How the model-turned-actress made things happen in her young but fruitful career
With an expressive pair of eyes, a mega-watt smile and an angelic demeanor, people could not help but ogle at the fresh-faced mestiza who’s getting in between Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s characters in the 2013 romantic flick, Must Be Love.
Soon, the audience learned that “the other girl” is Liza Soberano, a young Filipino-American actress who started out as a print ad model and then-slowly inching her way to the tightrope world of acting.
Though it was her first appearance in a movie, acting was nothing new to Soberano—she has portrayed supporting roles for several episodes in ABS-CBN shows like Maalaala Mo Kaya, Wansapanatym, and Kung Ako Ay Iiwan Mo before bagging the role of Angel Gomez in the aforementioned movie. But playing antagonist in the big screen, with valuable screening time, is a rare opportunity some teen stars her age could only dream of.
From supporting to the main act
Legendary Russian theater actor and director Constantin Stanislavski once remarked, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”
Soberano seemingly had this adage on her mind as she unceasingly honed her acting chops through roles that have come her way, even if they are considered as supporting roles.
The same year, she debuted on the silver screen as a shy girl secretly in love with her best friend Enrique Gil—who would later become her partner in the hit love team, ‘LizQuen’—for She’s The One. The 2013 box-office romantic comedy film had Dingdong Dantes, Bea Alonzo and Gil in top-billing.
Come 2014, the California-born actress returned to the small screen, this time for the prime time show Got To Believe. Concurrently, Soberano also returned as the “third party” in Bernardo and Padilla’s love team.
But perhaps her biggest break finally came when, after two movies and countless television, Soberano was introduced as a leading lady in arguably the most popular nighttime show for 2014 and 2015, Forevermore.
Televiewers were drawn to Maria Agnes Calay—the beautiful strawberry farmer from the fictional Sitio La Presa—who accidentally met, and eventually, fell in love with rich hotel heir Alexander “Xander” Grande 3rd, portrayed by Enrique Gil.
The show was such a hit that it not only catapulted the tandem, LizQuen—an amalgam of Soberano and Gil’s first names—to mainstream consciousness but also drew crowds to Sitio Pungayan in Mt. Kabuyao, Tuba, Benguet—the actual location site of the show.
As a result of her newfound fame, the naturally beautiful young actress started to bag one endorsement after another even before the show ended.
From shampoos to makeup, clothes to purchasing card, food to beverage, skincare and even personal care, Soberano’s face is all over. Add to that her frequent magazine covers and special newspaper features.
Now, with these “blessings”—as she would often refer in her interviews—Soberano could be a living testament to the age-old adage, “Good things come to those who wait.”
Confident yet humble
If one would look at her filmography, the hardworking Soberano has not stopped acting since 2011.
Right after finishing Forevermore, LizQuen starred in two more movies, Just The Way You Are and Everyday, I Love You. They topbilled both movies in 2015.
With all the achievements she has earned in as little as five years, many industry observers are already labeling her as a bonafide actress while fashion and beauty movers call her as the new “It Girl.”
But does the ever soft-spoken 18-year old think she has arrived in this lucrative industry?
“Yes, I feel that I’ve definitely been able to make a name for myself by this time. I’m really happy that I have already had lead roles, a blessing, really, for me. To add to that, I’m just happy that my management and the network that I am working with believes in me and really tries to push me to move higher and be a better person than I was before,” Soberano confidently told The Sunday Times Magazine during her launch for makeup brand Maybelline.
She also remembered her first few attempts in the business.
“When I first started in the business, I was very shy. I couldn’t even smile right in front of the camera but throughout the years, I’ve gotten used to being in the limelight as a model and an actress,” Soberano shared.
Despite her celebrity status, Soberano still keeps some things for herself and for her family.
Born to a Filipino father, John Castillo Soberano, and American mother, Jacqulyn Elizabeth Hanley on January 4, 1998, it is no longer a secret that Hope Elizabeth Soberano—the actress’ real name—grew up in the care of her paternal grandparents when her parents separated.
Ultimately, the young Soberano had to fly to Manila at the tender age of 10 to be with her father.
Ever protective of her family, the actress told The Sunday Times Magazine that her family’s privacy is of utmost importance to her.
“When it comes to personal life, my family most especially, I don’t want a lot being drawn out in the media. I want to give them as much privacy as I can because, of course, they deserve it, they are my family,” she confessed.
The loving daughter is also willing to give up precious time of sleep—the one thing that celebrities get deprived of due to long work hours—to bond with them.
“I don’t get days off regularly but when I do, I sleep in because that’s what I miss the most. But then, I make it an effort to wake up before noon to at least have lunch with my family,” Soberano related.
Moreover, the ABS-CBN talent allots her “day off” in watching movies or playing board games with them. If she has more time and energy for herself, she also cooks dinner for the family and, as a self-confessed dog lover, bathes her seven dogs herself.
Her closeness to home and patience in the business are two of the things that, people close to her, believe made her a rightful role model.
Soberano knows that she has a strong presence in the lives of social media-driven teens nowadays—what with her 3.6-million Instagram followers, 1.09-million Twitter followers, and around 3-million (even more if unofficial pages were to be included) Facebook Likers—and uses these platforms to empower the same followers.
That being said, Soberano is not too keen with the infamous online bashing, especially when she is pitted against her colleagues, Bernardo and Nadine Lustre—who, like her, belong to the top three teen love teams in the country.
“I am really upset that in this world, women are bashing other women, which shouldn’t be happening. We should be the ones uplifting and complimenting each other because who’s gonna stand up for the women race if not women ourselves? We should all come together as one. I just hope people won’t pay much attention to the flaws of a person and instead focus on the beauty, on what’s good about them. ‘Cause, if you really don’t know the person, why bash her? Why stress yourself up on saying nonsense about someone?,” she passionately averred.
With that, Soberano would like to instill her current philosophy, most especially to her young followers.
Don’t let anything stop you—not even bashing—to chase after your goals and dreams in life,” she told The Sunday Times Magazine.
“If you want to be an actress, a model, a singer, or whatever it is that you want in life—it doesn’t have to be those huge jobs where everyone sees what you are doing—just make it happen!” she concluded.