Growing up along the ‘riles’ or railroad tracks, the life of Barbie Imperial took on a major revamp when she joined Pinoy Big Brother in 2015.
Evicted after two weeks, however, Barbie thought it was time to go home to Albay for good. But unexpected showbiz offers combined with growing popularity made her stay in the metro.
Just a week after she exited the popular house, Barbie was tapped for her acting initiation by playing Apple in the afternoon soap All of Me topbilled by Albert Martinez, Yen Santos, Aahron Villaflor and JM De Guzman, whom she’d later on share a bigger project with.
In this video, Barbie reacted to a snippet from All of Me showing her dancing with then-loveteam partner Akira Morishita. For someone with humble roots, Barbie didn’t mind playing small roles. After all, her showbiz journey was unplanned.
“Sobrang saya kasi hindi ko naman po in-expect na magkakaroon ako ng teleserye kahit hindi bida kasi noong time po na natanggal ako sa Bahay Ni Kuya, akala ko talaga babalik na kami ng Bicol,” shared the gorgeous Kapamilya.
As a newcomer then, Barbie knew she has still so much to learn and improve on herself, so she remained malleable enough and took every instruction and lessons by heart. “Sobrang hindi pa ako marunong dito. Naalala ko po, ilang beses po akong napagsasabihan ni Direk dito kung paano ‘yung dapat kong gawin. Dahil probinsyana nga po ako, ‘yung tono pa ng pagsasalita ko noon pang-Bicol talaga,” she added.
Jumping from one acting stint to another, her tenacity paid off when she landed her first lead role in Precious Hearts Romances Presents Araw Gabi. She was escorted by Kapamilya leading man JM De Guzman in this breakthrough project.
Based on Martha Cecilia’s El Paraiso, the series combined romance and mystery as it chronicled the journey of Mich and Adrian. In here, Barbie stepped up as she took on daring scenes.
The series also starred Phoebe Walker as kontrabida And while they’re onscreen rivals, Barbie and Phoebe hit it off behind the scenes. She even considers Phoebe, who she also describes as a nice person, as one of her favorite antagonists. In this video, Barbie looked back on their fierce mud scene.
It was in Araw Gabi where she was able to explore her potential and slowly blossom into a full-grown star that she is today. She gives credits to her co-actors for helping her navigate the ins and outs of drama.
“Kasi ‘yung mga kasama ko po doon sobrang galing po talaga. Dati, hindi naman po ako magaling umiyak o sa drama. Pero kung ano po ‘yung mga ginagawa ko ngayon, natutunan ko po ‘yun doon sa mga nakasama ko sa Araw Gabi at sa lahat ng shows na ginawa ko,” shared Barbie.
Her acting prowess also shined in her guestings for the longest-running drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya. Her portrayal as Maria in the “Lipstick” episode would have to be her most applauded and most challenging one.
In that episode, Barbie brought to life the inspiring story of Maria Pau, a life coach whose longing for motherly affection pushed her into peer pressure and vices, and that’s when her life started to go in a downward spiral.
“Ang dami kong kailangang gampanan. Nag-start sa estudyante, nag-drugs hanggang sa naging adik. ‘Yun pang pain na hindi ka tanggap ng nanay mo and parang magnanakaw din siya tapos medyo nabaliw, nawala na siya sa sarili niya, makalat na siya sa life niya. Ang daming emotions. Pagod na pagod po talaga ako after ng MMK Maria,” she recalled.
Barbie currently plays kontrabida in the coming of age series Bagong Umaga. Playing a spoiled brat young adult is a new and exciting experience for her, although she condemns her character’s actions.
“Para sa akin mali talaga ‘yung ginagawa ng character ko. Kahit may pinagdaanan kang mga pangit o masama, dapat hindi mo ginagamit ‘yung pain na yun para iparamdam pa sa ibang tao ‘yung pain,” she explained.
Despite several lead roles under her belt, Barbie remains open to trying out new characters, however big or small. And unlike her previous shows which mostly explored mature themes, Bagong Umaga is a breath of fresh air.
“Naniniwala po ako na kahit anong role gawin ko, matututo pa rin ako. Itong Bagong Umaga, chill lang po siya. Parang bumalik na ka-edad ko ulit mga nakakasama ko, so masaya, Magaan po kasi parang nafe-feel ko ulit ‘yung kabataan ko.”
Barbie’s television journey reminds us that even the simplest and most unassuming girl can become a star if she has the courage to pursue her dreams.
Check out this video and react to Barbie’s television portrayals.