Look Magazine Dec 2009: Jinkee Pacquiao
It was all typical of the photo shoots that you see in magazines and on TV. The requisite bright lights, the hues of eye shadow palettes and blushes along with other hair styling tools were strewn on the countertop. The make-up artist and hairstylist were fiddling with brushes and curlers. The stylist was bustling around, arranging outfits and accessories. The managing editor and the photographer were discussing the shots to be taken.
And in the middle of this, Jinkee Pacquiao sat in her make – up chair, patiently getting made up for the camera.
I tentatively approach her and ask if she would like to be interviewed while she’s being made-up, in anticipation of a possibly long photo shoot. She declines, and says just as tentatively, “Uh, mamaya na lang”.
When the hum of the hairdryer dies down, we start the interview with what I think is an innocuous question to break the ice. Mimicing a television show host, “Sino si Jinkee Pacquaio?”
“Simpleng tao lang”, she replies, with her eyes cast downward.
The others in the room, who are no strangers to showbiz and may have heard similar statements before, jovially cheer, and Jinkee shifts a bit uncomfortably in her seat. The reply does sound like a typical response cooked up by a publicist, and but when said by Jinkee in that quiet and truthful way, rather than a press release, it becomes an authentic and sincere admission.
“Gusto ko sana, tayong dalawa lang mag-usap.”., she says politely. And I begin to understand why she initially declined to start the interview right away.
Beneath the fascination and adulation that now surrounds her, and the media circus that she and her family have been thrust into, Jinkee Pacquiao remains…shy. “Mahiyaan talaga ako.”, she explains, a tinge apologetic.
Wives of powerful men — the likes of Michelle Obama, Jada Pinkett, Katie Holmes – may initially take on supporting roles to their famous husbands. But sooner or later, they start to pique the interest of the public and are coaxed to come out of the background to share in the limelight.
With her own product endorsements piling up, magazines covers and recently being named a Woman of Style and Substance by People Asia, the signs of Jinkee Pacquaio becoming the next media darling are all there.
And while Jinkee is appreciative of the attention, she doesn’t seem to indulge in it. Rather, she remains unaffected by all the hype.
She still wants to be the same old Jinkee, the simple girl from General Santos.
“Sabi nila supladita daw ako dahil siguro sa features ko, pero tingin ko, hindi naman.” Yun kaibigan ko dati, sila pa rin ang friends ko and binabalikan pa din naming yun dati namin tinitirahan sa Gen San.”
Jinkee narrates a story of bringing their children Jimuel, Michael, Princess and Queen Elizabeth to GenSan during their summer vacation last July.“Si Manny kasi, dun [their old neighborhood in Gen San] pa din sya nagba-basketball. Sinama naming yun mga bata. Nagulat sila. Nakita nila yun mga bata na uh, madumi…yun walang wala. Tapos nag tanong sila kung bakit wala silang air-con, bakit kami nan dun.”, she hesitates a bit before continuing.“Sinabi namin sa kanila na dun kami nakatira dati noong maliliit pa sila. Kailangan alam nila na walang-wala din kami dati.”.
The explanation was enough for the children. “Tapos ok naman sa kanila, nakipag laro na sila dun sa mga bata.”
So near and yet so far from Gen San
Jinkee admits that there have been a lot of changes since Manny’s unparalled success in the boxing ring, the least of which was getting used to putting on make-up all the time. “Kahit nasa bahay ako, naka make-up ako. As in full, kasi hindi mo alam kung kalian o sino yun darating sa bahay.”
“Dati pa mahilig na ko sa make-up.”, she says, partly attributing this to having worked as a beauty consultant for Pond’s in a Gen San mall, when she first met Manny.
“Yun uncle ko trainer nya and sya yun nag pakilala sa amin. Boxer na sya nun and nagcha-champion na din pero hindi pa international. Tapos yun, lagi syang nan dun, sinusundo ako after work. Nagbibigay ng card, ng letters.”, say recalls, portraying a softer side of her husband whose media nicknames include “The Pacman” and “The Destroyer”.
Though they were married 7 months after they first met, Jinkee says that it wasn’t love at first sight. “Hindi din [love at first sight], parang wala lang. Pero hindi sya talaga tumigil sa pagsuyo sa akin. Nagustohan ko na hindi sya mayabang, mahinahon sya, tahimik lang. Mabait si Manny.”, she says softly. “Mula ng kinasal kami, laging nanalo si Manny. Tapos, dire-diretso na ang blessings, Madaming biyaya.”
And, what is it like to be catapulted to such fame and wealth? (Manny Pacquaio was recently identified by a US sports network as the 6th highst paid athlete in the world.)
She pauses for a minute before replying. “Masaya na malungkot din. Masaya na ngayon, nabibili mo gusto; nakikilala ako ng tao, massaya sa opportunity sa commercial and endorsements. Minsan mahirap din na hindi mo kilala nakabuntot sa ‘yo at hindi mo alam kung totoong tao. Malungkot kasi nababawasan ang time para sa bata.”, she says in the same quiet voice, without using flamboyant gestures or bouts of exclamation.
