From Pop Girl to Panget

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2014 - 12:00am

Big-time stardom must now be waiting in the wings for Nadine Lustre, the 20-year-old who plays the part of Eya in the much-talked about motion picture, Diary ng Panget. That is the only explanation I can think of regarding the number of bashers who have suddenly surfaced in social networking sites to call attention to the supposed faults of the upcoming star with the hope of ultimately, to bring her down.

The bashers say that they hate Nadine because she is imitating another young actress, Kathryn Bernardo. Now unless she gets major plastic surgery, there is no way she can do anything about that. That is how she really looks. Besides, she has been known as this girl Nadine, who has looked like that for a long time now in films, television and recording. Why she even hosted her own TV show, Storyland on RPN-9 when she was only nine years old.

Her Panget story started back in 2010 when Nadine joined Viva Communications as a member of a song-and-dance group called Pop Girls. The group recorded an album with new original songs like Sige Sayaw, True Love, Crazy Crazy, Crushy and covers of oldies like Urong-Sulong and Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso. Nadine sang lead in most of the cuts so she cannot be imitating Kathryn as she can really sing. Check out No Erase, her duet with James Reid, and Paligoy-ligoy, her solo track in the Diary ng Panget soundtrack. As an actress, she was in the lead cast of the TV series Bagets and P.S. I Love You for TV5, and also appeared in the movies Petrang Kabayo and When the Love Is Gone.

Then, there are bashers who do not like Nadine because, they do not think she is the right girl for James. James was the big winner of the reality TV contest, Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash of 2010. He left to spend time at home in Australia after the show, but is now back in town, all-buffed, grown-up and ready to take local showbiz by storm as a hot, new heartthrob. And lucky Nadine has her hands on him. Come to think of it, while other girls around must content themselves to simply dream of James, he was handed to Nadine on a silver platter. No wonder she got more haters.

We now come to the main cause of all the bashing. It is because Nadine stars as Eya in the movie Diary Ng Panget. This is the adaptation of a novel written by Denny who is also known as HaveYouSeenThisGirl on the web. It was published on the free literature site Wattpad and has enjoyed a whopping 12M hits as of this writing. That can easily mean 12 M readers or a bit less if we are to give allowances to those who only returned to Wattpad to read the novel again. Or a great deal more if we are to count those who bought the physical book instead of reading the novel online.

So you can just imagine how many followers of Diary ng Panget there must be nowadays. And they had all been wondering who would one day play the role of Eya in the movie. The situation must have been just like how it was when they were casting 50 Shades of Grey in Hollywood. A big-selling novel like Grey, Panget has its own loyal following who have etched into their imagination  the way the characters should look. Of course, these images are mostly based on the fans’ favorites and on the fans themselves. So, there will surely be epic uproar when they get somebody who looks different, but might be closer to the character.

And so lucky Nadine is now Eya and she was personally handpicked by writer Denny to play the much-coveted part. Eya is a clumsy, pimply-faced girl who works as a canteen helper and personal maid to Cross, who is a campus bigwig played by James. The conflict lies in her studying on a scholarship in an expensive school (which Cross also attends) where being poor and panget makes her a natural prey for class bullies. And that includes Cross who is the biggest bully of them all. How she surmounts those difficulties, gains self-esteem and wins the love of Cross is what the story is about.

Nadine is hardworking and talented. Even now as emotions are running high with the coming release of the movie and the whirlwind promo duties, she remains unruffled, admitting to excitement and not fearing about the results. She has long dreamed of getting that big break and it has finally happened. She is a bit overwhelmed that what she got is as big as Diary ng Panget but she is happy and hoping for the best.

Diary ng Panget is written for the screen by Mel Mendoza del Rosario and directed by Andoy Ranay. It also stars MTV Pinoy VJs Andre Paras and Yassi Pressman.

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