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an article by Edmund L. Sicam, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 March 1999, p. D1


SHOW Biz Q&A is Saturday Special's feature for readers with questions about the world of entertainment. We welcome all inquiries about relevant topics and will exert our best efforts to answer them.

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This week's questions and answers:

I find the love team of Antoinette Taus and Dingdong Dantes special because aside from being an attractive pair, they are able to inspire others to persevere in their studies as these two young stars manage to balance career and good education. Please write more about these two, especially about the development of their friendship and how they keep their focus on their studies.-Judith, Quezon City (Others who wrote in were Lenilynne Go, who wants to know Dingdong's real name and his birthday, K.C. Razon who finds Dingdong "cute. He always looks fresh. He's the younger and better version of Gabby Concepcion," Jane Garces of Cebu City who's asking for Dingdongs's background, Cathy who says, "I really get kilig whenever I see Dingdong on 'TGIS' and 'Anna Karenina.' Perhaps it has something to do with his braces. I find him cool and very appealing," and Melanie Jane Roque of Batangas City.)

Antoinette Taus was born on Aug. 30, 1981 in Angeles, Pampanga. She finished her first year high school at OB Montessori in Greenhills, got accelerated and skipped second year and took a home study program for third and fourth year. If she had her life to live all over again, she says she would want to go to a real school ad experience classroom work, as well as the junior-senior prom and graduation ball.

Antoinette is enrolled in AB Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University, where she is going to be a junior this coming school year. She hopes someday to take up law. Why political science? She wanted a course that was totally different from show business. This way, she can broaden her knowledge and become a better person. Someone suggested business management but Antoinette says she's not good at numbers and has a hard time with mathematics and accounting.

Studying does involve a lot of sacrifice. It means experiencing sleepless nights trying to catch up on missed schoolwork. To cope with the demands of school, Antoinette is taking a lighter academic load. Thus she expects to finish her four-year course in five years.

Despite the difficulty of balancing show biz and academic work, Antoinette is determined to finish her degree. She says, "Only a few really make it big in show biz. You can be on top today but be at the bottom tomorrow. I want something to fall back on. Gusto ko naman I have something na ikabubuhay ko."

Antoinette leads a normal student life at the Ateneo. No one fusses over her on campus. Professors do not give her special treatment nor do they give her a hard time just because she's in show business.

Although most of her time is taken up by television shows and movies, she admits that singing is her first love. "Bata pa lang ako, mahilig na akong kumanta. I think mas love ko ang singing kaysa acting."

Antoinette got good feedback for her performance as Gavroche, a male role, in Repertory's production of "Les Miserables" many years ago. She smiles when she recalls how she got a male role. "I wanted to enrol in Repertory's acting workshop but I missed the deadline. Someone suggested I audition na lang for "Les Miserables." I wanted to try out for the role of Cosette but they said I was too big for the part. So they gave me the role of Gavroche."

Initially, she found it hard interpreting a boy's part. "Buong buhay ko, girl na girl ako lumaki. Tapos this was my first stage experience. I was only 11. It was right after I came out in 'Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo.' There were times when director Bibot Amador would tell me, 'Para kang bakla kung umarte.' Sa awa naman ng Diyos, nakaraos din ako."

Since "Les Miz," she has appeared in other musicals, "The Wiz," where she played the role of Dorothy, "I Ought To Be in Pictures," and a mall show of "The Wizard of Oz" presented by Trumpets.

She has appeared in five movies and will be seen next in "Honey, My Love, So Sweet," where she is paired with Dingdong Dantes.

We asked Antoinette about her first impression of Dingdong. They first met two years ago when they were paired up in the new "TGIS." She says, " Nung una , I found him seryoso, quiet and very mature. When I got to know him better, he's a kid at heart pala. Palabiro at masarap kasama."

Antoinette and Dingdong share many interests. They both like Japanese food and the same kind of music. They both want to be lawyers someday. She considers Dingdong not just a close friend but a "special" friend.

So, are the two romantically involved in real life? Not really, says Antoinette. Her dad wants her to concentrate on her studies and her career and doesn't want her to get involved with guys at the moment. She feels her dad will only allow her to have a boyfriend when she's 20.

Her dad plays a very important part in her life and she appreciates his concern for her. She's not the type who will go against her dad's wishes. She's hoping though that he changes his mind about one thing. Antoinette is turning 18 this year and wants to have a debut like many new 18-year-olds. However, her dad seems to be against it. Since she didn't have a prom or a grad ball, she's excited about having a debut. What about it, Mr. Taus?

Turning to Dingdong Dantes, he was born Jose Sixto Dantes III on Aug. 2, 1980, the eldest of five children. He is a freshman majoring in Philosophy and Human Resources at San Beda College. He wants to take up law after he finishes his undergraduate studies. Dingdong says he's inspired by the TV shows where lawyers are able to make a difference in the lives of people. He's also attracted to a political career, although that is still a long way off.

For now, he's busy with his studies and acting career. Mornings are reserved for schoolwork and as much as possible, he doesn't want to tape or shoot during this time. All show biz work is done in the afternoon and evenings and if it can be helped, he wants to finish early so he can sleep and be ready for school the next day.

Dingdong went to Ateneo de Manila from prep school to high school. Asked why he transferred to San Beda for college, he's candid enough to admit that he didn't do well in the Ateneo entrance exams. Right now, he has a full academic load but he says, with his many show biz commitments, he will have to settle for a lighter load next schoolyear.

Like Antoinette, he realizes the importance of finishing his studies. He knows that show business is ephemeral and fans will not like you forever. So he wants to get a college degree to fall back on when he is no longer popular as an actor.

That is the least of his worries right now. His team-up with Antoinette has been getting a lot of support from his fans. He finds Antoinette out of the ordinary, "ibang-iba" from other girls he has met. "She knows how to balance her personal life and her show biz career. She is also very down-to-earth and humble."

Dingdong admits that he is courting Antoinette "unofficially" and yes, her dad is making it difficult for him to get closer to her. However, Dingdong understands why Mr. Taus is protective of her daughter--he behaves the same way when it comes to his sisters. As far as courting Antoinette, he believes actions speak louder than words. "I show her that I care for her. I'm always there for her. I tell her that I am someone she can turn to if she has any problems," he says.

Dingdong and Antoinette get along very well off-camera. She says it's very hard to pretend that you like another person if you don't have feelings for each other. So their love team is clicking because they genuinely like each other and it's not just because their show biz career demands it.