Lea Salonga came at a crossroads in her career when she was humiliated in the presence of her colleagues.
Salonga recalled a bad experience being called ‘bulok’ by her director in a stage play.
During that time, the Broadway star said she had to decide whether to be disheartened to the point of quitting or simply be challenged or it would motivate her to do really well, or she would buckle, cry and quit.
But it was better that she heared it early, before anything creep-ed in, that she was good.
Salonga said nurturing her talent was encouraged by her mother and being surrounded by musically inclined family members.
She never thought it would turn into big, though she had one cousin who was very active in theater and she would always sing at family parties.
As early as 7, Salonga already had professional stints in the local theater scene and ten years and several film and stage roles later, she landed the dream role that would introduce her to an international audience.
Salonga recalled adjusting to the demands of playing an innocent teen who is forced to become a bar girl in war-torn Vietnam, when she portrayed the role of Kim in the West End musical ‘Miss Saigon.’
The demands of the role require kissing scenes, and there are the costumes where she wears only t-shirt and underwear and she was very conservatively brought up.
Salonga’s take on Kim won her trophies from the prestigious Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre or the Tony Awards, and the Laurence Olivier Awards.
Her singing voices of Disney characters Princess Jasmine and Fa Mulan, also made a turn in her personal life.
Meanwhile, Salonga met her would-be husband, Robert Chien, while doing the musical ‘Flower Drum Song’ in 2002.
But as the singer recalled, they didn’t hit it off right away because she had only recently separated from a former boyfriend when she became friends with Chien.
The next time she saw Chien, he started to invite her out for dinner and on the first of many dates, the two instantly made a connection.
Two years later in 2004, Salonga and Chien got married. They have one daughter, Nicole Beverly.
Salonga is one of the four coaches on the ABS-CBN reality talent search ‘The Voice of the Philippines.’