Solidifying his foothold on TV entertainment is Kokoy de Santos, who is now a Sparkle talent.

His inclusion in the GMA 7’s talent management arm is another career milestone for Kokoy with the prospect of watching him beyond the narrative confines of Pepito Manaloto: Ang Unang Kuwento and Bubble Gang. This sits well with actors like Kokoy, who find joy in doing varied projects and thrive in them.

“(I think) it’s more of choices of projects,” said the young actor of a possible change, image- and branding-wise, his partnership with Sparkle will bring to his career in a recent virtual press conference, “and if ever man na may babaguhin, I’m also willing. Hindi naman nakakatakot ang pagbabago (I’m also willing to embrace it and change is not something to be afraid of).”

After all, change is constant in life and a test of one’s resilience and strength. Kokoy would agree that change is healthy.

“Siguro mas nakikita ko yung future ko sa industriya na mas tumatanggap ng iba’t-ibang klase ng roles (I see my future in the industry as someone who accepts and plays more different roles),” shared he. “Hinding-hindi ako natatakot na gumanap at mag-accept ng mga kakaibang roles at kakaibang mga storya as long as they are inspiring and that I can do and hopefully, give them justice.” His early works, from support to lead, in the web BL series, also speak for it.

“I experienced doing TV when I was young, iba yung training,” Kokoy looked back on his beginnings and remembered his mom also giving him instructions. With that, plus his foray into film acting, Kokoy understood the importance of establishing good relationships with the production people and creatives, being on time and committing to characters. “Mas naiisip ko na kapag work, work,” added he. “Kapag kulitan, mag-kulitan tayo.”

Although he is busy doing small-screen acting, Kokoy will still grace the big screen. His upcoming movie is titled Amoral, with Jun Robles Lana at the helm. It will be followed by another film with Perci Intalan as director.

“I’m so grateful,” said Kokoy, “hindi mo alam kung kailan darating yung break mo. So, kapag nandyan na, you grab it. Every time na may ibibigay sa akin, saglit man yan o matagal na exposure, lagi kong binibigay ang best ko (Every time an acting opportunity or role, regardless of airtime, lands in my lap, I will always give my best).”

The recent special episode of Magpakailanman, hosted by Mel Tiangco, saw Kokoy’s talent in a dramatic portrayal as the blind runner, Mark Joseph “Aga” Casidsid.

“I was surprised,” recalled the Kapuso talent when he learned about the TV assignment, “and (I said) ‘Wow, talaga? Ipagkakatiwala ninyo sa akin ang lead (role) sa isang episode ng Magpakailanman. It was my first time and, of course, I was very happy. I got pressured (when I learned about it) and I felt a different pressure when I read the script. I told myself, ‘Hindi ito biro, mahirap ito.’”

That was an outright challenge for Kokoy, who approaches acting visually. “Para sa akin kasi isa sa mga pinanghuhugutan ko palagi, whether (the role is written for) a drama or comedy, is the visuals,” said he. “Nung tinanggal yun sa akin, with the contacts that I wore, I didn’t see anything. I like those challenges. Sabi ko, ‘Laban, kahit mahirap.’” In this sense, Kokoy perhaps managed to find some answer to the question the episode posed like how Aga dealt with challenges to become a professional athlete.

“I needed to memorize the script,” said Kokoy, “aside from that, I needed to take it to heart and read it well. Aminado naman ako na mahilig akong mag-adlib. Dito medyo bawas kasi nga yung cuing nung ibang kasama ko na actors kailangan ko rin malaman sa pandinig lamang.” He was able to deliver the goods because of the support given by fellow actors like Snooky Serna, who literally guided him in going through one scene after another, given the visual impairment of his character.

According to Kokoy, he never had the chance to meet the subject in person but he watched clips and videos, replete with interviews, of Aga. “From there, may hugot ka na about the situations he experienced,” said he of the materials he studied to play the part.

Back to his career, now also being managed by Sparkle, Kokoy had this to say: “Dama ko na, iba yung alaga din sa mga artista. It’s an honor (to be part of it and) to have gotten noticed by them. Thank you po… dahil binigyan ninyo ako ng pagkakataon na mas lumawak pa kumbaga yung koneksyon at mas maipamalas pa ang talento ko sa iba’t-ibang klase na plataporma (GMA has given me the chance to expand my horizons in establishing connection with audiences and showcasing my talent in different platforms).”

As for talents, who wait for their showbiz break to come along, Kokoy encouraged them to continuously work hard, trust in the Lord and never give up.

During the press interview with Kokoy, GMA executive Gigi Lara-Santiago was inquired about the qualities Sparkle looks for in a talent. She said, “The looks, the personality and the talent.” Kokoy fits the description. “He is very talented. He is very charming. He knows how to make best use of his asset, which is his smile,” said she, who concluded that Kokoy also knows how to play with the camera. Thus, the camera adores Kokoy.

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