LEADING man Xian Lim neither dreamt nor planned to pursue a career in show business. A world he believes can blind you from reality, and one that lives and breathes from never-ending intrigues. But his stars had something else written out for him.
Alexander Xian Cruz Lim Uy was an 18-year-old balikbayan from the United States when his life took an unexpected turn. He came home to the Philippines for college and enrolled at the University of the East in 2007. Towering at 6’2”, the good-looking teenager was easily drafted to the campus varsity basketball team, and became a star on the hard court.
“By luck,” as Xian describes it, a friend who thought he had what it takes to make it in show business, convinced him to meet a certain Johnny Manahan. He agreed without knowing that Manahan is one of the industry’s most renowned starmakers and director, and the head of the illustrious Star Magic talent management arm of ABS-CBN.
And that was that. Before Xian knew it, he was on his way to stardom. No auditions, no talent scouts, or failed attempts.
His mother Mary Ann was utterly surprised at the turn of events. Present during The Manila Times interview, she attests to what her son had said at the beginning of this story.
“He never had plans to enter showbiz. Nor did I ever dream or think he’d be an actor, because he was such a shy kid!” she reveals. “When he told me he was with Star Magic, I thought may be he can give it a try. I mean he’s tall, handsome and he can speak well. Eventually, I realized it’s not surprising pala that he could actually be in showbiz. And I was and still am very happy for him.”
Reaching for the stars
It was in 2008 when Xian Lim officially signed a contract with Star Magic. While he had no idea what it meant to be in show business, he still managed to set goals for himself, as he does in every aspect of his life.
“Right when I got in, I had my goals. I had things I wanted to achieve, and since I’m very open, I told them about my insights on what I wanted to happen,” he recounted.
A go-getter by nature, Xian readily accepted supporting roles and bit parts for a good number of ABS-CBN TV shows, including My Girl and Your Song.
“There are endless opportunities out there, and if I’m given one, I take it. If there’s an open door, I go in, because I know that more doors will open after that,” he continues.
But Xian admits to The Manila Times that despite his fast pass into show business, things got tougher once he was in it. Hard work and patience were crucial to his survival.
It took three more years before Xian would get his big break.
“I was finally given My Binondo Girl in 2011, and while I already had many roles in different shows before, that was the major one where people actually got to know me.”
Xian was still considered a newbie then and was grateful to have been paired with the already famous Kim Chiu. He would even replace the actress’ erstwhile love team mate, Gerald Anderson, and their pairing remains strong to this day as proven by the recent blockbuster hit from Star Cinema, Bakit Hindi Ka Crush ng Crush Mo? in August.
Time to shine
By the end of My Binondo Girl ended, Xian’s star was on the rise. Endorsement deals suddenly piled up, with McDonald’s, Globe and BDO as some of the biggest brands investing in his fame.
“I had no idea I was famous until people started taking pictures with me, and approached in public,” he laughs. And with the fame, he also learned to live with the difficult parts of show business, including the endless intrigues, but always making sure he has a good grasp of reality.
A veritable star, he still enjoys thinking about what he would have become had he not entered showbiz.
“A psychologist,” he flashes his killer smile. “I’m actually taking up a long course for Psychology from the U.S. while I’m working here. I love listening to and observing people. I also love to give advice. I want to help people with their emotional problems. It’s something that makes me happy.”
Clearly, he has planned for a fall back, but he declares, “I do want to stay in showbiz for the long run. Maybe eventually work behind the camera.”
Apparently, such planning is called in showbiz lingo as “leveling up.”
“For the artistas, we have to ask ourselves at some point, ‘What more do you want to do?’ For me, it’s going into directing or producing. Those are my long term goals.”
To achieve these in the future, Xian Lim may no longer need luck, because if there is anything he has learned in his six years in show business, planning and hard work will get him through from hereon.