There are only a handful of names in the industry of entertainment that need no introductions—those whose names have so much weight and inimitable grandness attached to them that their place in the business cannot be questioned.
For this issue, two of our chosen cover subjects, Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards are just some of best, if not, the most apt embodiment of this. Even when you take into account today’s online-heavy milieu, where social media serves as gas that could either fuel or dim one’s celebrity, these two have undeniably established names enough to get their loyal supporters scream and the non-believers sit up and take notice.
Apart, Bernardo and Richards have become two of the most recognizable names in the business of show. And in today’s generation of young superstars, it is just to say that, in their respective domains, they are at the peak of success—endorsements, television shows, blockbuster films, businesses, and social media accounts backed by millions of following.
Together, they collect a strong, unstoppable support from armies of solid “fandoms” that prize them as infallible objects of adulation, cheering them in their every move. Their respective reigns have remained unscathed and have only gone sturdier through the years.
Together, they unite with a common mission of breaking out of the love team mold, venturing into becoming versatile actors, shaping their own marks in an industry that has hailed them us juggernauts at the top of their game.
BRIDGING THE GAP
It was at the onset of 2019 when news of a confirmed team-up between Bernardo and Richards spread like wildfire. It was the stuff of dreams even for a fan—one that has remained unspeakable, nay, even unfathomable—until now.
We have long seen efforts to bring talents from the rival networks in one outing but there’s something about this fusion that has quickly become the stuff for history books.
And why not? Not only have they etched formidable careers synonymous with and almost exclusively tied to each of their own established love pairings, which is two of the biggest portmanteaus that ever emerge in the local entertainment scene, AlDub and KathNiel, no less. And at this point, no one could dare question the magnitude of their stardom—slowly and carefully sowed, cultivated, and reaped in and by each of their home networks, ABS-CBN and GMA 7, that have long been rivals for years.
One look at the long history of division and competition between the two giants and any attempt similar to this seemed like a Herculean feat. And yet, it has come.
But it’s not like this kind of crossover is unchartered territory. Remember Richard Gutierrez and KC Concepcion? Or Dingdong Dantes with Angel Locsin and Angelica Panganiban, then joining an entire cast of ABS-CBN stars forming a dysfunctional family onscreen. We have long seen efforts to bring talents from the rival networks in one outing but there’s something about this fusion that has quickly become the stuff for history books.
In one of their press rounds, Richards quotes ace director Cathy Garcia-Molina when the latter talked about this momentous partnership coming into fruition, “I remember, Direk Cathy said nung nakita namin ang mga microphones ng ABS-CBN at GMA na magkatabi na nagiinterview, dun namin nalaman na posible pala talaga. It CAN be done. It was a risk worth fighting for. Maybe this is the start of more collaborations between the two networks. Walang Kapuso, walang Kapamilya. Just pure love for the art of storytelling and making the audiences happy.”
And it cannot be missed. The rounds of promotions involving the two young juggernauts included both of them crossing borders—Richards doing interviews right in Bernardo’s turf, vice versa. It was an inspiring sight—unlike anything we have seen in the past.
A TEST OF CHARACTER
In Hello, Love Goodbye, premier film production outfit, Star Cinema, casts Bernardo and Richards as Joy and Ethan—a new generation of overseas Filipino workers whose tales of triumph and defeat are set in Hong Kong, where they both endeavor making ends meet for their families’ future. Not only are they enduring hardships in a far-off land for survival, they are building their future one taxing job at a time.
“May malaking pagbabago sa pamumuhay, sa attitudes and values of our overseas Filipino workers, especially in terms of relationships today as compared to the OFWs we have seen and talked to in the past. That’s why Star Cinema deemed it timely to tell that new story.”
Tales of the Filipino experience overseas as this are nothing new but the promise of an updated perspective on the life our very own OFWs lead, portrayed nonetheless by two of the biggest actors of this generation, not to mention, a certified blockbuster director at the helm, is all the invitation viewers needed. And true enough, on its first day of screening, the film grossed almost Php 35M.
