BIANCA Umali is predicted by a lot of writers as the girl most likely to be next big thing at the Kapuso Network. She continues to bloom and her star quality continues to be more and more incandescent as days go by. GMA7 should really nurture her and launch her soon as she has all the potentials of becoming a big star. She’s not only beautiful but can also act effectively as a serious actress.
Bianca’s life story is common knowledge since she started as a child star and we know her mother died of cancer when she’s 5 years old while her dad passed away due to heart attack when she was 10. She grew up under the care of her grandmother. She’s now 17 years old but she continues to miss her parents.
”It’s not easy po to grow up without your mom and dad,” she says. “When my co-stars talk about the things they shared with their parents, I feel sad na hindi ako lumaking kasama ang mga magulang ko. May questions sa mind why it happened but then iniisip ko na lang, may purpose si Lord kaya nangyari 'yun. Kahit may lola ako, I grew up independent-minded and learned to make my own decisions early in life.”
She’s happy to be part of the very big cast of the gigantic telefantasya, “Mulawin Vs. Ravenna” that begins airing on Monday, right after “24 Oras”. “When I was informed about it, sobrang na-excite ako kasi pinapanood ko po ang ‘Mulawin’ when I was a little girl and dream ko ring makalipad-lipad ako. Kapag Halloween parties nga, I wear 'yung Mulawin costume na may pakpak at ginagaya ko sina Angel Locsin na kunwari, lumilipad-lipad ako. So now, part na ako ng sequel. I play Lawiswis, love interest ni Miguel Tanfelix as Pagaspas.”
She’s made to wear green contact lenses as Lawiswis. “When I have them on, hindi ko nakikita 'yung mga nangyayari sa sides ko. Ang nakikita ko lang, 'yung mismong nakaharap sa akin, so sinasanay ko ang sarili ko na maramdaman 'yung right and left side ko by listening sa mga kausap ko.”
So what’s the status of her relationship with Miguel now? “Basta sa lahat ng male friends ko, I’m closest to him kasi siya na ang kasama ko lagi since mga bata pa kami. May iba pang mga nagpaparamdam but sinabi na ng lola kong bawal akong ligawan. Kailangan, mag-debut muna ako. Kapag 18 na ako, puwede na raw magpaligaw. Basta as of now, I’m so excited with my role as Lawiswis at gusto ko nang makita ang sarili kong lumilipad on screen in ‘Mulawin Vs. Ravena’ na magsisimula nang mapanood on Monday after ‘24 Oras’, so don’t miss it po.”
GIL NOT BOTHERED BY NEGATIVE COMMENTS
GIL Cuerva feels so lucky to be playing a lead role right away in his first project, “My Love from the Star”, that will replace “Destined to Be Yours” on May 29. His full name is Guillermo, the second of three kids. Nearly 6 feet tall, Gil finished high school at the Ateneo and was taking up Broadcast Communication at La Salle when he started modeling at 18. Now 21, he was in Hong Kong for a modeling job when he got an email from his management company, Cornerstone, asking him to take the audition in GMA7’s “My Love from the Star” and so he flew back to Manila and took it.
“Ang dami naming nag-audition,” he says. “I didn’t think I’d make it. I just went for the experience kasi 'yung mga kasabay ko, may mga nagawa ng soap and movies. Tapos, ang first choice daw was si Alden Richards, so nagulat ako when I learned na ako pala 'yung sinuwerte.”
What does he think is the reason why he was chosen? “May pagka-Koreanovela actor daw ang dating ko. And they say maganda ang chemistry naming dalawa ni Jennylyn Mercado.”
Don’t people say he looks like Borgy Manotoc, especially with his long hair? “Marami nang nagsabi. So I now really have to prove that I have my own identity.”
Is he ready for the hard work and intrigues of showbiz? “Oo naman. Hindi naman ako papasok dito kundi ako handa. I’m lucky to be introduced in such a good project and with Jennylyn Mercado as my leading lady. I feel so blessed right now.
What’s the feedback on him so far? “Mostly, positive naman, but may negative din, some below the belt, but I don’t let them bother me. 'Yun daw original character sa Koreanovela on which our show is based, hindi long hair gaya ko, may bangs daw. Sana lang, panoorin muna nila 'yung version namin before they judge me. Three years na itong hair and I think it kinda makes me unique as a guy with long hair.”
So is he enjoying acting? “So far, yes. Although 'yung first time kaming nag-tape, na-take seven ako. Bale 'yun 'yung first meeting namin ni Jennylyn. I’m an alien who landed on earth 300 years ago and I have superpowers.”
Isn’t Jen older than him by nine years? “Yes, but hindi naman halata. Also, Matteo is an alien so hindi siya tumatanda. I’m lucky kasi established na si Jen but she has no airs, no star complex at all. She made me feel comfortable right away. She’s very prim, very polite, saying po and opo, and we’re not used to that in our family. But sobrang kaba ko when we did our kissing scene. Ang daming takes, paulit-ulit. Sabi sa’kin ni Direk Joyce Bernal, 'wag akong magpa-pressure. Just enjoy it.”
Is it possible for him to fall for Jen? “Everyone knows she’s with Dennis (Trillo). As for me, I’m in a relationship right now with a non-showbiz girl.”
NYOY PLAYS FLAMBOYANT DRAG QUEEN
ACOUSTIC balladeer Nyoy Volante plays his most challenging role on stage as Lola, the flamboyant drag queen in “Kinky Boots”, a hit Broadway musical with songs by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein of “Torch Song Trilogy” and “La Cage Aux Folles” fame. It’s based on a 2005 British film of the same title, which was in turn inspired by the BBC TV docu “Trouble at the Top”, the true story of a young man who struggled to save his family’s shoe factory from closure through making fetish footwear for men using the brand name Divine Footwear.
In the musical, the young businessman is Charlie Price, who forms an unlikely partnership with a drag queen, Lola, to produce a line of high-heeled boots to save their family’s shoe business. It debuted on Broadway in April, 2013 and set new box office records. It got 13 Tony Award nominations, winning 6 of them, including best musical and best score for Lauper in her first try as a Broadway songwriter, making her the first woman to win alone in that category. When shown in London last year, it won three Laurence Olivier Awards, including best new musical. At its core, the musical is about two very different young men, Charlie and Simon/Lola who realize they have a lot in common, starting with the need to stand up to their fathers.
“Kinky Boots” is now being staged in Manila by Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment Group (ATEG) opening on June 30 at the Carlos Romulo Theatre at the RCBC Plaza in Makati. The role of the cross-dressing Lola (whose real name is Simon) is played by acclaimed theatre performer Nyoy Volante, last seen as Frankie Valli in “Jersey Boys”. Charlie will be played by Laurence Mossman, the half-Pinoy, half-New Zealander singer-actor who debuted in the recent production of “Fun Home” and now plays his first lead role in “Kinky Boots”.
Playing Charlie’s love interest, Lauren, is Yanah Laurel while Tricia Canilao plays the third wheel, Nicola. Also in the cast are Jamie Wilson, Nel Gomez, Christine Flores, Sarah Facuri, Steven Conde, Rhenwyn Gabalonzo, Ron Gohel Jill Pena, Japs Treopaldo and Juancho Escoto. Playing Lola’s Angels in drag are Jorge Jahnke, Ritz Beltran, Michael Jahnke, Jazztin Cacayan, Mark Pineda and Gerhard Krysstopher.