I had met RJ a few times before the pandemic. On many occasions, he was wearing a stylish jacket. He was always prim and proper, suave, dashing. He never minced his words when talking to people. He was always clear, honest, and engaging.
This pandemic, my encounters with RJ are via zoom. And just like in person, he still exudes this kind of confidence that you cannot see in most people in his field. He is assertive but there’s always a tone of humbleness in his voice.
That’s the picture I have of RJ or Richard Reyes Faulkerson, Jr., or Alden Richards to his legion of fans.
“RJ is very passionate and selfless. He’s a dreamer. He’s the person that drives Alden Richards to move forward, to aim for something, to have goals in life,” Alden responded when I asked him who RJ really is.
“He taught Alden to have a checklist, which reminds him that his stay in the business is fruitful and purposeful. Purpose is important, Alden always looks for a purpose before he accepts certain projects,” he carried on.
Like myself, his fans know him as the golden boy of showbiz, and if you remind him of that, he will just smile and nod his head. But there’s a side of him most people, at least those who are not as avid as his supporters, don’t know – he has a golden heart, too.
Inspired by his own life experiences, both his trials and successes, the 30-year-old multimedia star created AR Foundation, a program that offers scholarships to underprivileged children.
Little did many people know, RJ has been quietly helping scholars finish their education for some years now. The new foundation, with the help of his close friends, aims to expand the number of students covered by its educational assistance.
With this in mind, Alden is staging ForwARd: Meet Richard R. Faulkerson Jr., a benefit documentary concert happening this Sunday.
“This concert is the beginning of a legacy for me, sending kids to school will give them an experience that they will never forget. That’s the only thing that I can give them na hindi mananakaw sa kanila,” he stated.
Alden is an advocate for education, and the concert is his best platform to promote his advocacy.
“My previous concerts were all about Alden Richards, the things I have achieved as an artist in the past year. Richard was mentioned but only in passing. I was able to open about him in a book pero hindi pa siya masyadong malalim. With this concert, they’ll get to know who RJ is,” he stated.
A few minutes into our conversation, Alden started to pour his heart out sharing that “Richard Reyes Faulkerson Jr. was lost, before all the great things that have been happening to him right now, he was lost.”
The awakening happened to him when his mom passed away 13 years ago. It was then that he realized that he needed to step up because his family needed him. And he had to look for ways to help them.
“That was his objective. That was RJ’s objective. Thus, Alden Richards was born,” he said it so sincerely that you can see it through his eyes despite the medium we were using during this conversation.
Alden has inspired a lot of people, on and off cam, and interesting to know that while we thought he’s the one lifting people up with his body of work and his well-meaning deeds, what really drives him to move forward is the group of people that surround him.
“It’s the people I love, the people who have been supporting me wholeheartedly. It sounds cliché but it’s my reality. If I don’t look into that side of my career, showbiz will give you a lot of reasons to quit, but these people always remind me why I’m here. They push me forward. And as someone who’s very appreciative that’s why I wanted to give back in any way I can,” he ended.
Directed by Frank Lloyd Mamaril, the documentary concert will be held on Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.