IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Getting to know ‘The Debut: Dream Academy’ finalist Sophia Laforteza
Beaming with Filipino pride, 20-year-old Sophia Laforteza has been creating buzz in the international entertainment scene as she emerged as one of the 20 finalists — chosen out of 120,000 auditionees — for “The Debut: Dream Academy.”
“The Debut: Dream Academy” is an audition program created by HYBE alongside American record label Geffen Records, in which candidates compete and undergo “K-pop methodology” to be part of a global girl group. HYBE happens to be the South Korean entertainment company behind giant K-Pop acts such as BTS, Tomorrow X Together and ENHYPEN, among many others.
Laforteza is the only Filipino finalist in the show — a feat in itself — and she is up against candidates from different parts of the world. In case you’re interested to know more about Sophia, here’s some of the facts about this aspirant.
Carla Guevara’s daughter
Sophia is the second child and the only daughter of theater and TV actress Carla Guevara and executive chef Godfrey Laforteza. Sophia’s older brother, Bailey, is 22 years old, while their youngest brother, Oreo, is 12 years old.
High school achiever
Sophia finished her high school education at Multiple Intelligence International School in Quezon City. She was also an achiever in high school, as seen in the several medals slung around her neck during her graduation.
Dancing since she was 5
In a 2007 interview for “She Said… She Said…”, Carla disclosed that then-five-year-old Sophia had been allotting five hours of her Saturdays to her dance lessons. Sophia took five dance classes at the time, namely ballet, jazz, musical theater, pop and tap.
A clip from the interview was uploaded on the “sophiesfolder” YouTube channel, a fan account dedicated to the young celebrity.
Singing talent from mom
Sophia showcased her singing prowess through videos on her TikTok page, in which she belted songs from Disney movies “Beauty and the Beast,” “Frozen” and “The Little Mermaid.”
@sophialaforteza #duet with @jasonsekili lol I tried #disney ♬ original sound – Jason Sekili
@sophialaforteza #duet with @kuyslars ♬ love is an open door – lars
@sophialaforteza singing on here again after months 🏼 vanessa’s trick for ya #thelittlemermaid #vanessastrick #singing @halle ♬ original sound – sophia laforteza
She also made a short cover of Charlie Puth’s “You Stress Me Out,” which earned praises not only from fans but also from OPM singer-songwriter Rico Blanco.
@sophialaforteza @charlieputh did @marissaguirree ‘s version cuz it was so fire 😌 my runs aren’t as clean as hers lol #fyp ♬ original sound – Charlie Puth
Bosom buddies with Leon Barretto, Lorin Bektas
Sophia’s circle of friends include Leon who studied in the same school as hers in high school. On Sophia’s 18th birthday, Leon dedicated a birthday post to her which can be seen on her Instagram highlights.
In 2020, Sophia and Leon also went on a trip to California with Lorin Gutierrez, Ruffa Gutierrez’s eldest daughter.
Just recently, Leon expressed his support to Sophia on her “The Debut: Dream Academy” journey and underscored how the latter is deserving of the achievement.
She’s an ARMY
Sophia is a loud and proud fan of K-pop supergroup BTS, dubbed as ARMY. Her Instagram page shows some of her fangirling moments, from her 2022 house party with her family while watching the livestream of BTS “Permission to Dance” concert; her 2021 visit to a Line Friends store—which features sticker characters made by BTS members—in the United States; to edited photos of Sophia with BTS’ V.
“The Debut: Dream Academy” started airing on Sept. 1 through YouTube and Japanese streaming platform Abema. The series’ final episode will be released on Nov. 18. EDV
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