Varsity player turned actor Enzo Pineda’s big risk pays off

Remember Disney’s High School Musical, wherein the varsity jock ended up dancing and singing in a school musical play?

There are some parallels to Enzo Pineda’s path to showbiz.

Yes, he was the varsity star idolized by his schoolmates in La Salle Greenhills. And soon, he did end up in a school play in college and eventually risked it all to become the next matinee idol. Now, he’s close to achieving it.

More into sports

“When I was younger, I was more into sports so mahilig ako mag-try ng iba’t ibang klaseng sports. Honestly, when I was in grade school and high school, I was a varsity player in taekwondo, then soccer, saka track and field,” Enzo said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN.com.

At that time, while he wasn’t really dead set on being that phenomenal child star capturing hearts on TV, he always had this dream of acting someday.

“Matagal ko nang gustong umarte at maging artista. I guess I just had this feeling na I don’t know if my friends would accept me or my family. Ano bang iisipin ng tao kung I ventured out on something different. Alam mo naman kung bata ka, sports at studies lang ang pinag-uusapan.”

First acting break

But when he stepped into the halls of the University of Asia and the Pacific for his college studies, his dream of being able to act in front of an audience came true.

“There was an audition for a play. It was actually a Chinese play pa nga,” Enzo recalled. “My friends were pushing me, ‘O di ba gusto mo mag-try ng acting? Eto audition ka na!’”

As he read the lines of a Chinese warrior during the play’s audition, the school theater group was impressed.

“Sabi nila you got the part!,” Enzo said, describing how he got his first “break” into acting. While he admitted he was nervous whenever he acted onstage, he still delivered a notable performance and more believed in his promise as a thespian.

“So after that, it opened the idea na maybe I can do it. I can be an actor,” Enzo said.

Motivated by his successful first theatrical stint, Enzo then said he “transitioned into joining the dance club” even if he didn’t know a thing about dancing.

“I guess I just had the passion,” he said.

Joining a TV talent search

Then, when an opportunity to join a reality-based talent search on TV came, this passion went full throttle.

At 19 during the time of the talent search and still studying Entrepreneurial Management at the UA&P, he really thought hard about making that big leap.

“Paalam ako sa dad ko, sa parents ko na, ‘Can I do this?’ because there’s this side of me na okay, I am acting, but I want to perform on a bigger stage kasi iba ang adrenaline mo, ang excitement mo performing on a bigger stage, a bigger platform. It is very fulfilling.”

Enzo then auditioned for the talent search and eventually ended up a finalist and a top placer. After the competition, Enzo started his showbiz journey.

Disappointments

Starting from TV show guestings to landing some bit roles in anthologies and teleseryes, Enzo said he had not landed the roles he wanted.

“I’ve been here six years and I’ve gone through a lot of auditions. And there were moments that I got rejected. It’s something I had to deal with as an actor. Maybe mali ang approach ko or maybe I’m too tall or iba ang look na gusto nila. Maraming factors, that’s why you don’t get those roles that you want.”

This left him dejected and wondered if acting was really for him.

“I took it hard. Mahal ba ako ng acting katulad ng pagmamahal ko sa kanya? Maybe it’s not for me,” he said.

Motivation

But after those initial setbacks, Enzo said he learned how to use those disappointments as motivation. “I told myself to keep going despite all the rejections,” he said.

And while he still was being given some projects by his former network, Enzo felt the need to take the risk of seeking other opportunities in the industry.

He then transferred to ABS-CBN last year and joined its talent arm, Star Magic.

“I wanted to explore working with iba’t ibang magagaling na actors and actresses and actually I took a risk of going (to ABS-CBN),” Enzo stressed. “Okay meron pa naman akong projects (in my former network), pero ako as an artist, I feel na I have to do it because gusto kong mag-grow as an actor.”

Enzo said that even if he became a Kapamilya, he still wasn’t sure if he could get work.

“I took that risk na pwedeng mag-stop ang acting career ko dahil sa paglipat ko. I want to walk on that thin wire na bahala na.”

Make or break

He said his auditions to ABS-CBN shows were a make or break. “I have to do my best. I can’t be just okay or good. I have to be open as an actor. I have to be ready for anything,” he said.

And the risk he took seemed to be worth it.

“So far, lahat ng na-audition ko rito I feel very lucky kasi nagustuhan nila,” Enzo noted.

Enzo first landed a key role in Till I Met You last year with James Reid, Nadine Lustre and JC Santos. He then got a juicy role in the Star Cinema film Extra Service with Arci Munoz, Jessy Mendiola and Coleen Garcia. Enzo also recently portrayed a factory worker accused of killing his co-worker’s girlfriend, whose corpse was found buried in cement inside his house in the Ipaglaban Mo episode “Sementado.”

Biggest break

Adding to his lucky streak is his biggest break, landing a coveted lead role in the upcoming afternoon drama Pusong Ligaw.

“It’s very humbling. I feel grateful na binigyan ako ng opportunity ng ABS to showcase what I have, my skills and nakakataba siya ng puso.”

 “Ang daming mangyayari sa character who will be faced with so many dilemmas. Will it be responsible or magiging dark ba yung character dahil maraming sumingit sa buhay ko. Yun ang mga struggles that my character has to deal with.”

With this role, indeed, Enzo Pineda has finally arrived and will surely make his mark as a respected actor in the business.