Nikki Gil started the change from within as she came to terms with her past. She is breaking free from the controversies and emerging the star. Now, she starts changing the world.
By: Michaela Sarah De Leon
The change began from inside. No trace of the breakup is apparent in Nikki Gil. Not in her stride, nor in her vibe. Not even in the gigantic fashion billboard of her along Edsa.
Nikki is simply the epitome of the beautiful, healthy, sexy, and intelligent Filipina that some regular girls could only dream of becoming.
Now, she looks the part of someone who’s had a weight lifted off her shoulders.
Nikki Gil is breaking free.
Nikki maybe the epitome of beauty today, but she once suffered insecurities because of her beauty. When Nikki was young, she had a bout with adolescent acne, which was cystic by nature. Like most kids in their adolescent age, she was at a stage when she was still establishing her identity.
“I was starting to create my brand as a teenager and that’s when it happened. It was heartbreaking and many would make it superficial. But to an emotionally unstable teenager, that was something very challenging to do,” she says. “Of course, I’m happier with my skin now, but (the experience) gives you a chance to work on the inner person.”
“No matter how much we take care of ourselves on the outside, if you’re not a good person inside, it will show. I make sure I take care of the inner person as well,” she says.
She meditates, reads books, and takes care of her health.
“I meditate. I read a lot. I try to be a nice person to people around me. I try to be professional and hardworking,” she says.
In the mornings of her days off, she has her muni-muni time and rolls around the bed for another 20 minutes.
“I wish I could say I pray in the morning, but sometimes I’m super busy. When I’m not rushing for work, I go through what I’m going to do the whole day (with God),” she says.
Most girls in her shoes would get a major makeover. Her physical changes are not as pronounced. It’s in the finer details where the changes lie and the people around her are starting to notice.
“It was never a conscious effort. I don’t know if I’ll chop off my hair or whatever, but people have been saying that there was a change physically. Maybe because I have more time to work out now,” she says.
Today, Nikki keeps herself fit and healthy. She regularly goes to the gym. She does simple workouts like cardios, boxing, yoga, running, and lifting weights. She is also a little more careful about what she eats. She doesn’t avoid rice, but she doesn’t eat as much as she used to.
She also drinks a lot of green tea for detox and goes to the spa every now and then for her usual girly treatments. She now enjoys running and is considering training to prepare for a triathlon someday.
“I know the difference. I felt the difference of living a healthy lifestyle and not living healthy. I’m much happier. I really feel the difference, the shift in my mood when I am not able to workout or sleep well. After I eat junk food, I can feel a shift in my mood so I prefer to take a healthier route,” she says.
Picking Up the Pieces
Nikki is less stressed now that she’s decided that she’s wasted enough energy stressing about her breakup.
“I just stopped caring at some point. I think I was able to get all of the pieces of my broken heart already. I’m going to move on and give this to someone who deserves it,” she says
In Nikki’s case, the makeover happened when the weight was lifted off her shoulders.
“I’m not harassed or problematic anymore. He’s not my problem anymore,” she says with a slight giggle. “I guess it was more of a vibe than an effort to go through a makeover. I think the makeover happened inside more than anything else and it’s reflecting on the outside, which is better.”
She’s now at a point when the whole issue doesn’t affect her in any way, positively or negatively.
“I learned to be able to discuss it from a more distant point of view. I guess that’s when you really know you’re fine,” she says.
Even with the whole debacle, Nikki is not jaded by the idea of loving again. In fact, her ultimate “happily ever after” is raising a family.
“I learned not to regret ever falling in love even if it was with the wrong person. I learned the relationships are more effective if you have the same values. I learned that not everyone’s like that. I learned that it won’t help to be jaded or cynical or it won’t help for you to carry whatever baggage that is into a new relationship because that will be unfair,” she says.
“Not everyone is like that. You can’t generalize people and I learned that what you sow, you will reap. And in the words of my girl, Alicia Keys, ‘What goes around, comes around. What goes up, must come down’,” Nikki says with a hint of a smile on her face.
She is smiling because she knows that she will find someone who will be prepared for her and will have the same values as her. “And it will be beautiful.”
She once mentioned that she’s working on her core as she tries to move on from the breakup and she says she doing a good job.
“I think I’m back on my feet. I’ve been back on my feet for some time now. It’s just a manner of maybe opening up to newer possibilities, new relationships, more friends, more emotional investments, and making sure that whatever took place in the past did not affect the way I invest in people in terms of trust,” Nikki says.
