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!