Celestine Cruz Gonzaga, popularly known by her screen name Toni Gonzaga, is a Filipina movie and TV actress, variety program host, singer, and commercial model. She is one of the most visible multimedia artists in Philippine showbiz.
Toni was born on January 20, 1981, a 6.8 lbs. baby girl to Christian parents Carlito and Crisanta Gonzaga. Her mom craved "santol" and "mais con hielo" during pregnancy. Toni was named after a boxer by her father. She has a younger sister named Catherine. Toni is fondly called "Tintin" by her closest friends.
At the age of 4, Toni joined and won local singing competitions in their barangay in Taytay, Rizal. During her late uncle's term as Mayor of Taytay, Toni was always invited to sing in community events. When her father ran for public office, she started doing hosting stints in social events and gatherings. At a young age, Toni was used to facing large audiences.
At 9, Toni's father would bring her to auditions and singing competitions. She got through the first round of auditions at Repertory Philippines but Baby Barredo, one of Repertory's directors, sent her home during a rehearsal for some reasons. At 13, she managed to get into GMA's Artist Center and initially landed small roles. After 4 years, Toni decided to go freelance. While attending high school, Toni was busy joining auditions, competitions, and VTR screenings of advertising agencies.
At 20, Toni started lounge singing in hotels and bars such as Calesa Bar, Hyatt Regency, Sulo Hotel, and Holiday Inn. She went to school in the day and did her singing engagements at night.
Toni’s first big break came with a softdrink commercial appearing as a fan of Piolo Pascual at the age of 20. After this, she started hosting various television shows. She started out as the co-host of a noon-time variety show called the Eat Bulaga! She worked on this show for TAPE Inc. and various shows of GMA Network. Toni also started hosting Wazzup Wazzup, which was a Studio 23 production. She was a news anchor and "news diva," singing every line of a news story. She worked with the biggest competitors at the same time because Studio 23 is a subsidiary of ABS-CBN, the toughest competitor of GMA-7 in the Philippines.
Soon, Toni fully transferred to ABS-CBN and became a part of the Most Requested Show ur (MRS) with Roderick Paulate and Amy Perez. Then she hosted Entertainment Konek (ETK) with Ogie Diaz where she found the environment to be "positive, healthy and fun." Tony then signed up to be a female co-host of a reality show, called the Pinoy Big Brother. From hereon, her career was catapulted to greater heights.
In 2006, she diversified into music and came out with her first music album called "You Complete Me." Released by Star records, this album is a romantic hit and included songs like "We belong," "Love Fool," "Kung Kaya Ko," and "Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso."
Toni enrolled in the AB Mass Communication program of Dominican College, where she studied for two years. Later, she transferred to the AB English program of the Asian Institute for Distance Education (AIDE), where she is now studying independently.
Toni plans to finish her college education, set up her own business, and continue her flourishing career in Philippine showbiz.