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Hard work and a series of popular TV commercials have helped Neil Coleta go places — literally and figuratively.
After starring in a string of Nestea and Voice crackers TV ads, this young ABS-CBN talent was able to move into a Quezon City condo unit and buy a brand-new car.
The youngest of five kids, Neil transferred to a two-story, two-bedroom pad from the family home in Dasmariñas, Cavite, last March.
Instead of driving daily from Cavite, he decided to rent a condo with his two brothers to be near ABS-CBN.
“I used to rent an apartment in Manila since I went to school in Adamson University,” he recalled. “But this new place is convenient because it’s just a few blocks away from the studios.”
Apart from being fully furnished, the pad is roomy enough for the Coleta brothers.
Noel often relaxes in his room— watching TV, listening to music or surfing the Net on his laptop.
He’s not really into gadgets, he professed.
“The latest gadget I bought was the laptop. My two cell phones, both Samsung (Android and Star), have been with me for a long time,” he said. “I’m saving up for a Blackberry. But I’m trying to limit my expenses since I have to pay for the condo and the car. I have to take care of the water and electricity bills, too.”
It’s about setting priorities, said the young man who runs his household like a tight ship.
Dressing room on wheels
Which leads us to an acquisition he is most proud of: A silver Innova — which often serves as his dressing-room on wheels, loaded as it is with his numerous costumes, shoes, even his badminton racquet.
His first car was second-hand, bought with earnings from a Jollibee commercial. He has given this car to his parents.
He can be a thrifty, practical shopper, he admitted.
He’d rather frequent an ukay-ukay (bazaar) than an upscale mall. He’d shun flashy clothes and would pick more subdued, timeless styles.
He can go for hip-hop fashion too, he said. “But I prefer simple tees in white or black because they’re easier to mix and match.”
Green and gray are his favorite colors.
In shopping, he adheres to a simple tip: “It’s not how expensive your clothes are … it’s in the way you carry them.”
He counsels other teeners to go for comfort over trends. “For as long as it suits you, you can never go wrong.”
Like other teeners, he collects caps, shades, ballers and dog tags, but only puts on accessories for work.
The red shoes are only for tapings and other show biz functions, he pointed out. “Away from work, I usually go for Converse Chuck Taylors.”
Once he bought a pair of shoes only Batman would wear. Needless to say, the “superhero” footgear gathered dust in the closet.
He has amassed quite a collection of scents in his cabinet: Acqua di Gio, YSL L’ Homme, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace Man, Paco Rabanne 1 Million and United Colors of Benetton.
A favorite is Paco Rabanne, “even though it smells old and musky.”
“My teenage friends in show biz tease me: They know that I’m around because my perfume acts as advance party. But I really love the scent,” he said.
In school, he was a competitive badminton player and won some trophies and medals that are now displayed in the living room.
He plays for fun until now. “I got to play with [comedienne] Ai Ai de las Alas and once with some international players.”
The TV ads also gave him wide exposure, so much so that ABS-CBN signed him up as mainstay in the new primetime series “100 Days to Heaven.” In the works is another high-profile project for the teen crowd, according to manager Becky Aguila.
“I’m thankful for these blessings,” he said. “I’ve come out in all the channels . . . Even on TV5 (the youth show “Lipgloss”) and NBN 4 (“Pangarap Kong Jackpot”). That’s why I feel lucky that I was given shows on ABS-CBN.
But he’s not about to take it easy. He relocated to Quezon City so he could regularly attend acting workshops at the ABS-CBN compound.
“I enjoy the classes,” he noted. “I’m always excited because I know that the workshops will help me improve as an actor.”
He gets along famously with “100 days” co-stars Coney Reyes, Jodi Sta. Maria and Smokey Manaloto.
“My co-stars and I often hang out in Morato restaurants after work,” he said. “It’s near the condo so it’s no hassle driving back home.”