She’s only 15 years old, but already, Julia Barretto seems comfortable in front of the cameras, and handles questions thrown at her with poise, as if she’s been doing interviews her entire life.
But it shouldn’t probably come as a surprise as this precocious teenager after all is the daughter of Marjorie Barretto and Dennis Padilla, and the niece of Gretchen and Claudine.
Julia is one of ABS-CBN’s talent management arm Star Magic’s latest batch of potential stars—six boys and six girls no older than 18—introduced recently to media. Some of them stood out with their sheer good looks and presence, some (like Julia) because of their famous family names, while the rest just kind of got lost in the mix.
The 12 hopefuls’ chat with the press was fun, light and harmless, with most of the questions about their dreams, idols, and of course, celebrity crushes.
When asked to pick who among her aunts she wishes to emulate, Julia was diplomatic in her response. “Tita Gretchen and Tita Claudine are equally good but have different styles. They have achieved so much in show biz,” she said.
“But I would like to follow the path of my Tita Claudine. I like her movies and her teleseryes. I want to become a well-rounded actress and not get stuck doing goody-goody roles,” she added.
Coming from a family of actresses, does Julia feel pressure on her shoulders right now? Thoughtfully, she said: “I think the pressure [on me] is taking care of our reputation. My actions will reflect on my family and how they raised me. My aunts are very talented so there’s a feeling that I also have to do well.”
However, Julia said she would rather utilize that pressure to become a better artist and person. “I believe pressure is also an advantage. I take it as a good thing because it makes you want to be better.”
And as for the intrigues her controversial aunts usually attract, Julia said that she’s not really in the position to answer for them. “I’ll let them (my aunts) answer the questions. That’s how I’ll deal with them.”
Julian Estrada is another up-and-comer born to a prominent family. But unlike Julia, the 17-year-old son of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is a young man of very few words. Julian got particularly shy and speechless when prodded about his alleged crush on Julia.
“They’re all (the Star Magic girls) pretty!” said Julian, who looks up to his grandfather and former president Joseph Estrada. “My grandpa is such a versatile actor,” he said.
How did he convince his dad to allow him to enter show biz? “My dad and I had a deal. I can only continue acting if I don’t neglect my studies,” he said.
Julian could only come up with “Make a name for myself” when asked what his career goal is.
The mild-mannered 15-year-old Liza Soberano might not be a member of any show biz clan, but her beauty and charm were more than enough to enamor the press. Lookswise, Liza, with her 5’6 frame, porcelain skin, high cheekbones and winning brown eyes, was a standout.
She seemed, however, rather too soft-spoken and delicate for the dog-eat-dog world of show biz. “Yes, it can be scary at times and there are things you have to avoid. But I think I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes my way,” she told the Inquirer.
“I’m a really shy person! But I’m trying to conquer my fears like talking in front of a lot of people. I want to be a serious dramatic actress someday, but I have a long way to go,” added Liza, a look-alike of Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic.
Asked if she feels that her batch mates who come from prominent families have an immediate advantage over her, Liza replied: “I don’t think so. At the end of the day it’s all about you. And what they can do, I can do as well.”
Other standouts are former “Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition” housemate Kit Thompson, 16, Jane Oineza, 16, and Jerome Ponce, 17. Completing the group of 12 are Alex Diaz, 17, Ingrid de la Paz, 18, Jon Lucas, 17, Janella Salvador, 14, Khalil Ramos, 16, and Michelle Vito, 15.