Andrea unfiltered stories about her life

The public has witnessed her evolution from being Annaliza to Kadenang Ginto’s Marga Mondragon and now playing the dual role of Sky and Luna in Senior High. We can all agree that Andrea Brillantes has become one of her generation’s superstars. But as much as seeing her thrive in the cutthroat world of showbiz is admirable, she has been the subject of controversies as well. 

Growing up in the limelight, Andrea has also grown immune to the naysayers, people who pull her down and misinterpret her good intentions. And just like her fierce twin characters in Senior High, the well-rounded Gen Z star is able to rise above cheap criticisms and remain the brave, hardworking, go-getter young woman that she is, constantly evolving despite social media tribulation. 

If anything, the universe favors the likes of Andrea, who keeps hustling with a positive mindset despite the harsh punches thrown at her. In a conversation with Luis Manzano, the former child star boldly discloses unfiltered stories about her ‘controversial’ life in and out of showbiz and muses on the painful realizations that 2023 has offered. 

With how her every move and statement is picked up by netizens on a daily basis, Andrea can be dubbed the “trending star” of her generation. She admits that being talked about this way is “medyo hassle” and getting disruptive. Naturally ‘kalog,’ she loves to just speak her mind and impart advice to those who relate to her situation, but unfortunately, people tend to dwell on the negativities. “May mga bagay na wala lang naman talaga dapat” but can get out of hand really quickly.  Although it’s a basic showbiz equation – more engagement equals more publicity – Andrea admits that it somewhat forces her to hold back from what she really wants to say. In fact, her Star Magic handler, Gidget, had to remind her to be extra careful with her answers in this interview. 

Luis shares his two cents, saying that social media perception can be distorted, especially since Andrea has legions of fans and her fair share of haters too. “Madaling bigyan ng kulay kahit anong sabihin mo. ‘Di ba may meme sa social media na pag sinabi mong, ‘I like apples,’ ang isasagot sa’yo, ‘So, you hate oranges.’ Madaling bigyan ng kulay.”

Here comes one aspect of her private life that people are always excited to know about - her love life. But Andrea says she isn’t paying attention to romance right now, as she’s busy with work and the goals that she wants to achieve before the year ends. A breadwinner at a young age, she’s also focused on providing for her family. 

Disclosing how she felt working at 10, seeing her sacrifices, patience, and discipline bear fruit, which included being able to provide her family with a comfortable life, Andrea is satisfied with her choices. 

“Masasabi kong worth it... Masaya ako at doon ko nage-gets na kaya kinailangan kong gawin ‘yung mga kailangan para sa ikagaganda ng buhay naming lahat,” she says that what she's able to provide for her family isn’t yet enough for her to retire, but enough for her to slow down a bit. 

From there, she looked back at a time when she used to play the younger versions of teleserye leading ladies until she was given her big break in Annaliza. “Siyempre, masarap po sa pakiramdam. May sarili akong pangalan ngayon, hindi lang ako ‘young’. Pero ayaw ko siya masyadong isipin, ine-enjoy ko lang,” she smiled. 

Starting young allowed her to hone her talent and save up early, as well as meet people who would become her friends and families. And somehow, getting exposed to the harsh realities of showbiz as a kid made her stronger by the day. She’s learned to be unbothered by mindless bashing and accept that it’s part of her job as an actress. “To be honest po, wala na akong ibang maisip na way, baka mayabang ‘to sabihin, pero kailangan mo i-angat ‘yung sarili mong upuan. Kailangan mong isipin ‘yung worth mo.” In hard times, she knows onward is the only way to go. Besides, she has people like her best friend Bea Borres, and sister Kayla to run to when she’s having a tough day. 

Her negative experiences only keep her fiery and ready for the next chapters ahead. When asked what she considers to be the highlight of her 2023, Andrea mentioned her controversial breakup, saying that this year has to be her “pinakamalas romantically.” On the other hand, she’s been so lucky to have received an immense amount of love from her fans, friends, co-stars, and casual viewers. 

