The Gold Squad has gotten more golden as more artists joined the barkada in the virtual Star Magic Plus event! On March 2, we meet the 13 fresh faces that have officially signed with Star Magic to bring their own flair and talent to the industry. Collectively, these young stars are introduced to the public as the “Squad Plus”.
Edward Barber, who had recently signed his own contract with the management, hosted the event with Francine Diaz, Kyle Echarri, and Seth Fedelin. Andrea Brillantes also wanted to be present for welcoming her new Squadmates but could not make it since she has work and debut preparations to do.
Also present at the event were the new artists’ Star Magic managers and the head of Star Magic and ABS-CBN TV Production, Director Lauren Dyogi. As the event was streamed live on Kapamilya channels, thousands of fans and Kapamilyas witnessed the contract signing with anticipation and support.
Before introducing the shining set of stars, the Gold Squad shared their pieces of advice for them since they were once in the same shoes as being new to the Star Magic family. Francine recalled how nervous she was before, “’Wag silang kabahan and once na nandito na sila sa stage, i-enjoy lang nila”. Seth agrees that they should enjoy the moment and experience but also adds, “Masaya pero ito ay isang responsibilidad.” Kyle had no doubts that they would be able to do well and proudly says, “Alam ko naman ready silang lahat. Hindi naman pipiliin ng Star Magic ang mga artists na ‘to kung ‘di sila ready.”
The first group of artists welcomed do not only have a talent for acting, but they are also musically-gifted. Three of them are already hailed as the new breed of artists on ASAP Natin ‘To and one of them is someone you’ve probably watched already going viral on TikTok.
Anji Salvacion, KD Estrada, and Sam Cruz are the occasional performers on ASAP and are castmates on the iWantTFC series “Unloving U” with LoiNie (Loisa Andalio and Ronnie Alonte). Anji has been singing for us since her stint on Idol Philippines and is excited to take her next step as an artist with Star Magic. KD, on the other hand, looks forward to showing that he’s an all-around showbiz man that can sing, dance, and act and become a positive influence to others. While for Sam, she has been a witness to star talent up close with Sunshine Cruz and Cesar Montano as her parents and wants to follow in their inspirational footsteps.
The TikTok sensation turned professional artist is the 18 year-old Angela Ken from Imus, Cavite. Famous for her own song compositions posted online, she has amassed tons of supporters that led her to be called on as a Star Magic artist. Alongside her contract with Star Magic, Star Music has invited her for a recording contract. She believes her passion will lead her to more and more blessings and singing on ASAP with Anji, KD, and Sam is next on her list.
These musically-inclined artists are delighted to be turning their dreams into reality and finally work with their idols. Who are they looking forward to someday collab with? They have one answer — Moira dela Torre.
The second group of artists are dashing boys who are thrilled to launch their acting career.
Being a relative of big names Daniel Padilla, Karla Estrada, Phillip Salvador, Marco Sison and Alona Alegre, Ashton Salvador is ready to join the ranks. With Daniel being his idol “dahil nasa kanya na ang lahat”, he’s hoping to also showcase his own wide range of talents. He’s also taking to heart their advice for him to stay humble and always be grateful.
Actors of the upcoming teleserye “Huwag Kang Mangamba” Renshi Rueso and Raven Rigor are ecstatic to seal the acting deal and continue doing what they love. Since they are already working with the OG Gold squad on the teleserye, they gladly shared that they learned from the four teen stars the value of focusing on work and loving your craft.
To balance things out, three amazingly skilled girls are also joining the mix. These are ladies that have it all — beauty, talent, and passion.
Danica Ontengco, known for playing Alison in “La Vida Lena”, feels humbled and blessed by this opportunity and is undeniably grateful and excited for what’s to come. Ever since, she has looked up to Angel Locsin and would love to remain as down-to-earth as her while she forges her career ahead.
Many dream to become an artist from a very young age and one of them is Angelica Lao. At the age of 13, she joined runway events and a year after, started looking for stints at ABS-CBN. She is excited and nervous for future projects and has high hopes to make her career as big as one of her idols, Liza Soberano.
Another star showing that talent runs in the blood is Analain Salvador. Like his brother Ashton, one of her showbiz personality faves is Daniel Padilla. With many celebrity role models in her family, she is motivated to prove that she also has some awesome acting chops in her sleeve. And like Danica, she wants to follow in Angel Locsin’s tracks and use her influence and platform with great impact.
The last set of artists filled the room with their charm and good looks which may have caught the hearts of a number of girls.
That kind of attention isn’t new for model Keann Johnson. He has been modelling for a few years already and while doing so, was found to have that star factor. Although he never saw himself being part of the entertainment industry before, he started to enjoy it and feel right in place.
Competitive tennis player Nio Tria also found it unbelievable to be entering the world of film and television since tennis had been his life for as long as he can remember. But now that he’s pursuing acting as another passion, Cherry Pie Picache’s multi-achiever son is sure to hone his skills and commit to it the same way he conquered the tennis court.
The final artist to sign on is also keen on sports and its Jimuel Pacquiao Jr. Like his father, the world-renowned boxer Manny Pacquiao, Jimuel loves boxing and it completes him. Acting is similar in that way for him; it’s another art form that completes him. He’s enthusiastic for what’s ahead of him and makes sure to bring his parents’ advice along the way — stay grounded no matter what blessings come and always have God in everything he does.
Direk Lauren warmly welcomed all the artists after their contract signing and officially penned them as Star Magic’s newest barkada, “Squad Plus”. Echoing Seth’s earlier advice, he told them, “This is a responsibility. Yes, we want you to enjoy; we want you to enjoy your youth and to enjoy the industry, but be responsible… Responsibility to our audience — ‘di lang pasayahin sila but you should be good role models.”
With pleasure and pride, he invited them to grow and be the best artists they can. On the count of three, the group shout “Magic!” and smile for their first barkada picture. The Squad Plus are spreading more magic in various projects soon so stay tuned for every part of their journey.