If given the chance, Kapamilya teen star Empress Schuck wants to be like her idol, young superstar Judy Ann Santos.
"Idol ko talaga si Judy Ann. Gusto ko talaga 'yong 'Teleserye Queen', ganyan," Empress said during the birthday press conference prepared by Star Magic for its talents who celebrate their natal day this February.
Empress, who turned 17 last Friday, February 19, got her first try on acting in 2002 via Jose Javier Reyes's 9 Mornings, topbilled by Piolo Pascual and Donita Rose. This movie won for her a Best Child Actress award in 2003. The same year, she was hailed as the Most Popular Child Actress by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc.
Since then, Empress became part of mainstream movies such as Shake, Rattle & Roll 8 (2006), Angels (2007), Resiklo (2007), Lastikman (2007), Magkaibigan (2008), BFF (2009), and Ang Darling Kong Aswang (2009). She was also part of two indie films last year, Hilot and Pasang Krus, which gained her good reviews from film critics.
In television, Empress became part of ABS-CBN shows including the defunct youth-oriented show Abt Ur Luv and the kiddie fantaserye Super Inggo.
However, her role in the TV adaptation of the '80s film Underage, which was aired early last year, gave her a chance to lessen her "pa-cute" image. But she was quick to explain that this does not mean she's ready to do more mature roles.
"Medyo mature siguro. Kung may level 1, siguro level 2 lang ako siguro, parang ganun. Sa Your Song Presents Underage, katulad na nga ng title, hindi naman talaga daring ang ginawa namin. At saka medyo may pa-tweetums din 'yon kasi wala namang kissing scene 'yon, e. Sila Mel [Melissa Ricks] at Matt [Evans] lang naman ang meron," she told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal).
Empress added, "Siguro kung may project ngayon, wala pa ring kissing scene. May konting pa-tweetums pero kumbaga, hindi puro pa-cute. Siguro may konting level-up din sa acting."
Despite her almost eight-year stay in show business, Empress says she still has a lot to learn, especially in acting. So whenever there's a chance, she attends acting workshops at her home network to improve her acting skill.
"Uma-attend ng workshops kung available or kung may ibibigay. At saka nanonood din sa TV ng mga acting ng mga veterans. Hindi naman ginagaya, pero parang konting idea lang."
How about being teamed up with a young actor?
Empress said she would be comfortable being paired with constant onscreen partner Dino Imperial.
"Siguro si Dino na lang kasi siya ang medyo loveteam ko ngayon," she said. "Wala akong mapili na crush ko kasi wala naman. Kaya si Dino na lang, buo pa naman ang fans club namin. Kasi minsan naman kapag may show na kailangan may partner ako, si Dino ang laging nandoon."
Right now, Empress is busy with her studies since she's about to finish high school in Angelicum College this March. She's also being offered to appear in another independent film, but the young actress says it's not yet sure until they start filming it.