Thursday, January 28, 2010

Carla: Be Serious if You Want to Succeed

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Interview by Tinna S. Bonifacio

She was last seen in Bituing Walang Ningning as Rita, the younger sister of the series’ antagonist Lavinia Arguelles (Angelika dela Cruz). It was 18-year-old Carla Humphries’ biggest break. Introduced as part of Star Circle Batch 11 along with Pauleen Luna, Jill Yulo, actor and model Paolo Paraiso and the members of the all-male song-and-dance group Anime, Carla was just one among the many Star Magic talents until the reality dating show Qpids (where she and partner Janus del Prado placed among the top four love teams in the finals), followed by Bituing Walang Ningning, came along. Working alongside veteran actress Amy Austria who played her mother Barbara in Bituin, Carla’s acting improved, and this led to other assignments, notably a role in ABS-CBN’s newest youth-oriented show, Abt Ur Luv where she gets a new love team partner in Victor Basa.

Carla says she’s always dreamed of becoming an actress. “Ma-drama kasi akong tao,” she laughs.

Here, in her own words, is the story of how Carla Humphries made her dream come true.

You said you always wanted to be an actress?

Yes. Hilig ko talaga, ever since I was a child. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I was referred to some people by Gretchen Barretto, who was a friend of my aunt. But the problem was, awkward age ako at that time—too old to be a child star, and too young for mature roles. They didn’t know where to put me. My other problem was that I had grown up speaking French (Carla’s father is French-American, while her mother is Filipina) so the language barrier was also a problem. I had to work really hard to overcome that.

How did you do it?

My mother put me in school here so I would learn Tagalog. It would really have been difficult to succeed in showbiz if I didn’t know how to speak the language.

How did you get noticed by ABS-CBN?

I was enrolled in [the network’s] Distance Learning Center. It was Filipino week, and there was a presentation. I sang the Doxology, and after that, pinatawag ako ni Mr. M (Johnny Manahan, head of Star Magic). He put me in the artist training program. I was supposed to be launched as part of Star Circle Batch 10, but then, for some reason, hindi natuloy. Maybe it was because I was too young then.

Were you disappointed that happened?

A little disappointed, but it helped when my parents told me, ‘Siguro hindi mo pa talaga time.’ That’s one of the things I learned that has helped me in this business.

What other helpful career advice have you received from people?

First of all, to continue improving my Tagalog. Second, to really have the passion and drive for what you’re doing. Lastly, to be super-hardworking. You can’t look at what you do as a hobby. Hindi puwedeng laro-laro lang. You have to be serious about it if you really want to succeed. Sometimes people look at what we’re doing as a game—it’s just acting daw kaya hindi dapat sineseryoso—but for us, it’s work and we do take it seriously.

What have you learned about work that you can pass on to others?

You have to trust the people around you. You have to work with them, not against them. Like when [ABS-CBN] management gave me a new loveteam partner, si Victor Basa, I had to trust that they were making the right decision, that they knew what they were doing. I didn’t question their decision. Sila ang nag-aalaga ng career ko, and they know what’s good for me.

Who are the people who’ve helped or influenced you in your career?

Siyempre, si Mr. M. Given na ‘yon. At saka sa pag-improve ng Tagalog ko, si Direk Lauren (Dyogi). He suggested that I read Pilipinokomiks and books like Pugad Baboy, and to read romance novels written in Tagalog. In terms of acting, malaki ang naitulong sa akin ni Direk Jerome (Pobocan, one of her directors in Bituing Walang Ningning). He also told me to listen to radio dramas para mas gumaling ang Tagalog ko.

What would you consider your career highlights?

Definitely, Bituing Walang Ningning. Kasi doon talaga ako napansin ng mga tao. That’s where they first noticed I could act. But I would also have to consider Qpids a highlight. Although it wasn’t really a regular show, maganda yung naging exposure ko sa show, especially since doon ako nakita ng mga taga-Bituin.

Do you ever get tired of working?

Showbiz is a very tiring profession, lalo kapag may mga magdamagan na tapings. Nakakapagod din. But whenever that happens, I tell myself, this is my work and I have to do it. Siyempre, mahirap. Pero nagtitiyaga ako dahil ang dami ko pang pangarap na gustong matupad. Gusto kong maging ganap na drama actress. I also want to pursue my dream of going into music and releasing an album. As far as my career is concerned, my motto is, “Sky’s the limit!”

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