Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bianca Gonzalez: “Have a good heart regardless of what happens around you”

She is one of the busiest, most visible hosts on ABS-CBN, with three regular shows: Pinoy Big Brother, Entertainment Live and and Y Speak on Studio 23.

Bianca Gonzalez makes an excellent host, because not only is she pretty and nice to look at; she’s even better to listen to. Articulate, well-read and blessed with a passionate interest in people and things around her, the 24-year-old knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the fence, having once been a housemate in Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition, which she is currently hosting.

Her experience as a celebrity housemate taught her about how difficult it is to walk the fine line between being a celebrity and an ordinary person. “When you’re a celebrity, people have these preconceived notions of you—they think they know you, based on what they see on television. You get judged all the time.”

Bianca has been through a lot, but now she’s recovered and looking forward to what the future will bring. “This year [2007] was my defining year, when I focused on me as a person. I told myself that after what I went through in 2006, the wheel has to go up. This year, I learned a lot of things, one of which is that ultimately, the one person you can really count on is yourself.”

In the question-and-answer session that follows, the dating boarder ni Kuya shares more of her career secrets and the lessons she’s learned.

You’ve hosted so many shows, some of which are no longer on the air. Which one was the most memorable or enjoyable for you, and for what reason?

Each show is different and special in its own way, but Magandang Umaga Pilipinas was a career turning point. Before I joined MUP, people said I was sobrang sosyal and that I had this AB image. Joining MUP, they said, ‘humanized’ me and made me more reachable by the masa.

Did Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition have the same effect?

Looking back, if I knew how that was going to turn out, I probably wouldn’t have done anything that people could use to my disadvantage. On the good side, PBB taught me how to be more independent. I learned a lot of things that 20somethings don’t always have the chance to learn—but in a setting like that, you have to. There were times I thought I wouldn’t survive, but on the whole, I became stronger, wiser and more independent because of that experience.
If you had to reduce it to just one thing, what do you think would be the secret of your success?

Honestly, it’s hard for me to say that I am successful because I'm so young and I do have my own set of trials, but I always say I am very blessed! Success—that’s really hard to measure! I would say the secret to succeeding over small or big trials in life is keeping a good and positive heart despite all the bad things happening around you.

What's the best career-related advice you've been given?

My brother told me before I started working in this business, "Know what you're worth, and prove you're worthy."
Who have been your career models? What have you learned from each one?

I learn from every person I get to work with! There is so much to learn in the industry, and I think every person I meet, from writer to PA (production assistant) to producer to co-host, I learn so much.

What is the best and worst thing about your current job?

The best thing about being a host is the power to touch people's lives by virtue of telling stories (like in Pinoy Big Brother) and by empowering them with their opinions (like in Y Speak). I'm able to get an important message across, able to inspire and touch people, able to make some kind of difference in their lives. That means the world to me.

The worst is all the intrigues that come with being in show business, and your values being challenged.

If you could switch careers even just for a day, what career would you like to try and why?

I would love to do humanitarian work for the United Nations. After finishing my studies and working for a few years, it may sound pretentious to some, but I really do wanna use the resources and talents I've been blessed with to help those who have less in life.

What advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps?

To dream big but keep their feet on the ground. :)


She is one of the prime talents of Star Magic. Currently making waves on ABS-CBN's primetime teleserye Maging Sino Ka Man, Bea Alonzo has established herself as one of the most promising actresses of her generation. Despite her being only 19 years old—she turned a year older on October 17—there is a maturity in her portrayals that was evident as early as her first teleserye appearance in Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay, where she had to convince audiences that she was a 20-something lawyer despite being only 15 years old.

Showbiz watchers predict that this young actress will be showbiz's next big thing. Let's ask Bea how she feels about all the attention being heaped on her, the lessons she's learned and her future plans.

How do you feel about your success?

Nag-e-enjoy ako. I love what I do. The success is just a bonus.

Do you sometimes feel that you had to give up a big part of your life in the name of your career?

