Freeman Cebu Entertainment

A new beginning for Lovi Poe

Vanessa A. Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Lovi Poe recalls one particular morning recently in Los Angeles, California when, as per her usual routine she’d be out of bed early, and cup of coffee in hand, wait for the sunrise to emerge.

“It’s gonna sound so cheesy but this is actually what happened. I just felt like…you know how when we see a beautiful sunrise it’s like a time to celebrate and it reminds me of a new beginning?” the 32-year-old actress said.

Not that she was escaping “anything bad in the past” to have been yearning for a fresh start – she makes that clear. She said everything has been great, but that “the symbol of that sunrise that very day meant a lot to me.”

And so there she was on the morning of September 16, stepping foot on the compound that was her former home network’s rival turf – red carpet rolled out, bigwigs in attendance, and the country’s top leading man tasked to personally welcome her to the fold.

“Like I have butterflies in my stomach. Talagang iba yung pakiramdam nung una akong tumapak dito because of course I’ve been here before, I’ve done guestings and visited in the past but iba yung tumapak ako dito as a Kapamilya,” Lovi said Thursday during a virtual media conference that followed her contract signing with ABS-CBN.

Present in the event that the network dubbed as, finally, the “coming home” of the industry’s “precious jewel”, were ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, COO of broadcast Cory Vidanes, group CFO Rick Tan, and Dreamscape Entertainment head Deo Endrinal.

Lovi’s talent manager Leo Dominguez (who also handles former Kapuso and recently turned Kapamilya actresses Janine Gutierrez and Sunshine Dizon) was also on hand.

“I’m very grateful to all who welcomed me today and made me feel at home,” said Lovi, who admitted feeling nervous heading into the event.

Lovi stresses from the start that her decision to sign with ABS-CBN despite reported counter-offers from GMA was bereft of any dramatic reason on her end. It was simply just time to take on a new adventure, she said.

“You get to a point where we step out of our comfort zone. It’s not because you have to compare certain projects or the treatment [they give you]. It has nothing to do with that. Just to be given the opportunity to work with these amazing creatives and actors from ABS-CBN was a major factor for me.”

Repeatedly expressing her gratitude to GMA who she said gambled on her and nurtured her for 15 years, Lovi said it wasn’t a decision she took lightly.

“They’ve been good to me. I have nothing but good words and respect. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

“I’ve been blessed to have worked with the best of the best creative and actors from GMA. I just feel like it’s time to work with the best of the best of ABS-CBN,” she continued. “I’m just looking forward to working with such amazing directors and actors. And more importantly, making new friends.”

As for the expected grumblings of her Kapuso departure, Lovi unaffected.

“Hindi maiiwasan to have different kinds of opinion. I think it’s important to focus on the positive things. It’s always how you react. As long as you’re positive and you believe in the people you’re working with, you’ll end up the winner because you’ll always go to bed with a smile on your face.”

It’s the same principle  she applies to her career and life in general: to focus on her lane and on what’s good.

“Never compare yourself to others. When you’re busy watering your own garden, you won’t end up comparing yourself to others,” she said, “since you’re busy making yourself grow. I think it’s also important to take the extra mile. Do more than what’s asked of you.”

Lovi shyly revealed how she grew up following ABSC-CBN teleseryes, citing “Mula sa Puso”, “Esperanza”, “Pangako Sayo”, and “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” as her favorites. Among Star Cinema’s movies, she can’t get enough until this day of Claudine Barretto and Rico Yan’s “Dahil Mahal na Mahal Kita”, naming the former Teleserye Queen’s role in the film as one of her dream portrayals.

In her new home, Lovi said she’d love to try her hand at an action series or a light, fun project that’s a departure from her usual drama roles on television and sensual turns in movies.

But her ultimate dream project? “I would love to do Panday,” she said of the role popularized by her late father, Fernando Poe, Jr, before adding, “As a woman.”

Soon, Lovi is set to do her first Kapamilya drama series with ultimate heartthrob Piolo Pascual. It is her second ABS-CBN project overall, after she starred in the 2020 iWantTFC original movie “Malaya,” for which she clinched a Gawad Urian Best Actress nomination.

They will star in the Philippine adaptation of hit Korean drama “Flower of Evil” as husband and wife in roles originally played by Lee Joon Gi and Moon Chae Won.

An irresistible mix of drama, romance, thrill, and action, “Flower of Evil” follows a man who changes his identity in order to hide his dark past, successfully maintaining his disguise by building a happy family with his police detective wife. But when she starts investigating an unsolved serial murder case that might be tied to him, she must deal with the reality that her perfect husband might not be who she thinks he is.

“Flower of Evil” enjoyed high ratings in South Korea when it premiered in 2020. The series continued to gain popularity in other countries for its nail-biting plot twists and remarkable performances after becoming available internationally through various streaming platforms.

Lovi, a K-drama fanatic, has seen “Flower of Evil” and it is in fact one of her favorites, along with “Crash Landing On You”, “There’s Something in the Rain”, and “The Legend of the Blue Sea.”

As she enters the next phase of her career, Lovi is also tackling more international projects and pursuing her passions in Hollywood.

This year, she launched her recording career in the US by releasing original songs such as “Candy,” “Lost,” and “Under” under the LA-based VIM Entertainment. She is also working on an EP with American producers Bob Robinson, KrisKeyz, and Grammy winner Omen that will be out soon.

The award-winning actress is also set to star in her first Hollywood movie alongside British actors Alex Pettyfer and Poppy Delevingne. It is a biopic titled “The Chelsea Cowboy,” where she is playing English singer and icon Dana Gillespie. She’ll leave once again for the US next month to begin filming.

“One of the producers and writer of the film reached out to the management and asked me to read for the part. I read for the part, forgot about it, and the a few weeks after, it happened,” shared Lovi of how she nabbed the part.

She is now working with a dialogue coach to perfect her accent and studying up on the “iconic, rock star” character.

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