Pretty Young Thing
AUG 3, 2015 | by Nicole Blanco Ramos, Art by Alexandra Lara
Photography: Yukie Sarto of Studio 100. Creative Direction: Suki Salvador of At East | Jed Root. Art Direction: Alexandra Lara. Fashion Direction: Nicole Blanco Ramos. Styling: Perry Tabora. Makeup: Winn Ramos. Hairstyling: Chris Rodil. Nail Care: Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon. Location: Privato Hotel.
The Philippines’ OPM pop princess is sugar, spice and everything wonderfully unpredictable.
There has been no shortage of new, triple-threat teen stars in the country—budding artists that are groomed, prepped and primed for the spotlight. Running out of gleaming celebrities who can sing, dance and act is a grim predicament that certainly won’t come in this lifetime, at least in the glittering waters of local show business.
The reality: The audience is becoming more visual and more critical and people are becoming harder to please. If not, it has become harder to hold their attention. People expect to be wowed—all the time. They’re on standby for the next big thing, which, of course, must be served to them bigger, better and flashier than the ones before.
Imagine then how daunting it has become to try and make a name for yourself as a star. For a hopeful teen attempting to break into the industry, it’s easy to feel like the smallest speck in this grand picture. It isn’t enough to have the talent and the drive. There seems to be some sort of formula for making it in the business. There’s a lot of flashiness; there’s a lot of noise; there’s a lot of fluff and grandeur. Simplicity usually gets tossed into the background and hardly ever gets to leave people in awe anymore. Attention-grabbing simplicity is a rare encounter, but when it comes around, it proves to be even more breathtaking than anything flashy, manufactured or completely dolled-up.
This is the story of Janella Salvador—the teen actor and singer who would much rather say she just acts and sings than give herself such titles (which she’s actually deserving of). She doesn’t feel the need to be loud or talk about scandalous things in order to be interesting or noticed. She doesn’t need special requests granted in order for her to feel like giving her 100% at work. Indeed, it requires no grand preparations to be able to work with her. While discussing the dinner menu on break at the set, for example, her face lights up as she exclaims, “Oh! Can we get Jollibee?!”
She’s still your typical teenager (just with an atypical journey to put things into perspective), so she does have typical concerns of a teenager. “I tell you… Taping makes you gain weight,” says Janella, starting off with such suspense only to end up laughing. She’s told, of course, that this is crazy talk and at 17, she’s not only in great shape, but she definitely shouldn’t be worrying about those things. Janella gets the last word and says, “Yeah and besides, it’s been a long day; I deserve to eat [Jollibee],” laughing.
She’s real. She’s not afraid to get candid. What’s shown to us anyway—no filter and all—is all charm paired with humility. It’s no wonder Janella’s fans (her 1.17 million on Twitter and 1.3 million on Instagram as of this writing) not only admire her for her body of work but for the kind of person she is without that spotlight on her.
Did you always know you wanted to become an actress or was it something that you stumbled into?
This entire thing was actually unexpected. Nothing here was planned at all. When I was younger, I was very shy. I used to do VTR’s for commercials, but I never got to book any [projects] because of how shy I was! What happens at VTR’s is they make you stand in front of a camera, introduce yourself and act out short advertising scenes. As for me, I couldn’t even get my name out. [Laughing] I was that shy growing up.
What, then, was your turning point from being so shy?
I guested in Eat Bulaga because of my mom [Jenine Desiderio], who is a theater artist. The theme of that performance was Anak ng Artista and I had to sing in front of the audience. I’d been singing since I was 4 years old. I would perform at corporate events and I eventually took up [Trumpets] Playshop. Singing in front of an audience was never a problem, but acting? [Laughs] That is a whole different story. Anyway, that was when Star Magic discovered me and I signed with DMV.
What has it been like growing up in front of the camera?
A surreal experience since I didn’t expect that I’d get into this kind of industry at all. I grew up accompanying my mom to her shows, and so it’s funny that now, she’s the one who accompanies me to tapings and shoots. I actually really didn’t know what to do at first because this wasn’t part of the plan. In the middle of my acting journey, it hit me that this is what I want to do for life.