Breadwinner ako, and I have a lot of commitments and responsibilities, pero okay lang yon. Like I said, I'm really enjoying my career, so I don't mind. It's all part of the job.

Who are the people who have been a big influence on your career?

Definitely, si Mr. M. (Johnny Manahan, head of Star Magic). Siya ang dahilan ng lahat ng ito. Parang tatay ko na siya eh. At siyempre, yung ibang mga taga-Star Magic like Ms. Mariole and my handlers. They've been a big help to me. At saka si Tito Archie Ilagan, who discovered me. I wouldn't even be in showbiz if not for him. Among my colleagues, si Shaina (Magdayao), who's my best friend. She was in showbiz ahead of me, and knows a lot about the business. She has been guiding me ever since. She taught me a lot. And of course, John Lloyd (Cruz).

Malaki talaga ang utang na loob ko sa love team namin. It's a big part of my career success. Hindi siguro ako makakarating sa kinalalagyan ko ngayon kung hindi siya ang ka-loveteam ko.

What is the best piece of career advice someone has given you?

Mr. M. told me, just recently, not to think about others too much and to just concentrate on my work and on what I'm doing. Sabi niya, “Basta alam mo ang ginagawa mo, 'yon ang importante.” The problem with me sometimes is that I think about others and what they say too much that I tend to get distracted. That's one thing I want to change about myself. I really need to learn how to focus more.

What is the best thing about your job?

That I get to entertain people and make them happy. That's definitely the best thing about it.

What is the biggest trade-off?

Of course, being in showbiz, I would say that it's the lack of privacy. Lahat naman yata ng artista, ganoon ang nararamdaman from time to time.It's not that we hate showbiz, pero siyempre, tao ka pa rin at kailangan mo pa rin ng privacy kahit paano.

I love my job, pero ang dami ko din na-sacrifice for it—like my studies. I was never able to continue my studies. That's something I'd still like to do in the future. I hope I get a chance to do that. Sayang naman kung hindi.
What has been the biggest benefit of having a career like yours?

Siyempre, nandiyan yung satisfaction sa job mo. At saka the earnings are also a big thing. Thanks to my job, I've already been able to buy a two bedroom condo at Eastwood last month. I was also able to buy a brand-new car. I wouldn't say I'm financially successful, but I like being financially independent and being able to buy the things I want and need.

What have your learned from being in showbusiness?

A lot. First of all, I've learned how to manage my finances.

And more important, naging mas mabuting tao ako, kasi siyempre, ang dami kong nakakahalubilo na tao.

At saka mas magaling na ako mag-handle ng problems. I've become more mature. I've learned to face things in life in a more mature way. Time management is also important, especially when you have so many things to do.

Monday, February 19, 2007


These days, he's wowing audiences as JB Berenguer in the top-rating ABS-CBN primetime drama Maging Sino Ka Man. He's local showbiz's hottest male celebrity, a certified box-office star, platinum recording artist, popular endorser and all-around nice guy with a smile that could launch a thousand toothpaste commercials.

But before all this, Sam Milby was just another Filipino-American teenager dreaming of a career in entertainment. Then Pinoy Big Brother came along, and his life was never the same again. Upon exiting the house, Sam discovered that he had developed a huge following. Magmahal Muli, a song he'd written and which was translated into Tagalog by fellow housemates Bob dela Cruz and Nene Tamayo (and which Sam recorded with another fellow housemate, Say Alonzo) catapulted him to instant fame as a recording artist. From there, it was a short leap to television, the movies and stardom.

That was in 2005. Two years later, Sam is still on top of his game. Let's talk to this Fil-Am hottie and learn the secrets of his success.

Did you always have your heart set on being an actor and singer?

I’ve always wanted to but never believed it could happen, because in my opinion, it’s practically impossible to make it.

How did you go about making your dream come true?

Honestly, it was just handed to me. I just joined a reality TV contest (Pinoy Big Brother), did my best, got in, and the rest is history, as they say.

