Stranger No Longer: JC Alcantara’s Journey to Stardom
Running after one’s dream is a marathon, not a sprint.
When we were kids, we were often asked what we want to become when we grow up. One boy dreamed higher than the others—to be seen on TV as an actor.
Case in point: our cover boy, John Carlo “JC” Alcantara. The third of four children, JC lived a simple childhood in Nueva Ecija with his siblings and his parents—his mother is a housewife who sells rice, and his father is a construction worker.
If you’ve seen his life story in an episode of MMK (Maalaala Mo Kaya), you must be one of us who cried our eyes out while watching. His life is a classic example of rags to riches stories that inspire and we admire.
At a young age, JC experienced how tough life can be for those at the margins of society. Life’s difficulties helped shape a mature mindset for him to think responsibly and work hard as an adult. As his parents continuously struggled to provide for their family, he was determined to help out and seek better opportunities.
Behind that gentle personality with sweet smiles and dimpled cheeks we see onscreen was a traumatic experience while living away from his family under the roof of his own kin. Thankfully, time healed all wounds as his uncle made amends for reconciliation.
Vest and pants, Jose Karganilla
Perhaps what makes JC admirable is his perseverance and love for his family. His journey to stardom had a lot of bumpy roads. Even his mother doubted and discouraged him from aiming too high. Despite that, he went on pursuing his dreams. The young aspiring actor encountered not just one or two rejections, but a whole lot more—over thirty failed auditions! He went through blood, sweat, and tears trying to make his dream a reality to financially support his family.
His dedication and efforts eventually paid off and his life began to change for the better when he successfully landed a gig for a TV ad from an insurance company. With a great sense of fulfillment, he recalled buying a new television—a reminder that he is one step closer to becoming an actor.
“Ang taas ng pangarap ko, gusto ko maging artista pero di nyo ko nakikita sa TV,” (I aimed so high to become an artist but you don’t see me on TV), he recalled saying to his mother and added that they used to pound their broken TV with their hands to fix the display, instead of repairing it or buying a new one.
Suit and pants, Nat Manilag
Starting out as a commercial model, opportunities poured in. One project after another helped him save up and build a new house for his family at the age of seventeen. JC said that doors opened for him in the show business industry when he appeared in a popular TV commercial “Kwentong Jollibee” which never failed to stir the emotions of the viewers.
Before he had his big break of getting a lead role, he made it to the hit primetime drama series “Halik”, and a number of episodes in the docudrama “Ipaglaban Mo”.
But life is not smooth sailing. Just as it seemed he was living the dream, another setback almost made his career fall apart when the Kapamilya network was shut down, displacing thousands of workers.
Pondering on the many setbacks he encountered, he revealed, saying “Alam nyo, that time na sobrang lala na ng pinagdaanan ko no’n, walang-wala na talaga sa sarili ko. Kumbaga, hindi ko alam kung may tatawag pa sakin, kung magkaka-projects pa’ko, kung matutuloy pa ba yung pangarap ko. Humingi ako ng sign kay Lord, sana bigyan nya ako ng sign para mapagpatuloy ko to.”
(That time when things have gone really bad, I lost sense of myself, and I was worried if I’d ever get a call for a new project, or if my dreams would still push through. I asked God for a sign if I should go on.)
He was once again on the brink of surrendering when an unexpected call came in for his big break—a lead role in the digital BL (Boys Love) series “Hello, Stranger”. He plays Mico, an A-student who is forced to work on a class project during the lockdown with Xavier (Tony Labrusca), a varsity jock and a complete stranger, and later on, they developed feelings for each other.
The hit BL series gained praise among fans and made rounds on social media. It finished with its eighth and last episode in August last year, but with high demands from BL fans, a movie sequel is finally airing on February 12 this year.
Asked during a brief interview with Parcinq Magazine if there are any other unique roles he would like to play, JC made a fun and unpredictable revelation of playing a magical role of a dwarf falling in love with a human. (Cute, isn’t it?)
He also said that he hopes to get better at acting and singing. He then gave us a brief but sweet rendition of the “Hello Stranger” theme song.
You can watch it in our full interview with him for #TheAgeOfAquariusIssue:
With his humble and gentle character, the right attitude, and dedication towards work and his colleagues, we can confidently say the sky’s the limit for JC Alcantara.
Blazer Suit and pants, Nat Manilag
And if ever you are losing hope, always remember that when you are tempted to give up, your breakthrough is probably just around the corner, just as JC inspiringly advised, “’Wag ka mawalan ng pag-asa, kasi hindi naman tayo dadalhin dito ni Lord sa problemang ‘to kung hindi natin malulutas.” (Don’t lose hope because God won’t give us problems we can’t solve.)
Words by Joseph Pilapil
Produced by Philip Vargas
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Creative direction and Cover layout by Joe Andy
Shot on Location at the Rx Studio
Special thanks to Ryan Quimpo, Patricia Rigodon, & Rise Artist Studio