If you’ve seen prime time actress Gabbi Garcia’s new TV commercial for a shampoo and conditioning brand this week, so have viewers in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia. This is because the Encantadia star quietly landed the role as Asian brand ambassador of Procter & Gamble’s 72-year-old hair product, and is therefore just a step behind American actress and singer Selena Gomez who serves as global brand ambassador.
The T-Zone was part of a small huddle invited by Gabbi’s handlers, GMA Artist Center, on Tuesday where the 18-year-old celebrity excitedly shared her experience in joining the multi-national company beyond its Philippine offices.
Apparently, early this year, P&G Philippines had asked to meet the Sang’res of the hit GMA fantasy series, comprised of Garcia, Kylie Padilla, Glaiza de Castro, and Sanya Lopez. Unbeknownst to the girls, the executives were apparently on the lookout for the next Pantene Girl for the Philippines, and were smitten by the morena beauty’s looks, conversation skills and overall demeanor, among the four.
To Gabbi’s surprise when she was asked back to P&G’s headquarters, not only did she meet the company’s top executives but also their counterparts from several offices in the Asean via video conference, who all welcomed her as Pantene’s regional ambassador.
“It was overwhelming to see them all there, and so much more when I finally left in mid-February to shoot the commercial in Australia,” she related. “They assembled a team from their offices all over the world to put everything together.”
Among those Gabbi worked with in the Land Down Under were award-winning photographer and filmmaker Olivier Staub, Sydney-based Hollywood stylist Ellie Goodman, celebrity hair stylist Ken Arthur, and high-profile Filipino make-up artist Robbie Piñera.
“It was such an experience,” she continued. “I spent a week in Australia with Adelaide as our base. We had a long drive to the shoot’s location, which was an isolated desert in the south of Australia. There was no signal, there were no houses so we slept in an RV, but you’ll suddenly see a kangaroo out of nowhere!”
Nevertheless, the production was top-notch, with Gabbi learning how differently things are done abroad like clockwork.
“To top it all, I got to drive a classic car—a mustang! And right hand drive pa siya,” she giggled. “I had a double—a half-Filipina—for the shoot but I just really had fun getting behind the wheel myself.”
Gabbi explained that the TVC was shot in the desert to highlight the sun-protective components of the shampoo-conditioner range.
“I was on (GMA’s noontime program) Sunday Pinasaya last weekend when I saw the whole commercial for the first time and I can’t explain how I felt,” she shared. “I mean this whole thing was unexpected, and in itself, lumaki lang siya ng lumaki. From what we were told, they were only really looking for someone to do the Philippine commercial but things moved along after they saw me, and I’m really grateful for this huge opportunity. Imagine, to be the first Filipina ambassador of an international hair care brand, I still can’t believe it myself!”
Proud of their talent, Gabbi’s handlers at GMA Artist Center said that their girl has somewhat gone full circle. For when Gabbi joined them in 2014, and they told her they would try getting endorsement projects for her besides shows on the network, the only brand on her wish list was—you guessed it—Pantene.
No wonder she was ecstatic.