Reflect on your PBB experience. What did you learn from it that helped you in your present career?

Being stuck in the house for so long, 49 days to be exact, you gotta have a lot of patience and teamwork—which are the same values needed in working with other actors to make a good scene happen.

You are both an actor and singer. Which did you really want to be? Or did you want to be both? Had you always been interested in music?

Music is my first love; acting was always something I wanted to do but didn’t believe would happen.

Did you have any formal training in music (guitar-playing) or singing?

Not really. I pretty much taught myself to play guitar. I never really was a singer but I did one year of choir in high school just to get my art credit.

What is the greatest and worst thing about your job?

Worst things: there’s no privacy and the tsismis of course. Greatest things are the support I receive, the travel and financial blessings.

Who are the people you would consider career role models?

Gary Valenciano, Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz and Edward Norton.

What was the best career advice you were given?

Take care and be a good steward of the talent, skills and blessings given me and to enjoy it while I can.

Who inspires you in your work?

The people I work with.

Do you think your lack of fluency in Tagalog hindered your career, that you could have been even more successful if you knew the language? What are you doing to overcome it?

Yes, I know malaki ang maitutulong pag marunong mag-Tagalog. Sinusubukan kong makipag-usap sa mga kakilala ko ng Tagalog para masanay.

What does it feel like to be away from your family in the US just to further your career? How difficult is that for you, and how are you coping with it?

Siyempre, nami-miss ko ang pamilya ko pero at the same time masarap ang feeling na I’m doing this on my own at proud naman sila sa akin.

How do you feel about your success in Maging Sino Ka Man? More people seem to be rooting for the JB-Celine loveteam these days. Does it make you feel pressured in any way?

No. And knowing that people are really getting into the show is a good feeling.

What was it like shooting those (kissing) scenes with Anne? Also, delivering what is probably now the most famous line from the show, “I never said that I love you!” Did you ever think your role as JB Berenguer would have that kind of impact on the viewers?

Not at all! With Anne, siyempre conscious kami kasi andun lahat ng mga production staff pero siyempre we are professionals and maganda talaga si Anne so I really can’t complain.

If you could give someone career advice—someone wanting to go into showbiz—what would you tell that person?

Join PBB! Haha! Seriously, I believe that if you want it hard enough and work on it hard enough then anything can happen.

Some pretty nasty rumors have been spread about you. How do you handle work-related intrigues?

If I know it’s not true then I don’t let it affect me. But I know that if it’s something that I need to take notice of, I try to improve and be better.

Who are the people who have helped you a lot in your work?

My manager, Erick Raymundo and pretty much everyone I’ve worked with on and off screen—the actors, behind-the-scenes production staff, the directors and my fans of course.

Speaking of fans, how important is fan support to you? How do you reward your fans for supporting your career?

The support of my fans is very very important to me because I know without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. So I try to spend as much time with them as I can, despite my crazy work schedule.

You’re doing a concert with Piolo at the Music Museum on February 2 and 3. We just heard that tickets to your show were sold out in five days, and that the demand for tickets is still very strong that a repeat has already been scheduled for March 9. How do you feel about that? Do you feel pressured?

I am quite nervous and a little pressured especially doing a concert with a superstar like Kuya Piolo but I know that I will have fun and besides, this concert is such a blessing as it is.

What’s it like working with Piolo?

He is already an established singer, with a successful cd and solo concert to his name.

Does that make you even the least bit insecure about sharing the stage with him? Personally, how are you preparing for this show?

Well, because I’ve done concerts in the States with Kuya Piolo, I’m more comfortable and he is very supportive and helpful too. I prepare by doing voice lessons and mastering the songs.

What would you consider the highlights of your career so far?

My two movies (Close To You and You Are The One), the platinum album, Maging Sino Ka Man, twelve endorsements and the awards I received.

What are your career plans in the next few years?

To improve and be a better artist, to try out different roles at siyempre matutong mag-Tagalog!