She carries a name revered in modern Philippine theatrical movement. Actress Pinky Amador certainly knows it and recognises it as one driving force continuously pushing her to master her craft.
“I think the biggest contribution my aunt did was to really inspire so many people towards having a passion for excellence. Anybody and everybody who trained with her have a different mark,” she tells this writer in an interview at a coffeeshop that milled with not a few people wanting to have a photo with her.
On that ordinary day, Pinky was radiant and full of charm. There was a glow in her eyes as she spoke about her aunt who died of cancer six years ago.
Pinky is in Sydney this month to help out in a theatre development project, the ‘Filipino Australian Migration Stories.’
“I’m the guest artist from the Philippines. So in a big way, I serve as the connection in terms of culturally and literally to the Philippines. Because a lot of the collaborators are second generation – don’t know much Tagalog and don’t know much of the culture anymore,” she explains.
“I was an OFW myself. I had that experience in UK. I went alone to study and I stayed there to work without knowing anyone. I got auditions myself. I got jobs myself. I competed with everybody else. So I know what it feels like. I know the pressure Filipinos put on themselves to prove things.
“My role is to germinate ideas with the team here for the final performance of the play. A lot of it is explaining the going back to the Philippines. People think going abroad is a culture shock but going back is worse, because nothing has changed while you have.”
Pinky Amador (Pilar Cristina Roxas Amador) was a recipient of two British Council scholarships for excellence. She completed her acting kit from the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School with a master’s degree. In 1999, she became the director and producer of Yellowmoon Films.
The award-winning actress, singer, commercial model, and TV host is currently the Department Head of the Theatre Arts at the Meridian International College in Taguig.
The school is keeping Pinky busy these days. She is in charge of designing a conservatory style AB Theatre Arts course, similar to the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), which offers students proper drama school training and mentorship.
Based in Manila, she is set to do a creative development project in London for a musical called “Sacrifice” that a Filipino director is opening at the West End next year.
She gives her impressions on Pinoys in Australia.
“One thing we discovered is that Australia itself is a migrant society. Filipinos here are not blue-collar workers like in most parts of the world. There’s a whole difference. On my way here on board the plane I could already see how Filipinos here are more introspective, they have more personal space and somehow more sophisticated. You have it easier and very fortunate. With fortune like that gives you access to be risk takers and be your own person.”
Pinky is just like everyone else. She has her own regrets and fears – she passed an opportunity to own real estate in South Kensington because she’s afraid of mortgage and loans. Who isn’t?
She is protective of her relationships and family. She’s tops in the league of acting but admits she still gets flustered. She recalled shaking anxiously when asked to perform “Lupang Hinirang” for Yehuda Berg, author and spiritual leader of the Kabbalah Centre.
Pinky is a student of Kabbalah, a school of thought immersed in mysticism and understanding ones life purpose. That probably explains why Pinky, a scuba diving enthusiast, exudes an aura of depth and meaning. One senses in her a mix of humour and determination, passion, conviction and a deep respect for the arts.
It will be her 30th anniversary in acting next year and when asked which she preferred among acting, singing, dancing and theatre, she admits she couldn’t pick one. After all, she says, when she’s not on film, she’s doing TV; and if it’s not TV, it’s stage.
That all works out well for her now though she suspects her road might some day lead her to teaching and mentoring.
Maybe like her own Tita Zenaida?
“In the 70’s, my Aunt was teaching Shakespeare in a small town in Middle America. So there’s this little brown Filipina in Middle America teaching them Shakespeare in the seventies? How bizarre is that?” she narrates.
“She was the Head of St Joseph’s College and that’s why I went there from grade school to high school. So in many ways, I think I am really following her footsteps. She’s why I am who I am today.”
**Photos by Darryl O’Brien