Fred Lo leaves PH for ‘the happiest place on Earth’
Actor-singer Fred Lo has left the country for greener pastures, a decision that became easy when the stage and TV thespian saw a chance to have a more stable career in entertainment. He packed his bags to be a performer in “the happiest place on Earth,” or in the region, at least—Hong Kong Disneyland.
It had become clear to Fred, a diehard Disney fan and aficionado of many things geeky, that leaving was the best option.
“Like most people I know who’ve left, I wanted to broaden my horizons and look for better opportunities,” Fred tells the Inquirer via Facebook Messenger. “I’ve called Manila my home for years and some of those years were pretty difficult in terms of my career … you can say I wanted to get away from all the stress from politics—both in the government and the entertainment industry (laughs).”
Fred, a communication arts graduate, says he was an “insecure” fellow growing up, but has matured accordingly through acting, citing a value that he finds especially useful these days.
“One of the most important lessons acting has given me is to be comfortable and confident in my own skin,” relates the 29-year-old, whose stage credits include the local productions of “Rent” and “Cinderella,” and homegrown shows “Sa Wakas” and “Dirty Old Musical (DOM).” “As I matured in terms of age and wisdom, I realized that doing things half-baked is the biggest disservice you can give yourself, and it will make your audience feel the same. This lesson is something that can’t just be taught anytime.”
On what he considers his best project in the Philippines, he discloses: “I would have to say ‘Hi-5 Philippines’ on TV5 was the biggest thing in my career that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of. Aside from the exposure, it made me realize how much I love working with kids.”
He was part of the Pinoy iteration of the originally Australian “Hi-5” kids’ show from 2015 to 2016. Fred’s former cohost, Rissey Reyes, is also a performer in the same Hong Kong theme park.
“I love it here,” he says. “This is a big highlight [in my career]. Getting to work in a huge company like Disney teaches you a lot about professionalism and pushing your craft to a point that meets international standards.”
He goes to work five times a week, currently as a live-action counterpart of “Aladdin’s” lively Genie. As someone who acts, Fred considers popularity “a huge responsibility that people take for granted,” something he has witnessed firsthand: “People start to tell you you’re special, and you start to feel like you’re better than others. Then, the sense of entitlement kicks in. And the ‘diva’ is born. It’s hard to blame them, though. It’s an addictive drug that people can’t quit. But, like actual drugs, some handle it better than others.”
Being a fan of anime, “X-Men” comics and other fantasy-themed franchises was integral to his interest in cosplaying. Fred was initially a replacement cosplayer in his brother Rick’s group.
The actor eventually grew to love dressing up as fantastical beings, eventually appearing at events as Power Rangers, Iron Fist and Superman, to name a few.
He describes himself as a geek who’s “hardcore but chill.” And, the geek is an unabashed toy collector, too. Fred’s most valued acquisitions? “I would have to say my Power Ranger collection. That, and all the signed stuff from conventions and the custom figures made by my artist friend, Myke (dela Paz).”
Fred aims to grow with his artistry, drawing inspiration from the real-life heroes he idolizes. “I’ve always considered John Lloyd Cruz to be one of the most talented actors in the Philippines,” he gushes.
He also expresses admiration for thespians known for disappearing into disparate roles: “I love actors who can transform themselves into different characters, like Johnny Depp, Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep… If I would have a goal as an actor, it would be to become a chameleon in theater and TV,” concludes Fred.
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