What started out as mere hustle is quickly turning into a full-blown career for ex-Pinoy Big Brother housemate and The General’s Daughter actress, Loisa Andalio. Thrust into the spotlight under the 24/7, Orwellian-inspired reality show at age 15, Loisa or Lois, as her fans call her, has grown up, quite literally, in front of the camera. While not an uncommon story among local teen stars, Loisa’s candor and wit sets her apart. Now five years into show business, the actress, singer, and dancer graces her first solo MEGA magazine cover, is part of a hit primetime TV series, stars in the upcoming Star Cinema film, James, Pat and Dave, and is a brand ambassador for makeup brand Ever Bilena.
Having just turned 20 in April, it’s evident in her demeanor that Loisa still enjoys the wide-eyed optimism of youth. That’s not to say, however, that her life has not been without any struggles. “Lumaki ako sa kalye. Pero sobrang saya ng childhood ko. ‘Yung mga classmates ko sa public school, mga kaibigan ko talaga,” she candidly alludes of her simple beginnings. Before she entered the PBB House, Loisa was part of an all-girl group called 3G, that used to perform at fiestas and mall shows. “Walang bayad. Nag-e-enjoy lang kami,” she recalls.
Even as a child, she has always idolized actors, citing teen TV drama Princess and I as an early favorite. “Nung nag-decide ako na mag–showbiz, supportive ‘yung mga magulang ko kasi alam nila na pangarap ko talaga ‘yun. Noon kasi, ginagaya ko lahat ng makita ko sa TV.” Now at 20, she is one of those actors she used to idolize on television, her life drastically changed, according to her, for the better.
The penultimate of four siblings, Loisa finds herself in a breadwinner role, perhaps one of her most difficult to date. Judging from how she describes the experience, it also seems to be the most gratifying. “Before PBB, ang buhay ko lang noon kain, tulog, aral, laro. Ganun lang. Since PBB, mahirap na kasi ako na ‘yung breadwinner ng family namin. Mahirap kasi hindi na puwedeng sarili na lang iniisip mo. Kailangan mo isipin ‘yung mga bayarin. Family na talaga ‘yung nasa isip ko,” she explains. The actress tells us that she has completely turned her back on buying things for herself, save for a cellphone that she bought immediately after PBB. “Bumili ako agad ng cellphone, kasi wala akong cellphone dati. Dati hiram lang, nakiki-insert lang ng SIM,” she jokes, adding that her current priority is furnishing the new home that she bought for her family.
While being in the business has definitely thrust Loisa into adulthood at a younger age than most, she shares that this wasn’t the toughest part of her journey so far. “Sa five years ko sa showbiz, hindi naman ako nahirapan. Siguro nasaktan lang. Ito yung reality: gusto nila, kontrolado ka nila. ‘Yung pananamit mo, kung paano ka kumilos. ‘Yun lang yung mahirap doon, pero ako sinusunod ko lang kung ano talaga ako.” She adds, “Minsan may magsasabi, ‘Si Loisa, hindi nagpapa-sexy, puro na lang jacket.’ Iniisip ko nalang, dito ako kumportable. Tinatawanan ko lang sila.”
She credits her father for her unwavering sense-of-self. “‘Yung Papa ko, lagi niyang sinasabi na huwag ako makakalimot magdasal, huwag magma-mataas sa kapwa. Iaapak mo lang ang paa mo sa lupa. Kahit hanggang ngayon, lumalabas ako ng mall, ‘di pa ako naliligo. Hindi ko nafi-feel na sobrang kilala ako ng mga tao.”
Perhaps as testament to her confidence is her knack for putting on her own makeup. “Minsan ako na talaga nagme-makeup sa sarili ko. Gusto ko simple lang. Brown eyeshadow, lashes, contour, blush, lipstick,” says the Ever Bilena ambassador. “Simula nung bata pa lang ako, mahilig na talaga ako sa makeup.’Yung Ever Bilena, abot naming mga estudyante. Nung naging ambassador ako, sobrang happy ko kasi naisip ko hindi na ako bibili! Ang sarap sa feeling na ‘yung tinatangkilik ko nung bata ako, part na ko ngayon.”
As Loisa enters a new phase in her career, making movies and working with seasoned actors, she admits to finding herself taking acting more seriously than she did before. Observing her fellow actors in The General’s Daughter, she notes how she is now more dedicated to improving her craft.
“Nung bata palang ako, iniisip ko yung acting, trabaho talaga. Pero habang tumatagal at napapanood ko yung sarili ko, mas minamahal ko yung acting. Gusto ko na siyang seryosohin. Dati hanap-buhay ko lang ‘to. Ngayon mahal ko na yung trabaho.”
Soon, fans will see Loisa in cinemas as Pat, alongside real-life boyfriend Ronnie Alonte, and Donnie Pangilinan in James, Pat and Dave, the sequel to the 2016 hit Vince, Kath and James. It seems, the actress has come full circle, from being the idolizing fangirl in front of the TV, to becoming the girl in front of the camera, with millions of teens following and emulating her every move. On top of being a breadwinner for her family, now she also has the unenviable position of role model. Does she feel any pressure? Well she did say she still goes out in public with a bare face and, according to her, it’s exactly this come-as-you-are approach in life that she would like her followers to take away from her posts.
“Wala akong feed goals, kung ano-ano lang pino-post ko. Siguro kaya maraming nagfa-follow sakin kasi nakikita nila yung sarili nila sakin. Hindi siya serious, simple lang. ‘Yung, ‘Ah, ganito din pala si Loisa,’” she says. “Gusto ko ‘yung makuha nila sakin ‘yung pagiging totoo sa sarili. ‘Wag silang papaakit sa mga pagu-ugali. ‘Yung, ‘Ay uso walwal, ganito dapat.’ Kung ano ka, dun ka mag-stick. Hindi mo kailangan baguhin ‘yung sarili mo para magustuhan ka ng ibang tao.”
With a full career ahead of her and things going her way, Loisa is thankful for her first five years in the business and all the ups and downs that came with it. As she faces new experiences head on, she looks back at her showbiz beginnings with nothing but gratitude. “Masaya na ang daming nagmamahal sayo, ang daming fans, madaming umi-idolo, madami kang natutulungan. Thankful ako sa five years na nasa industriya ako kasi malaking tulong nabigay niya sa family ko. Kung wala yun, hindi ko alam kung paano kami ngayon.”
Does this mean she’ll be wearing less jackets any time soon? Rest assured she will, but only if she wants to.
Photography MJ Suayan of Artists & Co Manila
Creative Direction Suki Salvador and Jann Pascua
Art direction Shaira Bungcag
Fashion direction and styling Jeb Fronda and Lyn Alumno
Beauty direction Trina Epilepsia Boutain
Makeup by Jelly Eugenio
Hair by Jan Edrosolan
Nails by Mimi Reyes of Mi & Me Luxury Nails
Sittings editors Peewee Reyes-Isidro and Angelo Ramirez De Cartagena
Shoot coordination by Thea Martin
Shoot assistant Azelle Estacio
Production design by Tipping Point Collective
Special thanks to Nhila Mallari of Star Magic