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.