IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Liza Soberano is taking charge of her career
Liza Soberano is not only determined to make a name for herself; she’s bent on carving her own path. She may have become a household name in the Philippines as one-half of the popular LizQuen loveteam, but she knows she has what it takes to pursue her dreams elsewhere.
Often Soberano would see herself as the lead of romantic comedies and romantic dramas — one that would have her exchange iconic lines such as, “Am I not enough? May kulang ba sa akin? May mali ba sa akin? Pangit ba ako? Pangit ba katawan ko? Kapalit-palit ba ako? Then why?”
And while she’s grateful for her roots in her home country, she sees herself as an multidimensional actress who does not want to be boxed into being a part of a love team.
“I want to do stuff that I’ve never done before. I want each project to be different. Not to say that my previous ones weren’t, but there were a lot of similarities because of the genre. I was sticking to just romantic comedies or romantic dramas most of the time, and eventually, I felt like I wasn’t growing as an actress. I wasn’t challenging myself,” she told L’Officiel Philippines in an exclusive interview in August 2022.
While her career move is deemed “controversial” by traditional thinkers, her path mirrors what many go through at some point. There will come a time when you’ll grow tired of staying put in your current bubble — no matter how “stable” it seems to be — especially when you have what it takes to go further. And Soberano knows her journey to superstardom is worth it.
Liza as one-half of LizQuen
One won’t hesitate to stop and stare at Soberano every time she comes on screen. Her striking features and sweet smile can catch anyone’s attention, but after taking on minor roles in “Wansapanataym” and “Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo,” she was on everyone’s radar after starring as the love triangle of the KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) loveteam in the 2013 film “Must Be… Love.”
Not everyone would know that this film was the start to Liza landing her biggest break in local showbiz, after sharing a brief moment of attraction with Enrique Gil in the final scene.
But LizQuen wasn’t launched immediately. She was part of the film “She’s The One” and teleserye “Got to Believe” where she showed her potential to be a shining star. And with her role as spunky strawberry farmer Maria Agnes Calay in “Forevermore,” she catapulted to prominence.
The success of her TV series with Gil led to the launch of a number of romance projects featuring their love team in the years that followed, such as “Just the Way You Are (2015),” “Everyday, I Love You (2015),” “Dolce Amore (2016),” and “Bagani (2018).”
“Alone/Together (2019)” and “Make It With You (2020)” are her final projects with Gil as an onscreen partner, which showed the actress dipping her toes into more mature roles. During an interview with lifestyle platform Click The City, she admitted that she always had the knack for roles with mature emotions, while noting that she relates to her character Christine as a “dreamer” in the 2019 film.
Prior to the unexpected cancellation of “Make It With You,” Soberano was reported to star as the titular Darna in a planned film adaptation set for 2019. But her finger injury steered the project into a different direction, which ended as a series adaptation starring Jane De Leon.
She started widening her horizons soon after. The voice of Alexandra Trese in the 2021 series “Trese” is a seeming example of how Soberano sees her career direction. After all, she relates to her character’s “principled convictions.”
“She’s the type of person who I feel I can relate to, because we’re always fighting for the greater good — even here at home, I speak up when I feel like justice isn’t being served,” she told Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview. “I don’t back down. I’m not afraid to voice my opinion and say, ‘Wait, what you’re doing is not right! You need to fix it’ — and she’s exactly the same way, although she’s a little fiercer or more brutal.”
She officially joined Careless Entertainment in June 2022, a month after she confessed that working in the U.S. had always been a “dream” for her.
“A lot of times, it can be scary to kind of go outside your comfort zone and I myself, I am experiencing that right now. It would be so much easier for me to stay back at home and do the same thing that I’ve always been doing,” she said.
Soberano said her personal goal is to be able to bridge the gap between the Philippines and America, and to be a shining example to the younger generation, especially little girls, who also dream of coming to the US and making a career for themselves. “I want to make it easier for them when they do that in the future and if that means me taking the first leap, so be it,” she continued.
Liza’s Hollywood dream
Soberano’s first project in Hollywood is the role of Taffy in the Zelda Williams-helmed film “Liza Frankenstein,” which is poised to be her debut.
She was also reported as one of the cast members of the upcoming movie adaptation “Patron Saints of Nothing” with Brandon Perea and Jon Jon Briones, although details are yet to be revealed, as of this writing.
But with the ongoing SAG-AFTRA protests, her budding Hollywood career was put on hold for the meantime as she wanted to show support for creatives calling for fair compensation.
“I just want to make that clear. I don’t want my fans to think I’m not going to act anymore. I can’t take on any projects legally until the strike is over. Technically, I can act in indie films, but to show unity and solidarity with the rest of the SAG members, it’s just best not to do anything until then. That’s kind of why I’m so quiet about my acting career,” she told Philippine Daily Inquirer in a recent interview.
“I think that what the actors and writers are fighting for is something that they genuinely deserve. I can’t say that I’m very knowledgeable about it. I haven’t been acting in Hollywood for that long so I don’t have a complete grasp of the situation. As far as I know, they just want to be compensated fairly and I’m all for that,” she further explained.
Exploring opportunities in South Korea
For the meantime, Soberano proved she can steer her dreams in a different direction as she’s currently exploring opportunities in South Korea. At the moment, she’s been in discussions with different brands for “business meetings” there.
“I personally see Korea as next to Hollywood. I’m starting to create my own production company and my co-producer is based in Korea. That’s why I come back here often. It’s just a little bit limiting that I can’t speak Korean yet,” she said.
“I’ve met with a lot of production companies and agencies here, and they said, ‘You want to work here? Please learn a little of the language so we can get you a proper job,’” she continued.
Apart from her ongoing “Liza in Korea” series, the actress has been making waves on social media for rubbing elbows with South Korea’s big stars, including actor Ji Chang-wook, iKON’s DK, and IVE’s Yujin, just to name a few.
Often Soberano is seen by the general public as the “sweet” girl with starry-eyed hopes for the future. But her current career trajectory proved that she’s more than what meets the eye, as she’s fearless about making her own name — no matter what bashers and naysayers claim. EDV