Everybody has to start somewhere. Did you know that some of your fave stars actually entered showbiz doing bit or minor roles in television shows? Their acting careers declined until they decided to move to a different network where, for them, it turned out that the grass was greener. Below, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) recalls the journey of 10 celebrities and their rise to becoming a household name in the entertainment industry.
In 2017, a footage of a segment of Eat Bulaga! went viral on social media. Shot in 2011, it showed Liza Soberano—then a new talent of GMA-7—promoting a shampoo brand. But after signing a contract with the network in the same year, Liza was never seen in any its shows. It was because she was a Kapuso for only a week. Liza revealed in a 2014 interview that she asked to be released from her GMA-7 contract because Star Magic, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN, had called with an offer.
She said, "Noong pumunta ako doon [GMA-7], alam mo yung... I didn't feel at home. Siyempre gusto ko kung magtatrabaho ako, masaya ako. Hindi ko lang na-feel. Kasi dati pa lang, ABS na po ang pinapanood ko, so gusto ko talaga ABS."
Still in 2011, as soon as she transferred to the Kapamilya network, Liza appeared in an episode of Wansapantaym, where she was credited as Hope Soberano. She was also cast in the afternoon series Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo (2012) as Jake Cuenca's younger sister. In 2013, ABS-CBN changed her screen name. Her first major appearance as Liza Soberano was in the movie Must Be... Love. She also starred in the teleserye Got To Believe and the movie She's The One, alongside Enrique Gil. Liza and Enrique top-billed their first teleserye together titled Forevermore, which got high ratings throughout its run. In 2017, ABS-CBN tapped Liza for the much-coveted role of Darna. However, she dropped out of the movie project in 2019 after a finger injury.
Liza's latest teleserye with Enrique was Make It With You, which aired in January 2020. The production however, was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was supposed to continue once ABS-CBN resumed taping, but the Kapamilya network decided to cancel the series with an unfinished storyline. The cancellation also came after Congress denied the renewal of ABS-CBN's broadcast franchise. Currently, Liza and Enrique are being managed by Star Magic with Ogie Diaz and Carlo Orosa, respectively.
Before Andrea Torres became known as one of GMA-7's sexy drama actresses, she first slugged it out as one of the contestants in ABS-CBN's reality show Qpids. This happened in 2005, where Andrea was one of the nine ABS-CBN "love princesses" on the show, who were each on the lookout for a partner or a "love prince."
Andrea's partner in Qpids was Dominic Roco, and their love team was dubbed as "DomRea." They were the fourth love team to be eliminated from the show. After Qpids, Andrea took a break from showbiz. She returned to the industry in 2008 as one of the hosts in GMA-7's daytime youth-oriented program, Ka-blog! This served as a vehicle for Andrea to get the attention of the Kapuso executives. Soon, she was given supporting roles in GMA-7 teleseryes. In 2012, Her big break came when she top-billed the afternoon series Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga with Mikael Daez. This was followed by several more projects where she played the female lead.
Andrea is expected to headline a new series called Sanggang Dikit with Derek Ramsay, her leading man in the 2019 prime-time series The Better Woman. The two are currently in a relationship.
Did you know Barbie Forteza was first discovered by ABS-CBN in 2008? She was supposed to play the child kontrabida in the series Annaliza, with Ella Cruz, but by the time ABS-CBN decided to shelve the project, Barbie had moved to GMA-7.
Kapuso fans first saw Barbie Forteza as the young Jodi in the 2009 remake of the K-Drama Stairway To Heaven. Her appearance drew wide attention and GMA-7, taking note, did not waste time grooming her for stardom.
After Stairway To Heaven, Barbie top-billed several projects such as First Time (2010), Pilyang Kerubin (2010), Nita Negrita (2011), Luna Blanca (2012), and Paroa: Ang Kuwento Ni Mariposa (2012). She also headlined the youth-oriented series Tween Hearts from 2010 to 2012. In 2014, Barbie top-billed the afternoon series The Half Sisters, which was a success in the ratings game. The series ran for one year and seven months. In 2016, Barbie received an award for Best Actress at the 36th Fantasporto International Film Festival at Oporto, Portugal for the independent film titled Laut. She continued to headline projects in GMA-7 which were considered top-raters: That's My Amboy (2016), Meant To Be (2017), Inday Will Always Love You (2018), and Kara Mia (2019). At present, Barbie has resumed taping for Anak Ni Waray vs. Anak Ni Biday, which took an airing break during the quarantine.
Kit Thompson started his career in 2011 using the screen name Keith Thompson in GMA-7's youth-oriented series Tween Hearts. However, his stint in the series did not flourish, and he gradually disappeared from the show.
In 2012, Kit joined ABS-CBN's reality show, Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition. Although he was evicted during the early part of the reality show, ABS-CBN tapped him to join the series Kahit Puso'y Masugatan. In 2013, Kit was launched as part of Star Magic Circle 2013. Subsequently, he was cast in the shows Forevermore (2014) and Dolce Amore (2016). In 2017, Kit left the Philippines to study acting in New York and do some modeling stints in Los Angeles, California. Kit made a comeback in 2018 via the movie The Hows Of Us, starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
He was given bigger projects in 2019. First was the prime-time series Sino Ang May Sala?, where he was paired with Ivana Alawi. In August 2019, Kit top-billed the adult movie Belle Doleur, where he was paired with Mylene Dizon. Currently, Kit is set to become part of an ABS-CBN drama series titled Ang Lihim Ni Ligaya, with Ivana Alawi in the title role.
