How’s that again, Sam?

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2015 - 9:00am

Would you believe that to this day — 10 years after he started in showbiz — that Sam Milby still gets plagued by stage fright and other insecurities? It seems impossible for someone like Sam but he says, yes, it’s true.

Don’t get him wrong. Sam knows how lucky and blessed he is to have so much coming his way (10th anniversary concert, a new album, a teleserye, with another one in the works, and movie concepts just waiting for him to say yes to them) but sometimes he can’t avoid having these feelings.

He recalls feeling that way when he was asked to perform at the recent birthday bash hosted for Charo Santos-Concio. Sam was cast in a production number with the industry’s top-tier leading men, all multi-awarded actors — Richard Gomez, Christopher de Leon, Aga Muhlach and Piolo Pascual — then all of a sudden, there, in the middle of them, was Sam, who was the first to come out and sing. To be in the company of the country’s premium actors gave him pause and made him think, “Teka, ano ang ginagawa ko dito?”

According to Sam, he felt undeserving to be in that number. He was the only one in the group who had not won an award — he received a Best Actor nomination from the URIAN for his role in the Cinema One Originals film Third World Happy, but failed to bag the trophy. So, when he was put in that number with certified award-winners, he was flattered but couldn’t help being surprised. “Ako yung huh? It was flattering, being in a number with the all-time leading men greats, wow, but ‘yun nga, I was parang, ‘Huh? Ako? Kinabahan ako.”

He should have felt the same when starting out his career a decade ago, and when he got his first few projects like Maging Sino Ka Man, his first teleserye where he worked with actors more senior than himself. At that point, John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, and Anne Curtis were already known names, while Sam was a newcomer, just out of the Pinoy Big Brother house. Back then, says Sam, he didn’t feel the comparisons as acutely.

Those early years in the business, he was practically fearless. “I had just come from PBB, and from the US (Sam is from a small town of about 8,000 people). Wala ako masyadong alam or kilala pa sa showbiz. We didn’t have TFC (The Filipino Channel) in Ohio. I lived an extremely simple, simple life.”

But the longer he stayed in showbiz and the more he got to know about this world and the people in it, the more aware Sam became of what he perceived as his shortcomings, like his inability to lose his American accent. He is much better now at speaking Tagalog, and sometimes Sam has his moments of frustration, but generally speaking, he’s okay with how his career is going.  

People who know him well are aware of Sam’s tendency to sell himself short and to be his own worst critic, and it’s a habit even he knows he has to work on to correct — and he is working constantly on improving himself. 

He knows that for him to even still be in showbiz after 10 years is already a blessing in itself. In fact, to celebrate his 10th year, he has so much going on. When he thinks of all of that, he feels grateful that he still gets projects, and that they continue to be well-received. His last movie, The PreNup, opposite Jennylyn Mercado, was a hit and now, he’s busy promoting and preparing for his 10th anniversary concert, The Milby Way (Nov. 28 at the Kia Theater, formerly the New Frontier Theater in Cubao, near Gateway Mall).

Yes, he’s blessed, says Sam. “To think na it’s been 10 years, ang iba walang teleseryetapos ako dalawa. Parang it’s too much to handle, na minsan, iniisip ko kung kaya ko. I feel extremely flattered and extremely blessed. Pero siyempre amazed ako, at grateful.” And that, says Sam, is one thing that will not change.


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