The Gutierrez family: United they stand

MANILA, Philippines – There is something about the Gutierrez family.

As one of the Philippines’ most talked about showbiz families, each member has been scrutinized by people who believe that once in showbiz, one is considered a public figure.

Many believe that the family members are living the glitz and glamour of being stars. There’s Ruffa, actress, TV host, former beauty queen, model, and a sought-after endorser of various products. There’s Richard, the superstar who became one of GMA 7’s prominent leading men. Raymond, Richard’s twin brother has carved a niche for himself as a TV host, editor and bar owner.

Their father Eddie on the other hand was one of the country’s top matinee idols of the 60s and 70s and is still an in-demand actor. Finally, there is the matriarch Annabelle who many see as the feisty and overprotective mother of her children, but has established herself as one of the country’s top talent managers.

But beyond the success in their careers lie the unguarded moments, controversies and various issues thrown at them. And for the first time ever, this will be seen on television as E! presents its first-ever Asian original – It Takes GUTZ to be A Gutierrez – airing Sunday, June 1, on cable TV.

As the first Asian family with a reality TV show, people will get to see how the family lives life on a daily basis. The questions everyone wants answers to will finally be revealed in the 6-part episode series which will also show the family in a cruise around Asia. Their loved ones as well as the other Gutierrez siblings will also appear on the show.

“As the home of the most topical pop culture buzz on celebrities, daily entertainment news, and live red carpet coverage, E! is the perfect fit for a no-holds-barred series on the Gutierrez family,” said Christine Fellowes, managing director for Asia Pacific of Universal Networks International.

“We are delighted that they are opening up their lives and that we are able to bring this locally relevant content to our E! audience in the Philippines.”

Reality show

Richard, who was initially reluctant doing the show, said that it took a while before he got used to being followed by the cameras.

“Doing a reality show, in the beginning, it was kind of awkward, because a camera follows you 24/7. But after a while, when there are cameras 24/7, you just feel like there are no cameras,” he told reporters after the E! screening on Monday, May 26.

“So you just have to be true to yourself. It's good, it was a good ride,” he added.

As for the ultimate question as to whether he and girlfriend Sarah Lahbati have a child, Richard simply said to watch the show.

“Gaya nang sinabi ko dati, nung umalis kami ni Sarah last year, maraming unanswered questions. Maraming mga tao may kanya-kanyang speculations, hula. I think now is the perfect time to answer all the questions, one, because Sarah is now finally back with GMA, and two, we are doing a reality show.”

(Like what I said before, when Sarah and I left last year, there were many unanswered questions. Many people have their speculations and guesses.)

A proud Cebuana, Annabelle is confident that the program will do well.

“I’m sure matutuwa ang mga tao. Pinalabas eto sa Singapore at lahat sila gustung-gusto nila so ako naniniwala na talaga magiging successful kami dito sa Asia,” the talent manager said.

(I’m sure many people will be happy with the show. It was shown in Singapore and many of them liked it. So I believe that we will successful here in Asia).

Distinctly Asian

But before anyone can scream Kardashian rip-off or wannabes, the Gutierrez family’s show is different. While the comparison is there from the famous clan of Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney, Raymond said they are more Asian.

“With the Kardashians it’s either you love them or hate them right? But for us, the comparison is inevitable. They have been there for 10 years and people forget that the Kardashians have been doing this for 10 years. Kami, nagsisimula pa lang (Our family is just starting). And what I admire about them is that they took an opportunity like a reality show and made it into an empire,” Raymond said.

“Our family is different and we have a different set of values. We still grew up in Asia and we are very Filipino so iba yung pagpapalaki sa amin sa kanila (our upbringing is different from theirs). I think the Asian market can relate to us and I hope in the future when you say E! you just don’t think of the Kardashians but also of the Gutierrezes.”

Surely many will raise their eyebrows but the Gutierrez family has been through it all. Witness what it really takes to be part of their family and judging from the sneak peek of the pilot episode, it takes a lot of "gutz." –