At 40 years old, Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach believes her strongest currency is self-confidence gathered through years of learning—making mistakes and taking them all in.
And unlike other women who fear or are anxious about aging, Muhlach believes her beauty has also blossomed over time.
“Even if I’m 40, I still get compliments from my husband (actor Aga Muhlach). He tells me that I’m beautiful and (that) my beauty grows over time,” the one-time Binibining Pilipinas Universe said.
Charlene first gained attention as a wide-eyed, 19-year-old ingénue in 1994 when she joined the Miss Universe pageant held in Manila that summer.
Without meaning to, her off-the-cuff “high tide or low tide” remark, when asked by the pageant host how many islands the Philippines has, will always be archived as among the wittiest answers ever thrown in the Q&A segment.
“I had no idea I would be asked that question. My answer just came out,” she recalled.
Charlene concedes she will “forever be known” as a former beauty queen because of that stint. She insists, however, that she has grown into more than the lady with the crown and cape.
“I’m no longer afraid to be myself,” the one-time actress told Inquirer Lifestyle in an exclusive interview.
“When you are younger you have more fears. But as you get older, you realize everything is predestined. You should live life with no fears and live for the moment,” she said.
She was “very shy” when she joined Binibining Pilipinas 20 years ago. “That’s the reason I joined show business. Before Miss Universe, I did not know how to present myself in front of the camera. I started doing movies to overcome that shyness,” she said.
It was during her show-biz stint that she met Aga. The two were cast as buddies in a local sitcom. Love blossomed and they are now the parents of twins Atasha and Andres.
Parallel forays into showbiz and parenthood are supposed to take their toll on celebrities. In her case, this is obviously not true. In fact, she was recently chosen as brand ambassador for Pond’s Age Miracle Firm and Lift line, a new product that addresses the more advanced signs of aging.
But first things first—Charlene said nothing beats consistently taking care of herself.
“I eat healthy, exercise and, more importantly, I take care of my skin and beauty,” she noted.
While snagging a major prize in the genetic lottery has also helped, she pointed out that a consistent routine in skincare helps sustain efforts to combat aging.
A constant in her beauty arsenal is the Pond’s Age Miracle Firm and Lift Targeted Lifting Serum Massager, which focuses on the Y-Contour in the jaw and neck, which are among the first areas to show signs of aging.
The Targeted Lifting Serum Massager delivers high levels of hydrolysed collagen and lipodipeptide via a rolling massage applicator. Pond’s research showed that 90 percent of women agreed it is as effective as a professional lifting treatment.
“I love the tightening effect (this product) has on my skin, most especially on my neck and jawline. Some people think that you have to worry only about wrinkles, but the more advanced sign of aging as you approach 40 is loose skin and sagging,” she said.
She also swears by the Firm and Lift Eye Contour Lifter, a silky cream in a tube that has a cooling applicator head for easy application under the eyes.
The Face and Neck Lifting Day Cream with SPF 30 PA+++ and InstaLift, meanwhile, helps correct deep lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Great years ahead
Charlene refuses to rest on her beauty pageant laurels and insists that the best experiences of her life are yet to come.
“When a great experience happens to you at a young age, you don’t want it to become the defining moment of your life—or worse, the peak, when you still have many years ahead of you,” she said, adding, “the question in my mind remains, what’s next? What more can I do?”
The future may be unknown but, at least, this woman is assured she can face it with the confidence that comes from knowing she can still look her best, if not better.
“My beauty didn’t peak when I joined Miss Universe. I believed then that may igaganda pa ako and that my best years are still ahead. And that’s exactly how things turned out,” she said.