Local show biz is a small world, they say. And yet, it still manages to surprise Bea Alonzo, who has been acting for the past 20 years now. After transferring to GMA 7 last year, she realized that there are still new experiences to be had, and other actors to meet and work with in the industry.
“Ang liit lang ng show biz, but I’m surprised that there are a lot of artists here that I haven’t even met yet,” said Bea, one of the lead stars of the coming local adaptation of the hit South Korean series “Start-Up.” “There’s my costars Jackie Lou Blanco, Gina Alajar, Yasmien Kurdi and Jeric Gonzales.”
“I became friends with Alden Richards (her leading man) just a few years ago. I have worked with Dingdong Dantes in the past, but I didn’t get to meet Marian Rivera until recently,” she related in an interview with the Inquirer during her press launch as the new endorser of lifestyle brand Beautéderm’s digestive health supplements, Reiko Slimaxine and Fitox. “Lumalawak ang mundo ko.”
And as Bea feels her way through her new work environment, Alden is there to guide her.
“I know he’s going to be a big help to me especially since it’s my first time working with most people in the production team,” Bea said of Alden, whom she described as someone “easy to get along with.” “It’s hard not to feel comfortable with him… We instantly hit it off when we did a commercial two years ago. I tag along with him at GMA events because he introduces me to people.”
It has been three years since Bea’s last acting project, the 2019 movie “Unbreakable.” So while she’s thrilled when she began taping last April, she did feel a little nervous. “I really missed taping, doing movies and just acting in general… especially when I see shows on Netflix that I wish I could do,” she said.
Bea’s work the past three years mostly involved social media content creation and endorsements. Does an actress of her caliber still worry about getting rusty?
“Of course! You need practice. And there’s pressure because I know GMA has expectations from me,” Bea said. “But I can look at it from a different perspective. Though you may get a bit rusty, I know that artists can draw inspiration from personal experiences. And I have had an abundance of experiences these past few years,” she said.
It also didn’t hurt that one of “Start-Up’s” directors is Jerry Lopez-Sineneng, who helmed “A Love to Last,” Bea’s last serye on her former home network, ABS-CBN.
One of the things Bea feared about turning 30 was that she thought it would signal her career’s decline. But the contrary was true. Aside from her new network contract with GMA 7, Bea is also set to do a handful of films.
She will play the lead in the Philippine-Hollywood war film “Angel Warrior.” There’s the romantic drama “Special Memory,” with Alden. Director Erik Matti pitched to her an intriguing character based on a true story. She also had a talk with an independent producer about the possibility of doing a project with her perennial screen partner John Lloyd Cruz.
“Akala ko sa 30s ko, palamlam na ang career ko. That’s why I was scared because I felt like, “Have I already achieved things I wanted to achieve? Para namang ang bilis ng panahon. Then, I realized that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can start again,” Bea said. “We live in a borderless world now. Nothing is impossible for us Filipinos, who are getting more international representation.”
In fact, Bea, who’s now 34, has never been more energized to work. “It’s more fun now because I now know how to enjoy work. Because, let’s face it—I didn’t have money when I started in the business. I always felt like I had to do certain projects because I was always chasing after something,” she said. “But now that I’m stable, I can allow myself to try different things, because there’s less pressure.”
No to yes-men
Though many of Bea’s fans have been supportive of her recent career moves, detractors and bashers, Bea said, are inevitable. But as a public figure, the fact that her life will never be solely hers anymore is something she has long accepted.
“Back then, I didn’t care about what people said about me. I was protective of my private life and valued the idea of having acting as a day job, and then going back home to my family and friends who I know will be there for me when the fame and success are over. But since we now live in the age of social media, you can never be private anymore. Even if you give up show biz, you will still have followers,” she said.
As she opened up her life to the public, the more friends Bea made and the more people she met. However, that also meant being more vulnerable online. “Your responsibility doesn’t end with doing films and shows anymore. You can use your platform to raise awareness on certain topics. I made more friends when I became more open on social media. But I also became more susceptible to bashing. And I have accepted that,” she said.
Now, it’s all about discerning the difference between “bullying and “constructive criticisms.” “I know the things that matter. Of course you get hurt by the things you read from time to time. I just have to filter out the bullying and choose what to absorb for my sanity,” she said.
One of the worst disservices you can do to yourself, she said, is surrounding yourself with yes-men. “‘Di ka laging magaling… You can’t surround yourself with yes-men. You won’t be successful and beautiful forever. Someone better or prettier will come along. Someday, I will have a family and my priorities will change,” Bea said. “You have to be self-aware and in touch with reality.”
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