Liza Soberano is about to arrive
Cate de Leon (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -Liza admits that she’s shy. Looking her up on YouTube and finally getting to talk to her in person, you kind of get the feeling that she’s too mahinhin to be a star. She’s incredibly soft-spoken, moves around quietly, and tries her best not to get in other people’s way. I pull up a mono bloc stool to her cushy chair to begin the interview, and she asks me if I’d rather sit in her chair and gets ready to stand up. This is a girl who is slated to play a major kontrabida role in an upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye.

But then she steps under the lights and you have to hand it to her. Despite her demure, humbler than humble 15-year-old package, the girl knows what she’s doing. She fluidly projects, speaks to the camera with flicks of her brown eyes, and has no trouble switching characters from angelic to bitchy. Little miss mannered effortlessly nails every frame. The mood in the studio is light and happy.

When I ask how she ended up being cast as a kontrabida, she’s been told that it’s because she’s white, being half-American. She is also inglisera, having spent her first 10 years in the States. And as we know in Pinoy movies and teleseryes, the bida is someone whom the masses can empathize and level with — like the boyish, Tagalog-speaking girl best friend whom the leading guy overlooks. They will also spray tan her several extra shades of kayumanggi just to be sure. Liza, on the other hand, can easily play the sosyal, untouchable, otherworldly girl of higher status, who is usually portrayed as the oppressor.

Something different

Not that Liza minds. In fact, when asked at go-sees what kind of role she would like to play, she always opts for the kontrabida because she likes to try something different. “It’s fun kasi you get to be someone you’re not. And sometimes it’s cool to play something mean, like at this photo shoot.” Indeed, every girl has an inner bitch that a part of her itches to entertain from time to time.

Liza is quick to add, “But I also want to be the bida, kaya pinapractice ko na po yung Tagalog ko.” She is young and only two years into the industry after all. Most known for playing Jake Cuenca’s younger sister in the defunct afternoon series Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo, and being part of the Star Magic Circle 2013, she is at that point where the sky’s the limit and she just wants to try everything. She looks up to “It Girl” Anne Curtis and also someday hopes to act internationally.

She was discovered at her audition to model for a Natasha catalogue and people have doubted Liza’s potential to be a star, seeing her as way too quiet and pleasant in person and in her interviews. I asked her what she thought of this. “I think along the way nade-develop naman yun, especially when I get used to it. Maybe I’m just in my awkward stage. But I’m trying to work on it. I try to talk to people more, and I force myself to be more outgoing. You have to show that you’re friendly, and that you’re confident, but not overconfident and mayabang.”

Graceful and resilient

She is also very graceful and understanding for her age. When she played the other girl between Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo in the movie, Must Be Love, she got a lot of flak from rabid KathNiel fans just for doing her job. And where this author would have rolled her eyes to the high heavens at this ridiculous display of jejeness, Liza softly explained, “I think the people just took it wrong because the fans didn’t want anybody to interfere with the KathNiel love team. I think nagulat lang sila or something.” At the age where most kids are dealing with irrational insecurities and fighting to fit in, Liza manages to simply let the haters be, and to also be thankful to her supporters without letting it get to her head.

It’s easy to underestimate the strength of a nice girl. But then you realize that she’s here, and that ought to count for something. It takes guts to admit that you’re shy and awkward, and then throw yourself in anyway. And while showbiz has the tendency to pluck artistas at an age when they still have much to grow into, Liza is one gorgeous but understated trooper that we ought to watch out for.

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Tweet the author @catedeleon


Photos by BJ PASCUAL

Produced by DAVID MILAN


Makeup and hair by PREMENA HAIR AND MAKEUP STUDIO by Kusie Ho

24D Kamuning Road, Quezon City (0906-249-38-39)

Nails by ROSE MARIE GUILLERMO for Klinec Nail & Body Spa

Clothes from Kashieca

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