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Body Talk with Gretchen Espina

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Gretchen EspinaFUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
October 09, 2009 12:00 AM 

Unlike her namesake, Gretchen Espina doesn’t get enmeshed in controversy. Since she won the Pinoy Idol search in August last year, she has maintained a low profile even if her victory opened a lot of doors for her.

“I trained hard for Pinoy Idol,” said Gretchen who comes from a musically-inclined family with roots in Biliran, Leyte. Singer Eileen Espina is her aunt; Eileen’s father, former Leyte Rep. Gerry Espina, is her grandfather.

Gretchen joined Pinoy Idol well-prepared. One of her edges over the other contestants was her experience as a member of The UP Singing Ambassadors which won first prize in the Inter-Collegiate Singing Contest in Shantou University, Guangdong, China.

Her newly-released debut album (by Sony Music) is aptly titled Shining Through. Her first single, Kasalanan Nga Ba?, is a current radio favorite that evokes memories of ‘70s sultry singers Eva Eugenio (Tukso, etc.) and the late Didith Reyes (Bakit Ako Mahihiya?, Nananabik, etc.). It’s played up with a music video directed by no less than Paul Soriano (the boyfriend of Toni Gonzaga) and shot at Hotel Celeste, showing Gretchen in “seductive’ Frederick Peralta gowns.

“I’m excited about this album because I was able to sing new songs as well as my favorite tracks by other artists,” said Gretchen. “They help me, so to speak, ‘shine through’.”

The album carries original compositions by Ogie Alcasid, Arnenio Mendaros, Top Suzara, Hannah Romawac and Cecile Azarcon-Inocentes; and remakes of OPM hits like One More Try (by Kuh Ledesma), So Slow (Freestyle), Suntok Sa Buwan (Session Road), Pangako Sa’yo, Di Man Sabihin and To You (Gretchen’s winning piece in Pinoy Idol). Four were penned by international songwriters: Shining Through by Nina Ossoff and Tanya Leah; I Promise by Nina Ossoff, Steve Skinner and Jimmy Santis; I Know You By Heart by Stephanie Salzman and Matt Senatore; and Never In My Life by Nina Ossoff, Kathy Sommer and Porter Carroll Jr.

Gretchen EspinaIf you didn’t join Pinoy Idol, what would you have been?

“I would have finished a course in UP and taking my M.A. while managing a business either in the food industry or hotel industry. I’m now taking European Languages major in Spanish and minor in tourism.”

Why did it take you one year after Pinoy Idol to release an album?

“We waited for the right time. We took time selecting the songs and editing arrangements.”

How do you feel being signed up by Sony Music?

“Sony is widely known for producing great artists. I’m honored and happy to be a part of the Sony family.”

You look great in the music video. How did you prepare for it?

“Honestly, I didn’t have much time to prepare for it because I was busy with school work. It helped that I lost 40 pounds after Pinoy Idol. The stylists picked the right dresses for me.”

Kasalanan Nga Ba? is a catchy song.

“It was composed by Arnenio Mendaros. It’s about unrequited love. I like the way the words are played in the song. They describe how a person longing for love really feels.”

When do you think is it a sin to love somebody?

“When you know that it was never meant to be in the first place. Like, if the person is already committed to somebody else. That’s a big no-no for me.”

You said you lost 40 pounds. How do you maintain your weight?

“Diet and exercise.”

What kind of diet do you follow?

“Fruits, oatmeal, fish and chicken. Yes, I do eat ice cream every now and then.”

What’s usually for breakfast?

“Oatmeal. For lunch, fish. For dinner, fruits.”

What food do you always crave?

“Ice cream. What’s bawal is masarap, di ba?”

Coffee or tea?

“Tea.”

Soda?

“Sprite.”

What vitamins do you take?

“Vitamins C and E.”

Do you work out?

“In the gym? Not as often as I used to. But at home, I do sit-ups. I do a lot of sports.”

Any part of your body that needs improvement?

Gretchen Espina“Hmmmm, my thighs.”

What part is most vulnerable?

“My neck.”

And what part is your favorite?

“My eyes.”

What qualities do you like in a guy?

“Someone who has brains, good conduct, sense of humor and determination...and, of course, he should be God-fearing.”

And what turns you off?

“A smoker! A guy na mas maarte pa kaysa sa akin. And airheads.”

What part of a guy’s body do you notice first?

“His butt. Then, his eyes and his fingernails. They better be clean.”

Are you a light sleeper?

“Yes, I am.”

Favorite sleep wear?

“I’m not comfortable in thick garments and long...basta, ang opposite n’un.”

Do you snore?

“How would I know, eh, tulog ako? Hehehehe!”

What’s the last thing that you do before you go to sleep?

“Read The Bible.”

And the first thing that you do when you wake up?

“Check messages in my celfon.”

What’s your outlook in life? Are you an optimist or a worry wart?

“An optimist. I do worry about things but very seldom. I don’t dwell on it, though. Instead, I get up and finish the job.”

How do you cope with stress?

“I drive to Tagaytay.”

How do you take care of your skin?

“By cleansing, toning, moisturizing and regular visits to the spa.”

Any other “secrets” you want to share with Funfare readers?

“I don’t smoke.”

Name three men you think have nice bodies.

“Michael Phelps, Orlando Bloom and Channing Tatum.”

And three women...

“Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie and Katy Perry.”

So how does one, ehem, shine through?

“By being focused, determined, inspired and composed.”

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