When she first appeared on television, newbie actress Coleen Garcia caught John Lloyd Cruz's attention in his previous whitening lotion commercial. Then, she became the cool kabarkada named Angel in a cologne ad. And before she decided to try acting for a TV series, she was the love interest of Nicos in an iced tea commercial.
The 18-year-old image model admitted to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that she probably started a little late in showbiz. However, she believes that she could still find her own place in the industry.
Coleen said her decision to finish high school first actually helped her become more prepared with whatever she would face in showbiz.
"Parang noong time na 'yon, ayaw kong mag-enter sa showbiz kasi focus na focus ako sa pag-aaral. Busy po 'yong school life ko," Coleen recalled.
She went on, "I wish I started when I was 15 or 16 kasi, that's the best age talaga to start showbiz. Pero everything happens naman in its own time. I'm sure if I started naman when I was 15, hindi ako makakatapos ng high school. So, at least, I can say na tapos na ako sa high school. I'm free na.
"At least kapag college puwede na ako mag-lighter load and I can handle my own time na. At saka po, parang na-realize ko na if I entered showbiz at a young age, I would have not been mature enough in everything that would come. At least, ngayon alam ko na."
Coleen took one semester of business course at Southville International School and Colleges last year. But she stopped because Coleen felt she should take something that's close to her interest in arts. So, she'll be transferring to De La Salle University-College of Saint Benilde next year to take up a course in multimedia arts.
This decision, according to Coleen, would give her more chance to juggle her time between studies and work.
"Kaya po ako nag-venture in showbiz because I learned na puwede naman po ipagsabay ang showbiz and school as long as I take a light load," she said.
SHOWBIZ IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. Although her commercials required only little acting, Coleen said it somehow taught her what she would be doing in her new career.
"Medyo iba lang po ang pag-arte sa commercial sa teleserye. Pero I'm learning to adjust naman," she said.
The Good Vibes actress, who is an outgoing and sporty person, also mentioned that joining in showbiz made her discover new abilities.
"I'm in it for myself naman," she said. "Kasi, when I was a kid, hindi ako kumakanta, hindi ako sumasayaw, never akong nag-act hanggang fourth year high school ako. I guess this is the time na mag-experiment ako. I'm learning a lot of things naman about myself."
She also stressed, "Mas naa-appreciate ko ang showbiz ngayon. Kasi, ngayon alam ko na kung gaano kahirap. Sobrang taas ng respeto ko talaga sa [mga artista]."
BEING DIFFERENT. Right now, Coleen appears in the Sunday afternoon series Good Vibes on ABS-CBN. She plays the role of Monique, the ex-girlfriend of Sam Concepcion's character.
For the young actress, this is a good opportunity to show the viewers that she's not only the "beauty-beauty-han" commercial model on television.
"Ang lakas ng personality ko doon. Nag-i-stand out po talaga and that's the way I want to be known po talaga. Parang not for mga beauty-beauty, para maiba naman po."
Does Coleen also consider doing a more daring role?
It can be remembered that this became an avenue for some of the young Kapamilya stars like Erich Gonzales and Jessie Mendiola to show more of their skill in acting.
Coleen smiled and answered, "Kung darating po, I have to see when it comes. Pero for now, I wanna make my name first in showbiz before I jump into anything.
"I wanna experience all kinds of role pero at my own time. I wanna take my time naman talaga in showbiz. I'm in no rush naman. Kasi, when you go to roles like that, you can't go back to this na, you can't go back to teen shows like Good Vibes. I wanna stay like that muna. I'll take it slowly."
NEEDS MORE IMPROVEMENT. Like any other new celebrities, Coleen admitted that she, too, needs more improvement before she could actually make a mark in showbiz.
"I think I need to improve in a lot of areas," she said. "Like, physically, I'm not a very good dancer yet. I'm not a very good singer yet. I only started now and my acting skill is very fresh pa lang, parang hindi pa ako masyadong marunong.
"But I think the best thing naman about me is that I always try to improve myself. I'm the only one who can push myself."
What was the most important advice she got about showbiz?
"Marami po, the biggest is that you have to be careful of everything, with what you do and with what you say. That's the biggest idea, you have to be really careful."