And you seem very close with your family. What’s your dynamic like?
We’re a very small but very close family. It’s just mom, my little brother Russell and I. No matter how hectic or busy schedules may get, it’s understood that Sunday is family day. We go to church together then since I have taping throughout the week.
Is it challenging juggling things that are usually involved in a typical teenager’s life?
It is. Once you enter this business, you still can be normal, but you have to remember that it’s a completely different world na eh. You have to be responsible for every single action. Every action will definitely have a consequence in the future. You have to be ready for that.
What was it like auditioning for the role of Nikki in Be Careful with My Heart?
As cheesy as it sounds, for me, it was like destiny. I was just supposed to meet with Mr. M [Johnny Manahan] about becoming a part of Star Magic. It was already the end of the day when they told me casually, “Oh hey, there are auditions happening downstairs. You audition na rin kaya for that.” And when I went to the audition venue, they were already packing up; the audition was closed already! I didn’t know what I was going to do at that point, but they handed me the script and just told me to read lines. It was so awkward. [Laughing] A couple of days later, I got a text saying I got the part! It was so surreal because I found out afterwards that so many girls auditioned for the role of Nikki. So to think I really wasn’t supposed to audition, it really was a case of destiny. It’s crazy. I mean, Be Careful with My Heart gave me everything.
And everything else just came snowballing right after that! What can you tell us about your first major endorsement?
Oh, it’s just loads of fun. It started out with me making these short music videos for Palmolive and when Julia [Barretto] and Liza [Soberano] joined me, things got even more interesting. Whenever we work together, it’s just super magulo because all we’d do is laugh. They’re both so much fun to be with; they’re very warm and bubbly and full of energy.
How does it feel to have such a huge fan base and following?
Well, of course, I’m flattered that people want to know what’s going on with my life but at the same time, I feel responsible for everything I post. It really makes and leaves a mark. It’s surprising, too, because usually, you have one fan base: children, adults or teens. I’m happy because halo-halo yung fan base; there are kids and there are adults. I feel like I have a big responsibility to be a good influence to all these people.
What can you say about the pressure on the youth today who “live” on social media?
I actually get annoyed when people post sunod-sunod on Instagram. [Laughing] Especially when it’s practically the same pose! You know, you should still have your own privacy. You don’t need to post every single thing you do on Instagram.
So what can you say about social media habits in general?
I used to be mega active on Twitter, and then my phone broke down. I realized at that point that you can live without all that. You can live without being connected online all the time. And the thing is you get to connect better with the real people around you. Because while you’re glued to your phone, real life and everything else is happening around you.
On to fashion: Can you describe for us your personal style?
Whatever I feel like wearing during the day pretty much sums up my personal style. I dress comfortably. I’m a big fan of joggers right now. It’s comfort and style combined.
Do you have any style icons?
The embodiment of class—Audrey Hepburn. My other style icon is Emma Watson, because no matter what she wears, she still looks elegant. She carries the clothes really well. My last one is Cara Delevingne, because I love her off-duty street style!
Can you give us 3 style tips you’ve learned from your style journey, perhaps from your stylist, Perry Tabora?
First: You always have to wear something age-appropriate. You don’t have to rush into anything like wearing something too mature for you just because something is trendy. Second: More color, more fun. Last: Fit is very important.
As for beauty, can you give us a rundown of your daily beauty routine?
Funnily enough I do this in the car: I moisturize. You need to keep your skin moisturized. Also, I can’t leave the house without tint. Lip tint is actually the only other product I put on my face and that’s the one thing I can never leave the house without.
Janella Salvador is not out to be the next big thing like say, the next Kim, Maja or Bea. What she’s simply out to do is to share her passion with those who are willing to enjoy her craft. It shows in the way she, every so often, stops to express her gratitude. She acknowledges that in one way or another all things that come her way are blessings. And though her big break was something she stumbled upon, Janella without a doubt backs everything up with conscious effort and a lot of hard work.
Download the MEGAstyle.ph August 2015 e-magazine featuring Janella Salvador FOR FREE on Magzter, via the official MEGAstyle.ph app (available on Google Play) or the Magzter app (available on AppStore and Google Play)
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