Meet Janet McBride: The upcoming girl from Down Under
- by Mario E. Bautista () - December 14, 2000 - 12:00am
Half-Filipino, half-foreign balikbayan stars are a dime a dozen: Alice Dixson, Donita Rose, Patrick Guzman, Anne Curtis, the Montero brothers, Vanessa del Bianco, G Toengi, and many more.

Now comes Janet McBride, who is a cut above the rest. Her mom hails from Borongan, Samar, and her dad is from Queensland, Australia, and of Scottish-Irish descent. She was born and grew up in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland where the famous Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise are located.

When she came to Manila in January of 1999, the only Tagalog words she spoke were oo and hindi. But now, she speaks it like a native, without an Aussie accent at all. Really amazing!

"My dream has always been to be an actress," she says. "In school, I’d always get an A in drama class. My mom was very supportive, she enrolled me in ballet, jazz and modern dance classes, as well as in singing lessons. When I came here to apply at ABS-CBN, I was told I won’t be accepted unless I speak Tagalog fluently, so my mom got me a personal tutor and I studied the language on a one-on-one basis everyday for two months. There were thousands of applicants at ABS and I was made to audition four times. When they finally told me I was in and would be a part of Star Circle Batch 8, I felt so happy because my coming here was not in vain."

How did her parents meet?

"They were pen pals. My mom had four kids from a previous marriage. They are here in the Philippines. I have a brother who comes after me, he’s 15, who stays with my mom in Brisbane."

Her parents separated when she was 12.

"I knew they were fighting, but it still came to me as a shock. My dad moved out of our house on the pretext that he wants to be nearer the place where he works, but our mom told us later that he’s leaving for good. He has since remarried and now has a kid with his new wife. I really miss him, especially during important occasions like Christmas. But we continue to communicate. He is happy that I’m now fulfilling my dream to be an actress in my mom’s home country. But the separation helped make me stronger, more independent. I now live alone in a house in Filinvest II. My mom just goes back and forth to Manila because of her work in Brisbane. I now live with my driver, a maid and my dog. When I get bored, I go to the malls alone, at Gotesco or SM City."

Janet just turned 17 on Nov. 6. She confesses that she had a Filipino-Aussie boyfriend when she left Australia.

"He even saw me off at the airport. I wrote to him everyday, but I soon found out that only one week after I have left, he had already found a replacement for me! Sayang lang ang luha na iniyak ko para sa kanya!"

She is now being linked to DJ Mo Twister.

"We do go out, but with common friends. He’s one of the nicest guys I met when I first joined ABS, but there is no romantic involvement at all between us. Dominic Ochoa and Jericho Rosales are also good friends of mine, after we did Tanging Yaman together."

Tanging Yaman
is her very first movie and she feels so proud to be a part of this acclaimed comeback work of Director Laurice Guillen.

"I am so glad and honored to be working with Tita Gloria Romero as my lola, and with Tita Dina Bonnevie and Tito Joel Torre as my parents. They were all very helpful in giving me advice about my acting, tips about how to deliver my lines convincingly. Director Laurice is super-galing! Sa acting workshop pa lang before the film started, you can already feel she certainly knows what she is doing!"

She plays the role of Madeleine, Dina’s rebellious daughter. Tita Dina is the youngest child of Tita Gloria in the story. At 18, she married for love. They’re rich but she chose Tito Joel, who’s just a mailman. They migrated to San Francisco and I grew up there with my brother in the film, John Prats. I hate my mom because she is very materialistic. After 18 years in the States, we had to come home because Tita Gloria is sick. This is where I first meet our relatives here, Tito Johnny Delgado and Tito Edu Manzano, who play my mom’s brothers, and their wives and kids. This is also where I understand why mom is behaving the way she does. Our most memorable scene in the movie is when Tita Gloria, who has Alzheimer’s disease, mistakes me for my mom and tells that she understands my mom’s decision to marry the man she loves.

This was shot in front of a big mirror and when the camera pulls out to reveal the three of us, Tita Gloria, Tita Dina and I, everyone who saw it says Tita Dina and I look so alike at mukha talaga kaming mag-ina.

She particularly loves Dina for sharing with her some experiences Dina had in showbiz during her younger years.

"She told me to take my work seriously and not to think too much about guys. She really treated me like her own daughter and I’d always be grateful that she played my mom in my very first film ever."

On TV, she has done a mini-series with Marvin Agustin, Rave, and is now a mainstay in Richard Loves Lucy and Magandang Tanghali, Bayan. The ABS-CBN management obviously sees a lot of potential in her so, even before Tanging Yaman has been shown, they have already cast her in a new movie shot in digital form, Taksi ni Pilo, directorial debut of Milo Paz where she co-stars with Paolo Contis, Lara Fabregas and, once again, Joel Torre.

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