If you’re dreading another year of getting older, Tony award winning actress Lea Salonga has a message for you: life gets better with age.
The international actress and performer has only gotten better ever since she was chosen to top-bill the musical play Miss Saigon in West End London in 1989 (and let it be said that anyone who has followed her career before that knew she was bound for greater things). The ageless beauty, now 45 years old, entered 2016 with the Broadway play Allegiance, returned to American TV with a guest stint in the popular television series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, got her first win on The Voice Kids PH after three seasons, and six years after her last performance on a Philippine stage, she performed for her musical-loving Pinoy fans in Fun Home, which ended last November. And the woman has been booked for February next year for a series of concerts in Australia.
In her three decades in the business, Lea is not showing any signs of slowing down. On the contrary, she intends to keep striking while the iron remains hot. “To be 45 and still find things that I can get better at is really cool. If I lose that, I might be in trouble,” she related.
And while her passion for her craft keeps her on her toes, Lea says her roles of wife and mom made her a better person and allowed her not to lose sight of what is more essential in life.
“I think all of that [motherhood and as a wife] open the heart much more than when I was younger,” she shared.
Married to Chinese-Japanese businessman Robert Chien for 12 years now, Lea says marriage allowed her to be with someone whom she can truly be herself.
“Because when you’re married, you’re just like split open and vulnerable to another human [compared to] being merely in a relationship.”
The couple is parents to 10-year-old Nicole, whom Lea describes as someone who “really keeps me honest because she just knows me really well, that it is really frightening how well she knows me.”
She adds “Actually, both my husband and my daughter [know me really well].”
Like any parent, Lea has seen how her family has served to deepen how she experiences life now, whether at work or her relationships with other people – for her, it is a liberating feeling.
Lea muses, “You kind of start throwing away the BS [b******t] in your life, because it’s like I’m married I’m raising a child, and I’m a much responsible adult.
“This is when you start getting rid of any and all things that you might see as not authentic or hampering your journey towards honesty and authenticity.
“And I’m finding I have fewer friends now. They’re fewer but they’re truer, and I’m so perfectly happy with that.”