She’s also been blessed to be able to travel and continue her business. She looks at 2023 as the year of growth, learning from her mistakes, and repaying karma. She’s mindful of removing her past toxic traits and becoming a better person. Her recent heartbreak made her realize that life repays with love and kindness those who choose to stay quiet despite the idea of revenge being too hard to resist, which is why she’s simply lifting everything to God. 

Asked the qualities she looks for in a future partner, Andrea emphasized that he must be faithful, and not just loyal. “Kasi ang loyal, ‘pag may dumaan na chicks, titingin ‘yan pero doon pa rin siya sa mahal niya. Ang faithful, kahit may chicks diyan, hindi, titingin lang ako sa love of my life.” 

He also has to be caring, gentleman, respectful, and a real man. “A real man, I believe, they know how to settle. Alam nila kung paano makuntento sa isa at isa lang talaga. Gusto ko ng one-woman man.” She continued, “Ang totoong lalaki, for me, hindi ‘yan nagsisinungaling talaga. Alam niya kung paano aminin ‘yung katotohanan nang buong-buo.”

“I don’t want a boy. I want a man. I need a man. Sobrang hectic na ng buhay ko, hindi ko kailangan ng insecure,” she bares. 

Another defining moment of Andrea this 2023 is starring in the primetime series Senior High, which continues to receive rave reviews from audiences, and every scene of which becomes a trending topic on social media. Luis remembers that in an episode of their previous noontime show “It’s Your Lucky Day,” a contestant’s top-of-mind answer to a trivia question was “Northford,” the fictional school in the series. 

Andrea bursts into laughter before expressing gratitude for the teleserye’s continuous success. “Masaya po ako kasi sobra po naming pinaghirapan itong show na ‘to. Kahit konti lang ‘yung oras namin, parang three weeks lang ‘yung na-tape namin tapos inere na kami agad, sobrang hirap nu’n, pero masaya po ako dahil ‘yun talaga ang pinagdadasal ko na sana pumatok itong ‘Senior High’ hindi for my name at sa ikagaganda ng karera ko kundi ang ganda kasi ng story. At ito ‘yung first show on national TV na pinag-uusapan talaga ang drugs, sex, depression, suicide. Marami po talagang sensitive topics.”

Given the series’ boldness to discuss topics that are otherwise talked about in hushed voices, Andrea receives messages on social media from people who relate to the show’s narrative. She’s proud that the teleserye is able to open the eyes not just of the youth but most especially the elder people around them. 

Not one to take all the credit, she comments that every character in the series is “bida” in their own right, as they all have interesting story arcs, “Lahat kami may kanya-kanyang moment to shine at ang galing na lahat ng nandito.”

Starting young in the business, she has already played a variety of roles, but she still has so much more to tick on her bucket list, one of which is the role of Dyesebel. She’s always dreamed of wearing a mermaid tail for a project, though she would still need to learn how to swim. She also wishes to dabble in action, specifically embodying a character who is badass and out for revenge. 

The life of an actress is full of surprises. So when asked about her New Year's resolution, she says that she'd make 2024 more beautiful and remarkable just by enjoying every bit of it. 

“Enjoy-in na lang ang life talaga. Harapin kung ano ang dapat harapin in life. Be brave and have fun lang siguro.” Admitting that love is her weakness, she adds, “Be smart and be wiser in terms of boys.”

Capping it off with an endearing banter, Andrea and Luis talked how they’ve come to know each other. She remembers starring in her first TV commercial with Luis as the “bida” and says that she has since witnessed his kindness. In turn, Luis shares that working with the young actress in “It’s Your Lucky Day” made him realize that there’s more to her than people simply assume, “They see a pretty face, nagti-TikTok, nagva-vlog. But I see so much more.” Luis promises to always be a ‘Kuya’ to Andrea and be there when she needs help. 

Check out the full episode of “Luis Listens To Andrea Brillantes” on Luis’ YouTube channel.