If Sophie Albert didn't make it to Artista Academy, she could’ve been a professional wakeboarder.
Wakeboarding is a surface water sport that involves riding a wakeboard while being towed by a motorboat.
At first glance, Sophie doesn't come across as the athletic and outgoing type because, in fact, she’s not.
She told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview last January, “I’m laid back but then I like going also sa mga, yeah, more of outdoors. I don’t like going to bars or drinking, like that.”
In fact, the Artista Academy female grand winner relates that she’s a homebody who prefers to read books during her leisure time.
Then, circumstances led her to wakeboarding and the 22-year-old eventually fell in love with the water and the board.
Sophie related how she got into the sport. The back story: “Lately lang, siguro last year, nagtayo yung mom ko ng parang rest house.
“Kasi dati, may place na… my dad’s comatose, di ba? So, kinikwento ng mommy ko na may place silang pinupuntahan sa Batangas na nagtayo sila ng bahay-kubo na maliit.
“Tapos, dun sila nagsi-stay ng dad ko kasi my dad was really outdoorsy... ganun. So, nakita ng mom ko yung land na yun uli.
“Tapos, sabi niya, ‘magtatayo ako ng bahay d'yan.’ So, she built the house na, bahay kubo pero malaki na siya na bahay kubo. So, she’s so proud of that.”
Having acquired a property in the area, Sophie’s family frequented the place and found an activitiy to keep them busy.
She continues, “So every weekend, nandun kami sa Batangas, me and my brothers. So, yun din yung bonding naming magkakapatid. We go wakeboarding. Sila yung nagturo sa 'kin.”
If Sophie is nowhere to be found, chances are she's snuck off to Batangas—with or without company—and is blissfully riding her board and soaking up the sun.
“Tumatakas ako from Manila. Ayun, tatakas ako, I’ll go up to Batangas. Hahanapin ako ng mom ko, 'Sa'n ka?'”
Sophie was so passionate about the sport, she would go down south alone, “Mag-isa. Ganun ako naadik. I was so addicted.”
As she and her loveteam Vin Abrenica are together most of the time, she’s had the opportunity to introduce her to wakeboarding.
She recalls, “Meron na kasing wake park sa Clark, so dinala ko si Vin, tinuruan ko siyang mag-wakeboard.
“Tinuruan ko si Vin, nakatayo siya. He’s good. He learns fast. Siyempre, he’s ano naman... conditioned. So, it’s easy naman for him.”
Sophie says she learned the sport only two years ago. It was her brother who introduced her to wakeboarding.
“My first brother, siya yung nag-start mag-wake board,” she narrates.
“Tapos nung nakita ko na kaya niya… kasi nung first time, parang lahat kami nahuhulog.
“Parang wala nang… 'Cause it’s hard to start. Nung nakita kong kaya ng kuya ko, na-challenge ako na dapat kaya ko rin.
“Kuya ko matanda na, dapat ako, kaya ko, bata ako. So yun, nag-start dun.
“And then after three or four months, I joined na a competition and then I placed second.”
Winning a competition after only a few months of training encouraged Sophie to continue.
“So there, parang, ‘Oh my god, I wanna do it more!’ So dun ako nag-practice talaga. And then, hindi na 'ko umabot sa next competition kasi pumasok na 'ko sa AA. [Artista Academy]
“Pero I really wanted to do it for a living or something.”
Is there any other sport she would like to try? “Siguro, soccer. Kasi my kuya, magaling siya mag-soccer.
“So nung bata ako, parang nakita ko yung shoes niya, yung ganyan, sumali ako sa soccer team ng school namin para lang makabili nung shoes... nung gear.
“But I was never good at it kasi takot ako sa bola. And then, ayun.
“But wakeboarding talaga is the first sport talaga na I got into na, inisip ko pa, gusto ko na lang maging wakeboarder. Parang gusto ko na lang maging pro wakeboarder.
“Kasi there was a time na talagang araw-araw nagwe-wake board na 'ko na sobrang nognog [tanned] na ko,” she proudly declares.