Lifestyle, Stories

Kim Chiu: From her humble beginnings in Cebu to her flourishing career

There is no success without sacrifice. And for our country’s beloved Chinita Princess Kimberly Sue Yap Chiu (better known as Kim Chiu), she knew she had to put in more effort than the average person if she really wanted to make it out there and become successful.

During her early years, Chiu and her siblings were raised by her grandmother after her parents separated in 1998. She remembers living in a small apartment, with the dining room, bedroom, and everything else all clumped together in a single room.

“For ilang years, siksikan kami eh. Andun na yung kainan, andun na yung tulugan, andun na yung lahat sa maliit na kwarto,” Chiu recalls in an interview. (For several years, we were cramped. The dining room was there, the bedroom was there, everything was there in that small room.) 

Things started to shift for Chiu when she received a call that she did not know would change her life’s trajectory forever: she got accepted as a housemate in the reality game show Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 1. She was flown from Cebu to Manila and became a housemate for 42 days. Inside the house, Chiu was known for being one of the friendliest housemates. She was also never nominated for eviction. With her charming personality and sweet face, it is no wonder that she became the grand winner of Pinoy Big Brother.


Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News


“Actually siguro yung mga four years na palipat-lipat namin ng city and school and lenggwahe, parang na-ready ko yung sarili ko na pumasok sa Bahay ni Kuya— kung papaano makisama, kung papaano makisalimuha sa bagong tao.” (I guess in those four years that we kept moving, switching schools, and speaking different languages, I was able to prepare myself for Pinoy Big Brother because I knew how to get along with new people.)  

After her big win, Chiu signed a contract with Star Magic and rose to stardom after starring in television shows and movies like Sana Maulit Muli, I’ve Fallen For You, and My Girl, which is the Filipino adaptation of the Korean hit series of the same title. She was in a love team with Gerald Anderson, her former housemate in Pinoy Big Brother, and became a huge hit with viewers. 

In 2011, Chiu starred in My Binondo Girl alongside Xian Lim, Jolo Revilla, and Matteo Guidicelli. This show netted positive results from viewers, with them particularly gushing about Xian Lim and Chiu’s on-screen chemistry. Not too long after, the two formed a love team and starred in more shows and films like Ina, Kapatid, Anak, Bakit Hindi Ka Crush Ng Crush Mo?, Bride for Rent, and The Story of Us.


Photo courtesy of TV Time


With all her shows and movies becoming a huge hit, she was able to send her siblings back to school. Chiu became the breadwinner of the family, with her providing for them and giving all of them privileged lives. 

“Hindi na kami nanghingi ng money. Nabibigyan ko na sila ng allowance. So, hindi ko na natuloy yung pag-aaral ko— eto yung pinili ko; tsaka yung opportunity na meron ako nung time na yun is hindi ko na ulit mababalikan yung ganung klaseng opportunity unlike sa school na anytime naman [pwede ko balikan]… Dahil dito, okay yung mga kapatid [ko].”  (We never asked for allowance from our aunts again. I was the one who supported my siblings. I wasn’t able to finish my studies. I chose to build my career because I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can go back to school anytime I want, anyway. Because of my career… my siblings are doing well.)

Now, Chiu’s sister is a flight attendant, her younger brother is a pilot, and her older brother is now a family man. Chiu admits that while she had to sacrifice a small portion of her life like missing out on completing her education, everything was worth it in the end since she gained tenfold what she sacrificed.


Photo courtesy of Kim Chiu’s Instagram


“Masarap sa feeling siyempre na makita na… eto yung goal ko na sumali sa PBB. Maliit na portion lang naman yung nawala sakin eh. Ang dami ko ngang gain.”  (Of course, it feels great to see that I’ve achieved the goal I set when I joined PBB. I only lost a small portion of my life. I actually gained a lot.) 

When the pandemic hit worldwide, film productions screeched to a halt. With the shutdown of Chiu’s network, ABS-CBN had to postpone and cancel a lot of media projects. Some celebrities chose to leave the network to continue working as an actor. After a little while, production houses were allowed to continue filming as long as they followed the strict regulations imposed. Like all other actors, Chiu was forced to take a short break, with her returning to ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime as a host and as Jia Wong in the drama series Love Thy Woman in 2020. 

Just this week, Chiu and Lim’s love team are set to come back on the big screens with their reunion film Always, which is adapted from the Korean movie of the same title. The story revolves around a retired boxer (portrayed by Xian Lim) and a blind telemarketer (portrayed by Kim Chiu). Directed by Dado Lumibao, Always is set to show in cinemas nationwide on September 28, Wednesday. 


Photo courtesy of Manila Standard

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