"Actually it's my mom's dream," mabilis na tugon ng tween star na si Alden Richards nang tanungin kung pangarap ba niya talaga ang mag-artista.
Pinaunlakan ni Alden ang request ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) na makasama siya sa buong araw. At dahil dito'y mas nakilala nakilala namin siya at nasilip ang kanyang real and reel world.
Paano nga ba siya napasok sa showbiz?
"It was my mom's dream for me and I like...Whenever we talk about it when she was alive, because she died four years ago...Whenever we talk about showbusiness, I just agree, 'A, okay 'Ma, sige. 'Pag nagkaroon ng chance o opportunity, sige pasok tayo dyan.'
"I didn't know...It was not my... it was not my dream."
"Parang hindi ko siya gusto ka-big time before yung mom ko talaga since she's a fan of a... of telenovela sa [GMA] 7 and soaps—mahilig 'yong mom ko, e.
"And then sabi niya, 'Anak, sana one day makita kita diyan. Sana gano'n...gano'n ka na.'
"I think my mom, my mom—parang nagdilang-anghel siya, e.
"So siguro itong pagiging arista ko and my showbiz career, I owe it to my mom and God, because I think I'm here for a purpose."
HOW HE STARTED. Medyo mahaba-haba rin ang daan na kanyang tinahak bago siya naging artista.
"Before, I auditioned for commercials, TV ads, print ads, everything multi, everything...on the advertising industry.
"I auditioned for products, endorse no'ng hindi pa ako artista and then as we go along, siyempre maraming turndowns.
"Siguro, mas marami pa yung failures mo kaysa do'n sa mga nakuha mong projects," paggunita ng young actor.
Ano ba ang unang TV ad ni Alden?
Sagot niya, "It's a multi-vitamins. I was about 18 years old back then.
"And then I had telecom commercials, Ponds na commercial, and ano... what else?
"So upon getting those projects, parang it's a blessing kasi kahit papaano, yung paghihirap namin to go to auditions and to go to VTRs is paying off upon those projects [na] na-grant sa 'min."
Did you know that he joined the Starstruck 5, which hailed Aljur Abrenica, Jewel Mische, Kris Bernal, and Martin Escudero as winners?
Sa pagpapatuloy ng kuwento ni Alden, "I auditioned for that reality talent search for... ah, I got in top 100 so 'yon 'yong na-televise. Televised na siya."
"Then after no'n, they cut it into top 60. Luckily, I got in also sa top 60.
"Then after top 60 when they were choosing for the top 30 finalists, I was cut.
"So I stopped in top 60 so I was really depressed."
Anong nangyari pagkatapos?
"A, I cried, I cried after that," mabilis niyang sabi.
"Parang I didn't know na parang I felt na 'yong pinaghirapan namin na napunta sa wala.
"Yun kasi, I live in Laguna so every day, GMA to Starstruck taping and then upon hearing the word, 'I'm sorry. Thank you very much,' parang 'Ouch!' Ang sakit lang.
"Ang sakit lang ng feeling kasi I'm not expecting to be... to be part of the top 14 kaya lang yung, yung to think na top 60 lang parang na-cut ka na?
"I was really depressed kasi 'yong people [who] made that effort for me to get into, to go to GMA every day.
"Kasama ko yung puyat, yung gastos, lahat-lahat nag-sink in, e, so I cried. I was really depressed.
"And yun, after Starstruck, I auditioned for another reality...reality show on the other channel so unfortunately, hindi rin nakuha.
"So that's the time when I thought na, sabi ko, 'Stop muna. Aral muna ako ulit. Aral na muna ako.'
"Kasi, that was sakto na after fourth year [high school], nag-summer vacation so..."
Anong taon 'yon?
"Around 2010, 2009 to 2010, so after that I said to myself, 'Aral muna ako and then let's see kung ano ba talaga ang future ko, kung ano, what awaits me here in showbiz.'"
Ang ginawa ni Alden ay nag-focus sa kanyang pag-aaral.
Ang kuwneto ng binata, "So I continued schooling. I went to college for Business Administration in De La Salle in Canlubang.
"And then, since we auditioned for Starstruck parang we get affiliated a little bit with the artist center, GMA artist center.
"So kahit papaano may contact na rin sa amin yung artist center that time."
It turned out, hindi pala niya kailangang sumama sa reality shows para maging artista.
Lahad ni Alden, "So yung school, I was doing school...I was in my second year college, and then GMA artist center called for an audition for soap.
"And then I didn't know na yung soap na 'yon, to be one of the leading men of the leading lady.
"So knowing nothing, I went to GMA and I audtioned for the role."
The next thing he knew, he bagged the leading man role in Alakdana.
Ayon pa kay Alden, "It was direk Mac Alejandre's decision to put me sa soap as one of the leading men.
"So malaki din 'yong utang na loob ko kay direk Mac kasi kung hindi dahil sa kanya, hindi naman ako makikilala.
"Kung hindi dahil kay direk, hindi rin ako mapupunta kung nasaan ako ngayon.
"Kasi he chose me for this, he chose me for the role.
"And then sobrang thankful din ako sa Alakdana family ko kasi 'yon 'yong pinaka-first project ko ever on TV.
"And then ang ganda ng naging feedbacks and then after, sunud-sunod na 'yong projects."
THANKFUL TO GMA-7. Malaki ang pasasalamat ni Alden sa GMA-7 dahil tuloy-tuloy ang pagbibigay sa kanya ng mga proyekto.
Nauna na ang Alakdana, ang kanyang unang teleserye sa TV, sumunod ang kanyang unang pelikula na Tween Academy Class of 2012.
Sa kasalukuyan, kasama siya sa bagong serye nina Dingdong Dantes at Marian Rivera, ang My Beloved.
"Thankful talaga ako sa Diyos.
"Thankful ako sa GMA na their entrusting me those roles na, entrusting me with roles na, na sa tingin nila kaya kong gawin so... so ayon, I'm very blessed.
"It's happening so fast I couldn't even comprehend kung ano na 'yong nangyayari sa 'kin.
"Sometimes, I would sit in a corner na lang then think on what I've done these past few years.
"Ay, this past year, last year lang ako nag-start. Sabi ko, 'Wow! I did one soap, I did three movies, and then one of my movies pa is going abroad.'
"So I owe it everything talaga to God—everything to God and to my family, to my mom, and to the people behind GMA artist center.
"Talagang they're the ones helping me with [everything]... I'm just very blessed na sa GMA ako napunta," ang tuwang-tuwang pahayag ng tween actor.