Before Max Collins, there was Isabelle Abiera. She was a talent of Star Magic who first appeared in the second season of ABS-CBN's youth-oriented series, Abt Ur Luv, Ur Lyf 2. Isabelle did more acting stints for the network in shows such as Astigs and Love Spell. In 2010, Isabelle was tapped to portray Empress Schuck's kontrabida in the afternoon series Rosalka. This was followed by an appearance in another afternoon show, Alyna, where she played the third wheel to Charee Pineda and JM de Guzman. After Alyna, Isabelle disappeared from the scene.
In 2012, Isabelle staged a showbiz comeback in GMA-7 as Max Collins. Max is now managed by Perry Lansigan and GMA Artist Center. Her first appearance was in the afternoon series The Good Daughter, as the best friend of Kylie Padilla. She got her big break in the same year when she replaced Kyle as the leading lady of Dingdong Dantes in Pahiram Ng Sandali. Kylie backed out of the project because her management back then, Vidanes Celebrity Marketing, deemed the role to be too mature for her. Max later on top-billed more teleseryes after Pahiram Ng Sandali. Her last project where she played the lead was the afternoon series Bihag.
In December 2017, Max and Kapuso actor Pancho Magno got married. She gave birth to their firstborn in July 2020.
Louise Delos Reyes
Louise delos Reyes started her acting career in TV5 as Mary Grace Perido, a newcomer in the 2008 youth-oriented series Lipgloss. The name of her character in the series became the inspiration for her new screen name. She started using Louise in the third season of the show. A few months after Lipgloss wrapped up in 2009, Louise did guesting appearances on GMA-7. She later became a contract artist of GMA Artist Center, and was part of the youth-oriented series Tween Hearts in 2010.
In 2011, Louise got her big break when she was given her first title role, Alakdana. The series also jumpstarted her love team with Alden Richards. Louise and Alden worked on more series together: My Beloved (2012), One True Love (2012), and Mundo Mo'y Akin (2013). She top-billed solo projects, such as Kambal Sirena (2014) and Magkaibang Mundo (2016). In 2017, Louise left GMA Artist Center to sign with VIVA Artists Agency. The move allowed her to work with ABS-CBN. She appeared in shows such as FPJ's Ang Probinsyano, Asintado, and Ipaglaban Mo. Just recently, Louise was seen again in GMA-7 when she did a guest appearance on the noontime show Eat Bulaga!
In 2012, ABS-CBN introduced Michelle Vito via the prime-time series Aryana. She played the role of Megan, the erstwhile rival of Aryana (Ella Cruz). It was a big break for Michelle because prior to Aryana, she only had bit roles in GMA-7 shows, one of which was the bully in the 2011 afternoon series Nita Negrita, starring Barbie Forteza.
Michelle remains a Kapamilya up to this day. She appears in the prime-time series Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin that currently airs on Kapamilya Channel.
FPJ's Ang Probinsyano actress Rhen Escaño started her career in TV5's youth-oriented series, Lipgloss. She joined the show's last season in 2009. After Lipgloss, she moved to GMA-7 and did supporting roles in teleseryes, among which were Tween Hearts (2010), Legacy (2012), Villa Quintana (2013), and Let The Love Begin (2015).
Rhen signed with VIVA Artists Agency in 2017 to focus more on movies than television shows. In 2019, she played important roles in two movies: UnTrue and Adan. Rhen later joined FPJ's Ang Probinsyano in January 2020. She still appears in the teleserye to date.
Marlo was a discovery of the late German "Kuya Germs" Moreno. In 2011, he was given a spot in the Master Showman's late-night show, Walang Tulugan, at GMA-7. He was also a part of the youth-oriented show, Tween Hearts. Marlo was supposed to star in another GMA-7 series, Daldalita (2011), but instead he auditioned for ABS-CBN's X Factor Philippines, which aired in 2012. He did not make it to the finals. Later on, he was discovered by the production team of ABS-CBN's daytime series, Be Careful With My Heart. He was included in the show as the love interest of Janella Salvador. The series ran from 2012 to 2014. In 2015, Marlo played Janella's leading man once again in Oh My G! After a few acting stints, Marlo is now focusing on hosting and singing.
Joseph Marco was a model and only tried acting for the first time via GMA-7's prime-time teleserye, La Vendetta, in 2007. He was paired with Ynna Asistio. However, his career in GMA-7 did not take off.
In 2010, Joseph had a second chance to make it as an actor when he played one of Jessy Mendiola's leading men in Sabel. After a string of supporting roles, Joseph was promoted to leading man status via the early prime-time shows Pure Love (2014) and Pasion De Amor (2015). In 2017, Joseph played Maja Salvador's leading man in the prime-time series Wildflower, which became a hit. His partnership with Maja also earned a fanbase. In 2019, Joseph joined the cast of the afternoon series Los Bastardos. After Los Bastardos, ABS-CBN announced that Joseph would be part of the second season of an international series titled The Bridge, which is produced by HBO Asia and the Asian streaming platform Viu.