Newly-signed Star Magic talents gamely take on Hotspot’s First and Last Challenge

More than a week after inking their respective contract with Star Magic during the Black Pen Day  event held last June 21, five of its dashing new male talents graced the latest episode of ABS-CBN Entertainment’s Hotspot to introduce themselves and talk about their yet-to-bloom careers in the local entertainment scene.

First off was Luis Vera-Perez, who’s a scion of the prominent showbiz clan behind the legendary film production outfit Sampaguita Pictures. He’s the great grandson of its founder Senator Jose Vera, the nephew of icons Marichu “Manay Ichu” Maceda and Gina De Venecia, and half-brother of actor Lander Vera-Perez.

A self-confessed introvert, he decided to take workshops under Star Magic to not just develop various skills, but to improve his personality as well. The 16-year-old up-and-coming heartthrob revealed that his fascination in watching movies kindled his dream to become an actor, as acting have completely captivated his heart ever since he was young.

And while waiting for the opportunity to work alongside Joshua Garcia and/or John Lloyd Cruz, Luis will be having his acting debut in the upcoming teleserye Marry Me, Marry You, starred by Paulo Avelino and Janine Gutierrez.

Describing himself as “passionate”, he’s still in disbelief that he is now a step closer to his dreams. “Nakaka-shock kasi parang kalian lang gusto kong mag-artista tapos ngayon one step closer na ako sa dream ko. And sobrang blessing po kasi sobrang laki ng tiwala na binibigay sa’kin ng Star Magic and kay Sir Deo na nagbigay sa’kin ng project na ‘yon. Sobrang thankful po ako,” he stated.

He went on to relate how delighted he is to be part of it because of the camaraderie in the set and how he’s also able to learn from their veteran and seasoned co-stars.

Next was Vitto Neri, who, despite being the son of action star-turned-government official Victor Neri, didn’t have much exposure to the industry until he underwent public workshop in 2018 – unbeknown to his dad. Victor may have initially doubted his interest in acting, but Vitto was able to prove that he’s truly serious about it when he starred alongside him in the CinemaOne Originals film “A Short History of A Few Bad Things.”

According to the young actor, his dad has never pressured him to follow his footsteps, yet he reminded him to always work hard and do her best in everything that he will do. Aside from his actor-dad, Vitto also has Robi Domingo as his mentor in Star Magic. As someone who’s always eager to find ways to do something no matter how difficult it would be, he described himself as “hardworking”.

He was succeeded by Migo Manikan, who admitted how hard it will truly be for him to prove himself in the industry as the son of veteran character actors Susan Africa and Spanky Manikan. He may have seen them act firsthand as he used to join them in some of their tapings before, but he confessed not really paying attention to the artists and production itself during those times.

It was only in 2015 when his interest in acting started by joining a workshop of PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) with his Ate Mika, wherein he was given the lead role in their recital. But what encouraged him to pursue in the industry was his father’s final message to him in his death bed – to continue his legacy. With regards to the best advice he got from his parents, it would be to always be ready in any project that will be given to him. Thus, both his parents have helped his and his siblings’ hone their skills.

Due to the chill vibes they brandish, not to mention how great actors they are, Migo would love to be friends with Joshua Garcia and Paulo Avelino. He also described himself as “unpredictable”, who’s likely to do things that other people don’t expect him to do.

Unlike the three dashing and talented lads before him, Recio is a musician. From being a choir singer as a kid, he eventually tried his hand to music production when he was in high school, with OPM icon Rico Blanco, and international artists Frank Ocean, Joji, Foo Fighters, and Nirvana as the ones he looks up to.

He then went back to singing, as well as rapping, and was able to launch his music career in 2020 through his independent EP “Music for Your Valentine”, followed by the single “Distant Lately”, which boomed locally and internationally. He’s now signed up to Tarsier Records and just released his latest track “Tired Eyes”.

Just like Migo, he also sees himself as “unpredictable”, since he surprised the people around him with his talent in writing and producing his own songs.

Last, but definitely not the least, was Paolo Gumabao, who we currently see in Huwag Kang Mangamba as Maximo Delos Santos, the cunning right-hand of Deborah (Eula Valdes). From being an extra in a “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” movie, he had his first-ever teleserye stint in Oh My G! that was topbilled by Janella Salvador. After working in another network for three years, he then appeared in the iWantTFC Originals series “Mga Batang Poz” in 2019.

A firm believer of God’s perfect timing and trusting the process, he has nothing but gratitude and happiness for finally attaining his long-time dream of becoming part of Star Magic. He may have worked with a lot of actors already in through the past projects he did, yet Paolo still aspires to be work with other artists, such as Arjo Atayde.

With regards to the career path he would want to thread on, he told DJ Jhai Ho that it will be as a character actor.

“Ako naman, I’m happy with kung ano man ang ibibigay sa akin ng ABS-CBN at ng Star Magic. Pero if I am to choose, I would really want to go to the character actor path. I wanna play different types of very out-of-the-box roles na alam mong challenging din talaga, to the point na mapu-push ka to your limits as an actor. ‘Yong every project na mabibigay say’yo, hindi ka komportableng gawin kasi lagi kang alangan. And that’s very important for us newcomers kasi kapag nalalagay ka sa alanganin ng mga project na nabibigay sa’yo, ibig sabihin natututo ka,” he stated.

When asked to describe himself in one word, Paolo said that it would be “stubborn, but in a good way”, because he’s the type who refuses to surrender and keeps on pushing himself until he achieves what he wants. He’s also an upcoming film titled “Lockdown”, directed by brilliant director Joel Lamangan and will be streamed on July 23.

DJ Jhai Ho and his five handsome guests then proceed to the “First and Last Challenge”, wherein each one of them were asked regarding their “firsts” and “lasts – first thing they do and touch upon waking up, first heartbreak, last Kapamilya celebrity they stalked on Instagram, last video they checked on YouTube, last thing they searched online, and last thing they do before sleeping.

Click on this video to see the fun happenings and insightful chikahan in this episode of Hotspot!