MANILA — It’s not lost on Tony Labrusca that he has hit a fortunate stride in the last year, with consecutive and, at one point, simultaneous acting projects on the small and big screens — a dream-come-true for any showbiz newcomer.
Labrusca joined the business as recently as 2016, via the talent search “Pinoy Boyband Superstar” where he finished a finalist, but already he has become one of the most visible stars.
In 2018, he joined ABS-CBN’s “La Luna Sangre” in a supporting role, followed by a string of lead roles in films. In that year alone, Labrusca top-billed three movies, including the controversial “Glorious” which catapulted him as a sex symbol and amassed him a fresh following.
Labrusca is carrying on the streak in 2019, with the upcoming releases of the film “Ang Henerasyong Sumuko sa Love” and the ABS-CBN crime-drama series “Sino Ang May Sala? Mea Culpa.”
“It’s all up to God, and you, yourself, how hard you work with the opportunities that are given to you,” the 23-year-old actor told ABS-CBN News, when asked whether he had expected this spate of big breaks early in his career.
“What’s really meant for you will be for you. Every body has their time and place. I’m truly super blessed in my own way, and I’m super grateful for that,” he said.
Labrusca surmised that the succession of roles, most of which notably risqué for traditional matinee idols, owes partly to his willingness to take on a more mature image.
“I have a very different look, even how I present myself on TV, I know that I tend to be — not naman a black sheep, but I know that I have a different edge compared to most of my contemporaries. I guess that’s what it is,” he said.
In the social media age where “love teams” dominate trending topics among Filipino fans, Labrusca has also veered from being identified with an onscreen partner — another factor that allows him to pursue a wider range of roles.
“The management really appreciates when I work as a solo artist, so I’ve taken that into consideration. They like me to be able to work with everybody. They don’t want me to be just tied down to just one person. I think there’s this new generation that actually really wants to be able to be very versatile actors, and I think it’s good,” he said.
A neophyte still in navigating showbiz, Labrusca admittedly is in the learning process of handling the pitfalls of fame. In the first controversy to rock his young career, Labrusca was caught in a heated exchange with airport officials in January, for which he has apologized.
It unfolded as a tumultuous time for Labrusca, who had just come from the massive success of “Glorious” as a digital release. It was also a time for reflection, he said.
“I learned that a lot of the times, we go through really hard time, and that’s the only time we pray. I think putting God first and foremost, before anything even happens is always the way to go,” he explained.
“Whenever I go through a problem, I always turn to God, and I always ask for his help and for his guidance talaga,” he said, when asked how now handles any challenges, whether personal or professional.
He went on: “Sometimes I really don’t know what to do, but I just have to take it day by day, and tell Him, ‘It’s really in your hands, and I’ll just try to listen to the messages you send my way.’ I can only do my best with what I have.”