Enrique enjoys fruits of his labor
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2013 - 12:00am

Among today’s crop of young actors, there are a few who stand out. Some for their looks, others for their talent, and a rare few for both. One of them is Enrique Gil.

Currently starring in the primetime drama Muling Buksan Ang Puso, Enrique has made some smart career choices that have successfully lifted him from aspiring actor to promising young leading man. We have seen him do horror in Amorosa, drama in Mula sa Puso and Budoy and romantic comedy in Princess & I, all genres that tested his versatility as an actor. Enrique has also tried hosting (in the now-defunct Shoutout), recorded a dance album and is said to be preparing for other major projects this year — all of which point to the fact that he is one of his home network’s brightest prospects for stardom this year.

But Enrique’s current popularity was not handed to him on a silver platter. Before his big break came, he was just another young actor hoping to be noticed. He had to work hard for what he has often sacrificing precious hours of sleep and time with his family. But he waited and bided his time and was very patient, even when the breaks were slow in coming. Thus, when they finally did come, he was more than ready. So what he is enjoying now are the fruits of his own hard work. “I’m happy (with the way things have turned out),” says Enrique. “And that’s what keeps me going. Kahit pagod na pagod na ako, alam kong blessing ‘yon, ‘yon ang iniisip ko. Kahit minsan, hindi ko na kaya, at parang gusto ko nang sumuko sa pagod, I just think of the people who put me here, and how much they trust me to do a good job. That’s where I get my energy from.”

Truth to tell, it was a difficult journey at first. There were people who looked at him merely as a good-looking up-and-coming actor and not someone to be taken seriously. Enrique himself admits that there was a lot he didn’t know about the business or about acting back then.

“N’ung una, hindi talaga ako magaling umiyak masyado,” he admits. What he did was to learn from every co-star that he worked with, particularly the more senior actors. When he did Budoy, he worked with — and became close to — Janice de Belen, who has been giving him a lot of advice and support. In his current show, it is the same thing. He has been amazed by how much attention his older counterparts paid even to the smallest of things. Susan Roces, for one, was a revelation. Says Enrique: “Medyo nagulat ako kay Tita Susan, sa unang eksena namin, parang lahat nakita niya. Pati, ‘Uy, yung polo mo, may konting fold. Yung buhok mo, may konting ganyan. Pati yung make-up artist, nakita niya. Lahat, na-observe niya. You know, the little things na nakakalimutan mo, na importante sa eksena, tinitingnan niya. Lagi niyang sinasabi niya na ‘You should always observe, no matter how old you are.”

Ironically, Enrique says he never really wanted to be an actor. He started out with a few commercials, but it never reached that point where he felt the passion and drive that other actors had. “It (doing commercials) made me feel good, but not to the point na gusto ko talagang mag artista,” he says.

But fate, apparently, had other ideas — and soon, Enrique found himself learning how to gradually embrace the industry. “I learned little by little,” he says. “Sabi ko nga, sa umpisa, hindi talaga ako marunong umiyak, pero pinag-aralan ko. Sabi nga ni Tita Susan, ‘Observe.’ I just wanted to know how things were going. I was learning, studying, going from project to project. Then I started getting good comments for the things I was doing, and doon na talaga nag-start.”

Now, people are talking about him as if he were the next big star. The funny thing is, even now that his star is rising quickly, it still hasn’t really sunk in. “To tell you honestly, I never envisioned myself, di ko naisip na mag-le-lead ako. Walang ganon. But now that it’s happening, it’s very fulfilling.”

And this charming cluelessness makes him the next big star in Philippine showbiz.

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