charice_pempengco_role_model.jpgCharice Pempengco has been a big name on the international stage since she was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2007 and The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009. She was taken under the wing of hitmaker David Foster, and got to sing with music legends Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

But while seeing her name in lights might have been the big dream come true, Charice has had to work hard to get to where she is now. She has been performing publicly since the age of seven, joining talent show after talent show in order to help support her family. She joined ABS-CBN’s Little Big Star in 2005, placing third in the show’s first season.

She faded from the public spotlight for a while, until a fan of hers who went by the handle FalseVoice started posting videos of her Little Big Star performances on YouTube in 2007. Later that year, she was invited to the Korean show Star King, where she performed and wowed her audience, even singing with Korean stars Lena Park and Super Junior member Kyuhyun.

Ellen DeGeneres saw one of these Star King performances posted on YouTube and invited Charice to guest on her show. Then, in 2009, Oprah Winfrey included Charice in her feature on the world's smartest kids, later taking on the role of mentor to the teen, whom she helped by getting David Foster, whose hits made divas like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion famous, to take Charice under his wing. And the rest, as they say, is music history.

charice_pempengco_role_model_album.jpgAt not quite 18, this petite girl from Laguna has seen her name in lights and has had not just the local showbiz scene but the whole world singing to her tune. Her single “Pyramid,” from her upcoming self-titled album, Charice, is already topping charts, according to this Spot.PH article. The album will be released internationally on May 11, 2010, the day after her birthday; she'll be launching it on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she'll be singing with teen heartthrob Justin Biebier. She’s an inspiration to Pinoys everywhere, but especially to young kids. And in these days of questionable teen role models like Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Vanessa Hudgens, there’s always a need for someone recognizable who can be a good example for your kids.

Don’t believe us? Here are five things you may want to let your kids learn from her example:

1. Keep it real.

Diva she may be, but you couldn’t tell it from her attitude. Despite the big names she’s seen up in lights right alongside her own, Charice remains her bubbly, excitable self. There’s nothing blasé about her when she talks about performing with her dream artists—as she has already done and hopes to continue doing. Her current “dream duets” are with Justin Timberlake and Beyonce, as she tells Total Girl in its May 2010 issue. On her run-ins with big-name celebs, Charice says, “It’s still a surprise to me when I see them around and I get introduced to them.” Still, Charice recognizes her fame and uses it for the benefit of others. She supports causes like World Vision Philippines and Bantay Bata. She also became Operation Smile’s International Youth Ambassador in December 2009.

2. Mom's the word.

Charice is free with her praise when it comes to her mom, saying that her mom was both her first singing tutor and inspiration. And even at an age when parents are notoriously dragging on one’s social life, she’s proud to call her mom her “biggest supporter” and “best friend.” She tells TG, “It’s hard to find a real best friend who you can share anything with, and I’m glad I have her.”

charice_pempengco_role_model_purple1.jpg3. Don't let haters get you down.

Just like anyone else who’s become a household name, Charice has her fans (the Chasters) and her haters. But she doesn’t let negative comments get her down; in fact, they’re the very things that have her raring to go and prove herself—to herself. “It’s like, if the haters annoy me, I’d annoy them even more by doing better,” she tells Total Girl. “No one can pull you down if you don’t allow them to. Just believe in your power to do what you want.”

4. Remember to appreciate those who help you.

As we mentioned above, Charice credits a lot of her success to her mother’s love and support. She’s also grateful to that anonymous fan who posted videos of her performances on YouTube back in 2007, which proved the spark for the Charice-mania has now flared through the international music scene. Charice tells Total Girl that, after losing Little Big Star, she found herself thinking her “dreams were taken away,” and quite depressed. “If it wasn’t for FalseVoice, I wouldn’t have made it out of my sadness. I couldn’t believe it when someone from the Ellen show emailed me—I even had to check the email somewhere else then because we had no computer!”

5. Know the value of dreaming—and of hard work.

At 18, Charice has the world at her fingertips, with bigger and brighter things expected of her from people who should know, like Oprah Winfrey and David Foster. On The Oprah Winfrey Show, she showed the world her “dream notebook,” where she would sketch out the dreams she wanted to come true, which is a great way to visualize one's goals in life. Some of Charice's dreams, like singing with Celine Dion, have since been realized, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still more to dream about! So what advice does she have to give for other dreamers? “Find a way to keep on going, even if you feel like your dreams are moving away,” she tells Total Girl. “There will always be bigger, better things for you out there, you just have to keep on going!”

charice_pempengco_role_model_total_girl.jpgHelp your kids learn more about Charice by buying the May 2010 issue of Total Girl, out now; in fact, according to this Spot.PH article, the issue was featured on teen Hollywood site Just Jared Jr.



(Album photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Records; photos of Charice by Paolo Pineda)

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