StarStruck V alumnus Rocco Nacino is gradually gaining momentum in his showbiz career.
Fresh from StarStruck, he was cast in the defunct GMA-7 afternoon series Gumapang Ka sa Lusak alongside Jennylyn Mercado and Dennis Trillo. At present, he is part of the weekly sitcom Kaya ng Powers. He will soon be seen in the upcoming afternoon soap Koreana with Kris Bernal and Steven Silva.
For the three shows, Rocco plays leading man to different screen partners. The 23-year-old actor says that even though he recognizes the advantage of having a love team, he likes being paired with different actresses.
"Hindi sa ayaw ko ng love team... Paano ba, it's hard to explain, e. Kasi siyempre, having a love team will definitely boost your career," Rocco said in an exclusive interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last Saturday afternoon, October 2, at the Candy Fair at A.Venue Hall in Makati City.
He added, "Pero sa akin naman, I want to be a versatile actor na I can be able to work with different actresses and jive with different kinds of attitude. Kaya ayoko ng permanent na love team.
"Gusto ko na makapagtrabaho nang maganda pa din. Yung gusto ko na maganda pa din yung kalabasan ng acting, pero iba-iba na love team. Kumbaga, yung chickboy na love team."
KOREANA. In Koreana, Rocco plays one of the leading men of Kris Bernal. StarStruck V Ultimate Male Survivor Steven Silva completes the love triangle.
Rocco describes his role as Benjamin or Benjo, Kris's childhood friend and best friend, in this new show:
"Ano ako, pure Pinoy, mahirap na lalaki at mai-in love kay Kris Bernal. Tapos, parang ako yung best friend niya. Ako yung nagse-save sa kanya in times of trouble, pero usually in the wrong way. So, medyo tarantado ako dito. So, I have this haircut now."
The hunky young actor said he's happy with his new role.
"Masaya ako kasi something different naman, something new to explore. And dun sa taping, maraming mga tips na ibinigay sa akin on how to be kanto-kanto [boy], sa movement, sa pagsasalita."
Rocco admitted that he is still on the process of learning how to portray his character well.
"With my character, medyo kumakapa pa ako. Inaalam ko pa kung paano yung salitang kalye... Paano yung movement, pati yung facial expressions.
"Ang sabi sa akin, ang peg ko dapat Robin Padilla. So, I'll be watching Robin Padilla films definitely during my free time. Kaya yun, yun ang magiging preparation ko," he said.
How is his role in Koreana different from the other roles he has played so far?
"Yung first ko, e, mas romantic [Gumapang Ka sa Lusak]. Yung sobrang head over heels kay Jennylyn [Mercado]. 'Eto sa Kaya ng Powers, comedy naman, more of myself, wacky- wacky, nagpapatawa, puro pa-cute.
"'Eto sa Koreana, more of pa-cute din dahil may gusto ako kay Kris Bernal. Pero hindi ko ipinapakita, pero tarantado. I'm not a villain here. I'm just tarantado, laking-hirap, e. Mga ganun."
WORKING WITH KRIS BERNAL. Rocco was all smiles when asked about this opportunity to work with Kris Bernal.
"Parang ang reaction namin sa project na ito, parang finally we'll be able to work [together]. Marami din mga fans namin ang gusto mangyari ito kaya masaya kami.
"Pati yung mga mga fans masaya, kasi they'll be getting what they want. Kaya parang doble yung pressure, kasi we have to deliver," he said.
Rocco added that until now, he can't believe that he'll be working with Kris. He described his co-star as "the Kris Bernal."
He added, "Dati nakikita ko lang siya sa TV at ngayon makakatrabaho ko na. I look forward to our taping days. Not just her, [pati] sina Tito Eddie Garcia, Eula Valdes... Kanina si Eula Valdes, medyo ninerbiyos ako dun.
"Maraming big stars ang kasama sa project na ito. Kaya lagi akong ginaganahan kasi alam namin na star-studded ito."
Rocco also feels grateful for the opportunity and the trust, given that the show is an original story by GMA-7.
"Tapos, binigyan pa kami ni Steven ng chance na masama sa show na ito, sa isang show na original pa. Tapos, sinabak pa kami agad. I feel very, very honored.
GOING DARING. Aside from being chosen as one of the Candy Cuties last Saturday for the Candy Fair, Rocco was also one of the Celebrity Centerfolds for the Cosmo Bachelor Bash last September 9 at the World Trade Center.
A lot of people were surprised by his daring shot in the September issue of Cosmopolitan. Rocco said that posing for Cosmo and walking the ramp during that event was something he wished for.
"I told myself na, 'Pangarap ko 'yan! Dapat masama ako ako sa isang ganyan. Gusto ko din yun.' Ngayon lang ako nakapag-pose sa magazine ng ganun," he said with a tinge of excitement.
He added, "I was told about the pictorial two or three weeks before. So, hindi ako masyado nakapag-prepare. Pero I tried. Sobrang todo-gym. Like today [for the Candy Fair], torture ang diet. Buti na lang, it came out well. Maganda naman yung resulta."
When asked if this means he is ready for daring roles, Rocco smiled, "Not yet."
He explained that he is good with his current image.
"I have this wholesome image I'd like to maintain for now. And it's going well for me. So, i-maintain ko muna ito.
"Pero in the future, I'm open to that. Pero pag-iisipan ko muna. Something na dapat ko pag-usapan with my family and [GMA] Artist Center.
"Something na dapat ko pag-isipan dahil sa family ko. We are Born-again Christians. Kung anong magandang desisyon.
"Pero so far, with my image now, everything is going right. So, dito muna, dito muna."
THE DEAL. Rocco had already graduated from Nursing when he joined StarStruck V. His longtime dream was to enter show business. But he obeyed his parents' request to finish his studies first.
He first tried his luck in showbiz by joining the VJ search of MYX. But he decided to give it up to concentrate on his studies.
"Hirap, e. Hindi ko kaya, tapos may duty pa. Lalong-lalo na graveyard [shift] ako lagi. Mahirap, e," Rocco said.
The young actor also revealed the deal he sealed with his parents before he was allowed to enter showbiz.
"Napag-usapan namin, 'Bigyan n'yo ako ng six months. Kung wala, magme-Med school ako.'
"Kasi, sinabi sa akin, if I don't make it big in showbiz. Sabi ko, 'Okay, nabigay ko yung gusto n'yo, nakapagtapos na ako ng college, ako naman. Bigyan n'yo ako ng six months kasi gusto ko talaga mag-artista.'"
Since winning in StarStruck V as Second Prince, Rocco has been enjoying his status as an artista for eight months now. He said that so far, his family is satisfied with his showbiz career.
"They are happy for me. Sabi nila, 'Kung anong gusto mong gawin sa buhay mo, susuportahan ka namin.' Alam ko, gusto din nila ito para sa akin.
"Lalo na sa mommy ko, siya ang nag-e-enjoy. Showbiz din 'yon, e. Mahilig siya makakita ng artista."
As for his Nursing career, Rocco said: "I took the Board exam but I never got to practice. Kasi nung time na oathtaking [rites], dumating ang StarStruck. Fallback ang Nursing. Pero pag binigyan ng chance para makapag-aral ulit, I will."