Talent manager recalls ‘begging’ for role for David Licauco

“Maria Clara at Ibarra” should be David Licauco’s “one last hurrah”.

Frustrated with her seemingly stalled career, the 28-year-old actress was set to quit show business last year. However, the unexpected success of the GMA 7 series and his on-screen pairing with Barbie Forteza made David change his tune, said his talent manager, Arnold Vegafria.

“He is thinking of focusing on his business. He feels that nothing is happening with his career, that it is not moving, not moving. He has been rare to do the main role in the soap opera, but he could not land. ‘Maria Clara di Ibarra’ should be his last hurrah,” Vegafria told a small group of reporters in a recent chat.In fact, David and his team do not plan to accept the character of Fidel, Crisostomo Ibarra’s (Dennis Trillo) arrogant best friend. “But GMA 7 managed to convince us. And we were like, ‘OK, why not try it? Let’s see … we might be lucky this time,” said Vegafria, who heads the management company ALV Talent Circuit. They do.

Good filming and chemistry
Fidel was originally meant to be nothing more than a supporting character. But when the creative team behind the series realized that her scenes and the hilarious cat-and-mouse dynamic she had with Klay (Barbie) were gaining traction with fans, they adjusted the script accordingly. “I told David, ‘Even if it’s just a supporting role,’ try to pay attention. Show them what you can do. Study your role well. Magpa-comel ka!'” Vegafrida recounts. “We didn’t expect that the show and the characters would click. David gives a good overview. He also has chemistry with Barbie.”

“That’s why they had to do some rewriting,” he added. “There is good luck too. But of course, David’s dedication and hard work is also a big factor … ‘So, hindi ka na hihinto [sa show biz]?’ I asked him. ‘Dire-diretso na tayo.'”

Before his recent career success, the only way David could get a lead role, Vegafria admits, was if they themselves produced a project in which he would star. Currently, she leads with the weekly anthology Barbie “Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko.” The “FiLay” love team is also ready to film other movies and series.

“At that time, we had difficulty getting roles. I had to ask the network to give him a role. Or we had to produce a film for him so that he would get attention,” Vegafria said. “But I still believe in him. And if I believe in an artist, I am very passionate. I would really push for it. I see he has the X factor and I can do something to help him.”

‘Pambansang Ginoo’
For the longest time, David’s image was that of Chinito’s sweetheart. Fans are mesmerized by the figure she flaunts in sexy photoshoots and commercials. But now that he is dubbed “Pambansang Ginoo” and has attracted many teenage girls and young fans, his team thinks it is wise that David stop modeling for big brand underwear lines. “Of course, if she goes to the beach, for example, it’s natural for her to be topless. But we also need to listen to the children and teenagers who look up to him as a role model,” said Vegafria.

“It is our personal choice. We talked to the brand and they understood everything. They pulled it out of the underwear line. In exchange, they intend to make her one of the faces of the brand’s main line, as well as skin care, hair care, activewear lines,” said Vegafria. “So instead of one [endorsement], he now has four.”

One of the things Vegafria admires most about David’s recent rise to fame is his humility. “Usually, popularity gives birth to an inflated ego. But it was the opposite of David. He is the type of person who becomes more humble after achieving fame,” he said.

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