LOVELY ABELLA

That was Bub­ble Gang Girl she started out in show­biz.

FHM (Philippines) - - CONTENTS -

This is what pure am­bi­tion and drive looks like

How badly must you want to be a star to ac­tu­ally be­come one? In the case of Lovely Abella, she wanted it so bad since she was eight she was go­ing to shed all her shy­ness for it, and that was the first thing she did when she set foot in Manila. “Eight years old ako noon, nag-au­di­tion ako agad,” Lovely shares, re­call­ing the time when she first ar­rived in the cap­i­tal com­ing from a hum­ble town in Koron­adal City, South Cota­bato. To pre­pare for au­di­tions, “huma­harap ako sa salamin, umi­iyak ako. Pi­nag-aar­alan ko kung paano umiyak… Bata pa lang, emotera na ako, ga­nun!” Like many dream­ers be­fore her, she thought show busi­ness was a way out of poverty. “Mahi­rap ang buhay namin [back then in Koron­adal]. Tipong kukuha ka lang ng gu­lay sa baku­ran niyo, yun na yung ulam niyo. Yung pupunta ka sa tin­da­han, bibili ng sar­di­nas. Na-re­al­ize ko na ang sit­wasyon namin sa probin­sya ang nag­bi­gay sa akin ng pan­garap sa buhay. Eh sa probin­sya, wala na­mang ibang liban­gan doon kundi kakanta ka o sasayaw tapos maaaliw sa’yo ang mga kapit­ba­hay, sasabi­hin sa’yo, mag-artista ka!” Lovely says.

It took a while, though. But when you’ve been through only re­jec­tions since you were eight, it couldn’t have come quickly enough—even if it was only for be­com­ing an “ex­tra.” “Unang ex­tra ko, 15 na ako nun. Hindi ko na maalala kung anong project.”

Lovely re­mem­bers the time when she thought she had al­ready got­ten her big break. She re­ceived a call from a tal­ent scout and said that she would be given some lines this time. Hav­ing dreamed of this day all her life, she quickly said yes.

Ang tal­ent fee raw, P2500. Eh nagstart ako sa P250 lang! Ang saya ko! May di­a­logue ako for the first time,” Lovely re­calls. “’Eto na!...sisi­gaw lang pala ako ng ‘Aaaaaaaaaah­h­hhh!!!’ Jusko! Sisi­gaw lang pala ako tapos puno yung kukuhanan! Yun lang yun, sisi­gawan ko lang pala yung puno! Pero P2,500!”

All while she was re­count­ing sto­ries, we couldn’t help no­tice her way of spin­ning her yarn into a col­or­ful ball of funny de­tails. She kept on build­ing on a story, de­liv­ered with ac­tions and all. Lovely is, as we would say in kanto-speak, the self-ap­pointed bangka ng kwen­tuhan.

“’Eto na, model na­man ng Star City! Alas-tres ng madal­ing araw nan­doon na ako. Sabi, ‘Neng, P250 lang to ha.’ Sabi ko okay lang kasi gusto ko ta­la­gang mag­ing artista. Sige, la­ban ako! Star City, eto na. Ang dami pala namin doon! Jusko, nan­doon ako sa fer­ris wheel! Ikot-ikot ako ng ilang be­ses doon! Kak­away ka ka­pag nasa itaas! Ay jusko, takot ako sa heights! Mula 3 a.m. hang­gang 2:30 a.m. kinabukasan! Pero dahil nga gus­tong kong makita sa TV, la­ban ta­laga ako!”

If you stub­bornly keep at some­thing, pretty soon some kind of good will have to come out of it. For this he has Michael V. to thank.

Bi­toy’s Fun­ni­est Videos kay Kuya Bi­toy [Michael V.] ta­laga ako nag-start,” Lovely says. It was a hit gag show on GMA 7 sim­i­lar to many “Fun­ni­est Videos” shows with hid­den cam­eras and pranks. Lovely’s first “star­ring role” was act­ing as a mas­sage ther­a­pist in Bo­ra­cay, prank­ing cus­tomers at the beach.

That stint, no mat­ter how mi­nor, opened doors for Lovely. She was no­ticed by tal­ent scouts and later on got a slot in the pool of dancers in Wowowee, a then-pop­u­lar noon­time va­ri­ety show in ABS-CBN where sexy dancers had for­tune boxes with cash prizes in them. And when the show folded, she went back to GMA to look for another break.

“One time, nagka­roon ng Sun­day Pi­nasaya au­di­tion tapos [dur­ing my au­di­tion] la­hat ng judges o mga pro­ducer, lum­abas. Sabi nung mga nag-o-au­di­tion na artista na kasabay ko, ka­pag lumal­abas daw, hindi ka raw tang­gap. So kin­aba­han na ako!” Lovely says, paus­ing for a while as though to add some sus­pense. “Pag­ba­lik ng mga pro­ducer, sabi ko, ‘Hindi ninyo po ba ako na­mu­mukhaan? Kasi dancer po ako rati. ‘Hindi,’ sabi na­man nila. ‘Ilongga dancer po ako.’ ‘Ah ta­laga, Ilongga ka? Oh sige nga, try mo ma­g­a­u­di­tion ng Ilongga.’ Ang gi­nawa ko, sumayaw ako ha­bang nag-i-ilongga. Umi­iyak ako, nag­ma­makaawa ako sa sal­i­tang Ilongga. Ganyan! Yun yung ra­son kaya nan­dito ako ngayon.”

