There is something special about Barbie Forteza. And her home network is more than determined to develop the budding talent into a certified young star.
In 2009 alone, Barbie appeared in two GMA-7 shows—Stairway To Heaven and Dear Friend: My Christmas List. She is also regularly seen in the Sunday noontime concert variety show SOP. Barbie, likewise, had a stint in Wapakman and Ang Darling Kong Aswang—two Metro Manila Film Festival entries from last year with contrasting box-office fortunes.
The catchphrase "strike while the iron is hot" couldn't be more accurate in the world of show business, where trends and fads flow in sweet harmony with the audience's ever-changing taste.
Though she's too young to fully understand things from a commercial stand point, Barbie knows the expectations being placed on her young shoulders following management's decision to entrust a new show to her and screen partners Joshua Dionisio and Jhake Vargas.
"Sobrang thank you po dahil pinagkatiwalaan ulit kami," said Barbie at the press launching of the network's latest romantic drama series First Time held last night, February 1, at Studio 6 of the GMA Network Studios.
"Opo [there's pressure] pero mas more po 'yong excitement kasi amin na 'to, e. So, pagbubutihan na lang po namin ang trabaho."
PUPPY LOVE. Barbie considers Joshua as a close friend rather than just a co-worker. The two child stars developed a strong following when they portrayed the younger version of Cholo (Dingdong Dantes) and Jodi (Rhian Ramos) in the local adaptation of the hit Koreanovela series Stairway to Heaven.
Barbie and Joshua's chemistry were undeniable even then. At Stairway To Heaven's fans day last December 6 at the Sky Dome of SM North in Quezon City, Joshua and Barbie thrilled the fans with excitement while performing a duet complete with that "kilig" factor rarely seen nowadays among love teams.
With First Time set to make its television debut next week, Barbie and Joshua's drawing power will be put to a solid test. For Barbie, however, this latest project will help solidify their friendship and at the same time provide a good opportunity for both of them to learn more about the craft.
She described Joshua as "makulit" but "sobrang maalaga" in the sense that he knows how to act like a gentleman despite his young age.
"Kami 'yong gumigising sa isa't isa [during shootings]. Kaya nga 'pag natutulog ako, ginigising niya 'ko. Pag natutulog siya, ginigising ko siya."
Barbie's first impression of Joshua turned out be inaccurate as she discovered later on: "Akala ko po tahimik siya, 'yon pala sobrang daldal at sobrang kulit, pero mabait."
When told that she was blushing every time Joshua's name is being mentioned, Barbie shyly replied: "Blush-on [makeup] po 'yan."
Barbie, at 12-years-old, confessed that she already has a crush. But don't expect her to divulge a particular name at this point nor think that she's in a hurry to grow up and fall in love.
"Crush meron," she admitted hesitantly, "pero crush lang po muna."
First Time is set to premiere on February 8 on GMA Telebabad block, replacing Ikaw Sana.