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Jasmine Curtis-Smith Is Stronger Now

by Sam Beltran | Sep 12, 2018

After a year’s hiatus from television, Jasmine's star shines brighter. She's back, and she is #StrongerNow.

On a Sunday, when most people would very much rather enjoy the comforts of their bedroom, Jasmine Curtis-Smith is hard at work. Arriving right on time for her Preview cover shoot at The Ruins in Poblacion, Makati, the actress immediately gets down to business, exuding an ethereal glow as she basks in natural light against shabby concrete.

Jasmine Curtis-Smith for September 2018

Just a little after lunch, Jasmine takes a break from the camera, cozying up to long-time boyfriend Jeff Ortega as the two casually browse the internet. Just behind the couple, a black cat swarms the boxes of pizza and chicken sprawled on the table. As the team frantically attempts to shoo the cat to no avail, the actress immediately gets up and marches over to the feline, looking at it in the eye, and does her best impression of a dog woof. “I have dogs so I can be a dog,” she declares, and the cat finally jumps off. It’s quite the amusing scene to witness.

For someone who’s grown up in show biz territory thanks to older sister Anne Curtis, Jasmine embodies a sense of normalcy. The 24-year-old actress talks with self-awareness and a wisdom that’s beyond her years. There’s a genuine sense of relatability about her that doesn’t come from a false veneer of modesty—she waves with her hands, interrupts herself mid-sentence, and rambles through the course of our conversation. It’s this natural strength of character and being comfortable in her own skin that makes Jasmine an apt ambassador for Pantene’s #StrongerNow campaign. There seems to be no stopping Jasmine, who recently inked a two-year contract with GMA-7, which marks her official return to television after a year’s hiatus.


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Conquering Her Quarter-Life Crisis

With a name, face, and talent that could easily guarantee her success in show biz, the actress, who started her career at 16, found that by the age of 22, she was feeling burned out. This led to her decision to take a step back and examine her priorities. “I felt like I did six years of TV without the realization of how show business is really set up, so I feel like na-burn out ako too soon into my career,” she reflects. “So I took myself out for almost a year and a half and I did a digital series with D-5 Studio [called] Forever Sucks, and I focused on films.”

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The break from the small screen did Jasmine some good, as she was able to reflect on how she really wants her career to take shape—for one, she realized that her strengths work better in film as a serious thespian as opposed to taking the usual glitzy celebrity route. “I felt like [film] is where I really belong, not to be cliché about it,” Jasmine shares, noting that the fame that comes with being an actress is only a bonus.


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While it’s natural for millennials her age to question their identity and career path, Jasmine’s awakening came when she starred in the 2015 play No Filter by Sandbox Collective—she was around 21 then. She starred alongside other actors and performed monologues written by young talents, mostly about coming of age and the challenges of young adulthood. As part of her role, Jasmine had to internalize at least seven monologues, usually based on real-life anecdotes that dealt with the usual issues surrounding young adults in their twenties. “Going through [the script] and mulling over each sentence and word, what it means and what it should mean to the audience, I think it made me rush through that, ‘Who am I?’ phase, so ang aga kong dinaanan ‘yun,” Jasmine shares. This is evident in how selective she appears to be when it comes to taking on specific roles and characters, making appearances at events, and choosing what to share on social media.


"At the end of the day, I’m putting my name on the line... This is only to help shape who I am and the image I want to present to people.”

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Now Jasmine is more sure of her self-image than ever, even when it comes to her style. Recalling a work event she had to attend, she shares, “Someone wanted me to wear a cropped top and mini skirt and [a pair of] boots, and I was like, ‘Oh you know what, that’s really cute, but it’s not me.’” With that, she quickly got changed into an ensemble that she resonates with. "At the end of the day, I’m putting my name on the line... This is only to help shape who I am and the image I want to present to people.”


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Returning to Her Roots

If there’s anything Jasmine has learned from taking a break, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on yourself and getting to know yourself better. More than a year later, the actress is back and in full speed. Within just months of signing her contract and after having wrapped two films this year (General Admission and Maledicto), she is now taping a show called Pamilya Roces and will be starting production on a movie called Children of the Lake alongside heavyweights Piolo Pascual, Ronnie Lazaro, Robin Padilla, and Sid Lucero.