Nikki would like to take some time off, stay abroad like New York, and study. She wants to add more to her craft as an actress and be more independent as she does that.
She’s found her passion in acting and sees herself doing it even when she becomes older or eventually gets married and has kids.
“I think I have a good chance of staying (in show business), because I’m a character actress and people always need character actresses,” she says. “If God wants me to stay here for much longer, I’ll stay. But if not, then I trust His direction.”
Nikki takes her craft seriously. She takes every role handed to her. Nikki is not the kind of actress that chooses her parts like a prima donna.
“I just want to share my craft. For me, it’s art. Like when you’re painting, you don’t just paint one thing. You paint a lot of things. Or when you’re singing, you don’t just sing one song. You sing different things. That’s how I see it. I want to be able to live different lives through the characters that I’m portraying,” she says.
Her work ethic as an actress is extremely professional yet at this point, she still wants the work ethics of veteran actors to rub off on her. It shows in the way she handled the day’s photo shoot with no sleep at all.
She admires the likes of Cherri Gil, Eula Valdez, Joel Torre.
“I would like (their work ethics) to rub off on me, because they’re so much more professional. They studied. There was no such thing as a small role for them. I love it when I’m surrounded by veterans because I feel like I’m absorbing their energy. I’m learning so much from them,” she says.
But she shows in her role as Misty in Maria Mercedes, that what she lacks in experience, she makes up for in research.
“I did my homework. I researched, definitely. I watch movies. When certain characters affect me, I’ll watch it again and try to study the nuances. I read a lot of acting books. What I lack in experience, I make up for in research,” she says.
In Another Life
In another life, Nikki would have been a lawyer, an advertising executive, or a pastry chef. In fact, she graduated with a degree in English Literature from Ateneo de Manila as her pre-law course.
“Once upon a time, I wanted to take law. That’s not happening anymore. We’ll see though. Initially, that’s what I wanted to do to the course,” she says.
More than anything else, she chose English Literature because of her love for books.
“I like reading. I like to read. It was something I could take along with me to work. I can just bring a book or my laptop,” she says, adding that she reads on the set, between takes, and even in the comfort room. Nikki is such a voracious reader that in the past four months, she’s read 10 books.
Her favorite books among the 10 that she read are Wonder, Art of Racing in Rain, Crazy Rich Asians, and Essays in Love. Her favorite authors are Haruki Murakami, John Greene, Alain de Botton, Jane Austen, and David Levithan.
She uses her love for books to improve her craft.
“They say when you read a book, you get to live so many different lives and in that sense, I’ve become more. I know how to empathize. I read about different people’s experiences, different characters, and different ways of dealing with things. It came in handy,” she says.
In another life, Nikki could have become something else other than an actress.
“I want to say I always saw myself like this, but I can’t imagine myself being anything else apart from this. I probably could if I tried, but I wouldn’t be in love with it as I am doing what I am doing,” she says.
“Gil the World”
It must be a coincidence that Nikki’s blog’s name is “Gil the World”, because the first thing she would change if she did get the opportunity to change the world is to heal it by getting rid of social media.
She wants the people to write letters to each other and talk to each other face-to-face. She wants everyone to be diplomatic about certain things without resorting to being rude about an issue.
“I would do that because it makes people mean. It makes people very self-conscious and self-absorbed. It just sucks the fun out of life because you’re always watching. You’re always fearing about what it might look like on Instagram,” she says.
Nikki wants to change the world and enjoy it at the same time.
“I enjoy it definitely because we only have one life. I’ll make sure in the process of enjoying it, I’m affecting lives around me and I’m doing my part in making it a better place. It doesn’t have to be a big scale thing. It could be in the life of one person and I would already have that much effect,” she says, which reminded us of her first appearance on television.
She walks in confidence along the busy streets of Manila. Her hair moves with her every step. She sings a hopeful song amidst the mess of a city.
“Sana saan man patungo sa buhay, may pag-ibig, may pag-asa, may saya at saysay…”
In a way, the commercial defines her. Natural. Unconventional. Smart. Beautiful. A literary Bohemian in every way. Nikki Gil will always be the girl singing a very hopeful song in our minds.
La Vie Boheme, Nikki Gil. The world is a better place because someone like you is in it.