And that’s something obvious about Jinkee throughout this conversation. While she seems reluctant to be sucked up into the media frenzy that surrounds her husband, she is still grateful for and appreciative of the many blessings that his success brings to their family and to the country.
“Sinasabi ko na iba yun impact ni Manny sa mga tao. Ang mga fights nya, para talaga sa mga tao, sa bayan natin. Parang nakilala nga ang Gen San dahil kay Manny, e. Nakakatuwa nga nagiging role model sya ng mga ibang boxers. Nags-sign of the cross din sila bago ng laban”.
“Pero hindi ko talaga na-imagine na ganito. Parang pangaginip. Hindi ko maisip na ganito yung magiging buhay nya, na makikilala sya sa buong mundo.”
Being Mr. and Mrs. Pacquaio
Jinkee and Manny have been married now for 10 years and like any couple have their share of trials. But as the wife of a champion athlete, Jinkee also has to deal with extraneous situations such as Manny being away from her and the kids for months at a time when he has to undergo rigorous train.
“Pag may fight, training sya for 2 months and wala sya sa family, tawag lang.” (at the time of this interview, Manny was in Baguio training for his fight against welterweight champion Miguel Cotto slated for November.) “Pag wala naman fight, busy sa labas, nagmo-movie pa sya.”
Manny’s recent dabbling into movies has opened up Jinkee to another territory that she was previously unfamiliar with – intrigue.
“Mahirap yung mga intrigua na naririnig mo pag wala sya. Minsan nag-aaway, pero naisip ko, ‘wag nalang pansinin. Price of being famous, kasama na yun”, she says with a slight shrug of her shoulders.
She’s learned to roll with the punches, so to speak, saying that when Manny is training, single-minded focus on his upcoming fight is crucial.
“Kailangan nya ang aking supporta pag nagtra-train sya. So, hindi ko sya aawayan at bigyan ng problema. I-isang tabi ko muna [yung feelings ko]. Tapos after the fight, masaya na ang lahat kasi nanalo sya, paano mo pa sasabihin? So sacripisyo muna.”
Pragmatically, she adds. “Kailangan maging patient. Habaan mo talaga ang patience mo. Mag-tiyaga, at mag- pray.”,
Life after boxing
Looking forward, Jinkee wishes, “Gusto ko after boxing, tahimik na buhay para madagdagan yun time sa family.”.
I ask her about Manny’s political aspirations and if a quiet life is possible.
“Ayoko talaga sana. E kasi, sa pulitika, sabi nila, madumi. Dadami kang kaaway and magastos syempre. Perang na-save nyo, magasgastos pa.”, Jinkee candidly admits. But she knowing how important this is to Manny, who she says even before dreamed of serving in government, she has given in. “Gusto nya talaga, so supportahan ko na lang sya. Mahirap kasi yun walang blessing ng family and dati pa gusto na nya maging konsehal.”
As for her own aspirations, Jinkee says, “Masaya ako na sinasabi nila na pwede ako maging role model sa mga nanay. Kung champion si Manny, champion din dapat ako sa pag aasikaso ng pamilya. Hindi ako perfect wife or mother pero ginagampanan ko ng mabuti yun mga tungkolin ko.”
Thinking of their young children, she shares, “Ngayon sinasabi ng mga anak ko na I’m the best mom in the world. Sana yun pa din ang sabihin nila pag laki nila.”
Simple, yet meaningful aspirations coming from the simple girl from Gen San. Jinkee Pacquiao.
Girl Talk with Jinkee
Eyes. Kasi madaming nagsasabi na maganda daw ang eyes ko.
Favorite make-up brands:
Dati pa mahilig na ako sa make-up. Pag may bagong brand, tina-try ko talaga. Madami akong ginagamit; kung ano lang yun nagustohan ko. Pero kung mayroon [favored] brand talaga , RMK and MAC siguro.
Mayroon pang face and mayroon [separate] pang body. Bagong matulog, may facial cream and wash. Pero Belo lahat yun ginagamit ko.
Badminton, hindi ako nag gym. Pag nasa Gen San [badminton] everyday. Pero pag dito saa Manila diet lang — rice, puro ulam, tapos fruits and salads.
Gusto ko talaga dresses. Pag nasa States ako bumibili ako ng dresses, yun mga long. Sa pag pili, damit muna and then shoes. Mahilig ako sa high heels kulang kasi ako sa height, kaya kahit tsinelas ako, [pointing to her flipflops] may wedge.
Wala akong stylist. Sa magazine lang ako tumitingin, tapos puro gaya lang. Di ako masyadong sumusunod sa uso.
Favorite fashion designers:
Wala ako masyadong kilala pa, pero siguro si Kate Torralba and Paul Cabral.
On her rumored amassing of Louis Vuitton bags:
Hindi naman madami. Madami akong paborito, yun favorite ko pag may nagustohan lang ako.
On being in the limelight:
“Naco-conscious ako. Baka next time laitin nila ako. Bahala sila. May iba ibang opinion. Kung ganito ako, ganito ako.”
How she wishes people to remember her:
“Sana sabihin nila na si ‘Jinkee kahit ganyan lang yan, mabait sya na tao’. Jina-judge kasi ako minsan”.