Camille Prats and husband VJ Yambao were the epitome of a proud mom and dad as they showed their daughter to guests during Nala’s first birthday. Their little girl, whom they described as their “answered prayer,” was the star of her princess-themed party held at Blue Leaf Cosmopolitan in Quezon City on September 23.
The occasion brought together the couple’s family, friends, and even colleagues from the entertainment scene. Patrick Garcia brought along his daughters while Sherilyn Reyes-Tan and Diana Zubiri accompanied their kids. Gladys Reyes and her husband also attended the party with their children.
In an exclusive interview with MB Entertainment, the celebrity mom graciously opened up about her family dynamics and the balancing act which keeps them all together.
What is your birthday wish for Nala?
My birthday wish for Nala is for her to always be healthy, and for her to remain a happy baby. My wish is for her to grow up to be God-fearing, kind, and loving, saka respectful.
Can you share the inspiration behind her name?
I always wanted the name Nala kasi even when way before I got pregnant, parang nasa isip ko na yun if I’m going to have a baby girl, I want to name her Nala. Because the name is very simple, you say it the way you read it, una. Second, parang it’s very sweet, parang a person who’s named Nala, parang ang lambing-lambing niya. It’s unique also, so ‘yun siguro ang inspiration behind it.
Did you wish for a girl when you first realized that you were expecting?
Yes! Super! Because I already have a boy and as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was secretly praying that it would be a girl kasi para pareho na meron. Pero parang I didn’t want to think about it so much kasi I didn’t want to feel parang sad if ever maging boy. So it was like, you know, secretly praying but either way as long as the baby is healthy, I’m perfectly okay with it even if it’s another boy. Kasi Nathan’s very sweet, super lambing, so parang kahit lalaki ulit, okay na okay sa akin.
How about VJ?
VJ wanted a girl na talaga. Kasi nga, we also have Ice, who’s also a boy, so two boys na. So talagang, siya talaga gusto na niya ng girl. And also, all his siblings are boys, there’s so much boys in the family. So wala talagang girl.
How was it? Paano mo nalaman?
We did a blood test. We did that to find… it’s like a test to also find out any anomaly sa baby.
When do you do that? Which month?
As early as 10 weeks. Super early talaga. So lumabas na ‘yung result, so I kept texting the person in charge. Sabi ko ‘No gender,’ kasi I didn’t wanna know, pero hindi ako nakapigil. Sabi ko sa kanya can you text me the gender? Tapos ‘yun nga, tinext niya sa’kin na it’s a girl. Sobra ‘yung happiness ko, halos maiyak-iyak talagaako na it’s a girl.
Whom did you tell first that you were having a girl?
Si VJ. I was with VJ that time, we we’re going to the mall tapos he was beside me. Tapos parang ayaw ko pang sabihin sa kanya. Parang na-excite na kasi ako cause we wanna know together the gender of the baby. Kasi syempre hindi na siya napakali, tapos ‘yun nga it’s a girl. Syempre, sobrang happy din niya.
Do you want more kids?
I want another one. It was hard kasi with Nathan na wala siyang kasabay growing-up. So parang gusto ko naman na si Nala will have a playmate. Saka we’re five in the family, so marami kami so somehow gusto ko rin medyo madami yung anak ko. Alam mo yun parang saktong gulo lang, not too much. I think having another one would be okay pa. I want one more.
Can you reveal a little about your family dynamics now that you have a girl?
Well, they’re kind of growing-up na rin kasi and Nathan is 10 years-old so he’s a bit mature na. He’s very caring and both of the boys naman they don’t really play rough anymore. They just like to hang-out and do things together pero hindi na sila kasing gulo as they used to.
Super lambing nila. Tapos si Nala naman is really the center of everyone’s attention. Like really from all of us, she really gets the VIP treatment from the boys and the parents.
Now that Nala is one, are you slowing easing your way back to the entertainment scene?
Well right now, I am happy with how I am able to balance both family life and work. I’m doing bars (exercise), which I did only twice a week. And parang feel ko sobrang okay na ‘yung schedule na ‘yun cause I get to spend the other days with my family. Tapos also on the side pa, I have other things also, I mean the social media thing is thick right now. So I’m happy to be focusing on that and I’m also happy to be getting a lot of work from that. Siguro yun na yung nagiging focus ko ngayon. Ang saya lang kasi it’s basically work from home. With social media, they send you stuff for review and it’s very organic, it’s very natural. Sometimes my family is included in it. So parang it’s easier for me.
Of course I miss acting and I think it will always be my first love. But as of now, if work presents itself and I find it na kaya naman siyang i-balance with family, I’d go for it. But as of now, I think my priority is my family, especially because I have a little girl who is growing up fast.
What do you miss most about showbiz?
I guess it’s the every day work. Parang I remember when I was single, I would work from like Monday to Friday and movies on weekends. And you know I love the adrenaline rush, I love the feeling of always being busy. But now that I think I’m getting older and having a family, it makes me want to slow down and relax for a bit. Parang hindi ko na rin kaya to go full time kasi I get so antsy na kunwari late natapos hindi pa ako nakakauwi. I wanna come home to my family and make sure they are still awake when I get home. Pag hindi, parang nagi-guilty ako. So I just want the right balance with that. And so far it’s working well naman for me.
Who among your contemporaries are you still close with?
Well, you know what? Halos lahat. Like I always talk to Kaye Abad, even when she’s in Cebu. A very close friend would be si Pauleen Luna, since we gave birth almost at the same time. And si Nica Garcia, si Sarah Abad. I mean madami pa, most of my friends from way back sila pa rin naman ‘yung the ones I still talk to until now.
What do you pray for, for your whole family?
Well, we are growing and somehow parang instant din how it happened for all of us. We started just five of us and then we started getting married and started having kids. And I’m happy na we’re close knit even though we started our own families na. And somehow my parents are very happy because they get to hang and spend time with their grandchildren.
I just wish na we’d remain the same. Kasi syempre having your own family changes your priority also. Parang all of a sudden it’s not your siblings anymore, it’s not your parents anymore, it’s about your family na and your children. But for me, I’m just thankful that we remained intact, and we kept our relationship and we’re still okay. Kahit na our priorities somehow shifted, we make sure na we still take care of each other, especially our parents.
How do you do that?
I think constant communication, we always talk about a lot of things. If there’s a problem, we sit down and really talk about it. It’s always on the table na whatever happens, we’re a family, and blood will always be thicker than water. Having said that, alam namin na no matter what we do or others do, we keep on loving each other and we’ll learn from our mistakes along the way. Pero never kaming nagkaron ng tampuhan tapos nagtanim ng galit, tapos never na kaming nag-usap. It’s never an option in our family.
Photos by Kristelle Bechayda and Jessica Pag-iwayan