Just Like Starting Over
Article By JASER A. MARASIGAN
Photo by JERICO MONTEMAYOR
Styled by DONALD ELIZAGA
Grooming by JC CANTOS
Clothes from BENCH
MANILA, Philippines — Richard Gutierrez would have been an athlete by now. In fact, he would find himself imagining donning the Philippine colors, or representing the country in sporting events like basketball, martial arts or swimming.
“Being an athlete was really the direction I was pursuing. I’m the type of person who is constantly looking for new challenges. And I like pushing myself,” the 28-year-old actor says.
Richard is no stranger to staying fit and healthy. He’s been into martial arts since he was a kid, even winning medals for it. He was also a member of the basketball varsity team back in high school in De La Salle-Zobel. But fate had different plans for Richard. When he got back in the country after years of having stayed in the United States, Richard gave acting a shot. Showbiz, after all, is his family’s business.
“At first, what lured me was the prospect of earning my own money. I could go out on the weekends and stuff. Until eventually, I learned to love and appreciate the art, the collaboration of people in terms of creating a movie or TV, and to produce entertainment for the people. Acting just grew on me,” he shares.
Richard has been in the public eye since he was three years old. He appeared in several commercials with twin brother Raymond. When they reached their teens, the two went on separate ways, and worked on their separate careers. Richard went on to acting, and has since then essayed the role of some of TV’s well-loved characters in “Mulawin”, “Sugo”, “Lupin”, “Zorro” and “Captain Barbell”, as well as a leading man in several films.
READY FOR BIGGER CHALLENGES
Today, Richard declares he is ready for bigger challenges. He says he just wants to get out of the box, far away from his comfort zone. While all these years he has maintained a wholesome image, he is now open to all kinds of roles – daring, offbeat, even villain roles.
“I really want to challenge myself this year – to choose the right projects for me, to be hands-on, and to look for new roles. Now is the time for me to explore what more I can deliver, what more I can do, be experimental. I’m at a turning point in my life now. I know I haven’t really reached my maximum potential yet. I feel like I’m just about to start again. And looking at it at that angle excites me,” says Richard, who is starting on a new primetime TV series on GMA soon.
ENTERTAINMENT IS PUBLIC SERVICE
But while Richard is eager to be reinvented as an actor, he intends to remain as host of Survivor Philippines. He also hopes to continue with his environmental programs for GMA News and Public Affairs, which have been winning awards here and abroad.
While everyone else deems the entertainment industry as merely showbiz, the young actor sees it differently. For him, working as an actor is public service.
“Giving entertainment to your audience is public service. It feels great also being an actor, in front of the camera, knowing that you have an audience that appreciates you. It makes your job more fulfilling,” he enthuses.
GOING FOR GREEN AND MANY MORE
A Green Peace advocate since 2007, Richard says that doing documentaries is his modest contribution to the cause. The DVD boxed sets of the documentaries “Signos”, “Planet Philippines”, “Wildlife for Sale”, and “Oras Na” have been donated to various schools, barangays, and fishing villages. Environmental forums are also being hosted by GMA in several schools.
“In the house, medyo weird na nga ang tingin nila sa akin,” he laughs. “I’m quite OC (obsessive-compulsive) when it comes to things like waste segregation. Medyo nagiging hard core na nga ako ngayon. My brothers are starting to get into it and my family,” he adds.
Richard also sends several underprivileged children to school through World Vision. He wishes to have more time for worthy humanitarian causes.
“As celebrities, we also have that responsibility to our audience. If you’re a celebrity and you know that you have a base audience, and you know that people are watching you and that kids are aware of you, do your part and help a cause that you’re passionate about, to create awareness and reach out,” says Richard, who made quite a turnaround, from being that rebellious and mischievous teen as he himself admits, to a hard-core advocate of education and environment.
Richard’s dream now is to produce a big-screen documentary, a la Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The 11th Hour”.
“My long term goal is to make my own movies. Now I’m trying to gain more experience with the documentaries we make. I’m an observant, that’s why I love working with different directors because I get to observe how they work, how they take their shots, how they teach an actor. All these things are like learning for me. I want to go back to school and take up cinematography soon,” says the frustrated photographer/cinematographer.
COMPETING AGAINST SELF
As one of the most eligible bachelors in the country, it is almost impossible that someone like Richard would be single. “For this year, I will focus more on my work. And I’m married to triathlon right now,” he claims.
It is Richard’s newfound love for cycling that steered him to his next sporting destination – triathlon.
“I think the ultimate challenge for fitness is really triathlon. So I started with running. And then I got bored with running so I cross-trained it with swimming and biking. I’m still a rookie. I only started last year. But I plan to join the big races this year,” he says.
Last year, Richard participated in the Ironman Philippines, the country’s top triathlon event, held in Camarines Sur. He was part of a relay team in which he did the 90-kilometer bike ride. He set a target of finishing the 90-km trek in three hours and 15 minutes, and he crossed the line at three hours and five minutes. “I beat my target time by 10 minutes. But I felt like I could’ve performed a million times better,” he says.
Richard enjoyed his first Ironman experience so much that now he is organizing his own triathlon event slated around June in preparation for the next Ironman Philippines.
“Training and getting your mileage up is a lot of hard work. But I’m the type of person who challenges and pushes myself to the limit, and I think triathlon is the perfect sport for me. You’re competing against anyone else but yourself. The rewarding part really is when you see yourself improving coming from a hard training and hard workout,” he says.
He is quick to admit that he still has a long way to go, but with Noy Jopson as his training coach, the first Filipino Ironman winner no less, and cycling coach Patrick Joson, Richard just might finish first!
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Article from mb.com.ph