New­comer strikes prime­time jack­pot


You’ve prob­a­bly seen Matthias Rhoads. He was af­ter all, in one of the vi­ral Jol­libee ads that took so­cial me­dia by storm.

But Matthias is more than just the half-Filipino guy who (un­for­tu­nately for the bride’s best friend) got the girl. He’s more than just that groom from that bit­ter­sweet com­mer­cial.

Laid­back and an­i­mated, Matthias is one of GMA net­work’s new­est ad­di­tion to their celebrity cos­mos. Cur­rently act­ing along­side Ka­puso Prime­time Queen Mar­ian Rivera Dantes, and theatre ac­tor-co­me­dian Jer­ald Napoles in the fan­tasy se­ries “Su­per Ma’am” as Trevor Jones, Matthias is set on show­ing ev­ery­one how he can be your main man too.

The new­comer might have caused na­tional heartbreak af­ter that ad, but Matthias has more tricks up his sleeve, es­pe­cially af­ter sign­ing with GMA Artist Cen­ter and even­tu­ally land­ing a role as one of Mar­ian’s lead­ing men—some­thing that other ac­tors can only dream of.

“It’s such a bless­ing. It’s a big strike of luck since I’ve only been here for a year and I’m very for­tu­nate to have a project this fast,” be­gins Matthias, grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity of a life­time.

Por­tray­ing Trevor Jones, an Amer­i­can ar­chae­ol­o­gist who falls in love with Mar­ian’s al­ter ego, “Su­per Ma’am” fol­lows the story of how ded­i­cated and lov­ing teacher Min­erva Hen­er­ala was granted the power to pro­tect peo­ple from the Ta­mawo – myth­i­cal winged shapeshifters who abduct chil­dren to feed on their youth­ful en­ergy – and save those in need. The pro­gram cur­rently airs over the GMA-7 prime­time block.

It didn’t hurt that Matthias’ fa­ther was a man of sci­ence him­self, of­ten tak­ing him to lab­o­ra­to­ries to look at cells un­der the mi­cro­scope dur­ing pathol­ogy rounds.

“It’s very re­lat­able for me. When I was a kid it re­ally didn’t make any sense to me but as I got older, I learned to value and ap­pre­ci­ate those ex­pe­ri­ences. So bagay sa role ko,” the model says.

De­spite be­ing half-Filipino, Matthias’ mother had not raised him in a Ta­ga­log speak­ing house­hold, thus he’s still hav­ing trou­ble with some lines. But that didn’t stop him from coming up with a rap song about Filipino food which he calls “Masarap,” even bust­ing a few rhymes for the press.

“I have a tu­tor, and I study the script all the time so it’s im­por­tant for me to know which scenes we’re go­ing to shoot. I don’t un­der­stand most of the lines but I do my best to say them well. Ev­ery­day I’m high­light­ing lines, re­search­ing, study­ing and get­ting so much into char­ac­ter,” says Matthias, af­ter which he blurts out the lines from yes­ter­day’s shoot much to Mar­ian and Jer­ald’s de­light.

“Min­san nga sinasabi ko na ‘Direk ipa-Ta­ga­log mo na kasi kaya na­man niya,’” Mar­ian in­ter­jects.

The show has also given Matthias a glimpse of the dif­fer­ences be­tween Amer­i­can and Filipino cul­ture when it comes to ed­u­ca­tion, and sees the em­pha­sis on the coun­try’s re­spect for teach­ers through “Su­per Ma’am.”

Be­ing fresh meat, Matthias isn’t safe from bash­ers and crit­ics. His ap­pear­ance in the Jol­libee ad alone caused a stir, re­ceiv­ing flak for be­ing the bane to an oth­er­wise “happy end­ing.” Re­cently, he posted a pub­lic­ity photo of him and Mar­ian on In­sta­gram to pro­mote the show and de­clared that they were both born on Au­gust 12.

“And sud­denly here comes all of these peo­ple that I didn’t know,” he nar­rates. “I just didn’t know where it was coming from. They told me to be strong, and to not mind the neg­a­tive com­ments. As I think about it, it was prob­a­bly be­cause of pos­ses­sive fans, or other things that I wouldn’t be aware of be­cause I am a ‘new Filipino’ so to speak. But this was a more per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence for me.”

Matthias ex­plains he re­ally didn’t mean to of­fend Dong Yan fans or any­one for that mat­ter.

How­ever, the ac­tor still gets some love, not only from fel­low ac­tors who like Mar­ian de­fend him from haters, but is a dar­ling of the au­di­ence as well. “I want them to say hi. I mean, I’m not at that level yet!” Matthias muses when asked about peo­ple rec­og­niz­ing him in pub­lic.

Five to ten years from now, Matthias says— more jok­ingly than se­ri­ously—that he’d like to have a vi­ral rap video for “Masarap,” with 596 bil­lion views to boot, say­ing that he’s just get­ting started. But on a more se­ri­ous note, Matthias re­it­er­ates how for­tu­nate he’s been since start­ing his show­biz ca­reer in the Philip­pines.

Matthias, who says he’s of­ten floored by his co-stars’ act­ing, quips: “Work­ing with Mar­ian, she’s such an in­spi­ra­tion. Jer­ald as well, since he puts so much en­ergy and hu­mor to the ta­ble. I’m learn­ing to be­come a bet­ter ac­tor, and this is a spe­cial mo­ment learn­ing from the good teach­ers.”

“And work­ing with GMA, the en­vi­ron­ment is ideal. As a new ac­tor I feel like I’m taken care of and that I mat­ter. And in any field or workspace I hope that I get the feel­ing that I be­long,” adds Matthias, hell-bent on show­ing ev­ery­one that he’s got what it takes to win the hearts of Filipinos too.

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