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Pops Article 4




POPS FERNANDEZ - Single and Strong
by Leah C. Nemil, Woman Today, October 20, 1999

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Pops Fernandez isn't a new woman yet but with her faith that things will work out,
she is clearly on her way.

When news broke out that showbiz's perfect" couple, Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez, had indeed
gone their separate ways, what should have been a private affair was inevitably played out on the front
pages of newspapers, radio and television. For months, media fanned the flames of the controversy,
trying to outdo each other by coming out with "exclusive" stories on what really happened.

Probably without meaning to, Martin and Pops also helped fuel the publicity of their separation.
Martin's sudden departure from their Sunday show, ASAP, without Pops' knowledge, Pops' crying
copious tears when Martin read her a poem during the 1998 Star Awards plus the numerous revealing
interviews they gave served only to heighten the drama of it all.

Starting Over

That was a year ago. Today, Pops chooses to keep silent on the subject of her husband, evading
questions pertaining to Martin or their relationship. During the interview, she kept a tight rein on her
emotions and chose her words carefully lest she be misunderstood.

"A lot of people have been putting meaning into the things I do, thinking that they know me pretty
well," Pops says. "But they don't. For example, some people see me as serious and masungit but,
that's just because of the way I look. I am actually a funny person and I love to laugh."

Then with just a omen of hesitation, she adds, "But the sadder I get, the funnier and wackier I
become. I laugh a lot so I don't need to think about the stress... above the sad things."

Work has also become a welcome distraction - and respite - for Pops and it is what occupies much
for her time these days.

"It has definitely become an outlet for my emotions, a place where I can express myself better," Pops

A Daring Pops?

Indeed, after more than 10 years, Pops has finally decided to go back to the movies to see what the
future holds for her there. "Why a movie just now? Obviously, because I have to," she says. "I can't
keep doing concerts all the time. I mean, how many can you do of those? Maybe I also want to
develop a talent that I never gave much thought or time to before."

The film, which Pops has almost wrapped up, is entitled Linlang and also stars Richard Gomez and
Joyce Jimenez. Richard plays the husband, Pops and wife and Joyce the mistress. No, this is not the
much-ballyhooed movie that Pops supposedly kept changing her mind about late last year. Everyone
describes it as Pops making an "urong-sulong" decision.

"Why is everybody saying that (urong-sulong)?" Pops says as she rolls her eyes in exasperation.
"You know, I wasn't comfortable enough to do that film. Even Boss Vic (del Rosario, Viva's top
honcho) said that it probably wasn't the right time or the right project for me, for that matter. He
wanted me to wait and finally, Linlang came along. I accepted it because Maryo J. Delos Reyes was
the director. I've worked with him before, so that was good. I also liked the storyline. Although this film
has Richard and Joyce in it as well, it's really a different project altogether."

However, showbiz insiders say the plot, which revolves around deception, is hauntingly familiar and
bears more than cursory similarities to Pops' own life story.

"I play the wife here but the character is so different from who I really am," Pops stresses. "When
people will see the film, most of them will probably say, `ay, naku, I'm sure she went through that (in
real life)' but no, it's totally a different situation."

One question about the film that Pops has tired of answering is the topic her "daring" love scenes with

"Everybody is asking me about that," Pops says as she shakes her head. "You know, it's daring for
me but not compared to the scenes of Joyce and Richard! `Yon ang daring! Even the role itself was
daring enough for me especially if you're going to compare the roles I played before. All were
pa-tweetums. This was very mature and challenging."

Though she did some movies for Regal Films as a teenager, doing the ABS-CBN miniseries May
Nagmamahal Pa Rin Sa 'Yo was Pops' first real test as an actress. For the first time, she was in front
of a camera having to portray someone with a personality very different from hers. "That helped me a
lot filming this movie. During the first episodes of Nagmamahal..., everything felt really weird. I just
didn't know what I was doing. It was so difficult playing someone you're not in front of the camera."

Her Favorite Role

With her new movie, an upcoming album - "a very personal one with a lot of songs reflecting what I
have been through from the time I was young up to now" - business ventures (like a beauty salon) and
a newfound writing career on the side (she has a regular column in a major daily's lifestyle section),
Pops definitely has her hands full. However, she clarifies that despite what people may think, she
continues to fulfill her most treasured role as a mother to Robin, 12, and Ram, 9.

"Believe it or not, I still find quality time for my kids. In fact, I think we are all much closer now kesa
noon when I was at home often. We talk a lot, we are more open with each other now... We do stuff
like eat out, go to the movies or make an out-of-town trip."

In raising her two boys, Pops has decided not to go the "typical conservative mother" route, describing
herself as a "cool mom." She treats her kids as grown-ups who know exactly what they're doing and
what is going on around them.

"I grew up in a very conservative environment where my mom always had the last say, where her word
was always right and only her rules should be followed," Pops recalls. "I felt stifled and not as
confident as I would have wanted to be with my ideas and thoughts. Although I knew what I wanted, I
couldn't move on.

"So I tell my boys that I have rules but if they feel they can come up with better reasons for doing
things, we will sit together and talk about it. I want them to grow up and be more confident of
themselves than I was. It's hard because sometimes you want to be close-minded in order to protect
them but you can only do so much. What they really need is your guidance and understanding."

Although Pops admits that life as a single mom has been difficult, she concedes it is only because
she has to juggle much of her time between her career and children and not because she standards
as both their mother and father.

"I am not trying to be a father because they still have their own dad," Pops says. "There are some
things that my kids can only share with him and I respect that."

Despite rumors linking her to Troy Montero (who has been interviewed on TV saying that he and Pops
are "just good friends, and I thank her for letting me be her friend"), Pops avers that Robin and Ram
are the most important people in her life right now.

"My kids are my inspiration. They are the ones who have motivated me to go on with life. They are the
reasons why I want to become a better person."

Looking back, Pops says she has no regrets even if life has brought her a lot of pain and loss. "Our
lives will never be perfect. There will always be things that will disappoint us like we may be the
happiest person in the world at the moment. And yet, we still find ourselves asking can we still be
happier," she reflects. "For me, happiness is how I make and choose to live my life. And I am a great
believer in life, in God and in His ways."

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