Rocco back where he came from
(The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – “You should be in control of the situation.” It’s Rocco Nacino speaking about his hosting stint in the latest edition of the artista reality search StarStruck after its five-year absence from the TV landscape.

Season 5’s Second Prince has the all-access pass to the behind-the-scene activities of hopefuls and gets into their minds, particularly when the council begins to winnow them down to a small number. And in times like this, Rocco “should be in control of my emotions,” and lifts up everyone’s dampened spirits.

“I can feel exactly what the (StarStruck hopefuls) go through,” says Rocco. “I know those jitters. It’s humbling to get (on board) as part of it. Dingdong (Dantes) and Megan (Young) will be in charge of the live telecast. Me, Kris (Bernal), Miguel (Tanfelix) and Mark (Herras) are doing special updates. We do spiels but we get to interact with the contestants. I ask them how does it feel making the cut. When I interview them, I make sure I inject some words of wisdom and words of encouragement, giving them pieces of advice on what to feel and what to expect so they will be stronger.” But there comes a time when emotions run high and even the hosts can’t handle it, “Si Kris, hindi niya kinaya. There were times when she cried,” shares Rocco.

Looking back, the Kapuso dramatic actor knows the excitement and uncertainty that joining StarStruck entails, like the different emotions of happiness and sadness, triumph and defeat, encouragement and disappointment.

“They should not give up and rejection will only lead to more success,” says Rocco. “It will open to more windows of opportunity. As a person, I’m very optimistic. For in-stance, I just got promoted and then after, I lost in my recent match in jujitsu. I tell myself that it is OK and that I will learn from it. I have to stand up and do better next time. And it works for me a lot.”

Rocco definitely walks his talk. His StarStruck journey is proof of that. “When my name was called and my adrenalin went down for the whole event, I started to become nervous, thinking that what would happen to me being Second Prince,” he recalls. “I was thinking then that I might go straight to Med school.” And his career in showbiz might not take off. But Lady Luck had other plans for him. “I’m not the winner but I’m part of the roster of winners here,” says Rocco. “Being a (segment) host of StarStruck makes me more humble. I’m really excited with this one because it is like coming back home and being kuya (older brother) to everyone.”

The last five years have seen Rocco grow by leaps and bounds, from being a struggling showbiz wannabe to becoming a passionate leading man. He has done a myriad of roles as a GMA 7 artist. This includes the shrewd, corrupt lawyer Gerald of Nora Aunor’s Virginia, a bag lady, in the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival film Hustisya; the Filipino missionary catechist-saint in Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir; and the aspiring dancer/tutor Dennis in Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.

Rocco’s StarStruck story is a successful one and he attributes it to the traits his parents have instilled in him early on in life.

“The discipline and how I look at life, which I got from my parents, to be hardworking, to be humble and to always have that fire in you to work and excel,” he says. “When you’re at something, you put your passion into it. Mahalin mo talaga. Reinventing yourself and finding new ways (to offer something) will lead to sustainability. It is always a learning process for all artists. You can play different roles, you can have different images, you can style yourself differently. It is through trial and error that you will find out what’s best for you and for you to achieve sustainability. Your dedication to work should be there.”

Rocco is also quick to add that showbiz aspirants cannot simply bank on having good character alone. Talent, like “knowing your set of skills and enhancing them,” is part of the staying-power equation. “You’re only as good as your last performance,” says Rocco. “You can’t always hold on to that (talent). There will always be StarStruck (which discovers new talents) and there will be hopefuls who want to achieve what you have. So you have to work hard to maintain what you have and excel to stay in the business.”

And we have to give it to Rocco, who, in 2010, dreamed of a showbiz career, believed in his talent and survived StarStruck.

Everyone will agree that he is a winner in his own right.

(Premiering tonight before 24 Oras, StarStruck’s council of judges is composed of Joey de Leon, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, Jennylyn Mercado and host Dingdong.)

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