Paolo Ballesteros is the new Barbi
The past few months saw Paolo Ballesteros working on three movies—two of which are set to open later this month. And that’s on top of being part of a morning talk show and a noontime program that both air daily.
Sleep? “What sleep?” Vacation? “No such thing.”
But no complaints whatsoever, Paolo said. “I love what I do. I love being busy. I could hire a personal assistant, but I prefer to do things myself—from doing my makeup to preparing and tidying up all the stuff I need during shoots,” he told reporters at a recent press conference for his comedy film “Barbi D’ Wonder Beki,” which opens on Nov. 29.
Aside from “Barbi,” the actor-television host will star in “Trip Ubusan: The Lolas vs Zombies,” with Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola. He will also topbill a romantic flick. “I used to think it would be great if I could do at least one movie a year … Ang hirap din pala!” he said, laughing.
“We go on locations between doing ‘Eat Bulaga!’ and ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show,’” Paolo added. “I just sleep in the service vehicle. Earlier this month, we had a bit of a break—tatlong araw akong ’di naligo!”
With his career on the upswing, Paolo, who won the best actor trophy at last year’s Tokyo International Film Festival for “Die Beautiful,” couldn’t help but reminisce about his early days in show biz. “I have been here in the industry for quite some time now. I remember going to auditions, doing VTRs. Now, I’m going to my own press con,” he related.
“What happened to me last year with ‘Die’ hasn’t even fully sunk in. Now this,” added Paolo, whose makeup transformations have turned him into an internet sensation.
If there’s one thing the 34-year-old star has realized from his recent accomplishments, it’s that everything comes at the right time.
In “Barbi,” Paolo is the titular character, which was originally portrayed by Joey de Leon in a film trilogy back in the 1980s and ’90s. In the new version, Barbi is a gay man who comes from a family of policemen, and is forced to work as a security guard.
“To say that I’m happy is an understatement; it’s like Tito Joey is passing the crown to me. It’s an honor to be entrusted with this role,” said Paolo.
“I grew up watching the (original) movies. I didn’t see myself in the character, but I really enjoyed them,” related Paolo, who received pointers from Joey, who’s playing a “special role” in the movie.
How does he plan to make this portrayal different from the gay/transgender roles he has done and is still doing? “It’s important to change my look, because that’s the first thing people see. This time, my makeup is heavier and more intricate,” pointed out Paolo, who doesn’t mind being typecast in such roles.
Asked if he feels pressured by people expecting “Barbi” to become a hit like “Die,” Paolo said: “As much as possible, I give my all to every project given to me. I don’t think, ‘Oh this is for awards—that’s for film festivals.’”
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