel in each one. It's strange, there are some film actors that can't do theater, some theater people that can't do film, and others that can straddle the fence and be comfortable in any medium, in any style. That's what I'm aiming for. Eventually I hope to get there.

US ASIANS: In addition to Barbara Streisand and Steven Spielberg, which people within the entertainment industry would you like to work with and/or meet?

LEA SALONGA: Jodie Foster... Simon Cowell... oh, just about anyone out there who's doing good work.

Noting your ongoing efforts of Filipino pride (i.e. Bayo’s “Filipino and Proud” programs), which performer(s) – from Tia, Rob Schneider, Lalaine, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kuh Ledesma, Gary V., Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Enrique Iglesias, Regine Velasquez, Apl de Ap from Blackeye Peas, Mutya Bueno of Sugababes, Ernie Reyes and many others - do you feel best represent the same ideals that you support?

LEA SALONGA: I don't know which of these performers share the same ideals that I support. I don't know them beyond being professional acquaintances for some, and total strangers for the others. From what I've observed, Apl de Ap maintains his Philippine-ness wherever he goes, which makes me feel good.

"That through whatever I've done, the image of the Filipino was made a little more positive,
and that somehow, the Filipino was given the chance to smile and be proud.
Hopefully, the world's awareness of the Filipino artist remains"

US ASIANS: Could you share about your participation/endorsement with Bayo (Owner/Manager: Ferdie Agustin) – a company known for its ads and billboards, along with its tag line "Filipino and Proud" that features preppy to sporty apparel in solid colors like red, navy, white, black and khaki with recent additions including hip hooded jackets and stretch dark denims?

LEA SALONGA: I'm not an active endorser of Bayo at the moment, but I do wear their stuff. The tag line has also changed since my campaign.

US ASIANS: What are the current goals of Bayo, recognizing its aggressive and dynamic revitalization efforts seen in its concentration of actively targeting the fashionable youth market?

LEA SALONGA: You'd have to ask Ferdie Agustin that.

US ASIANS: Recognizing your preference of wearing the comfortable clothing of Bayo (which is Ilongo for clothing), will they be incorporated with your concert performances and are they participating in your upcoming U.S. tour as a sponsor?

LEA SALONGA: Nope, my costumes for the show are more dressy. They're really costumes for stage use.
Read about diversity by clicking HERE
Review the many elements that make Lea a star professionally and personally

Family History
Gerard Salonga
Mariya Barreto
Personal Life
Words of Advice

Catholic Documentary

Faith and Prayer
Lea's Prayer
Lea on Prayer

Current Status of Diversity
David Henry Hwang Views
Filipino Pride
Influx of APA Talent
Marian Liu Interview

Mulan's Diversity

Problems Obtaining Roles
Role Models
Perceptions - Past/Present/Future
Supporting APA Organizations
Yellow Ceiling

Boyfriend / Fiance / Husband
Diane Monique LHuillier
Introduction to Robert
Lasting Memories
Lea on Romance
Life Being Married
New Baby
Wedding Day

Charity Work
Lea's Charities

Career Goals
Flower Drum Song
Memorable Performances
Selection of Roles

2005 Tour Dates
Favorite Roles
Musical Theater
Old School Singing
Richard Jay Alexander

Film Career
TV Experiences

Film & TV (Actress)
Film & TV (Herself)

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