Actor and performer Ronnie Alonte is as promising as they come. He sings, dances, and currently appears in a primetime series along with an all-star cast. Not to mention – his first two acts in the big screen both competed at last year’s restructured Metro Manila Film Festival. It’s apparent that the 20-year-old Hashtags member is seamlessly maneuvering from boy band heartthrob to leading man in the making.
Starring opposite Julia Barretto in last year’s Vince, Kath, and James as a varsity jock and now in ABS-CBN’s drama A Love to Last as a scholar with a down-to-earth charm, Ronnie is molding a career in acting that any aspiring teen star would hope for. But aside from his boy-next-door appeal, his role in the Erik Matti-directed thriller entitled Seklusyon (where he played Miguel, a young deacon) can also attest to an auspicious track in other genres.
Breaking into the scene (and into every teenage girl’s fantasy) as part of It’s Showtime’s boy group called Hashtags, Ronnie admits that acting was something he initially never thought of doing. “To be honest, I’m more into dancing and singing. But being in show business, people also want to see you get into acting. So sinubukan ko na lang.” He adds, “Pinasok ko na ito eh, kaya gagalingan ko na lang.”
Kicking off a solo concert tour starting in his home court Biñan, Laguna on May 20, Ronnie is set to play in the big leagues. But as we spend an afternoon with him, we find that this charmer has a genuinely friendly spirit and a levelheaded approach to his work. Here, Ronnie talks about his humble beginnings, his career bucket list, and how he formed a natural bond with co-star Julia Barretto.
When did you first feel that you wanted to be in show business?
When I started doing TV commercials. I was into basketball before, pero narealize ko na pwede pala akong kumita dito. So I tried it, kahit anong makuha kong trabaho. Hindi ko lang inexpect na magtutuloy-tuloy.
When you were trying to get into show business, did you ever feel like giving up?
Oo, lalo na nung lagi nila akong pina-pack up. I started as an extra. One time bumiyahe ako ng dose oras papuntang Subic. Pagdating ko doon, pina-pack up nila ako. Sabi ko gusto ko nang sumuko talaga, ayoko na. Buti na lang, ayaw talaga ng Diyos. Siguro meron talaga siyang plano for me.
Who are the people that have helped you the most?
My cousin RB Chanco. Makeup artist siya sa ABS-CBN. Pinilit ko siya na tulungan ako. Pero at first, hindi niya ako pinapansin. Hanggang sa pinagbigyan niya ako. We didn’t expect that I could make it.
Which actors are you hoping to work with in the future?
When it comes to girls, siguro si Erich Gonazales and Sue Ramirez. Sa guys, si Robin Padilla. I also want to do comedy with Vhong Navarro and Vice Ganda.
So far what has surprised you the most in the industry?
Working with people na dati nakikita ko lang sa TV.
Your fanbase is huge. Is it something that still surprises you up to now?
Sobra, kasi pumasok ako ng showbiz na gusto ko lang talaga makita sa TV at, kahit paano, magka-pera. Di ko ine-expect na magugustuhan nila ako. Pero tingin ko naman kasi on and off cam, pinapakita ko talaga kung sino ako. Siguro ‘yun ang nagustuhan ng mga tao sa akin.
How does it feel to have that much support?
Sobrang saya. Nakakatawa na nakakaiyak. I’ve only been here for a year. Hindi ko alam na mabibigyan ako ng solo concert, movies, at series. Nung Hashtags pa lang, marami na silang nagususpport. Ngayon mas nadagdagan pa. Thankful ako kasi of all the artists, ako yung pinili nila suportahan.
What’s your craziest fan encounter?
During my mall shows, nagugulat ako kasi people would try to go up on stage.
Does it scare you?
I’m just happy na gusto nila akong makita. Siguro hindi lang nila matiis na mahawakan or makilala ako. Wala naman ‘yun sa akin kasi hindi naman ako madamot. (laughs)
You started with Hashtags. Do you think it helped you more to be part of a group rather than to enter the industry on your own?
Oo, sobra. I always say in all of my interviews na sumali ako sa Hashtags na ako lang yung hindi masyado kilala. I started with 2,000 followers on Instagram, and lahat sila halos 15k, 20k followers. After that, lumaki na yung following ko. I’m grateful because hindi ako makakarating dito nang ganito kabilis kung walang Hashtags.
You have a great solo career and there have been rumors that you’re leaving the group.
I hear it pero hindi totoo. If people don’t see me with them, busy lang talaga probably with another taping. Pero hindi ako aalis. Ako pa nga ang nagpupumilit kung pwede ba magsayaw kapag wala akong ibang work.
What is your pre-show ritual?
Nagpapakabaliw ako. Kaming grupo talaga – gaspangan, asaran. Pero sabi nga nila mas kabahan ka kapag hindi ka na kinabahan. So para sa akin mas okay na may nararamdaman akong kaba bago mag-perform.
Were you always comfortable in front of many people since you were young?
I’ve always been shy. Hindi ko alam kung paano ako naging ganito. Dati kapag bagong gupit ako or naka-porma, ayaw kong nakikita ako ng mga tao. Hiyang hiya ako. Kapag naka sapatos ako, ayokong may makakita sa akin, gusto ko naka-tsinelas lang. Lumaki kasi ako na simple lang kaming magkakaibigan. Siguro feeling ko kapag nagsapatos ako or pumorma ako na kasama ko sila mas maangatan ko sila. Gusto ko pantay-pantay lang kami. Kaya siguro nung nag-start lang ako mag-basketball, doon ako nagkaroon ng self-confidence.
What do you love most about working with Julia Barretto?
Napapatawa ko kasi siya eh. I don’t know kung sinasakyan niya lang o natatawa talaga siya sa jokes ko. Pero para sa akin kasi nararamdaman ko na nagugustuhan niya at okay talaga kami.
What was your first impression of Julia?
Masungit, mataray, suplada, ganun.
How did you break the ice?
Sa girls kasi, sisimulan ko sa konting biro. Kapag sinakyan niya, doon ko mararamdaman na okay kami. Slowly, itutuloy ko lang hanggang sa maging comfortable kami sa isa’t isa.
What’s your biggest challenge so far?
Acting and facing a lot of people.
How about your privacy? Is it hard to be in the public eye?
It’s hard for anyone in this industry. Minsan kahit nasa bahay ako, pumupunta pa rin yung fans ko. Kaya kahit pahinga ko na, nararamdaman ko pa rin na nasa work ako. Pero siyempre, hindi ko naman sila matitiis. But hopefully they’d understand na kapag nasa bahay ako, wala munang trabaho.
Have you received advice about your line of work?
Lagi sinasabi sa akin ni Erich (Gonzales) na magpakatotoo ka lang. When it comes to acting, Direk Erik Matti taught me to be as natural as possible. Sa tingin ko naman nagagawa ko siya at nagiimprove ako.
How does it feel that you starred in two entries at Metro Manila Film Festival?
I didn’t expect it. ‘Yun yung nagbigay sa akin ng malaking break. Masaya ako kasi dalawang malalaking director ang nag-trust sa akin. Kahit na nangangapa pa ako on set, tinutulungan nila ako and they never pressured me.
What’s your dream role?
Superhero. Si Lastikman talaga ang pinakagusto ko na makuha sa lahat. I’ve done movies and a solo concert so ‘pag nakuha ko ‘yun, sa tingin ko kumpleto na pangarap ko.
Featured Image: Jacket by Adidas