Twenty hopefuls are given the chance by ABS-CBN to be part of the 16th batch of Star Magic.
It was 1992 when then ABS-CBN CEO Freddie Garcia and program director Johnny Manahan or Mr. M started the idea of creating a stable of stars for its returning network, which was closed for several years during the Martial Law era. It was then called Star Circle with the late Rico Yan being part of the illustrous first batch.
Sixteen years later, the star department of ABS-CBN now called Star Magic introduced ten boys and ten girls as members of its batch 16 last Tuesday night, September 2, at the 14th floor of ELJ Bldg.
Like the last batch of Star Magic, the newest group is a mixture of new discoveries, commercial models, half-Filipinos, blood relatives to showbiz clans, and past contest winners and finalists.
The two girls with showbiz connections are Cheska Ortega, current star of TV5's Lipgloss and niece to siblings Michelle and Robert Ortega, and Kristel Moreno, who is the niece of Alma Moreno and soon to be part of the upcoming I Love Betty La Fea.
Those with half-Filipino blood include half-American Lance Christopher who spent his first 17 years in Hawaii and Pangasinan; half-German Vangie Martelle who is based in Davao; half-German Michaela Melania who spent sixteen years in her father's country but is very Filipino at heart; and half-British Kristina Snell.
The 16-year-old cutie from Cebu Enrique Gil and the very different (in terms of hair and former job) Pica Lozano have foreign blood, too; Spanish roots for Enrique and Latin for Pica.
Pure Filipinos but grew up in the States include the six-footer model wannabe David Nagtalon who spent some years in California; Heidi Riego who was born and raised in Oakland; Kaye Garcia who was raised by her father in the U.S.; and Guji Lorenzana, a former teacher in the Bay Area and is now part of the upcoming Stages production West Side Story.
Familiar faces in the contest circuits are Erika Padilla, who was part of Metro Mag's Top 10 models and Miss Bikini Philippines; Auriette Divina, who had recognitions in various singing contests here and abroad; Reb Sibal, who was the first runner-up of the second Close-Up To Fame search of ABS-CBN; and Jubail Andres, then known as Alyzon Andres, has made the rounds from StarStruck to Circle of 10 to Century Tuna Super Bods.
Three boys and one girl have the distinction of being pure Filipinos who were also raised in the country, no showbiz connections, and have not joined any contest—18-year-old swimmer Nico Ibaviosa; 18-year-old wannabe funnyman Chase Rivera; 16-year-old Angelicum student Justin Gonzales; and Bacolod girl Dominique Llamas who is about to audition for the upcoming VJ Hunt.The 20 new Star Magic members will be launched this Sunday, September 7, at ASAP ‘08.