By 16, singer Charice Pempengco had been discovered on YouTube, appeared on Oprah, dueted with Celine Dion and become known by one name. The pint-size powerhouse from the Philippines, now 18, talks to K.C. Baker about her Glee role, meeting Justin Timberlake-and all that Botox backlash.
How is it playing Sunshine on Glee?
I can relate to her because I was nerdy, wore glasses and didn’t talk much in school. Glee is my favorite show ever. I was so nervous, but on-set everyone made me feel so comfortable.
Let’s talk boys. Are you dating yet?
No. I’m not ready. I’m happy being a kid. Oprah told me, “Boyfriends can wait. Being a kid is once in a lifetime.”
When you are ready, what will you look for in a guy?
He has to be funny. That’s the main thing. Because I’m funny. Well, that’s what my friends tell me!
How are Filipino boys different from American ones?
Boys in America are more mature; 13-year-old boys here have girlfriends! But Filipino boys are so romantic. They give roses and chocolates. In high school six guys sang a Korean song I couldn’t understand in front of my house. It was so cute.
Do you have any celebrity crushes?
Justin Timberlake. Josh Groban. Jake Gyllenhaal. When I met Justin, I thought I was going to faint. He was like, “Charice, you’re so great!” But Jessica Biel was there, so I was like, “This is not my night … ”
Why did you get Botox injections in July?
I got it for jaw pain, not for wrinkles-I don’t have any!
Were you surprised at the backlash?
It was so ridiculous. You can check pictures of me before and after; I’m still the same. I’m never going to change my face. God gave it to me, and I’m proud of it.