KC Concepcion is no longer the It-test of the It, the Queen Bee, the coolest, most aspirational star in local showbiz. Yes, I said it. I do speak with some authority: I was there when she burst into the scene like a panther (her favorite feline, FYI) in the night—unexpected, powerful, trailblazing. Throughout the years, I was on the bleachers cheering her on, even as I saw the luster fade away little by little.
There was no Bad Beginning for KC. At 16, she was launched as the face of clothing brand Human. Her early career moves were brilliant. Despite little to zero mainstream TV exposure, she was a top brand ambassador who could sell everything, from multivitamins to feminine wash. She was a favorite cover girl, one who had the power to sell copies, according to veteran editors I’ve asked. When she went to Paris for college, her cool meter went off the charts. KC Concepcion didn’t need to drink the Kool Aid—she was the Kool Aid.
When she came home in 2007, the frenzy was at its peak. The possibilities seemed endless for KC, yet she chose to stay and fully embrace mainstream stardom. But I always wonder how different would her narrative be if they waited for her to grow before giving her movie projects. It didn’t help that the roles given to KC were always sweet and goody-goody, until one day, Anne Curtis and her posse took over the stage. It was different for them, maybe, because they were unencumbered by public expectations, therefore unafraid to take on crazy, b*tchy, memorable roles.
I have been asked so many times, despite the influx of the new It Girls, why am I still enamored with The Great Miss Concepcion.
Because there is no one like KC. Her storybook life juxtaposed with her father issues and acceptance of a different kind of family set-up is something I can understand. As someone who lost touch with her father early on in life, I felt for this out-of-my-league star. This sad aspect of her life made the myth human; it made her relatable. I understand why throughout her 20s – and this is pure conjecture – she never really found The One because anyone who has lost a parent will tell you that it’s the kind of cut that runs deep.
KC was an inspiration throughout my turbulent teenage years, a shining example of how, even if your family’s not whole in the traditional sense, you can make something out of yourself. Other parallels: She has half-sisters Frankie and Miel, and I have half-brothers Jed and Ken. And holy sh*t, even our initials are alike: KC. IC. It’s like God was telling my about-to-rebel self, “Hoy, look. She’s keeping it together. Kaya mo yan.”
I cling to my No. 1 because I know that whatever glitches happen in her career, she’s always going to bounce back. I refuse to believe that someone like her would just fade away – KC has so much to offer. These days, when she posts about a trip to Pinto Art Gallery or her spontaneous Art in the Park experience, I am transported to the early 2000s, when she was free to be as bohemian as she wanted to be, not watered down by the need to maintain a sweet, mabait, forever virgin image dictated by the industry. “I’m going back to my roots,” she told me one night over amaretto sours.
To which I say, It’s time you did, Kace. It’s time you did.