0 Comments 08 June 2010


By Pepper Marcelo

Few families and clans in local showbiz can come close to the contributions of one individual in terms of number of offspring that have followed in his footsteps.

Mark Gil, the eldest son of Eddie Mesa (Eigenmann in real life), the singing idol of the sixties, and dramatic actress Rosemarie Gil, holds the unique distinction of having five children in show business, perhaps unmatched in the industry.

Himself an acclaimed actor, Mark has five children with three different women: Sid Lucero and Maxene Eigenmann, by former model Bing Pimentel; Gabby and Ira Eigenmann, by former actress Irene Celebre; and Andi Eigenmann, by dramatic actress Jaclyn Jose. (Younger brother, Michael de Mesa, also an actor, and his ex-wife, actress-director Gina Alajar, have three sons in showbiz: Ryan, Geoff and AJ, all surnamed Eigenmann.)

Like their grandparents and parents, the eight Eigenmann cousins are all mestizo-looking, fair-complexioned and physically stunning – all desirable attributes in showbiz. Their acting prowess, discipline and determination will surely reward them with stardom given the right packaging and lucky breaks.

Of the eight Eigenmanns, it is Andi (real name is Andrea), one of the youngest among he brood, who is showing the way, at least for moment. Turning only 20 in June, Andi is the lead star of ABS-CBN’s primetime teleserye Agua Bendita. Her rise is phenomenal by local standards considering that her previous acting stint is a minor appearance in the afternoon soap opera Prinsesa ng Banyera in 2007. In 2008, she was one of the aspiring talents that competed in Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus. (She left Bahay ni Kuhay after 53 days due to homesickness and the pressures inside the house and did not complete the only task assigned to her by Kuya.)

The management of the ABS-CBN network handpicked Andi for the lead role in Agua Bendita without an audition, a rather risky move considering that the show is a primetime offering competing with other programs featuring big-name and tested stars.

Andi is aware that her luck might have raised not a few eyebrows but she is ready to prove the skeptics wrong. “Hindi ko po ine-expect na ngayon ko makukuha yung ganitong opportunity. Pero kung kinuha po nila ako ibig sabihin para sa kanila ready na ako. So kahit nakakagulat, naisip ko na din na I guess kaya ko po talaga.”

In the show, Andi plays two characters – twins Agua and Bendita, who have opposite personalities and physical differences. (The network previously produced a similar version a few years back with Shaina Magdayao in the title role.)

“Our take is different [this time],” explains Andi. “For one, the previous Agua, the one with Shaina, is shorter. It was a two-part series only. This time, we’re going to take time fleshing out each character. We will also make sure that we will be able to serve out the story really well.”

As per show’s concept, Andi is required to swim underwater wearing rather revealing bathing suits. Asked whether she would follow the sex-infused career trajectory of her mother, who starred in many “bold” roles in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Andi remains undecided.

“Honestly I don’t know,” she says. “But you see, I am not thinking about that. At this point, I’d rather concentrate with the work at hand which is Agua. If you could see a hint of sexiness in the trailer, for me, it’s all just kind of suggestive. I’m still young. I’ve still a long way to go. We’ll see.”

Andi credits her mother with giving her invaluable advice and directions on how to navigate the intrigue-laden and dog-eat-dog world of showbiz.

“I feel very blessed and thankful kasi bukod sa meron akong nanay na pinalaki ako nang maayos, natutulungan din niya ako sa gusto kong makamit na dream kasi alam na alam niya kung paano mag-work yung industry. Binibigyan din niya ako ng mga advice na kailangan kong malaman. Dahil nanay ko siya, mas malaki yung chance na maging successful ako.

When asked about her father, who split up with Jaclyn when Andi was still very young, the young actress says that she bears no ill will towards him and continues to maintain a cordial relationship with him. “Kasi bata pa ako nung nangyari yun. Kumbaga yung normal na hindi nakatira sa isang bubong yung mommy at daddy ko. Tanggap ko yun kasi madalas ko naman makita at makausap yung daddy ko. Meron kaming bonding moments kaya hindi dumating sa point na nagalit ako sa kanya,”

Although she is the first among the Eigenmann cousins to star in a TV series, Andi dispels the notion that there’s an unfriendly competition among them.

Hindi naman po siguro siya maiinsecure sa akin kasi kahit nandito sila sa industry magkaiba naman po yung career path na tinatahak namin at saka yung kapalaran namin. And kapag magkasama naman kami, ang turingan namin magkakapatid. Hindi po namin pinag-uusapan yung posisyon namin sa showbiz. And most of all, alam ko na mahal ako ng Ate [Maxene] ko kaya I’m sure masaya siya for me.

Speaking of comparisons, many have commented that Andi’s delicate beauty resembles that of Angel Locsin. But she demurely dismisses the comparison: “Sobrang na pa-flatter po ako sa mga nagsasabi noon. Dahil napakagandang babae po ni Angel at alam naman po natin ‘yon.”

Andi says she doesn’t mind being compared to others but she intends to carve her own niche in the industry. “Maybe some people won’t give me my own identity. For them, I’m not Andi Eigenmann or Andi, I’m just a girl who looks like Angel Locsin. I hope they give me a chance to show who I am, as myself, who doesn’t look like anyone.”

When she is away from the camera, Andi studies fashion design at the College of St. Benilde in Manila. During her free time, she loves to design clothes. “Basically I just stay at home and use the computer or I draw. I make the most of my time by drawing stuff. I’m so into fashion.”

When not busy at school or work, she likes to catch up with friends. “Pero not so often kasi my other friends are at school din naman or the others are busy with work,” she says.

Though she had admitted to having celebrity crushes on Jake Cuenca and John Lloyd Cruz, she reveals that she is not in a relationship at the moment. “I’m not dating anyone. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I’m the type who actually waits. I can tell if that person is right or if he’s worthy to be given a chance for me.”

For now, Andi wants to focus on Agua Bendita and her career. She wants to do more projects (she recently signed a three-picture contract with Regal Films) and perhaps even a stint hosting as a VJ.

Jaclyn, who is a mainstay in the ongoing primetime soap Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo, says that although she cares deeply about her daughter’s career, she is not a stage mother. Whenever she gets the chance, she visits Andi on the set but not often. When Andi joined showbiz, Jaclyn did not give specific advice about showbiz. She just gave her daughter important pointers in honing her acting skills.

Umpisa pa lang, binigay ko na sa kanya lahat,” relates Jaclyn. “Nilatag ko na sa kanya lahat, ‘tapos pili na lang siya roon. ‘Tapos kapag may problema siya, sabi ko sabihan niya na lang ako to help her. Ang binigay ko lang sa kanya ay sincerity, be the character, be the person, act naturally from the heart, be the person just by the character because every human being is very important.”

Jaclyn says that as a child Andi picked up lessons in showbiz from her example. “Yung nakikita ni Andi sa akin, kailangan maging magandang example. You know, Andi saw me growing up working this way with discipline. Kahit na ano, you have to attend and you have to go to work kahit masama ang pakiramdam mo. She grew up seeing me na ganun magtrabaho. So, ‘yon ang namana niya. She doesn’t wanna be late, ayaw niya ng pressure. Gusto niya alam na niya ang gagawin niya pagdating sa set. She’s like me!”

The most valuable piece of advice her mother gave her is: “As long as you believe in it, it will come true. Like whatever your heart desires, if you really want it then it will really happen.”


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