Fans were quick to recognize a fellow Filipina after watching recent episodes of Dr. Romantic Season 2! Intrigued, we *tracked her down* and got to ask her some questions about her experience in the show.
Meet Cherish Maningat, a 34-year-old theater, film, and TV actress from the Philippines who's been based in Seoul, South Korea since 2006! Cherish goes by the name "Cherish Unni" on social media and even has a YouTube channel.
Cherish has a master's degree in Theatre Directing when she studied at Korea National University of Arts in 2006. From there, she debuted as a musical actor in South Korea, and became a movie and TV actress in 2013.
Her most recent role is in the top-rating series Dr. Romantic 2, which tells the story of Kim Sa Bu (Han Seok Kyu), the chief surgeon at a small hospital in the countryside called Doldam. When his students leave Doldam Hospital and the place lacks manpower, he recruits two new doctors, Seo Woo Jin (Ahn Hyeo Seop) and Cha Eun Jae (Lee Sung Kyung). Cherish was able to know Sung Kyung better because of this drama, and she mentioned that the Korean actress comforted her during their filming. Awww!
You can say that Cherish is living the dream in another country and she's doing what loves the most. Although it was tough at first, she was able to surpass the difficulties, and now she's working beside big names in the Korean industry like Gong Hyo Jin! Cherish believes that anyone can reach their dream just like her. "The opportunities that come to me, it could come to other people."
Cosmopolitan Philippines had the chance to interview the Seoul-based Pinay actress and ask her what it's like working with the Dr. Romantic 2 cast:
How did you land a role in Dr. Romantic Season?
I got a call to audition for a TV drama but I didn't know what it was. I just went there. I read the script and then acted it out in front of the directors and producers.
My character is the mother of a Korean kid who is a victim of domestic violence. My husband beats me up and Dr. Cha (Sung Kyung) sees this and she goes to my husband to confront him. She defends me from my husband. But when I see Dr. Cha being treated the same way as I was, I try saving her by attacking my husband, but still injuring Dr. Cha in the end.
Have you appeared in other dramas and movies before?
Yes, I was in Heart Surgeons, Beautiful Love, Wonderful Life, My Little Hero, Missing, Showdown, Bacchus Lady, Stand By Me, and Romang. I will also be in two other movies that are going to be released later this year.
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What was it like meeting and working with the stars of Dr. Romantic?
I feel really blessed that I get the opportunity to work with great actors and actresses here. I really thank God every time I get a call to audition and when I get the part I auditioned for! But, of course, whenever I'm in the set, I try my best to be professional. This is still work for me, and the fangirling is just a bonus! Whenever I'm on set, I just stay quiet in one corner so I won't be in the way of the working staff.
Most of the time, the actors are in their own dressing rooms, so we don't get to see them or interact with them unless we have a scene with them. But sometimes, some actors are very kind and accommodating (like Han Seok Kyu seonsaengnim and Ms. Lee Sung Kyung!). They would approach me and ask me questions or have a quick chat, so then I can take pictures with them. On set and when we're on stand by, everyone's very professional and serious about getting the job done, but in between takes, they also know how to have fun.
What's your favorite *moment* from working on the show?
It was during the first day of shooting for Romantic Doctor 2. It was a long day of shooting and there was a delay so we were on standby. But since there were so many people (it was a scene with many people rushing to the hospital), there was no place to sit down. So some of us sat on a picnic mat on the floor.
Then suddenly, Ms. Lee Sung Kyung sat with us and started talking to us. She was even sitting on the cold floor without a mat! We were telling her to sit on the mat with us, but she insisted that it was okay. She told us she's learning English and she told us her life verse (Hebrews 11:1). She told me, "You know, Jesus loves you!"
I was going through something painful at that time, and I was praying to God to tell me He loves me. And I told her what I was going through and that I actually asked God to tell me that He loves me. And I know God used her to tell me that! She told me, "I will pray for you. And I'm not just saying that. Those aren't empty words. You know when we say something and we don't do it, we're lying, right? And I don't want to sin, so I'm telling you, I WILL REALLY PRAY FOR YOU."
And even after that day, whenever she sees me on our shooting days, she will come to me and hug me. She even asks me what happened to the situation that I was in. She even prayed with me when she saw the news about the Taal Volcano eruption and I told her my family lives near the danger zone. She is such a lovely person! I have never encountered a star who is so welcoming and has that kind of humility to mingle with small people like me.
Who are your favorite K-drama actors? If you could appear in a drama with only one actor, who would it be?
My favorite female actor is Ms. Lee Sung Kyung! I really liked her acting ever since Cheese In The Trap. I like that she's pretty but not afraid to take challenging and crazy roles! And now that I have met her, I like her even more. I like Ryu Jun Yeol and Jo Jeong Seok for male actors. But if I will be working with one of them...it's so hard to choose! Both of them, please?
Now here's a video of Cherish sharing her experience as an actress in South Korea for you to enjoy!
***Answers have been edited for clarity.
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