Did you know that Melissa Ricks was not the first choice to portray the third wheel to Coco Martin and Julia Montes in the 2012 teleserye, Walang Hanggan?
Melissa reveals this trivia on April 20, 2021, in an episode of PEP Live, after saying that portraying Johanna Montenegro is one of the highlights of her career.
According to Melissa, the first choice for the role was Maja Salvador, who was Coco’s leading lady in the 2011 series Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin.
She says, “Hindi ako first choice, si Maja talaga dapat ang Johanna doon sa Walang Hanggan then I was chosen.
“Kasi may problema ata sila nila Coco noong time na iyon, may issue dati. Alam naman nilang lahat iyon, e. Haha! So napalitan.”
Melissa makes no mention of the issue between Coco and Maja.
But in September 2011, four months before Walang Hanggan's airing, Maja admitted to causing the fight between Coco and his then boyfriend Matteo Guidicelli at the Star Magic Ball.
The controversy may have contributed to the decision to cast Melissa instead of Maja in Walang Hanggan.
Melissa is happy that the role worked out for her even though she was not the first choice.
She says in her PEP Live interview, “It worked out and feeling ko, iyon iyong pinaka-highlight kasi iyon din ang pinakagusto kong role din.
“Feeling ko, ang maldita ko doon and nag-enjoy ako sa show na iyon.”
In that teleserye, Melissa had the chance to work with veteran actors, like Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta, Nonie Buencamino, Joel Torre, Rita Avila, Eula Valdes, Helen Gamboa, and Susan Roces.
Also part of the cast, aside from Coco and Julia, were Paulo Avelino and Joem Bascon.
“Sobrang star-studded, hindi ko makakalimutan lahat ng artistang kasama ko doon kasi alam mo, ang dami kong nagawang soap opera na parang trabaho lang talaga.
“Pero itong Walang Hanggan, lahat sila, sobrang babait, sobrang naging kaibigan ko kahit iyong mga veteran stars, ang babait talaga nila.
“Para na kaming family sa taping kasi araw-araw na kaming nagte-taping, walang tulugan!
“So, feeling ko, iyon ang last hurrah ko bago ako nagkaanak.”
Walang Hanggan achieved phenomenal success during its run. It consistently placed number one in the ratings game and ran for ten months.
MELISSA THANKS ABS-CBN
Aside from Walang Hanggan, Melissa also considers the 2009 afternoon series Kambal sa Uma as another highlight in her career.
Playing the role of a “taong daga,” it was the first time she portrayed a lead role for a daily drama series. She had to wear prosthetics to pull off the look.
She says, “Iyon iyong first na main role na ibinigay sa akin and then after that, iyong mga roles ko, kung hindi lead, second lead.
“Hindi na iyong mga pa-tweetums na teeny bopper."
A graduate of ABS-CBN's Star Circle Quest, Melissa is grateful to her mother network for giving her memorable roles.
“Ako kasi, I feel lucky kasi lahat ng nabigay sa aking roles, sobrang okay sila for me. Type ko naman lahat ng role na binigay.
“Sobrang natuwa ako sa lahat ng roles ko kaya sobrang thankful ako sa ABS kasi ang gaganda ng mga nabigay nila sa akin.
“Kahit hindi ako bida, ang gaganda ng mga role na nailatag nila for me.”
Some of the other projects that Melissa top-billed before leaving show business were: Da Adventures of Pedro Penduko (2006), Iisa Pa Lamang (2008), Tanging Yaman (2010), Noah (2010), Nasaan Ka, Elisa? (2011), and Honesto (2013).
Melissa had staged her TV comeback in early 2020 via the weekly series 24/7, starring Julia Montes. The show already aired four episodes when it got shelved because of the COVID-19 pandemic.