Jerry Donato – The Philippine Star

October 12, 2021 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — GMA Artist Center (GMAAC) is at it again. It has recently welcomed a new group of talents and begun its work in developing their potential.

Now part of its stable of stars are Sebastian Pajarillo, Gabrielle Hahn, Carlo San Juan, Matt Lozano and Lala Vinzon. Along with new and renewing artists, they were presented in the contract signing event called Signed for Stardom.

At some point of their TV viewing experience, Kapuso audiences have taken a glimpse of Sebastian, Gabrielle, Carlo, Matt and Lala’s acting and singing. They will see more of these artists now that GMAAC is behind their journey to stardom.

“Whenever I hear the word, the first thing that comes to mind is launching or yung pagsikat ng isang magandang bagay (the unfolding of something beautiful),” replied Sebastian when asked about stardom, in a recent media call, since all of them have signed for it, literally and figuratively speaking. “It means the beginning of something great.”

Following his “lead,” Sebastian and fellow artists are given the shot at stardom “to expand our potential” and “have the opportunity to become a big influence to a lot of people.” Yes, celebrity status comes with responsibilities to entertain audiences and inspire them through the characters stars play.

“I see being an artista, in general and in line with stardom, as a huge responsibility,” said Gabrielle. “I really think about everything, every move (I make) because I know I’ll have the capacity to influence a lot of people. I feel like with the big following and an opportunity and the platform to make a difference, it should be handled with a lot of thought.” She’s motivated to give her best for the viewers. “That’s my job to bring joy, happiness and hopefully, to be able to move people as much as I can in a good way,” added she.

Given the impact of their calling to entertain, they can’t help but feel lucky to be plucked from the garden of showbiz wannabes.

“I feel so grateful to GMA because they’ve seen my craft (that I have shown) in Mr. Pogi and my works I have done on social media,” said Carlo. “I hope I will continue to inspire people through my talents.”

Among the five, Matt and Lala can be considered a “veteran” of sorts, on the account of their previous showbiz works. It doesn’t prevent them from furthering their talents and signing for stardom.

“It’s a big responsibility that is given to you,” said Matt of being part of GMAAC. “But it’s one of my motivations to continue my showbiz career.” He has released singles Kwarto and Walang Titigil and will be seen as Big Bert in the upcoming GMA series, Voltes V: Legacy. “That’s why I’m very thankful to GMA Artist Center because lahat ng mga pinapangarap ko dati ay unti-unti ko nang nakakamit dahil sa kanila.”

Also equally-motivated is Lala, who is overwhelmed by the thought of being a Kapuso artist for “not everyone gets the chance,” said she. “Now, I’m more motivated to continuously pursue what I want to do as an artist, as a musician, as an actress.” She values every chance she can get to perform in shows like All-Out Sundays. “I’m very happy because I get to work with different talented artists,” shared Lala, “(The opportunity) given by GMA to us, hanggang ngayon na-overhelm pa rin ako… I hope that everyone of us here will become successful. I know all of us will do our best to show what we want to do in our careers. I know that a lot of artists are striving to be heard and to be seen. They know their worth and GMA can see that.”

Whether they are relatively new to TV work or not, Lala, Matt, Carlo, Gabrielle and Sebastian are not spared from getting the jitters, especially when doing a show.

“There was a time when I was adjusting,” said Lala, who used fan support as inspiration in dealing with it, “the support that I got when I decided to transfer. It’s one of the best decisions I have made.” So far, she has shown progress and considers everything an amazing process.

As for Matt, feeling nervous is part of an artist getting warmed up on set, but it will eventually go away. “In fact, on my first day on set of Voltes V, it was my first time to feel the pressure (again),” recalled he, “sobrang kabado nun kasi napakalaki nung role, people from different generations are familiar with my role… What I do every time I feel nervous is to relax.” Matt added that being surrounded by supportive co-actors is also a help.

Carlo could also attest to it, when he was given the chance to share scenes and the screen with his crush Bianca Umali for Regal Studio Presents: The Signs.

“Sobra yung kaba but I (embraced) it,” said he, thinking that artists may tend to be very complacent if they are too relaxed, yes, don’t feel any kaba. “I don’t go into something without any preparations,” added Carlo.

For her part, Gabrielle said, “As an actress, and my fellow actors can attest to this, GMA has really prepared us so well. They trained us rigorously in order to cope with the kaba. When the camera is at you and when you’re being watched a lot, it’s natural to feel it.” They attended acting workshops under the tutelage of teachers like Ana Feleo. Workshops have helped them to calm their nerves and play their roles well. Sebastian has benefited from them since his background is sports and school-based theater.

“GMA gave me the opportunity to be a member of The World Between Us cast. I had to (work side by side with) actors like Alden Richards, Tom Rodriguez and Jasmine Curtis-Smith,” said he. “I found it very overwhelming because I got the chance (to work with them) right away. I’m applying what GMA has taught me to be more natural (on camera), to deal with kaba and to be more comfortable with my craft.”

With that, Lala, Matt, Carlo, Gabrielle and Sebastian deserve to have gotten signed up with GMA. They are some of the new talents to watch out for.

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