“We started this precisely because ABS-CBN Global shared a research to us showing na may nagbabago na. May malaking pagbabago sa pamumuhay, sa attitudes and values of our overseas Filipino workers, especially in terms of relationships today as compared to the OFWs we have seen and talked to in the past. That’s why Star Cinema deemed it timely to tell that new story,” shared screenwriter and Molina’s constant collaborator, Carmi Raymundo in one of the press conferences mounted for the film.
The twenty-man crew toiled a month-long overseas shoot, deeply immersed in the world built by overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, from domestic helpers to bartenders, and everyone who’s in the same plight as the film’s central characters. Joined by a lean but mean team of supporting cast, from Molina’s favorite army of comedic reinforcements like Joross Gamboa, Kakai Bautista, and Jeffrey Tam, to promising young actors Jameson Blake and Maymay Entrata, the film set off to mirror a modern story of life, love, pain, and hope.
“It was an experience I will never forget. Like what Direk Cathy said, filming abroad is definitely a test of character. Para sa akin kasi hindi masaya ang madali eh. Parang wala kang babaunin kapag madali lang lahat ng ginagawa mo. Lahat po kami dito nasubukan—from the director down to the staff and crew. Sobrang test of patience ang lahat ng shooting days namin. Pag ikaw nahihirapan ka na, tignan mo yung ibang taong mas mahirap ang trabaho, kaya ikaw mapapaisip ka na lang kung anong karapatan mong magreklamo. Sila nagbubuhat ng gamit, nagse-setup. The least you can do is just help them than waste your time complaining and mag-attitude. So, mas mahirap, mas nagiging masaya ang samahan and that’s what we did in Hong Kong,” the 27-year-old Richards shared in an interview.
THE NEW ORDER
Richards, a known by-product of the historic social media-led love pair that made the iconic portmanteau AlDub a national and global phenomenon, has slowly gained notoriety not just as the country’s token dimpled good boy and bankable heartthrob, but an actor at the top of his game. We have seen him evolve—transcend even—from his days as a newcomer, supporting in afternoon dramas and films in GMA, to his “pabebe wave” days as part of the surprise phenomenon in the long-running noontime show, Eat Bulaga. The meteoric rise of AlDub in 2015 is an irreplaceable moment in TV and even the nation’s entertainment industry’s history as a whole, one that challenged all existing love pairs and Richards, as other half of the tandem, proved himself worthy of the world’s trust.
Richards’ celebrity was molded by multiple attempts to strike gold in auditions for reality television in ABS-CBN (via Pinoy Big Brother) and his home network (Starstruck). He was in limbo for some time before landing a first major role in an afternoon soap. Five long years after, he then became everyone’s standard for “male perfection”.
The way he is right now, it is hard to see him once as a reluctant artist, unsure of the path he is thriving in at present. And now, reaping all sorts of success imaginable to a dreamer like he is, he has grown to become an actor who has taken his craft seriously. He added, “Everyday is a competition with yourself. At first, di ko alam ang capacity ko as a celebrity—an actor, singer, dancer, host etc. Pero ang dami kong ginawang adjustments and andaming dumating na realizations sa sarili ko as I went along in the business. Later on, I realized I have been walking in this exciting road to self-discovery all along,” he tells Rank in her first cover shoot.
“It was all sorts of challenging because everything is new to me. I am playing opposite an actress I haven’t worked with in the past, in a network that is new to me, and a role that is far from my personality. It was a challenge and an opportunity I didn’t take for granted.”
After the frenzy over AlDub has quieted down, what was left are the actors behind the phenomenon and Richards has since taken on this task, earning his keep in the industry he has grown to love and respect. And with this, he calls Hello, Love, Goodbye, his most challenging yet.
“It was all sorts of challenging because everything is new to me. I am playing opposite an actress I haven’t worked with in the past, in a network that is new to me, and a role that is far from my personality. It was a challenge and an opportunity I didn’t take for granted,” Richards notes.
Now at 23 years old, Bernardo has undergone various levels of evolution.
And true enough, from losing weight to immersing himself in the life of OFWs, Richards has shown so much dedication for a role that tried his growth as an actor and a storyteller.
Bernardo talks about Richards in a press conference, “The first time I met him, I was just listening to him talk to Inang (Star Cinema’s Olivia Lamasan) and Direk Cathy, and I just thought how mature he was, from how he carries himself to even how he talks. Pero when nagkasama na kami ng matagal nalaman ko how sincere he is as a person.”