Right then, she had stum­bled into a com­edy act that would land her the racket she had chased for so long. “Na­panood ako ng head writer ng Bub­ble Gang, si Direk Cae­sar Cosme, sa Sun­day Pi­nasaya. Pi­nag-guest nila ako. Sa la­hat ng sketches na bini­gay nila sa akin, ta­la­gang nag-ef­fort ako, kasi hindi pa rin ako maka­pani­wala nung nan­doon na ako.”

Lovely’s ef­forts paid off, ob­vi­ously. Now, she can in­clude her­self among the A-list Bub­ble Gang Girls who have earned their spot on the cover of our mag­a­zine, join­ing the likes of Kim Domingo, Valeen Mon­tene­gro, and An­drea Tor­res, among oth­ers.

Lovely is busy these days. Her nor­mal week in­cludes Bub­ble Gang tap­ings ev­ery Mon­day, Sun­day Pi­nasaya re­hearsals on Satur­days, and Sun­day Pi­nasaya live tap­ings on Sun­days, all of which run for long hours of throw­ing jokes, do­ing funny acts, and ba­si­cally just ex­haust­ing them­selves out to be funny and look good on TV.

“Hindi ta­laga madali ang tap­ings namin sa Bub­ble Gang. Mukha lang siyang madali, mukhang masaya, pero mahi­rap siya. Mahi­rap mag­patawa para sa TV ha,” Lovely says.

Lovely is hum­ble enough to say that she ac­knowl­edges that the “big break” hasn’t come for her yet. But she is work­ing on it. Re­cently, she’s been un­der­go­ing drama work­shops and has also been ap­pear­ing on some drama shows.

“Hindi ako nananawang matuto. Hangga’t maaari, nag-aaral ako nang nag-aaral para matuto pa ako kung paano pa ang pag-arte nang ma­ganda. Hindi ako yung parang ‘Umarte ka dyan, okay na yan.’ Hangga’t maaari, kakausapin ko si direk. ‘Direk, pwede pa po bang [re­take]?’ Kasi alam kong may mailal­abas pa akong ma­ganda.”

Lovely also says that even un­til now she still gets sur­prised and over­whelmed ev­ery time any­body ac­knowl­edges her as Lovely Abella. “Kasi alam ko hindi pa na­man ako big star ta­laga eh, alam mo yun? Pero nakakatuwa lang na min­san may nakakak­i­lala pala sa akin, haha!” she says, blush­ing.

“One time ku­main ako sa lu­gawan. Sabi ng nagse-serve, ‘para pong na­mu­mukhaan ko ta­laga kayo.’ Hindi siya maka­pag-serve kasi alam kong may gusto siyang sabi­hin. Pero yung anak niya, sabi, ‘Ma, si Lovely yan!’

“Ka­pag may mga out-of-town shows ako, ta­la­gang bum­ababa ako sa mga tao. Ka­pag nakikipag-shake hands ako sa kanila so­brang saya ko ta­laga na syem­pre dahil sa kanila kaya ako nan­dito,” Lovely says.

Our cover girl adds that her hum­ble be­gin­nings in show­biz keep her feet on the ground. “Kaya sig­uro ako gan­ito kasi nag-start ako as ex­tra. Nakita ko kung paano yung buhay. Nakita ko yung nakasal­pak lang kami dyan sa tabi kasi wala kam­ing sar­il­ing tent. Kum­baga alam ko yung pagod ng mga malilit na tao.”

So Lovely prom­ises—well, at least to us at Fhm—that she won’t change, what­ever her show­biz ca­reer brings to her. “Kung sakali mang sumikat ako nang so­bra, mas mama­halin ko pa rin yung mga taong walang wala sa buhay kasi alam ko ang nararam­daman nila, kasi nang­gal­ing din ako roon at hindi ko yun tinatago. Proud ako.”

Lovely’s eyes light up when we ask her about her vlog. “Nag-een­joy ako kasi feel­ing ko roon sa chan­nel ko, ma­g­a­gawa ko la­hat. Hindi na­man ako nabibi­gyan ng op­por­tu­nity na mabi­gyan ng dance prod na sar­ili— at least sa chan­nel ko, may sar­ili akong dance prod! May backup dancers pa ako di ba! Hindi na­man ako nabibi­gyan ng op­por­tu­nity na ku­manta ng Ilongga ver­sion kat­u­lad ng gi­nawa ko yung ‘Hayaan Mo Sila’ in Ilonggo. Hindi ko yun ma­g­a­gawa sa TV pero doon [sa chan­nel ko] ma­g­a­gawa ko la­hat.”

As you can prob­a­bly al­ready tell, Lovely is hyped up with ev­ery­thing she does, this first solo cover shoot in­cluded [her first cover was the Bub­ble Gang spe­cial last year]. Dur­ing the shoot, Lovely fell into the dif­fi­cult poses pho­tog­ra­pher Xan­der An­ge­les asked her to do as though she had re­hearsed for it. Valeen Mon­tene­gro, who dropped by the shoot, joked as she saw Lovely ly­ing down on a couch with legs up in the air. “Lovely! Nalin­gat lang ako san­dali, nak­a­ganyan ka na!” In a word, kina­reer.

“Hindi ako pumunta rito para makipa­gloko­han, hindi para makipag­biruan, kundi for FHM photo shoot ta­laga,” Lovely says res­o­lutely. “Ni-ready ko ang sar­ili ko para rito. Ang dif­fer­ence nito dun sa Bub­ble Gang cover namin noon, ito may hugot. Masaya lang kami doon sa last cover, may mga lobo…ito may pa-black and white eh!

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