Meet Rose Fostanes, Filipina Caregiver and Surprise Breakthrough Star of Israeli X-Factor

Hopes To Bring Attention to Low-Paid Foreign Workers

Youtube

By Reuters

Published January 13, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Once part of a faceless crowd of foreign workers who clean homes and tend to Israel’s sick and elderly, a Filipina caregiver has shot to stardom on a popular TV singing contest.

Rose Fostanes, 47, surprised viewers of Israel’s X-Factor talent show and swept its judges off their feet with soulful renditions of pop songs by the likes of Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera. And she has rocked her way to Tuesday’s live final.

Fostanes hopes her popularity on the show will shine a spotlight on Israel’s low-paid foreign workers, who include about 20,000 Filipinos.

For many Israelis, the word “Filipino” has become synonymous with caregiver, and Fostanes’ appearance and success on X-Factor could help break the stereotype.

“I think I will be a leader for them because of what I did and I think also they will be proud of me,” she told Reuters on Sunday. “Everybody in the world will know that Filipinos, even working as a cleaner … can also share their talents.”

Fostanes, who came to Israel four years ago, has been working for about 20 years across the Middle East. She had always wanted to be a professional singer and the X-Factor gave her a shot at her dream.

At first she thought Israelis would not vote for a foreign worker, and that she would be an underdog in the competition, where viewers and a panel of four Israeli musicians determine at different stages which contender moves up and which gets dropped.

“I feel that everybody is looking at me like I was an alien,” she said on one of the early audition episodes of the show. “A Filipina working here, cleaning houses.”

Then Fostanes - who cares for an ailing woman in Tel Aviv - got on the stage and sang Lady Gaga’s “You and I”, winning a standing ovation from her competitors. To her surprise, the votes, cast via text messages and the show’s website, kept on coming and catapulted her to celebrity status.

“I get from them a lot of good compliments, especially when I’m on the street, when I’m on the bus. I get from them love, from all the Israeli people who saw my videos and saw me on the television,” Fostanes said.

Fostanes has been compared to the Scottish singer Susan Boyle, 52, who shot to fame in 2009 after appearing on the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” and performing a powerful rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables”.

Boyle’s giddy rise from unknown to multi-million-selling recording artist has been made into a musical.

“My dream is to win this competition, but I have to go back to my work as a caregiver,” Fostanes said before getting up on the arena stage to rehearse one of the numbers she was due to sing at the finals, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.