Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Angelica Panganiban, Coco Martin, and Kim Chiu are just some of the hottest and most bankable stars of ABS-CBN today.
They are among the network’s most prized talents, whose presence can be felt in teleseryes, commercials, movies, and magazines.
This month, YES! looks back on their road to stardom, and pays tribute to 20 years of Star Magic, showbiz’s biggest star maker.
In a 38-page feature story, YES! offers a comprehensive account of Star Magic’s humble beginnings, its history, and the science behind its star-making process.
YES! sat down with Star Magic’s chairman emeritus Johnny Manahan, also known as “Mr. M," who recounted how the formerly known as Talent Center was built from scratch 20 years ago.
To resolve the network's reliance on big stars controlled by big film companies, Manahan pioneered its creation, to which he discovered and developed ABS-CBN’s own homegrown talents.
Auditions were held where a thousand of aspirants were narrowed down to only twelve or less.
These hopefuls would undergo a series of trainings and workshops, which cover singing, acting, dancing, even makeovers, and styling.
Every year, one group is formed—Star Circle Batch.
One of the country’s top leading men today, Piolo Pascual, member of Star Circle Batch 3, recalls his audition 16 years ago.
“I remember I was the only one wearing shorts. And I thought I wasn’t gonna get in because I was too casual and I wasn’t in, parang, my best element. I was 18, 19 then, kind of unsure and insecure.”
This is where a keen eye for discovering talents comes in. A person who does the screening should be able to visualize what a shy aspirant could become.
Mr. M. says, “I can see three years in advance, e, four years in advance... I don’t know why, but I got it, you know.”
These stars must be able to showcase their talents to ensure that they don’t vanish from the public eye. This is what Mariole Alberto, the current head of Star Magic, calls the “succession plan.”
Although the creation of stars is a business for Star Magic, the people behind ABS-CBN’s talent management arm make sure they take care of their talents like family.
Kim Chiu relates, “Sina Mr. M and Ms. Mariole… sila na ‘yong family adviser ko talaga. Since wala naman akong mommy and daddy and I live alone dito sa Manila, sila na ‘yong mom and dad ko.”