The actress gets real about the closing of ABS-CBN and how that led her to take control of her life.
Maja Salvador built her career for 18 years with ABS-CBN and when the time came when Congress decided on the TV network’s closure, she made a very important decision and the biggest risk of her life to follow her mentor and father figure “Mr. M” (Johnny Manahan) to another network, TV 5.
“Automatic, siyempre for the love of Mr. M. Tapos siyempre sa daming beses na kinuha ni Mr. M—mga libreng pag-di-direk niya ng concerts ko, marami kaming mga moments na nandyan talaga si Mr. M for me mapa-problema kung saan. Alam mo yan, ang daming nagaganap sa’kin. But Mr. M and Tita Mariole (Alberto), nandyan talaga. So nung pinapa-renew, sabi ko wait lang ‘wag muna. Kasi nga parang siyempre may relationship naman ako with Mr. M and Tita Mariole. So alam ko na anytime soon mag-re-retire na sila at si Mr. M naman is retired na talaga and so then, so nung may idea na ganon, sabi ko sa manager ko ‘Nay, wait lang wag muna akong….di muna ako mag-rerenew ng Star Magic pero kakausapin ko rin si Mr. M kasi baka mamaya gusto ko mag self-manage na lang,” Maja explains her reason for leaving her home network.
With ABS-CBN’s closure and at the height of the pandemic, Maja received a phone call that would change her life.
“Tumawag ‘yung handler ko tapos sabi niya na parang, ‘Bunso yung kontrata niyo sa ABS suspended na ‘yun ah wala na papasok na mga bayad, ganyan wala ka na makukuha na income manggagaling sa ABS.’ Alam mo yun? ‘Okay po.’ Parang ang casual lang sinabi,” Maja recalls.
“Tapos after nun, na-kwento ko lang kay (Ram)Bo na parang, wala na akong monthly income. Tapos parang tinatanong niya, ‘Okay ka lang?’ Tapos sabi ko meron naman ipon. Meron naman akong magagamit na pang-monthly na bayarin. And then ‘nung gabi, ‘di ako makatulog, ako kasi di kasi agad nagsi-sink in yung mga bagay- bagay eh. Bibigyan mo ako ng ilang araw, bibigyan mo ako ng ilang oras para maramdaman ko para ma-feel ko talaga. Tapos nung gabi hindi talaga ako makatulog as in hindi ako makatulog at all. Parang feeling ko inaatake, first time ko ma-feel yun. Parang ang dami ko biglang iniisip…” Maja remembers how she felt after finding out she lost her means of income.
But Maja fought to overcome her anxiety and gathered herself and collected her experiences in the business to come up with an idea.
“Out of the blue, bigla ko nalang sinabi kay (Ram)bo na ‘Love, ano kaya kung ako magtuloy yung plano niyo ng Talent Agency?’ Kasi may plan siya before…” Maja shares.
“I have friends na in the industry whom I’ve been helping na for these kinds of transactions na wala lang as a friend. And with my exposure sa business kasi parang with my friends and network parang it’s just natural for me to add it. Pero hindi ko siya ginagawa kasi ako I don’t do it ‘pag yung—if I don’t have the right people to do it with. ‘Pag yung partners o kaya naman hindi ko kakayanin. So ‘yun nga parang when the whole pandemic happened and ‘yung situation niya (Maja) with ABS, parang there was one day nga na parang biglang suspended na. So that’s when the idea became really strong on her end. Of course as a person who’s working, diba kailangan may control ka sa security ng livelihood mo? So ‘ dun niya naisip to manage herself. It’s her world. So yun lang talaga yung nag-trigger, so it triggered and then it’s just natural kasi yun naman talaga yung ginagawa niya all her life with the guidance, of course, of her Star Magic before especially si Mr.M,” Rambo also shares.
So Maja Salvador partnered with Rambo (along with another friend Mikki Gonzalez) to put up Crown Artist Management.
This talent agency, more than a business, is Maja taking control and taking care of herself and other artists who have experienced what she experienced of suddenly being at a loss of income. It is also a way for her boyfriend, Rambo, to take care of her.
“Sa ‘kin naman, it’s not hindi yan ‘yung main business ko, on the side ko lang yan. Sayo (Maja’s) talaga yan but I’ll help you. Kasi parang for me isu-support mo yung taong may motivation so parang ganun ako sa kanya na nakita ko yung intention niya na maging responsible to make that move and at the same time ‘yung doing it with the best of her intentions na yung kung ano yung reasons which are to help other upcoming artists na kagaya niya dati, and to manage herself with the people who love her din. It’s more of like I have to do this because I think this is the right decision, the right move, the right moment, I have the right reasons and ‘yun, she did it and ‘yun nga and so far it’s been actually working well for her and ako naman I’ll just be supporting her all the way,” Rambo says assuringly.
“We now have our own company, hindi pa siya yung ganun ka-bloom but happy ako dun sa progress ng company namin kasi alam mo yung—ito na eh hindi nalang ako basta mina- manage ng iba. Ako na ‘to. Ako yung may hawak ng future ko rin. Magagawa ko kung ano yung gusto kong gawin with the help of Rambo. So andun yung di ko alam pero parang may freedom. Parang nakakahinga ako ng sobra sobra alam mo yun?” Maja says of her emancipation.
Photography: SEVEN BARRETTO assisted by CLAUDE VILLAHERMOSA
Text: G3 SAN DIEGO
Art Direction: NICOLE ALMERO
Beauty Direction: TRINA EPILEPSIA BOUTAIN
Makeup: OWEN SARMIENTO
Hair: JAY WEE
Stylist: CATH SOBREVEGA assisted by RIRI VERANO
Production Designer: ERWIN BOTIN