In the competitive showbiz industry, aspiring actors and celebrities agree that it takes more than just talent to stand out in the crowd. One needs to possess the X factor, that elusive magic to sift the chaff from the grain, so to speak.
And magic these 13 hopefuls have, as they are launched as the newest batch of Star Magic—the talent arm of TV giant ABS-CBN—and its main man Johnny “Mr. M” Manahan.
As their predecessors have attested—Star Magic has trained and launched the careers of some of the biggest names in local show business since 1995—this new crop of talents are more than excited to get a major boost for their chosen career.
Today The Manila Times help introduce these aspirants, collectively known as 2018 Star Magic Circle, composed of showbiz scions, products of reality TV shows, award-winning thespians and fresh discoveries.
Watch out for their name as they sure to set to turn heads and lead projects in the years to come.
Following parents’ footsteps
While their surnames have given them a head start in the game, for which they said they would forever be grateful for, these showbiz scions are ready to carve their own names in the industry.
Donny Pangilinan, 20 years old. The eldest son of former actress Maricel Laxa and motivational speaker Anthony Pangilinan, Donny first gained following through his interaction with followers on social media.
Things took a different turn after his appearance on ABS-CBN’s morning show “Magandang Buhay” in 2016, which spawned other guestings, endorsements and an offer to become a Myx VJ.
Aside from hosting, Donny also dabbled into singing and got to release singles “Did You” and “Different Kind Of Love.” He is being launched as an actor in the film “Walwal,” and in his debut soap “Playhouse” opposite Kisses Delavin.
Leila Alcasid, 20. As the daughter of OPM icon Ogie Alcasid and beauty queen Michelle Van Eimeren Leila’s venture into the industry might seem expected but said she didn’t see it coming when she met with Mr. M.
That meeting spawned the suggestion for her to undergo acting workshops that eventually endeared her to the business. Leila has already released her first single “Completely In Love With You” before becoming member of Star Magic Circle.
Tony Labrusca, 22. Performing onstage has always been in Tony’s blood as the son of actor-dancer Boom Labrusca and former Kulay singer Angel Jones. Not surprisingly, his entry to show business came in the form of “Pinoy Boyband Superstar” where he got to sing and dance for a chance to be part of the country’s newest boy band. While he did not make it to the finals, industry insiders consider him as one of the most successful products of the show.
After his stint, he became a mainstay in the primetime soap “La Luna Sangre” and even got to launch his debut single “Tanging Ikaw.”
Reality TV graduates
Getting a little push from the various reality TV shows of ABS-CBN, these young discoveries promise to branch out and showcase their talents.
Zonia Mejia, 16. She first broke into mainstream consciousness as a former “Pinoy Big Brother 737” housemate and since then has been part of a number of shows such as the youth-oriented show “Luv U” and the afternoon soap “The Promise Of Forever.”
Aside from acting, Zonia also dreams of dabbling into dancing in the future. But if given the chance, she would like to portray the role of a mermaid, since swimming is her cup of tea.
Henz Villaraiz, 18. His affinity for boybands inspired him to try his luck on Pinoy Boyband Superstar last year where he finished in the Top 10. Little did Henz know that his entry to the reality show would change his life for good as he was among the few selected by Mr. M to sign a management contract under Star Magic.
“I like to express myself either through writing songs or acting, in the hopes that I get to also inspire my audience. Kasi for me, pag nalagyan mo ng ngiti yung mga mukha nila, napaka-rewarding nun,” Villaraiz shared.
Karl Gabriel, 20. Inspired by his desire to help his family and his interest in acting, mechanical engineering student Karl Gabriel signed up on Star Magic’s public acting workshop almost two years ago. Not too long, Karl auditioned for Pinoy Boyband Superstar but didn’t make it into the live shows because as he recalls, he got too emotional during the taping.
But his stint wasn’t all for naught as he landed a role in “Wansapanataym” as a bully to Marco Gallo and now, a contract with Star Magic. In the long run, Karl hopes to be able to land his own title project and to work with the likes of Liza Soberano in the future.
Markus Paterson, 19. It could very well be considered as a plot twist when Fil-British Markus Paterson finally caught the eyes of Mr. M after enduring four, unsuccessful go-sees with him.
Originally a footballer and a music lover, Markus then became part of “ASAP” Chill Out and eventually, Pinoy Boyband Superstar.
Since the end of his stint on the competition, Markus has been part of a digital series, a Wansapanataym episode and more recently, in the daytime series “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso.”
Award-winning-actresses in the making
Not entirely new in the field of acting, these young ladies have the makings of dramatic actresses and may soon find themselves reaping recognitions from local, and who knows, maybe international award-giving bodies.
Anna Luna, 22. Theater veteran Anna Luna has already transitioned to movies via the independent film genre. Among her most notable projects were “Paglipay” by Zig Dulay and “Maestra” by Lemuel Lorca, which earned her a Best Actress award from the Five Continents International Film Festival in Venezuela. She has also been part of a number of Star Cinema films such as “The Breakup Playlist,” “How To Be Yours “and “Dear Other Self.”
But perhaps her most notable work of late was the award-winning film “Changing Partners,” which also paved the way for her to catch Mr. M’s attention. While many aspire for title films, Luna has but a simple wish now that she’s part of Star Magic Circle 2018 – that is to be able to headline her own “Maalaala Mo Kaya” episode.
Yasmyne Suarez, 20. As far as being equipped is concerned, Yasmyne Suarez is coming into the industry with the necessary tools at hand—she started training under Star Magic workshops as early as 2013 and furthered her studies by taking a theater course at New York University, an Ivy League school, for two years.
While she has yet to do more movies besides 2017 horror flick “Spirit of the Glass 2” in her resume, Suarez already has her heart in the right place when she declared, “I love acting because I want to move people with my performance, to inspire them and also to teach them.”
Charlie Dizon, 21. It may have taken quite some time, two years to be exact, for her to eventually get into Star Magic, but Charlie Dizon is convinced that the wait is all worth it. Her hard work in balancing school and workshops eventually paid off as she became part of such films as “Finally Found Someone,” “Loving In Tandem” and “Seven Sundays,” where she got her biggest break.
One of Charlie’s biggest blessings in her budding career to date is her role in the newest fantaserye “Bagani.”
Coming on a clean slate, these young talents hope to impress the audience soon.
Daniela Stranner, 15. Filipino-German Daniela Stranner, a native of Pampanga, is one of the youngest members of the group. Scouted at a music festival, she was presumed as an aspiring model with her foreign looks and doll’s eyes. But fate seems to have other plans for this young football varsity player after a VTR session, which eventually led to her going face-to-face with Mr. M.
Not too long, she signed up for acting workshops and eventually caught the eye of some local magazines who branded her as the next “It Girl.” But this young stunner is excited to delve further into the industry, hopefully, through rom-com movies in the future.
Patty Mendoza, 20. Her face may resemble many other stars in the business today, but Patty Mendoza is sure to be a persona of her own. Patty was discovered modeling in University of Santo Tomas, where she finished her degree. That lucky day eventually led to her taking part in a go-see with Mr. M.
Now that she’s launched, Patty hopes to be able to put all that she has learned from the acting workshops into the test by taking part in a film together with her idols Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz.
Chantal Videla, 15. Unlike many teens her age who might be intimidated to try her luck in auditioning for Star Magic, Fil-Argentinian Chantal Videla welcomed the challenge and it did pay off for her as she got accepted into the fold.
Chantal hopes to follow the steps of her idol Liza Soberano and even have the chance to work with her in the future either in rom-com or light drama films or soap operas.