Carla Abellana led a "quiet, normal life" before she entered showbiz.
"Bahay, school, ganun ang routine...," she began. "Ang mundo ko noon ay naka-sentro sa pamilya. Mas pressured kaming magkakapatid na mag-aral nang mabuti para makapagtapos. Kumbaga, kahit sinasabi ng tao na, 'Anak ni Rey PJ Abellana o apo ni Delia Razon,' Hindi ako showbiz talaga..."
But as fate would have it, showbiz beckoned when Regal Films' lady boss Roselle Monteverde-Teo spotted her at the wedding of actress Chesca Garcia in October 2008. Three months later, she had her first press conference at the Imperial Palace Suites.
Come July 2009, she was launched as the Pinay Rosalinda on television. And just before the year ended, she had her first hosting stint via StarStruck V.
"I couldn't ask for more," she told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an exclusive interview. "I have achieved a lot, ang dami ko nang na-receive na blessing. Sobrang unbelievable nga, e! Parang in a year, nagawa ko na lahat yun? Ayun, I'm thankful naman, very thankful!"
And how would she describe her life now that she's a TV celebrity?
Carla replied, "It's been a roller-coaster ride. Sabi ko nga, 180-degree turn talaga, e—from a quiet, normal life then, all of a sudden, too public na. I have to watch what I say, what I do, the places I go to, the people I go out with...Yun bang kailangan maingat na. Kailangan talaga, very careful na with everything, with choices and decisions I make, kasi career, e, and it is for your future."
BEING FRIENDS WITH FAME. But shehas welcomed the changes in her life with open arms. "Kahit ano naman ang profession mo, you will have to go through adjustment stage. It just so happened na sa showbiz, dapat masanay ka na nasa camera ka o may nakatingin sa iyo parati," she articulated.
Fame, according to the 23-year-old actress, should work to her advantage.
She related, "It did change my life. But I'd like to believe that it has made me a better person to the point lang na I was able to come out of my shell. I'm now outgoing. I relate to people. I get to meet a lot of people! So yun lang...Ano kasi, I used to be a quiet and very shy person. Pero ngayon, outgoing na ako.
"I make friends with a lot of other people 'tapos kumbaga, mas madami lang ako na-discover about myself na hindi ko akalain na magagawa ko pala before—katulad ng umarte, sumayaw, kumanta. So ngayon, nagagawa ko yun. I'm really enjoying life more 'cause na-realize ko na, there's really a lot more to life pala."
GETTING INTRIGA-PROOF. The downside of the profession: Intrigue.
She's relatively a newbie in the industry, but the Psychology graduate said she knows "it's part of it."
Her take: "To be honest, siyempre intrigas, mga issues naman, siyempre masakit naman talaga 'yan sa kahit anong artista, e. Pero I make it a point na hindi siya talaga...it won't pull me down.
"Okay lang to brush it off, that's fine. But next step kumabaga is let's move on. Meron nang mga intriga na sa totoo lang pinagtawanan ko lang or what. Never pa naman ako, to the point, na umiyak or what. Wala pa naman, so, buti na lang.
"Pero, if ever naman meron, okay lang. It doesn't really affect me in any way. It makes me feel bad pero okay lang."
These showbiz issues and controversies are bound to attack her at any moment. "The worst is yet to come," she said. "So, I'm still bracing myself."
Instead of dwelling on negativity, "I would like to believe that the best is yet to come as well," the Kapuso star stated.
UPCOMING PROJECTS. After The Last Prince, Carla is gearing up to conquer the afternoon drama slot with Mars Ravelo's Basahang Ginto, which also stars her screen partner Geoff Eigenmann.
Carla is also launching Love Bug, which will air on Sundays, with Dennis Trillo.
"I'm excited. Si Geoff, this is our fourth project together, while si Dennis, it's our first," she said.
And what's the next goal in her list?
She shared, "I would like to work more on comedies. Ayoko na masyado ng drama kasi, nakakapagod umiyak. Wala namang problema pero sana, more comedies para light lang, fun.
"'Tapos kung horror, why not? I'm looking forward to working on my first-ever movie. Sana meron na. Excited ako!
"Sa hosting, gusto ko pa i-hone yung skills ko. Sana mabigyan pa 'ko ng projects in the future na magho-host ako. I-ano lang, hasain lang nang maigi."
LEAVING MARIAN RIVERA'S SHADOW. Isn't she glad that in less than a year, she was able to establish herself in a business, where people easily come and go?
She answered, "Unbelievable talaga! Hindi matapos-tapos ang aking pasasalamat."
When she was launched, the public instantly noticed her resemblance to Marian Rivera.
"She is really beautiful. She's still her oh my goodness...!" she interjected. "We belong to the same network and she's very nice to me. So, I admire her for her hard work kasi tingnan mo naman kung gaano siya ka-successful ngayon, di ba, very deserving. I find her beautiful talaga, very beautiful! So okay lang, walang problema that I got associated with her."
But after she starred in two soaps, the public dropped her "Marian Rivera look-alike" tag.
The daughter of Rey PJ Abellana explained, "We're different naman. We're two different people. Nung una, e, sinasabi nga nila, kamukha ko siya, hawig kami, na ako daw papalit sa kanya, mga ganung bagay...Sabi ko, 'No, I'm really not following her career. I have my own, my own decisions to make...Iba naman ang takbo ng buhay ko sa kanya and, you know, the network is really not making us compete against each other. Eventually, nakilala na nga ako bilang ako."
Carla Abellana's life now is busy and, at times, complicated.
"But no regrets. Sana tuloy-tuloy na. I have guaranteed work naman for the next few years so, sana-sana talaga, sa hirap din kasi ng show business competition, sana magtagal pa," was her optimistic parting shot.