Getting over her old fears and concerns that once held her back, Jasmine realized that television had strengths she could work to her advantage, such as bringing that audience from TV to her films.

With a hectic schedule just off the heels of her return, Jasmine has her plate full. We’ve heard time and again about stars succumbing to the pressures of the limelight, but Jasmine's showing she's not one to break easily. The demands of television are certainly different from the environment of film, her first love: The schedules are grueling, and the crews are usually working on a tight budget and timeline to squeeze in as many productions as possible. Still, the actress is more resilient now than ever before and she finds a middle ground between film and TV. Getting over her old fears and concerns that once held her back, Jasmine realized that television had strengths she could work to her advantage, such as bringing that audience from TV to her films. She declares that television is her current priority. “I’m giving GMA all of my two years,” she says.


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Still, ever the serious actress, Jasmine is gunning to do films whenever she can. “It’s the third golden era of film, and I do not want to miss out on this,” she notes. Having earned acclaim for her past roles in Baka Bukas and Siargao among others, Jasmine can wax poetic about the country’s local film industry. For her, venturing into movies is a no-brainer. And when it comes to choosing roles, she tends to look at the overall story and whether it reflects local sensibilities. “When I look specifically at romantic films, I make sure that it’s nothing so typical and stereotypical of a romantic film in the Philippines. But more than that, I really look for family stories, stories about the country, and something that can feature our pagiging Pinoy.”


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The actress asserts the importance of having a life outside the industry and not missing out on these experiences. Show biz, after all, is not forever. 

Going Behind the Scenes 

Although Jasmine accepts that being in the public eye is part of the job, she tries to live as much of a normal life as she can. This, however, often leads to her holding back when it comes to social media, wanting to relish in the little bits and details of her life offline. Although she tends to post an update every now and then, for the most part, Jasmine prefers to enjoy her long-term relationship with entrepreneur Jeff Ortega in relative peace. Partners in every sense of the word, the two admit that they do everything together, including business. “We’re building a boutique hotel soon [in La Union], which Jeff made me part of [and] will hopefully finish in a month or two.”


Despite a packed work schedule, Jasmine makes sure to find time for her personal life, adding that she never misses birthdays and special events. The actress asserts the importance of having a life outside the industry and not missing out on these experiences. Show biz, after all, is not forever. She shares, “Ayoko rin naman to take that out of my life in equation to the point that it will be such a hard transition should the time come that I want to marry, settle down, leave the industry for a while… I don’t want to feel na may nagkulang if I want to focus on my personal life and leave show biz behind [in the future].”


Speaking of the future, Jasmine also dreams of eventually branching out of acting and become a movie producer, hoping to create more films that reflect modern Filipino themes and are relatable to the masses. Her sister Anne’s film, BuyBust, immediately came to mind when she was asked to cite an example of quality Filipino movies that should be more visible in the mainstream realm. “Not to be biased, but when I watched BuyBust, I was like, ‘Ganito dapat, wag niyong minamadali',” Jasmine praises of the Erik Matti thriller that took about two years to produce. “If gumagawa tayo ng tama, pinapanood, then ine-extend. So I’m hoping that’s something I can focus on and bring to Filipino film in the future, whether as a producer or an actress.”

So what’s next for Jasmine? Right now, it’s to have more of the films she is part of join more film festivals, and perhaps act in a straight play. “Other than that, I’m pretty settled and happy with what I have in front of me,” she remarks.


She seems content, a year and a half wiser, and definitely stronger. Jasmine may have had her own struggles, but that hasn’t dimmed her light one bit. If anything, her setbacks and challenges—and what she’s learned from them—have only made her star shine brighter.


Produced by Marj Ramos

Photographed by Charisma Lico

Contributing Creative Director Vince Uy

Art Directed by Mark Buenaobra

Styled by Loris Peña

Co-produced by Jam Nitura

Makeup by Mayesa Delos Santos

Hair by Kierlo Velasco

Nails by Jennifer Concepcion and Jennilyn Mirafuentes of Nails.Glow

Shoot assistant: Teresita Gabat

Shot on location at The Ruins, Poblacion, Makati

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