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Andrea Torres a break from drama

Andrea Torres (with, from left, director Louie Ignacio and co-stars Christian Bautista and Mikael Daez) will lighten your day as she portrays a jolly character in With A Smile, GMA 7’s new morning TV series to air on June 24.  – Photo by ENIE REYES      

MANILA, Philippines - No need for hankies or boxes of tissue for now. This, Andrea Torres assures as she appears in the latest GMA 7 TV series, With A Smile, with Christian Bautista and Mikael Daez as male lead stars.

“I’ll be playing kikay, this time,” begins Andrea, whose past acting projects required her to cry buckets, among them were Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga and the GMA TV series Wagas. “But it’s not super kikay that would lead people to think something is wrong with her. She has a very colorful personality, cool lang. I’m sure everyone can relate to her because there are times when we don’t feel good — nag-susungit tayo, nagtatampo — but it doesn’t mean na di tayo mabait and I think it’s natural for a person. Ganun din yung character ko, napaka-natural.”

With A Smile is a romantic comedy series where Andrea plays Isay, a barbecue vendor who will cross paths with Dean (Mikael), a rich and happy-go-lucky guy, and Aston (Christian), the independent and self-made man. See how Dean and Aston will get involve with the barrio lass Isay when it begins airing on June 24.

Andrea shares certain similarities with her onscreen persona Isay. Like her character, the actress is close to her family and determined to realize her dreams. “My family is my barkada, we go out and bond a lot during our free time. Sometimes, even if we just stay in the house, happy pa din. Just like Isay, when it comes to work, I always give my best. I work hard para mapansin talaga ako sa showbiz.”

And you can’t blame her. It took seven years before her first lead-role project finally landed on her lap. “Mostly support roles lang parang walang direksyon dati until my first big acting break came and that was Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga with Mikael. My determination to make it big pushed me to work hard. Why stop when you believe you have the chance to succeed?”

How does she find her acting these days?

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“I’m more comfortable now unlike before when I get easily distracted probably because I wanted everything to be perfect and oftentimes, I had to deal with attacks of pessimism na laging kong naiisip kung ano ang pwedeng pangit na mangyari o maging resulta. But now no more, I can say that I’m more relaxed. I’m now able to handle my role with ease.”

For those not in the know, Andrea started her acting career in the rival network until her feet led her to GMA Network. Being a Kapuso artist has made her a better actress. She recently signed a three-year contract with GMA Artist Center.

“I’m happy because I feel that they are taking good care of me. They have career plans for me. I would choose to stay here forever because GMA gave me a big career break.”

But this is not to say that Andrea has already forgotten the hands that initially nurtured her talent. “I’m grateful to ABS(-CBN) to this day. Kumbaga kasi sila yung naging foundation ko sa acting. It just so happened that it’s here where I found my place; sabi nga nila pana-panahon lang. And the perfect moment came to me here in GMA. Ito yung panahon na nabibigyan tayo ng rewards sa lahat ng pinaghirapan natin.”

Asked if she had moments of doubt after Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga concluded on air and left her without a regular TV acting project for months, Andrea says that regional shows and Party Pilipinas, which folded up recently, occupied most of her time.

Besides, she trusts GMA so much with the plans it laid out for her — With A Smile is one of them.

Before actual taping started, Andrea relates, she spent a whole-day workshop with Chef Boy Logro for proper “food grilling.” Andrea must learn how to handle grilling tools, too. “Yung tamang pag-iihaw dapat kasi tindera ako ng barbecue dito.”

It’s her first time to work with Christian and director Louie Ignacio, that’s why Andrea initially had her share of “worries” working with them.

“Since Mikael and I had worked before, there’s this feeling that we will do just fine but it’s different with Christian and direk Louie. When you look at Christian, he seems serious and very stiff pero maloko din pala. With direk Louie, I was intimidated at first because I didn’t know how should I deal with him but when our taping started, all my worries went in the air. He’s warm to everyone; nakikipagkwentuhan. He hugs me and calls me ‘anak.’”

What remains a trouble to Andrea is her character’s “all-time high energy.”

“I’m not used to being wacky and full of energy, eh si Isay ganun. It’s too tough for me to maintain the high energy feeling, especially when you’re on the set from day ‘til night.”

Good thing tapings never last until the wee hours of the morning. Andrea can still have a good night’s rest that will keep her in high spirits.

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