“Protégé” female champ Thea Tolentino admitted she didn’t plan on joining show biz before winning the second season of the GMA 7 talent search. “All I wanted was to take up a personality development class to overcome my shyness. I can now imagine myself growing old in this business,” said the chinky-eyed teener.
Thea, 17, said “Protégé: The Battle For the Big Break” became her training ground. “Unlike the other contestants, I didn’t prepare for it. I had no experience in talent contests. I wasn’t confident. I almost backed out,” she told Inquirer.
During the finals in October 2012, Thea bagged a cash prize of P1 million, a two-bedroom condo unit and a talent management contract with the Kapuso network. Jeric Gonzales, 21, was the male champ.
“Through the show, I learned to be independent and to socialize,” she said. “All I knew then was to sing—I didn’t think I’d also find acting interesting. After attending workshops, I realized how much I enjoyed doing it.”
With the cash prize, Thea said she was able to buy her own car and helped pay for her youngest sibling’s school expenses. “I was used to relying only on my parents to buy things I needed. Now, I have my own savings,” said Thea, who finished high school at the St. Benilde International School in Calamba, Laguna.
She added: “In school, I was a loner. I had a hard time expressing myself. I’m more confident now, not just in the way I speak but also in how I dress up. I didn’t wear short shorts and mini dresses before because I preferred jeans and T-shirts. Now that I’m a TV personality, I have to make sure I’m always well-put together. I’m starting to learn how to put on makeup.”
Since Thea signed up as a Kapuso talent, she has appeared in a number of programs. First was the youth-oriented show “Teen Gen.” She was in the cast of the action-suspense series “Love and Lies,” and made a guest appearance in the primetime drama “Anna KareNina.”
Since Aug. 26, Thea has been appearing in the afternoon fantasy-drama program “Pyra: Ang Babaeng Apoy,” where she plays the pyrokinetic Pyra, a girl with the psychic ability to set people or objects on fire.
“Our target audience are the mothers who stay at home in the afternoon,” Thea explained.
“Pyra: Ang Babaeng Apoy,” with Roderick Lindayag at the helm, also features Jeric Gonzales, Elle Ramirez, Gladys Reyes, Mark Anthony Fernandez and Janno Gibbs.