“My soul is male,” Filipina singer and former Glee star Charice Pempengco told Oprah Winfrey during an interview on OWN’s Where Are They Now?
Charice, 22, rose to popularity as a teenage YouTube sensation, and released her first album in 2010. Pempengco was the first Asian solo artist to have an album debut in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. Winfrey notably championed the young songstress when her album was released, calling her “the most talented girl in the world.” Charice appeared a total of four times on Winfrey’s show.
Pempengco, who had a frequent guest spot on Glee, came out as gay in 2013. Charice’s coming out confirmed what many had been speculating after a drastic change in style and appearance a year earlier. Pempengco’s recent interview with Oprah was her first since appearing on the host’s show in 2008, and she opened up about her gender identity, sexual orientation, and living an authentic life.
Pempengco described the moment she first realized that she was gay, saying, “I was in grade school and I saw this girl, and I felt different. I didn’t know what it was, but I just knew. it felt special. And when I was 10, I was like ‘Oh, that’s it, I’m gay.’ I found the word for who I really am.”
When asked about her gender identity, Charice told Winfrey that while she identifies as a male on a spiritual level, she isn’t considering making the transition on a physical one.
“Did you struggle with transgender? Were you thinking about like transitioning?” the host asked.
“Not exactly transitioning to, like, a male-male. Basically, my soul is male,” Charice explained, “but I’m not going to go through that stage where I’m going to change everything.”
Pempengco also opened up during the interview about the murder of her estranged father.
Pempengco, who is currently a judge on the Filipino version of The X Factor, came out publicly on the Filipino show The Buzz, at the time telling the show’s host that she “feels free.”
“I can go out of the house without fear and certain that I’m not stepping on anybody’s toe.”
During the coming out interview, Charice emotionally thanked those who accept her for who she is, and made an apology to those who couldn’t.
“To those who can accept me, thank you very much,” she said. “We are all equal, whether you are gay or straight.”
Charice Pempengco’s Where Are They Now? interview is set to air on October 19 at 9 p.m. ET on OWN. Pempengco’s latest album is 2013’s Chapter 10.