• LEA SALONGA’S ADVICE TO YOUNG DREAMERS

    ‘Embrace your inner weird’

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    TESSA MAURICIO-ARRIOLA

    International theater actress and singer Lea Salonga will always serve as an inspiration to little girls most especially because she is twice a Disney Princess. Besides conquering the stages of the West End and Broadway in many memorable roles, she breathed life into Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine and Mulan, in 1992 and 1998 respectively, when she lent them her voice in the songs “A Whole New World” and “Reflections.” Since then, she has forged a connection with generations of little girls, which will never be broken, with Disney’s princesses becoming icons for young girls to reach for their dreams.

    “My advice to little girls, whatever they dreams may be, is to embrace their inner weird,” chuckled Salonga during the launch of her latest project with Globe Telecom and The Walt Disney Company as lead celebrity mentor of Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream. The show is a first-of-its-kind digital reality-series where six young Filipino girls, selected from nationwide auditions last year, will get to pursue their dreams with experts of their chosen industries as their very mentors.

    “The reason why I say embrace your inner weird is precisely because that’s what I did too, and really, what the Disney Princesses in each of their now classic stories did,” continued Salonga. “You’ll agree that these young women in the stories didn’t fit molds, like Belle or Mulan or Jasmine. They were taught to behave a certain way but they said, ‘I don’t fit that’ and they went for their dreams.

    With her international success, theater actress and singer Lea Salonga is eager ‘to pay it forward’ and mentor young talents today

    “So as my way of paying it forward—having had the best mentors in my career who pushed me and encouraged me to keep going—I’m here to impart the values I’ve learned from those who taught me and help them break out of those molds.”

    Magical journey
    Inspired by Disney’s iconic princesses and their incredible stories and qualities, the 12-episodic web series will bring viewers on a magical journey of six young Filipino girls, aged nine to 16, as they pursue their dreams with the help of Salonga, theater actress Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, social educator Efren Peñaflorida, veterinarian Nielsen Donato, animator Tito Romero, chef Jessie Sincioco, and YouTuber and host Charisma Star.

    The six girls are Hya Leonardo who wants to be a Broadway star; Sirach Catipay who is an aspiring chef; Liana San Diego who wants to be a veterinarian; Jaden Narvios who dreams of becoming the next president of the Philippines; Stephanie Jordan who is an aspiring Newscaster/TV Host; and Alexi Tan is wants to be an animator.

    Part of a wider global Disney Princess initiative, Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream will show how the development of these six young girls will run parallel with the stories of the different Disney Princesses.

    “Every Disney Princess is the heroine of a unique adventure story inspiring kids with messages of hope and optimism. What people love about the Disney Princesses are their incredible stories and the qualities that help them achieve their dreams,” explained Amit Malhotra, Disney Media Networks general manager of The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia, who flew to Manila for the program launch. “We hope this initiative with Globe, will inspire and empower a new generation of girls in the Philippines to pursue their dreams and aspirations.”

    Salonga with Globe Studios head Quark Henares who talked about the 12 webisodes that will comprise the reality show

    Like a true reality search, the web series will have the girls staying in one house where they will meet their mentors who will guide them toward becoming a theater actress, chef, vet, leader, newscaster and animator. Only one girl who will show just how hard she will work for dream, even at an early age, will be chosen for a special trip of a lifetime: She will walk down the red carpet at the Tokyo premiere of the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, and meet Hollywood actress Emma Watson who stars as Belle.

    The web series will be hosted by popular vlogger and host Janina Vela, who happens to be the granddaughter of the late TV personality Helen Vela of the 1980s iconic drama show, Lovingly Yours Helen.

    Digital lifestyle
    Besides the novel concept of Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream, what is also very interesting about the production is how it is confident to reach its target audience of young girls to tweens via the Internet.

    Speaking with Globe Studios head and film director Quark Henares, T-Zone learned that children and young adults nowadays do turn to the World Wide Web to watch their shows rather than traditional television.

    “You will be surprised how kids these days don’t know ABS-CBN or GMA [Network],” Henares revealed. “They watch their shows from YouTube and specific websites, which is also why those of us in entertainment also have to keep up with this digital lifestyle.”

    The ‘Dream Team’: Head of Globe Studios Quark Henares, Executive Director of Disney Southeast Asia Daniel Tan, Lea Salonga, President and CEO of Globe Telecom Ernest Cu, ‘I Dare To Dream’ host Janina Vela, Chief Commercial Officer of Globe Telecom Albert de Larrazabal, and Globe Retail Transformation and Stores Management Head Joe Caliro with the Disney Princess aspirants

    As Globe Telecom’s Chief Commercial Officer Albert de Larrazabal also highlighted in his speech, “Globe, with focus on enriching the Filipino digital lifestyle is now changing the way Filipinos consume entertainment. Through Globe Studios, we produce local original digital content for our customers that may be shared even with our global partners. This allows the local ecosystem of actors and producers to be part of the rich content offerings of global media creators like Disney.”

    Nevertheless, both Globe and Disney have agreed to go beyond online to share the “Dare to Dream” experience with a live audience via a culminating live concert top billed by Lea Salonga and a soon-to-announced lineup of Filipino musical talents.

    Globe Retail Transformation and Stores Management Head Joe Caliro finally interposed, “Of course the songs will all come from the Disney Princesses movies so the concert will just be as magical as you can imagine.”

    The live concert will take place on March 22 at SM MOA Arena, while the The Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream web series will be aired on Globe Telecom’s YouTube channel and on www.idaretodream.ph.

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