Dominic strikes while the iron is hot

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda -
Like I always say in my shows, one does not wait for victory to come around. You have to claim it for yourself and on your terms so that ultimately, reward is sweeter and well-deserved.

Dominic Ochoa knows this only too well. Nearly 10 years in the business, he acknowledges that his career is in a different plane now. With disarming candor, he says, "I am no longer as hot as I used to be. But I’m still here: learning, improving and moving on. Simply, I’m in the next level." Nowadays, Dominic is not going for the same things as when he was starting. If before, his eyes were dead-set on just playing goody-two shoes roles, our Dominic Ochoa today is gunning to establish himself as versatile player.

Need a character actor? He could be the man. Need a TV host for any format? He could be the man. Need a credible endorser? He could be the man. And, yes, need a leading man? Dominic could be the man as he, in fact, has been there and has done that several times.

"I realize that the ability to go with the flow is the real determinant of success in showbiz," he says. "Let others concentrate on just one thing. I, on the other hand, will cover all the bases." This healthy attitude has already been put to action. Middle of this year, a lot of people saw a new Dominic playing Larry in the top-rated ABS-CBN soap opera, Bituing Walang Ningning. Yet on ABC 5, he is the dapper lead host of Shall We Dance, a celebrity dance contest. Then, of course, there was Dominic endorsing a popular beverage during every other commercial gap for months on end. Part of his job was hosting several Octoberfest stints where people saw yet another side to the talented looker.

Maybe I’m wrong, but at a time when many are unemployed in show business, where Dominic now is certainly enviable.

"Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful that after all these years I am still active," he says. "But I’m the type of person who looks forward all the time. I just don’t train my eyes on what’s here. I’ll count my blessings, yes, but I don’t expect them to be rained down on me without effort on my part. I believe God helps those who help themselves."

Right now Dominic is losing weight. He also has reinvented himself fashion-wise by junking the preppy look for the more sophisticated European chic. Dominic is bent on getting a tan by biking more frequently. He will retain the moustache for now. 

All these just so he could fit more roles.

"The more you love your job, the more ready you are to make sacrifices to be effective in it," he says. "Determination cannot do it alone because there are things simply out of one’s control. With fierce competition, discipline will be my edge so that when opportunities arise that no one could meet, I’ll be there, ready."

Underneath the go-getter attitude is a calm achieved for being anchored on a healthy spirituality. Dominic says changes in his personal and professional life recently have brought him closer to God. "I’m not a religious person so I don’t even want to go deeply into it. Besides, I want to keep my relationship with Him personal," he says.

"But this much I know: God is a good and loving God. He knows what’s best for us. If you ask Him for something, He always answers prayers sometimes in many unexpected ways. But if you go back to the first two premises, you know that His response is more than you could’ve asked for. This truth gives me confidence and stops me from asking Him too many questions."

Asked if he still dreams big, Dominic says yes. The difference now, though, is that the dreams are more realistic and always in consideration of the bigger picture. "Showbiz is not forever and whether you acknowledge it or not, it doesn’t change the fact," he says. "So my biggest dream now is this: to prepare for the time when I could just sit back and relax because I struck when the iron was hot," he says. He adds: "Someday I’m going to have a family of my own; spending days in some beach in Hawaii, for example. When that day comes I want to be able to look back and tell myself, ‘You did well, Dom. You seized every opportunity and realized your full potential. Good job.’"

That vision coming true, however, is not about to happen in the next coming years. Given Dominic’s foresight and focus, many more chapters are yet to be written in his story as one of show town’s most versatile talents.

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