By Rowena Joy Sanchez
When you see Elisse Joson in person, you'd easily notice three things: how pretty she is (no-makeup makeup, fresh lang look), how petite she is (in a cute way), and how pleasant she is (she reaches out her hand to you and introduces herself).
It was a name that's been called many things, given her past linkages (which have all been addressed and settled). Naysayers weren't easy with this 20-year-old rising star, but she has decided to rise above all the negative things they said.
“Nasanay na po ako kasi before I already had the worst kind of bashing for me. So after po ng 'PBB' parang immune na po ako sa mga ganun,” she tells us exclusively. "[And] pinrepare ko na po ‘yung sarili ko sa worst na mangyayari. Ready naman po ako."
THE NEW AGE OF ELISSE
Clearly, she's got people's attention. Now, it's as if everyone watches her every move, awaits what her next social media post would be, and where her career is headed to.
It's the New Age of Elisse Joson - a rebirth of sorts for her career-wise, having started with "friend-of/guest-of" kind of characters on TV and in film. Her first-ever appearance, as far as she remembers, was on the Coco Martin-Julia Montes groundbreaking drama "Walang Hanggan," where she served as one of the attendees at a grand party. Then, "Be Careful With My Heart" happened where she played as a kolehiya - and where she would meet her now onscreen partner McCoy de Leon (more on this in our succeeding release).
"'Di naman po marami ‘yung trabaho ko [dati] pero ‘pag nagkaroon po, ayoko pong bitawan kasi sayang po ‘yung opportunity," she recalled.
Nothing has perhaps hit the most perfect bull's eye for Elisse than playing the "hugot" girl eating her heartaches away with burger in that famous fast food commercial. It made heads turn to her. Indeed, as with all kinds of chances, time played a big part. And now, time is on her side.
Match that with dreams that she didn't let go, such as that of joining "Pinoy Big Brother Lucky Season 7." It was a bold venture on her part, being a sheltered only child of a single mother. But Elisse wanted to do it for herself.
OF HUGOTS AND #GOALS
"Actually last year po I auditioned na rin for ‘PBB (737),'" she shares. "I really wanted to try. Ang main goal ko po is to know more about myself. Kasi feeling ko po bilang only child po, sa’kin po ‘yung tutok ng mom ko. Most of the time, siya po ‘yung nagi-instruct kung ano po ‘yung dapat gawin… Feeling ko parang hindi ko pa masyadong kilala ['yung sarili ko]."
Inside Kuya's house, the Star Magic talent found a deeper strength inside her, confronting her past heartaches and welcoming new people into her life. She has also found her own identity as "Hugot Babe," a moniker that everyone can easily relate with, and even root for.
"Nung time na ‘yun sa Vietnam, humuhugot po ako. Pero for fun lang po. Hindi dahil meron akong dinadamdam. And hindi naman po talaga ako mahugot with my friends... Hanggang sa lumabas ako ng ‘PBB,’ ‘yung name ko pala is Hugot Babe. Wow, coincidence lang na sa loob ng bahay humuhugot ako tapos ‘yun pala ‘yung moniker ko," she relates.
After "PBB," Elisse landed a stint on the top-rating, one-year-and-counting primetime action drama "FPJ's Ang Probinsyano." She also starred in the music video for Rocksteddy's "Kung Magiging Tayo" (a.k.a. the McLisse theme song). Both are with McCoy as her partner.
So much has been happening in such a short span of time, and Elisse isn't one to let opportunities pass without doing her best. Part of doing her best is overcoming her innate shyness. Confidence-wise, Elisse has it, thanks to how she gracefully fought back the bullying she experienced in the US where she and her mom lived for several years.
"It was a big factor that I was bullied. Nung una po hindi ako marunong mag-English," she recalls. "Dun po ako naging stronger. Nakisabay ako, inaral ko kung pa’no sila magsalita, manamit. Para makihalubilo ako nang mas maayos. Dun ko po na-build ‘yung confidence ko."
Still, Elisse, a self-confessed introvert, acknowledges that she needs to become more "outgoing" given that she's in an industry where everyone is challenged to find - and keep - their own niche. She looks to be a delicate, Barbie doll (she actually once dreamed of becoming one!), but inside, she's as solid as a rock. Elisse knows she needs to break free from this rock, if only to be fragile - like a glass - which acting requires.
"Hindi kasi ako very open," she admits. "I tend to keep it inside as long as kaya po ko. ‘Yung mga hugot kailangan po kasi na babalikan mo ‘yung mga pangyayaring masakit, masaya. Dun po ako nahirapan. Pero now po, unti-unting nagsha-shatter ‘yung walls ko. Kasi sa trabaho namin, kailangan ‘yun eh: maging vulnerable."
With more eyes on her now, Elisse remains herself, only better, what with everything she has been through and what she has learned in the process - whether in real life or online.
"No matter what you do, people will always say something. Kahit na ‘yung ginagawa mo eh maganda, meron pa rin silang masasabi because it’s their own opinion.
"For me, I just do what makes me happy. Put up walls when they say something, para ma-block na ‘yung mga negativity. You just do what makes you happy, kasi at the end of the day, ikaw naman ‘yung magbe-benefit dun if you stop yourself from doing something because it doesn’t please people."
She is, indeed, more than her past and her heartaches. The Hugot Girl is now the Move On Babe.
(To be continued)
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