Ever so gorgeous and mesmerizing, Coleen Garcia surely has all what it takes to make it in showbiz.
But little did anyone know that Coleen was really shy and withdrawn, not really that outgoing, loquacious personality dominating the scene.
“I was really very shy. I couldn’t even raise my hand to recite in class. Talagang matindi ang pagiging shy ko noon,” Coleen said describing her teenage years growing up in the southern suburbs.
But there was one thing about Coleen that people seeing her can’t resist—her beauty.
“A lot of people were asking me if I wanted to join showbiz. And at that time when I was still at school, I always declined,” said Coleen, who actually had stints with TV commercials since she was two years old. Her priority then was to finish her high school studies.
When she did finish high school, Coleen felt it was time to try something new.
“You know that feeling when you wanted to experiment and try something new, and just go beyond your box. For me, that was entering showbiz,” she said.
And when she appeared in her nascent project Good Vibes in 2011, viewers were just smitten by her. She was heralded as the next teen star, a newcomer with so much promise. But she had since struggled with realities about the business that made her think twice.
“At that time, I didn’t really know the ins and outs of this industry. I didn’t know much about this job and what it requires of me,” Coleen said. This struggles persisted even as she joined It’s Showtime as a co-host.
“While I was in Showtime, I still couldn’t figure out why I was doing it. Every day, I’d come to work and I’d wonder if I’ll actually be here for a long time. If I’d quit soon and all of that,”Coleen disclosed.
Coleen disclosed it was more about the reality that artists like her are public figures and could not keep things private.
“There were definitely a lot of trials. The worse part of it was a lot of them are made public. And that’s really the hardest part for you not being able to deal with things privately,” she said.
Faced with disillusionment, Coleen figured the best way to deal with it was not focusing on the ills of the trade but rather concentrating on the acting craft.
Passion for acting
When her friend, director Gino Santos, casted her in his indie film #Y in 2014, Coleen developed this deep passion for acting.
“What really got me to fall in love with acting again was #Y. I really enjoyed it. It was an indie film by direk Gino M. Santos, someone who I believe I started with ‘cause I’ve known him since I was 10 and he was a new director and I was a new actress and everyone who took part in that was just very new and fresh,” Coleen revealed.
“(With this), I realized I have this strong passion for acting. That’s something that really got me to want to stay. I always thought na when I get older, I’d end up doing another job or something. But now I really hope that I get to stay for the rest of my life, hopefully.”
As she strode forth with this new focus, Coleen then decided to let go of her daily hosting chores on It’s Showtime. But this was after she did groundbreaking work on the noontime show’s Holy Week special in 2014, with Coleen playing the “That’s My Tomboy” finalist Chucks Ledbetter. In that portrayal, she proved her immense acting talent that impressed viewers.
After leaving It’s Showtime, Coleen became part of the series Pasion de Amor, in which she essayed the doomed character Jamie, and subsequently in her first major mainstream role as Arkisha in Ex With Benefits, and other lead roles in Love Me Tomorrow and Extra Service.
But what role was Coleen’s most memorable?
“As of today, my favorite role I’ve ever gotten to play was the one played in (the) MMK (episode) ‘Kadena.’ I feel it was so fulfilling for me because there was a purpose behind it,” Coleen stated.
Coleen’s portrayal of a girl who suffered multiple mental illnesses was her biggest thespic challenge, which she impressively hurdled. Not only was her depiction believable and accurate, it actually touched the hearts of viewers and promoted awareness of the rare affliction.
“It really helped, kahit papaano, awareness, and when I found out the teachers played it in schools, it was really very veryfulfilling because I can imagine myself as a student also learning from whatever teachers make us watch in the past,” she said.
Now, Coleen begins a new chapter in her acting journey in IkawLang Ang Iibigin opposite Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson and Jake Cuenca.
“I’m really happy. This is my first project with Dreamscape. I’ve always wanted to work with Dreamscape because I’m really a fan of their shows. The quality of their shows is really…it’s something else. It’s really great. And I really enjoy the people I work with also in Dreamscape,” she said.
Coleen describes her role as Isabel as one that she loves—a stark contrast from other roles she played.
“I really love my role here. It’s different from the other roles I’ve played before because may pagka-kontrabida siya but at the same time, you can see her heart, her vulnerability, so it’s a challenge in a way,” she noted.
Loving the role so much
“And I love the role so much kasi malalaro ko siya. She’s not just a one-sided character. Hopefully from this experience, especially being under the direction of Dan Villegas and direkOnat (Diaz), hopefully I get to learn even more from this project so that I can take it with me to the next,” Coleen added.
With all these impressive acting stints and momentous breaks she now gets apart from enjoying a solid engagement with boyfriend Billy Crawford, Coleen is now so sure about what she wants.
“I used to think it wasn’t (something I’ll do for a long time). I didn’t know…I got into this job, this industry without actually knowing what I wanted yet at that moment. But as I spend more and more time here, you know I fall in love with the people I surround myself with here, and the job itself, and I get more accustomed to everything that we do. You know, it’s just hard to imagine my life without all of these. It really makes my life right now,” she declared.