Who wouldn’t be familiar with the endearment, “Ate Girl”?
And, if you are one of the Madlang People watching It’s Showtime, you’d know the term refers to the dancer-turned-household name Jackque Gonzaga, whose blast to fame was by no means a fluke.
Her “glowing personality” was something Vice Ganda clearly saw when she first strutted on the stage holding a bowl of questions for Miss Q&A contestants. And, when Vice continued to call “Ate Girl” on stage, the screen lights up, enamoring the openly gay superstar into jokingly thinking or seeing twice about his gender.
But before Ate Girl was everyone’s noontime darling, she was a passionate dancer every step of the way.
“Hindi ko masabing pangarap pero passion ko talagang sumayaw. No’ng college ako sumasayaw na ‘ko, gumagawa ako ng paraan para magkaroon ako ng time para sumayaw,” Jackque tells ABS-CBN.com Entertainment in an exclusive interview.
And this started when she was just a kid. Studying in her primaries, she would always choose to dance in school programs and contests.
Jackque loved the experience so much that she attempted to start a dancing career even at an early age.
“No’ng high school ako, nagpaalam ako sa mommy ko na mag-audition ako sa TV na sumayaw sa mga competition. Di niya ako pinayagan, sabi niya: “It’s either aral or sayaw.” So, [pinili ko ‘yong] aral.”
Honoring her parents, Ate Girl Jackque chose to prioritize her studies first. Although her love for dancing still didn’t cease, Jackque patiently waited for the right time to pursue her passion.
The next level
As she pursued an International Studies degree in college, her love for dancing never faded. She joined her school’s Pep Squad, Dance Troupe and Streetdance Crew, and this led her to take her passion to the next level.
Jackque shares, “Graduate na ako no’n. That time, naka-set talaga ako na magpahinga ako from mga nerve-wracking na work. Kasi feeling ko na-drain ‘yong buong pagkatao ko sa thesis na ginawa ko no’ng college kaya gusto ko talagang magpahinga. Naisip ko, magsasayaw ako kasi do’n ako sumasaya saka, exercise.”
This was when she started to dance professionally, first starting as a trainee for the renowned G-Force. Then, the biggest turning point in her life came—an audition for It’s Showtime dancers came up, and this she did not pass up.
To her delight, validating her longtime passion, she passed the audition and became part of the leading noontime show’s dance group. At the onset, Jackque was just a mere face in the group of gorgeous performers, until producers tapped them to assist the hosts in the Miss Q&A competition. They were tasked to bring a bowl that contained slips of paper bearing questions the contestants needed to pick out.
The dancers were chosen randomly to do the task daily, until it was Jackque’s turn. And this became her biggest break.
Vice himself recalled in an interview with Rated K that when he saw Jackque doing that routine task by the dancers, he could not help but be drawn by her glowing aura and lovely charm, Unexpectedly, Jackque’s mesmerizing beauty and one-of-a-kind cheerful personality brought out once more his “dashing” side—last seen in his previous on-air tandem with co-host Karylle.
When Vice calls her and she enters carrying the bowl of questions, the Unkabogable Star would engage her in “flirtatious” banter, which the smart and even equally witty dainty lass would not back down from.
But at the start, her exchanges with Vice made her extremely nervous.
“Sobrang kinakabahan ako. Do’n sa segment, lahat naman kasi napapansin niya. Lagi siyang may nasasabi, tapos ‘pag ikaw na [pala] ‘yong nando’n sa posisyon na ‘yon, sobrang naninigas ako sa stage! Hindi ko alam kung mahihiya ako, mai-intimidate ka sa kanya o mahihiya ka sa tao,” Jackque revealed.
In the face of this, however, Jackque took on this immense challenge and overcame any apprehension or anxiety. She engaged with Vice using the same kind of comedic spontaneity.
“Sobrang daming tumatakbo sa isip ko [pero] wala, mags’smile ka na lang talaga tapos enjoy mo na lang, gano’n”, says Jackque.
Now that their banters have become sensational and always trending, Jackque revealed that everything she and Vice utter on air just comes out naturally, without any script. She tells us, “Wala, ever. Walang script talaga. Tapik-tapik lang, gano’n.”
Given that challenge, Jackque says she always make sure to prepare herself before getting on stage.
“Nagdadasal ako, lahat ng santo tinatawag ko! “Samahan Ninyo po ako pag-akyat ko ng stage, ibigay N'yo po sa akin ‘yong wisdom ngayong araw na ‘to”, gano’ng panalangin talaga”, Jackque says.
Now that her playful skits and funny yet ‘kilig’ banters with Vice Ganda made them form the kilig sensational tandem ViceJack, Jackque notes, “Sobrang nagpapasalamat talaga ako na nabigyan ako ng ganitong pagkakataon.”
Now, we can see that Jackque is really starting to take off and make her own mark in the industry. Apart from her regular appearances on It’s Showtime and her previous interviews on Rated K, Magandang Buhay and Tonight with Boy Abunda and commercial endorsements, Jackque has already performed so many times on Umagang kay Ganda, and recently on ASAP dancing with Chinita Princess Kim Chiu.
WATCH: Kim Chiu versus Ate Girl, who nailed the Pauwi Na Ako Challenge
Aside from dancing, Ate Girl Jackque also showed great potential when it comes to acting.
WATCH: Ate Girl Jackque wows madlang people with her acting skill on It’s Showtime
Proof of this is her impromptu dramatic sequence wherein she couldn’t help but burst into tears in front of Vice.
WATCH: Vice, nagulat nang biglang maiyak si Jackque sa harap niya
“Actually, hindi ko ine-expect na magagawa ko ‘yon no’ng moment na ‘yon. Feeling ko ‘pag ide-demand naman sa’kin, kaya ko namang ibigay. Kung may pagkakataon, kung may opportunities na magbukas, why not? Actually, ‘yong mga ganyan natututunan naman ‘yan basta nasa puso mo ‘yong gusto mo.”
Who knows, Jackque may appear on It’s Showtime’s Holy Week Drama Specials or popular drama anthologies or possibly, teleseryes?
Enjoying the ride
Now that she is basking in the limelight, Jackque says that she plans to just keep on grabbing the opportunities that continue to come her way. As for now, she just wants to enjoy the ride and be open for the many possibilities that her showbiz career would bring her.
“Hangga’t may opportunities, why not ‘di ba? Kasi sino ba naman ako para tumanggi. Kung ikaw na ‘yong nilalapitan ng oportunidad, tatanggihan mo pa ba? Syempre, blessing ‘yon. So gano’n ako. Hangga’t masaya naman ako, hangga’t wala naman akong tinatapakang ibang tao, why not?”
Cheers to your upcoming triumphs, Ate Girl Jackque!