A couple of months ago, PEP (Philippine Entertainment) got the chance to chat with Bernadette Allyson in their Quezon farm. Remember Bea?
Her role in Growing Up, GMA-7's popular teen show way back in the late '90s, catapulted her to fame. But did you know that what she originally wanted to pursue was modeling?
"Kaya lang I'm not really tall, and hindi din naman ako talaga payat so I thought that perhaps showbiz is the closest thing dun sa dream ko," said Bernadette Allyson.
HELLO SHOWBIZ. Bernadette's first break happened in 1994 when she joined GMA-7's noontime show SST (Salo Salo Together).
"Randy Santiago, who is a close family friend, prodded me to join the show so kahit hindi ko naman talaga hilig, sinubukan ko na lang din muna," she shared.
It was an auspicious start. But six months after she joined the said show, SST was axed. This prompted Bernadette to rethink her career plans, and eventually, she was lured back into modeling.
"I joined a teen modeling group a year after my experience with SST. It was then when I was spotted by [talent manager] Jessica Rodriguez."
The introduction between Bernadette and Jessica was only a formality of sorts, as the latter had already seen Bernadette during her stint with the defunct noontime show.
Though apprehensive to join show business once again, Bernadette relented and agreed to be managed by Jessica.
"Sa mga teeny bopper roles and movies naman ako kasi na-linya," she laughed good-naturedly. "Well, kasi s'yempre I'm young, and that was the time na sikat na sikat ‘yung TGIS , then Growing Up," she vividly recalled.
Bernadette starred in a couple of movies: Where the Girls Are (1996), Sumigaw Ka Hanggang Gusto Mo (1999), Tabi-Tabi Po (2001), Ooops, Teka Lang... Diskarte Ko ‘To (2001), among several others.
For someone who was reluctant to be an artista, Bernadette in time learned to love and value her newfound career.
"Mahiyain talaga 'ko especially ‘pag may presscons tapos and dami-daming reporters," confessed Bernadette. "Hindi rin ako matandain when it comes to names kaya madalas akala ng marami suplada ako," she continued.
But she admitted that showbiz undoubtedly helped her in a way to curb that innate shyness.
"One thing I enjoyed sa showbiz is para lang kaming naglalaro, 'tapos most of us are of the same age lang so masaya... parang hindi work," she mused.
MR. RIGHT. Now married to actor Gary Estrada and a mother to two lovely daughters, Garielle Bernice and Garianna Beatrice, Bernadette devotes her time being a full-time wife and a doting mother.
Ironically, Bernadette had her first screen test in 1996 for the movie, Ikaw Naman ang Iiyak, where Gary was one of the lead actors.
"Siya agad ang naka-eksena ko pero hindi naman kami nag-usap, kasi bago lang ako nu'n and extra lang ‘dun sa movie," she said casually.
There were no sparks then. But three years later, the pair were steadily dating and in June of 2001, finally sealed their union before God.
"Nagkita kami sa backstage ng SOP—where I was a host then—tapos ‘yon, he asked for my number. He called me kinabukasan and we talked for about an hour, then at the end of our conversation, he asked me for a date," she shared.
DOMESTIC BLISS. Gary owns a sprawling farm in Quezon where the entire family usually spend their weekends and occasional holidays.
"Sanay naman na ‘ko pero I can't stand staying there ng sobrang tagal," she said with an amused tone. "Mas gusto ko pa din dito sa city kasi mas maraming p'wedeng puntahan."
Bernadette, who is an AB Psychology graduate of De La Salle University, is also keeping herself busy with B.E.I.G.E., her made-to-order garment business.
"It started when I was looking for a birthday dress for Garielle. I went to three different malls, but [could not] find anything besides the usual style, so I decided to make one myself," she revealed.
Business is good, says Bernadette, and she sees herself dedicating more time to make it grow.
The former actress-TV host doesn't mind appearing on TV or even movies, but she admitted that she's more focused on her domestic duties and business.
At 28 and with two kids, she has remained pretty and definitely flawless. Has she received any offer to do mature roles?
"Oo naman, may mga offers," she hesitantly nodded. "Pero hindi ko kasi talaga kaya," she added before pausing pensively. "Though honestly, minsan nga naiisip ko kung ano kaya kung pumayag ako noon," she ended with a grin.