Cheska Garcia-Kramer’s Secret to a Lasting Relationship
Think you’ve got nothing in common with celebrity moms who juggle movies, photo shoots, television, ads — and motherhood? Think again! Motherhood is one big of a role that Cheska Garcia-Kramer had to give up showbiz for her family.
Get to know her more as she talks about motherhood, her three adorable kids, how they handle Team Kramer’s popularity, how she looks fit and glam, and her secret to a lasting relationship
TEXT BY MYLENE C. ORILLO
HANDLER: CHERE GIOSKOS
PHOTOGRAPHER: RAYMUND ISAAC
STYLIST: EM MILAN
HAIR STYLIST: MARK FAMILARA
MAKE-UP ARTIST: KRIST BANSUELO
SHOT ON LOCATION AT PORTFOLIO STUDIO, MAKATI CITY
Some celebrities fear that getting married and having kids would put the limelight away from them, but for Cheska Garcia-Kramer (born Francesca Velasco Garcia) things just started getting better and better.
“You know what, Doug and I have acknowledged that now kung kelan pa kami nagkaanak, things became better, but I also do not take out na this is because of our children, or our family, I really think, this is God’s grace, ‘cause everybody else has a family, every showbiz personality has a family, they have social media, they’ve post pictures of their children,” says Cheska.
Cheska and her family, or more popularly known as the Team Kramer, has become the most-followed Filipino family on social media. As of this writing, Team Kramer has 6,194,587 Likes on Facebook and 116,038 Youtube subscribers.
The 35-year-old model and actress started with the youth-oriented show “Ang TV” in the ‘90s, and was one of the hosts of the defunct lifestyle magazine show, “Us Girls.” She married Doug, a 32-year-old Filipino basketball player, who currently plays for the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the Philippine Basketball Association.
They were blessed with three kids: Clair Kendra, Scarlett Louvelle, and Gavin Phoenix who never fail to charm the netizens of their photos/videos being posted online.
“That’s why we don’t just post pictures of ourselves or of our children, we also post our daily devotion, because we recognize it that there must be a deeper meaning to this kind of following. I mean, for us it’s unexplainable.”
A fulltime wife and mom
Cheska chose to give up her showbiz career to become a full-time mom but accepts projects every now and then. Even Cheska’s manager when she sets schedule, she has to consider that she has to send kids to school, bring them lunch, pick them up, not unless Doug decides to take the kids to school in the morning.
“But there’s never a day that would pass or would come that either Doug and I would pick up our kids, we always pick them up or we always take them to school. So yeah, it’s knowing your priorities, that’s how I’m able to manage everything,” says Cheska.
We may see the Team Kramer everywhere from Social Media, television, billboards, newspapers, to magazines, but when it comes to endorsements, Cheska is very particular with the brands that they endorse.
“I don’t mean to be parang mayabang but for me it’s really important to be endorsing something that I really believe in, I really use, I know about it so when I’m asked, I know what to say, because I’m a user of it, I’m using it. So I’m very, very, very, very picky,” she says.
Cheska makes sure that whatever they use or buy in the grocery, it’s also what the family is endorsing so it won’t be hard to talk about it or share stories.
Raising popular kids
While the kids don’t have any idea yet as to the extent of their popularity on Social Media, Cheska makes sure they keep their feet on the ground and treats them as normal kids.
“With Kendra we always tell her that she’s the Ate, she should set the example, because she knows that whatever she does, Scarlett follows it. And soon after, when Gavin starts to understand things, Gavin also follows them. We always tell her you set the trend here with your brother and your sister because when you act in a certain way, they’ll think it’s alright ‘cause you’re acting that way.”
Kendra who’s known to her fans as #Kendrasuperstar (a nickname Cheska created) is more popular to the public; while Scarlett (#Scarlettdoll) and Gavin (#Gavincredible) are following as well little by little.
“All ages, all classes know her. Kahit saan kami pumunta, kilala talaga nila si Kendra. Ako nga, they’ll forget my name, they’ll say ‘mommy ni Kendra’, but they know that she’s Kendra,” says Cheska.
Up to now, Cheska can’t help but be amazed at the kind of following that they have. That’s why the couple would always think twice to bring their children along in public as they always attract a thick crowd.
“Kendra’s five, Scarlett just turned three, Gavin is one. So sometimes, we ask them, ‘Can you smile Kendra, Scarlett, Gavin, this one last.’ After a while, of course, they have little patience, they get tired too, so sometimes we also apologize you know, sorry the kids are kinda tired already ‘cause they’re babies pa,” she explains.
