From ‘kontesera’ to ‘Eat Bulaga’ ‘dabarkad’
There was nothing accidental about Carren Eistrup’s venture into show biz.
For as long as she could remember, the 14-year-old winner of the “Eat Bulaga!” talent search “Bida Next” has wanted to become a performer. So while her family isn’t exactly well-off, her mother worked hard to nurture her daughter’s interests, enrolling her in music and public speaking workshops.
“I have always wanted to be part of show biz. I want to be known for my talent and create my own identity. My mom noticed that I was musically inclined, so she got me into workshops. Who knows, she told me, I could find myself joining contests. And I did,” Carren told reporters at a press conference.
“My mother supported me in whatever I did. And I wanted to be part of show biz,” she said. “I’m also thankful to my fans who give me strength. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
By the time she turned 7, Carren was already an experienced kontesera, joining pageants and singing contests in her native Cebu City. Realizing that she had probably already entered every imaginable competition in her hometown, she set her sights on Manila and tried her luck in television tilts such as “Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids,” “Little Big Shots Philippines,” “Hype Kang Bata Ka” and “Centerstage.”
The ‘most challenging’
Carren, whose estranged father is Danish, also represented the Philippines in the 2018 World Championship of the Performing Arts in the United States, where he won eight gold medals in the vocals with instrument category.
But of all the contests she has joined, “Bida Next” was the most challenging. Because the “EB” segment was essentially a search for a new addition to the noontime show’s roster of hosts, proficiency in one field wasn’t enough. Carren already had the singing part down pat, but she needed to go out of her comfort zone and prove that she could also host and act. “The past contests I joined focused on singing and biritan. But ‘EB’ is about giving people good vibes—you have to be a complete package… I believe my edge was my talent in singing and dancing. And some people also think I have a charming personality,” said the bubbly teenager, who also plays the piano.
“But the thing that struck me most was people telling me that seeing me onscreen makes them smile,” said “EB’s” new “dabarkad.”
Carren’s goal was to win. She took the competition seriously. But still, being named champion was something she didn’t expect. “I’m so happy because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I feel blessed,” said the precocious talent, who admitted that her victory has yet to fully sink in.
As the winner, Carren received P500,000 cash and a new car. She also signed a contract with “EB” worth P1 million. What I got was something that takes other people a long time to work for… It’s surreal,” she said.
Carren lost her home in Cebu in 2021 to Super Typhoon “Odette.” That’s why she’s saving up her earnings, she said, so she could either build or buy a new home in Manila, where she’s now based. “We were having a meal when it happened. We were told to leave because of the strong winds. Upon getting out, a nearby mango tree fell on our house, destroying it,” she related.
Aside from her love for performing, another thing that motivates Carren to pursue her dreams is the prospect of giving her family a more comfortable life. “We have had financial problems… I want a better life for us,” she said.
Cohosting “EB” has been a blast so far for Carren, who has grown particularly fond of Ryzza Mae Dizon and Maja Salvador. “Ate Ryzza and I have become partners of sorts, so I’m always with her. I was also starstruck by Ate Maja. She’s so good at dancing and is really funny—what you see onscreen is what you get in person,” she said.
Every day is a learning experience. Because Tagalog is her third language, after Cebuano and English, bantering with her cohosts is a challenge.
“I have no problem reading scripts. But since the show is in Tagalog, I sometimes can’t come up with ad-libs as quickly as I would like to. ‘EB’ is spontaneous and doesn’t rely on scripts, so that’s what I have to improve on,” said Carren, who has been dubbed the show’s resident “singing host.”
Carren hopes to eventually branch out to acting. But for now, hosting and singing are the top priorities.“I wish to stay with ‘EB’ for a very long time. But of course, that will all depend on the moon and the stars and how life flows,” Carren said, drawing laughter. “I want to enjoy my childhood as much as possible, because everything will change once I grow old.” INQ
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