Paolo Paraiso isn't much of a partygoer. The 25-year-old member of the defunct all-male group Barako Boys lives in an exclusive village in Quezon City and prefers hanging out in the neighborhood to partying all night.
"Lahat ng barkada ko, nandito," he says. "Ang pinakalabas namin is kung pupunta ako sa bahay ng kaibigan ko dito rin sa village. Doon kami mag-iinuman." Besides, he adds, "It's so convenient dito sa village. Andiyan ang basketball court, tennis court, grocery. Kompletong-kompleto."
At the University of Asia and Pacific, from which he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in information technology, Paolo was into sports a lot—tennis, soccer, table tennis. But his height and good looks led to an unexpected career in modeling.
"Typical story," he recalls. "Naglalakad ako sa mall, may agent na nakakita sa akin."
His mom, Marian, persuaded Paolo to give it a shot. "Feeling ko dati, wala akong kaalam-alam sa fashion. Baduy nga ako noong high school." He eventually learned to be comfortable with his body, enough to make it as a model for Bench. Showbiz beckoned when he accompanied a friend to an audition for ABS-CBN's Star Circle Batch 10. Talent Center head Johnny Manahan spotted Paolo and invited him to audition for Batch 11.
"First day of workshop, I fell in love with acting. Ay, putsa, craft 'to! Nag-enjoy ako agad. Sabi ko, ‘Hindi pala basta-basta ang pag-aartista.' Gusto kong maging artista, hindi celebrity."
It was in showbiz that he met actress Mylene Dizon, now the mother of his seven-month-old son, Tomas Miguel "Burrito" Paraiso.
"Feeling ko, magpapakasal din kami eventually," Paolo says of his relationship with Mylene. "Pero hindi namin dini-discount 'yong fact na baka maghiwalay din kami. We're playing it safe." Whatever happens, Paolo feels strongly about one thing: the joy of fatherhood.
"Malaki'ng nag-iba!" says the boyish-looking dad. "Feeling ko, nag-mature talaga ako nang todo. Ngayon, kailangan ko nang magplano kasi may anak na ako. Ang dreams ko ngayon, hindi na for myself. Ang dreams ko, for him na."