Compared to Doug who is more disciplinarian, Cheska is the talker type or ma-sermon. “The everyday basic like sit down when you’re eating, finish your food, don’t stand up yet, ‘yung mga ganyan. Just normal reminders for the kids, but with Doug, when it comes to real discipline, it’s him talaga!” reveals Cheska.
The couple teaches their kids about responsibility especially to Kendra as well as over Scarlett, as they will be Gavin’s role model. But to all three of them, she always tells them to always love each other and be gentle.
“I think through time that rubs on and then they see it because we’re affectionate parents. So it becomes natural to them to embrace, to kiss, to say I love you, because it’s something that’s modeled in the housed,” she says.
Being naturally affectionate, Cheska admits she and Doug love to spoil their kids as their affection stems not just to words and actions, but also in giving gifts.
“So, that’s how we are to each other when we were boyfriends and girlfriends, we write love letters, we give each others’ gifts. So with our children, we do the same. When my kids do something good, we reward them with gifts but I also teach them that their biggest reward is knowing what they know.”
She would tell Kendra sometimes when she asks for a gift after doing something good in school, or she has mastered her reading, “Your gift is you already know how to read. That’s the best gift ever, because you will get tired of your gifts and toys, but you will forever be happy and proud that you were able to achieve this. So you know we also give them realization of things.”
Despite their busy schedules, the couple makes sure they sneak in couple time and that’s the time they rely on helpers and/or ever-reliable ninongs and ninang to take care of their kids for a while when they go on a date.
“It takes us two hours before we leave the house because all the three kids, they freak out, so we have to talk to them. Sometimes when it’s too difficult to leave, we put them to sleep first and that’s when we leave the house,” shares Cheska.
Compared when they were still boyfriend and girlfriend, Cheska can say their relationship is so much better now with the kids as they have made their love and foundation more solid. They are also freer now as a married couple.
“S’yempre nung magboyfriend-girlfriend kami we had restrictions because of our parents so now we have the freedom to do what we want to do, we are our own individual more than from before.”
Cheska revealed that she only realized how much she loved Doug when she married him. “When your boyfriend and girlfriend you have no responsibility yet over each other, and you have no real things to worry about. When you get married, that’s when reality kicks in, suddenly you have all this bills to pay, you have to share everything with your partner, but that’s when I saw that I really love this guy because we’re great together.”
Cheska described their relationship with Doug as not-so very dramatic. They have been together for 11 years now, so they practically know everything about each other.
“Madaling usapan lang. Ayaw naming magpalaki ng mga fights tsaka we’re not really the type that fusses on a lot of things. It’s also respecting your partner’s space. If I know it’s something he wouldn’t like, I don’t have to ask him anymore, I just don’t do it, or I don’t entertain things anymore.”
Behind the camera
At home even though she has a helper around the house, Cheska helps in the household chores, cleans their house, and irons their clothes. In fact, she teaches her children how to sweep the floor and use the vacuum.
“I enjoy doing those things, it’s relaxing for me. I’m very clean in the house. I like the house to look clean, and I like it to smell nice. I like fresh flowers in the house.”
Cheska is also the type of person who sticks to her old friends. She keeps her friends who have been her friends before she started in show business.
“Whoever are my group of friends, yun lang sila. I do have a lot of acquaintances, but the ones who really know me and the ones that really come over to my house, the ones I’ve spent time with, they have been my friend since I was a kid.”
Her favorite hangout place is in the bathroom where she likes to stay longer, takes time to bath, spends some quiet time, and hangs out while praying her devotion.
“Sometimes it’s just nice to shut things out and pray. For me my way of distressing is talking to my husband and through prayer, so I really enjoy times that I’m quiet. And my husband knows it when he enters the room and I’m staring at the sliding door, we have a balcony, and I stare there and I’m holding my devotion or my bible, he knows I’m praying, so he just leaves.”
She also loves putting make up, but prefers without them when she’s just at home. “I started showbiz when I was 12 so I’ve outgrown that [make-up]. So on days that I don’t have work, I’d rather keep it simple,” she says.
Advice to wives and women in general
Cheska may have given up on her career for her family, but she didn’t give up on herself.
“Don’t lose yourself along the way. Sometimes it can get overwhelming but, find yourself in the midst of all the things happening around you. Because it’s very important to your partner, your children, and to yourself that you’d be able to find who you are and your happiness and where you are at the moment,” she says.
As to her advice on work, “Always give your best. Be nice to people that you come across. Be thankful that you have work, take good care of your job. Be professional.