Becky Aguila on finding ‘perfect blend’ in talent management

Becky Aguila on finding ‘perfect blend’ in talent management

/ 12:10 AM July 11, 2024

Jan Kristoffer Enriquez, general manager, and Katrina Aguila, CEO

Jan Kristoffer Enriquez, general manager, and Katrina Aguila, CEO

Even with the existence of network-owned talent management companies these days, Aguila Entertainment, which discovered actresses like Angel Locsin, Jennylyn Mercado and Andrea Brillantes, still prefers to keep its roster of artists rather small.

This is because its founder Becky Aguila believes in operating the company with “just the right blend” of care and practicality, a valuable lesson she has taught her daughter Katrina and Jan Enriquez, the two “millennial managers” who have taken the reins from her recently.


“‘Tamang timpla’ in the sense that, with the industry evolving so fast, Tita Becky wants to make sure that we are able to properly adapt to all these changes and still find our spot in this industry as her millennial managers,” Jan told Inquirer Entertainment in a recent interview. “The industry is expanding and we need to be able to navigate it well. While we are pro-artists, we also work with the networks.”


This was also the reason Aguila Talent Management was recently changed to Aguila Entertainment, Katrina pointed out. “I grew up observing my mom at work. I saw how she operates purely with her heart. She learned from her mistakes and now works with a perfect blend of heart and mind,” she added. “Also, we’re already a full-force machine in terms of entertainment [with the creation of the production company Brightburn Entertainment].”

Becky started out more than two decades ago as a talent supplier. “From there, I got to meet many agents,” she recalled. “They would come to my house and recommend their kids. There weren’t a lot of talent managers at the time. I was active even before Star Magic was created. Eventually, most of the talents that became part of Artist Center were under me, like Jennylyn, Angel and Valerie (Concepcion).”

Angel was Becky’s first, her “eldest child,” followed by Jennylyn.

“I just saw Angel’s picture and told an agent to find her. When we finally met in the flesh I saw that she was really beautiful and sexy. Walang retoke,” Becky recalled. “Jennylyn was brought in by one of my staff who saw her hanging out in a parlor. She looked like Mama Mary. She came with her guitar. We immediately connected as mommy and daughter. Valerie didn’t have a manager when she was starting, so she decided to just transfer to me.”

Becky then recalled the best part about her early years in show biz. “The competition now is very stiff. You really have to be well-rounded. Before, you could join even if you didn’t know how to act and learn along the way. My daughters (Katrina and her twin Bianca) were still in school then, and they would see me at work. I was really more of a ‘momager’ because I was very protective of my artists.”

Jennylyn Mercado


On Jennylyn Mercado

Becky said she made sure that she and Jennylyn’s guardian, Lydia Mercado, were aligned as to how they should take care of the teenager, especially with her history of being a battered child. “I made sure I was there for her, even during her ups and downs,” Becky said. “I’m very proud of the woman she has become. She’s a mom now … and considers me her mother, now that Tita Lydia has already passed away.”


On Angel Locsin

When Angel was just starting, she lived in Becky’s home for a year. “She eventually transferred to the condo unit, which she bought and I helped furnish, when she was finally earning enough,” Becky began. “My experience with her was very painful. When I enabled her transfer to ABS-CBN, it was like I left everything I had. My agency was banned [from working with GMA 7] because of what happened. A year or two later, she left me because maybe she found what she thought was a better opportunity to grow. The transfer was very controversial, and it hurt both of us. ”

Becky continued: “I would question myself, ‘What did I do wrong?’ I know I did my best for her. I guess I became overprotective. ‘Di ko natitimpla. I should have considered what the production needed, as well. There were a lot of humps and bumps, but my love for her is still there. These days, transferring from one network to another is already very common.”

On Empress Schuck

When Becky brought her twin daughters to audition for “Ang TV” and they eventually got in, she also got a call asking for a 6-year-old girl to play a rape victim in a project by the late Maryo J. delos Reyes. Becky recommended Empress Schuck.

“It was really Empress who started my career as a manager. I started ‘supplying’ young talents and eventually teenagers, then their numbers grew,” she recalled. “I can’t say much about what happened to Empress prior to her getting pregnant. But when that happened, she met up with me and brought her partner along. Empress is a very kind and giving child to her family. For a time, she was the breadwinner, and she wanted freedom. She wanted to enjoy the things she’d worked hard for.”

On Valerie Concepcion

“I was with Valerie even at the hospital while she was giving birth,” Becky recalled. “She was at the peak of her career. For some time, we tried to hide [her pregnancy] because she had a show then. Eventually, the news leaked so we had to admit it. Valerie got pregnant because she was naive. She is lucky to have very kind and understanding parents.”

On Andrea Brillantes

Andrea was an Aguila talent from when she was 9 till she turned 19. When Andrea’s contract with ABS-CBN expired, Becky tried to transfer her to GMA 7, but the Kapamilya network wanted to keep her and so she was given a part in the drama series “Annaliza.”

“That’s what started everything for her. Luckily for Blythe, she never went through an awkward stage because she is really very pretty,” Becky said. “When you manage a talent, you don’t just deal with her but also her parents. I guess, even though you try to do everything for a child, they still expect more and more. The problem wasn’t really from Blythe.”

Katrina then compared Andrea’s leaving their company as a “breakup.” She added: “You realize your worth after you go through a breakup. That’s when we realized how good we are with what we do. Aside from Jennylyn, we now have Dennis Trillo, Zeinab Harake, Beauty Gonzalez and Mika Salamanca.”

Dennis Trillo

Dennis Trillo

On Dennis Trillo

Another milestone in the agency’s long history is the transfer of Dennis, who was one of GMA 7’s top talents, to their turf. “We owe it to Jen and Jan,” said Becky.

“I was the trigger,” Jan said. “We just had that conversation, but it was really something that Dennis and Jen had been discussing as a married couple. They want to manage their schedules better, especially since they already have a child. We’ve always treated Dennis like our own, since Jen loves him,” added Jan.

While the job is financially rewarding, Becky said developing talents has also become an advocacy for her. “I knew I had a calling to help these girls get into show biz and fulfill their dreams. There were other girls who underwent workshops with me like Nadine Lustre, Julia Montes, even Kathryn Bernardo. I’m happy for them because they’ve already come so far.”

Becky said she considers Katrina her “savior,” because it was her daughter who worked on mending her broken relationship with GMA 7. In 2011, Katrina personally sought an audience with Kapuso executive Annette Gozon-Valdez.

“I owe everything to Tita Annette. She was very open to talking to me, to the daughter of someone who moved Angel out of GMA 7. It was a closed-door meeting, also with Sir Joey Abacan. After that, I was able to go to Tita Lilybeth (Rasonable) and push for our artists,” Katrina began. “I simply went to Tita Annette with the mindset that I had nothing else to lose because we’d lost everything already. The success of the agency now is because of her.”

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When Jan joined in 2022, the company was named Aguila Entertainment. It also manages the careers of Nikko Natividad, Mikoy Morales, Jon Lucas, Migs Almendras, Jin Macapagal, Jet Delgado, Eco Sala, Martin Escudero, Alex Medina, Nico Antonio, Neil Coleta, Sunshine Garcia, Sheena Halili, Priscilla Meireilles, Karel Marquez, Charee Pineda, Dianne Medina, Stephanie Sol, Erin Espiritu, Angelic Guzman, Lala Vinzon and Rana Harake.

TAGS: Becky Aguila, Jennylyn Mercado

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