Esperanza “ Zsa Zsa “ Padilla was born on May 28, 1964. Also known as “the Divine Diva”, Zsa Zsa is a popular, award winning singer-actress, songwriter, commercial model, product endorser, music producer and businesswoman.
Zsa Zsa had her first taste of the limelight via a milk commercial (Nido) which she did during her pre-teen years. It was followed by a few print ads and bit parts in movies, one of which is the movie “Disco Madhouse” under Maryo J. delos Reyes, with whom she had her first acting workshop with. It was through that workshop that she got the part.
When the group Music and Magic needed a new female vocalist to take the place of Ms. Kuh Ledesma who was then going solo, Zsa Zsa was asked to audition. However, she got married even before they could get back to her. And eventually she chose to live a quiet life away from the hustle-bustle of showbiz.
In 1982, Zsa Zsa was already busy raising her own family, at the same time, going back to college, when her uncle Bebong Osorio asked her to join the popular Manila Sound band, “Hotdog.” She performed with the group for almost a year before embarking on a solo career. She first appeared as a solo artist by doing the front act of the concert featuring Ms. Kuh Ledesma and the Music and Magic at the Philippine Plaza. That singing stint was followed by several guestings in concerts of other established singers, the like of Leah, Navarro, Basil Valdez and Nonoy Zuniga. These performances helped Zsa Zsa develop her self-confidence. She sang every chance she got, one spot after another. Her perseverance, determination and hardwork landed her in shows like Patok Na Patok, Penthouse Live, and others.
Her first major concert was held at the Araneta Coliseum on September 29, 1984 and was such a huge success. For Zsa Zsa, her major inspiration in singing is the audience itself, their acceptance and support.
Her first music idols were Elvis Presley and the Carpenters. But after seeing Barbra Streisand in “A Star Is Born”, she has become one of her biggest influences.
Her range of music is wide. She started out singing pop with the Hotdogs, before performing solo at the Tavern-on-the-Square where she preferred to sing ballads and Broadway hits. Other music genre she’s inclined to are rock, new wave, and rhythm and blues. Asked why she has this music preference, she said “Because I was born in the 60s, then time when rock popped out.”
Zsa Zsa eventually branched out into acting. She was first offered to play the role of Lavinia in the Sharon Cuneta starrer “Bituing Walang Ningning”, but she had to turn it down. First, it wasn’t credible to pit the two stars against each other being good friends that they are. Second, she didn’t want for her first major movie the role of a villainess. In 1987 she first accepted a TV role as a wife of a gay man in a popular classic drama series “Lovingly Yours Helen”. The reaction of the viewers proved that she is an actress to reckon with. In the same year she accepted her first movie role in a comedy flick “Mga Anak Ni Facifica Falayfay” in 1987 with Philippine Comedy King, Dolphy. This role proved her mettle as a ribtickler; hence it was followed by another Dolphy-starrer “Black Magic.” In her third film,”Hiwaga”, Zsa Zsa tried drama under the direction of Peque Gallaga, capping the year with another equally intense drama, “Magkano ang Iyong Dangal?”, where she showed she could go daring if she wanted to. After several films, her craft was finally given due recognition by bagging the Star Awards Best Supporting Actress in 1994 for her role in the movie “Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin.” In 1998, three prestigious award giving bodies namely Film Academy of the Philippines, Gawad Urian and Star Awards for Movies named her Best Actress for her performance in the film “Batang PX.” To prove her versatility, she bagged five Best Actress Awards for her performance in the comedy flick “Mano Po 4: Ako Legal Wife.”
Zsa Zsa had also starred in the successful and critically acclaimed full length musical play “Larawan”in 1997.
Likewise, Zsa Zsa appeared in several soap operas and drama anthologies on television pairing her off with some of the best leading men in the industry. She was last seen in the fantaserye “Lastikman” as Dra. Cynthia Avilone opposite John Estrada. She is also well-remembered as Rosamia in the teleserye “Bituing Walang Ningning where she played the role of a singer who was already hitting rock bottom in her career and mother to Dorina (Sarah Geronimo). The opportunity to do different roles on television has helped her hone her acting skills and made her into the fine and sensitive actress that she is now.
Aside from singing and acting, Zsa Zsa has proven herself in the field of hosting. Gifted with eloquence, charming spontaneity and genuine graciousness, she started co-hosting GMA Supershow along with Ms. Sharon Cuneta, Jackielou Blanco, among others. She got her big break when she was offered to host ABS-CBN’s popular Sunday noontime musical-variety show, A.S.A.P. where she shared the stage with Mr. Pure Energy, Gary Valenciano, Concert King and Queen, Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez. At the same time, she aptly hosted two talent search on TV namely “Star In A Million” and “Born Diva” in 2003 and 2004 respectively. A year after, she was awarded Most Outstanding Female Television Host by the Golden Screen Awards. Currently, Zsa Zsa continues to host A.S.A.P., bringing more excitement and a touch of elegance that is distinctly her own.
According to Zsa Zsa, she never thought she would go this far as an actress. She thought she’d just try it once but eventually got bitten by the acting bug. One thing led to another and the rest is history.
Zsa Zsa hails from the Osorio and Padilla clans. Her father is actor and sportsman Carlos “Sonny” Padilla, Jr. who si very well-known as the referee in the Ali-Frazier world heavyweight boxing match, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Her mother is beautiful Esperanza Felipa “Kating” Perez. She is the fourth child in a brood of six (two boys and four girls).
Zsa Zsa is the life partner of the Philippine King of Comedy Dolphy and has three lovely daughters namely Karylle, who’s also making a mark in the entertainment industry as a singer-actress, Nicole and Zia.