Now at 23 years old, Bernardo has undergone various levels of evolution. From her days as a young dreamer trooping from Cabanatuan City to Makati for VTRs and auditions for commercials, to her heydays as a young actress in bit roles on television, we have seen her grow up into a fine actress leaving an undeniable stamp in the industry.
“I played young Rochelle in three seasons of GMA 7’s Daisy Siete and then I also played young Marian Rivera in the Philippine adaptation of Endless Love. And soon, I played the young Bea Alonzo in It Might Be You,” she shares matter-of-factly with Rank.
Tracing her hustle as a young actress trying to make it big, it is impressive to see her come into her own. It was her birth of her pairing with Daniel Padilla in a television series, Growing Up that propelled her to become one of the most sought-after young stars at the time excelling in teeny-bopper roles on television and films until the untouchable tandem of KathNiel cemented their reach as versatile actors.
Bernardo’s announcement to break away and find her own footing in the industry is being put to the test. After her first movie without Padilla by her side in Three Words to Forever, she’s poised to brave new frontiers in her career as an actor.
The two have become inseparable, invincible even, joining the pantheon of certified showbiz greats at a very young age with blockbuster hits piling year after year. In 2018, the massive success of their last starrer, The Hows Of Us, copped a ginormous box office earning of almost Php 1B—a testament of their undisputable chemistry as onscreen and real-life love pair.
But this year, Bernardo’s announcement to break away and find her own footing in the industry is being put to the test. After her first movie without Padilla by her side in Three Words to Forever, she’s poised to brave new frontiers in her career as an actor.
In numerous occasions, stories of Bernardo’s dedication for the role of Joy in Hello, Love, Goodbye have surfaced—mostly referencing to the arduous immersion she has toiled the most out of all the cast members of the film. Molina, as director, notes the difficult task of putting the young superstar into the test, carrying out methodologies that would put Bernardo into the shoes of the character—a process that didn’t come easy for both of them, pushing Bernardo to the limit. She admitted, she was once close to packing her bags and booking the next flight back home during the first week of shooting.
“At one point, nagalit talaga ako kay Direk Cathy. Hindi nila ako pwedeng kausapin. Hindi din ako pwedeng makisali sa kwentuhan at di rin ako pwedeng mag-phone. I needed to feel really alone in order to be Joy, not just Kathryn acting a part. Walang peke. Kahit pawis, bawal pekein. And for that, I think I grew. I will never know what it is like to be in the shoes of my character because I am lucky enough to be have what I have now. And so, after the filming, I had a bigger respect and appreciation of our OFWs,” she told in an interview. “Binuo ako ng pelikulang ‘to.”
During their Rank cover shoot, the two greeted us with smiles glued to their faces and laughter filling the room, amidst a packed schedule of morning television show guestings, press and bloggers’ conferences, and interviews for numerous publications. And yet, they continue to take on directions with little to no qualms.
In one instance, Bernardo, whose confidence and earnestness radiates effortlessly from her with what she describes as a newfound maturity and certainty of herself, would say, “Nakuha niyo ba gusto niyo? Kami okay lang kami ah,” in her signature sweet, velvety voice.
They smile and exchange banter with one another and to everyone as if this was the first gig for the day, marked by conversations between each other that ran until the next shot was made. Some instances, Richards would even toy the photographer and video team, “Ay, may shoot nga pala!”
The unexpected friendship between Richards and Bernardo, and the rest of the team behind Hello, Love, Goodbye, as they attest, has become apparent. Theirs is a brand of familiarity with one another that didn’t appear put on nor designed simply to rake in the big bucks. But this game-changing partnership is a signal of unity and inclusivity in the industry.
And for Bernardo and Richards, this is just the beginning.
Styling for Alden Richards by MELVILLE SY and MAC INTIA at Qurator Studio
Styling for Kathryn Bernardo by JAN ARANILLA
Grooming for Alden Richards by RICK M. CALDERON
Make up for Kathryn Bernardo by JUSTINE DEL ROSARIO
Hair for Kathryn Bernardo by CHRIS RODIL