Young stars mull over backup plans, look beyond the pandemic
As young actors trying to gain a foothold in the industry, Yasser Marta, Ayra Mariano, Manolo Pedrosa and Ashley Ortega have spent the past few years working and honing their skills and talents—just so they’re ready in case a breakthrough project or role comes knocking.
But if there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has made them realize, it’s that one shouldn’t put all his or her eggs in one basket. Show biz isn’t a surefire ticket to fame and success. And neither does it last forever. Now, with the quarantine stalling their career momentum, the Kapuso talents couldn’t help but ponder about the uncertainty of the future.
But it’s not all bad; there are good things to be gleaned from this unexpected setback. It stressed the importance of education and having a safety net. It fast-tracked life goals on the back burner and compelled them to venture out of their comfort zones by trying something they haven’t done before.
In a recent video conference for GMA Artist Center’s “Cool Hub”—a new YouTube show featuring celebrity collections and hobbies—the Inquirer asked Yasser, Ayra, Manolo and Ashley about trying their hand at hosting, their learnings over the past couple months, and the things they miss most about the biz.
How do you feel about losing momentum?Yasser: We had been taping our drama series, “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit,” only for a couple of weeks, before the lockdown took place. It was unexpected. And I feel like it would be hard to regain [the momentum], because I had already planned ahead regarding the show and what I wanted to do with my career. But I’m staying positive. There must be a reason for everything. Maybe this is the Lord’s way of telling me that hosting is where I should be for now; that this is what I should focus on. I’m not used to live work and social media, so this is as good a time as any to learn more about these things.Ashley: There’s a bright side to what happened. It shifted our focus from acting, and opened us up to other ways of earning a living. I’ve become more mature about my future. You have to have plans. You can’t just wait for jobs to come to you. You have to have things lined up, so you won’t get stressed when things like this happen and catch us by surprise.
Ayra: Sometimes, I find myself thinking about how it has been months since I last acted. Time flies. But I did learn a lot of things. Back then, my worries usually revolved around work, what I needed to do, what I had to wear. But now, I feel like I’m more compassionate toward other people, whose stories I have learned from. The quarantine also gave me a chance to bond with my family 24/7.
Manolo: I take this as an opportunity to learn. In situations like this, in times of crisis, we grow 10 times faster.
Our situation is uncertain. Are you already thinking about possible backup plans?
Yasser: For us actors, there’s no 100-percent guarantee that we will reach the level of success we’re dreaming of. But it’s good that I was able to find my passion in acting. I stopped in second year college to focus on acting and grabbed the opportunities available. But I would love to go back to school. Ashley: We lost our source of income… I realized that I have to have a fallback; that I can’t just rely on show biz. On the third month of lockdown, I opened a business and started selling delicacies. I’m also planning on putting up another. I don’t want to say what it’s about just yet because I might jinx it, but I already have the materials and the concept. I hope it pushes through.
I didn’t think I had it in me to run a business, but I did it anyway. I wanted to feel that I have achieved something that I can be proud of during lockdown. I also stopped in second year. I was taking up interior design. I couldn’t juggle my studies and work. But I know I can always go back to school.
Ayra: I have started a business selling Korean skincare products. I used to take up mass communications—which I didn’t get to finish—but I would like to study business management. That way, I can apply what I learn in school in real life. And I hope it flourishes, step by step.
Manolo: I have learned to accept what is and go with the flow. It can be hard and a lot of things can happen. But now, I’m just following what my heart wants, like my love for books and fitness. I’m trying to absorb more information so that I can be better prepared for the future. I read 41 books in the first three months of quarantine. Now I have lost count!What do you miss most about your job?
Yasser: I miss taping. I miss my friends. I miss acting, which I love doing. I’m looking forward to things returning to normal.
Ashley: I miss the sleepless nights, reading scripts, getting glammed up and interacting with other actors. When this is over, I know I will be so ready to go back to work.
Ayra: I miss working with great actors and directors who have been in the business for a long time.
Manolo: I miss doing movies. “Black Lipstick,” with Kyline Alcantara, was the first one I did as a GMA artist and I enjoyed it. Movies are different from teleseryes; there’s a different kind of pressure because you know it’s for the big screen. I can’t wait to get back and do it again. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.