With more than one cornerstone of their young lives in common, McCoy De Leon, Edward Barber and Marco Gallo dispel any perceived differences and band together all in the name of pride and the further fulfilment of their best kept dreams.
Whether it was the original intention or not, the famous yellow house of Pinoy Big Brother that thrives and throbs in the heart of Quezon city has become a veritable factory that churns out figures of inspiration, daring dreamers, and of course, a slew of stars that have since joined the glittering constellation that commands attention and dominates the path they set their sights on. We could go on and on, threshing out a discourse as to how the pop culture phenomenon of the most saturated local reality TV competition has now become some sort of backbone that helps prop up the very future of the entertainment industry as we know it today. Since acclimating back into the outside world, we have become well aware of the OG housemates such as Sam Milby, Zanjoe Marudo and James Reid. From then on, a new crop of male superstars in the form of McCoy de Leon, Edward Barber and Marco Gallo have all emerged from the doors of house and into the rabid consciousness of the celebrity consuming public.
Perhaps unbeknownst to the young men, their willingness to be subjected to the microscopic scrutiny of Big Brother, as well as the audience, has inadvertently thrust them into the league that many only so much as dream of being a part of. Whether they had intended to or not, McCoy de Leon, Edward Barber and Marco Gallo have all become idols in their own right—whatever that personally means to their adoring fans.
Sure, you can argue that they are young’uns still, liberally navigating the throes of youth with abandon, nonchalance and a dash of misplaced courage to see them through that the path they were led to, but as we begin to chip away at the buffed out veneers that has been accorded to them by the industry, we quickly learn that these fine young men are far from being blinded by the beck and call of the spotlight. Instead, they are soldiers of their own dreams, banded together by circumstance and common ground.
This, ladies and gentlemen, are their own stories of pride. What, did you think that it was just the girls who would have all the fun? Well, here we are, throwing our hands in the mix of solidarity and unity.
McCoy de Leon
“Hanggang ngayon parang ayaw kong i-absorb ‘yung tinitingala [ako],” relates a very bashful McCoy de Leon, complete with that signature bedimpled, aww-shucks half smile of his. “Ayoko pa ding isipin na iba ako. Ayokong tumaas ‘yung tingin nila. Gusto ko lang maging idolo, gusto ko maging magandang role model.” It can be very easy to mistake this as a case of false humility, something to make him appear more relatable to his audience, but for the young actor, it is just simply who he is. “Kilala ko sarili ko, simple lang talaga,” he affirms, perhaps reminding him of his greater purpose in life. “[Minsan], hindi ko maisip na belong ako dito. Para akong nagdi-dream pa rin na nagagawa ko ‘yung [mga ‘di ko inakala dati.]” This internal dialogue pushes him to continue to not only attempt his best, but to really give it his all in everything that he does. “Kasi para sa’kin, eto lang, parang binibigay ko na ‘yung lahat ng makakaya ko sa tamang craft, sa tamang way,” he reasons.
For McCoy de Leon, all that he does and is able to accomplish now is funneled towards a singular dream: to keep his family together. “Ang gusto ko lang pong maibigay sa pamilya ko, maganda at simpleng buhay,” he shares. “Kasi kami ‘yung pamilya na hindi naman naghahangad ng sobra-sobra. Masaya kami kung ganito [lang], siguro makakapunta sa iba-ibang lugar, makakain nang sabay, na walang problema, hindi naghihiwalay. Buo pa rin.” It is what anchors him, keeping him steadfast and focused on the life he wants to consquently build. And so far, this eagle-eyed precision that belies his age has earned him impressive nods for his notable turns as the actor he intends to be. Flitting past what is expected of him, he has taken roles in projects such Instalado, Sin City and The Good Son that are offbeat and challenging, but well worth getting really into the craft that he loves. Without being dishearteningly aggressive, McCoy de Leon knows what he wants and goes for it at a pace that is comfortable for him.
If there is anything to admire from the young man, it is ability to uphold gratitude and genuine desire to help out, all of which are rooted in his faith. “Laging sinasabi sa’kin ng magulang ko na magdasal, kasi ‘yun ‘yung pwedeng way na makatulong,” he says. “Although effective naman para sa’kin, kasi tuwing nagpepray dun ko narerealize ano ‘yung mali ko, [and] ano ba ‘yung dapat pasalamatan. Tama din sila, kaya ‘yun siguro ‘yung pinakadapat gawin. Makinig.”
At this point, we are pressed on the wall for any reverberations to indicate the bright future that is certainly out there for him to take. Yes, we are listening, because frankly, he is the rare few who have something to say but don’t necessarily deafen the world around him. And that is a true mark of someone meant for greater things in its own time.—ARDC
For the young man seemingly lifted out of a fairytale, it all starts with a girl, of course it does. But at this point, maybe not the ingénue we have all come to love—just yet.
The journey to where he stands in the grander scheme of life right now began in Germany with perhaps one of the most striking and stunning faces in the business today, Liza Soberano. “Every year we’d come [to the Philippines] for Christmas and not understand a thing on TV but I was like Liza’s pretty so I’m just going to watch,” he revisits a memory with him and his family, a true indication of the Filipino blood coursing through his veins. “The cast of Dolce Amore had a concert in Düsseldorf. My mother, my sister and I bought tickets. We woke up at 3 a.m. and drove by bus to get [there],” he shares. “They had a promo where if you buy merchandise you get to meet them so I got all my savings. I didn’t spend any in the end because we were too late. We didn’t get to meet her and I was so disappointed.” Obviously crushed, his destiny would pick up not too long after when he was scouted and eventually asked to audition for Pinoy Big Brother. Well, we don’t need to wade through the timeline of his skyrocketing career, because we all know how it all went from then on.
Today, he is one-half of a phenomenal, spirit-stirring love team with fellow PBB alumna and winner, Maymay Entrata. With endorsement deals, regular television appearances, movie participations and a constant burning of our social media timelines, it can be said that Edward Barber is living his best life yet. Sure, he really is, but he reasons that all of it would be for naught if he didn’t have a stable support system in his family. “If my parents and my sister and the rest of my family weren’t supportive I probably wouldn’t be here doing this because some of the best feelings moments I’ve had inside this industry have been with my family and because of them. The first time my dad said he was really proud of me I felt I was actually doing something with my life,” he reveals. “Being able to share all these blessings with them is completely rewarding.”
Reaping the early rewards of his gestating career, he is aware that this is only just the beginning and that he has so much more to see, do and learn. Ultimately, he is well-aware of the mettle he has to prove and overcome to become the man that he knows he can be. “It’s still hard to believe.”It’s one of those dream moments where you feel like you have to pinch yourself,” he volunteers. While he catches himself in disbelief from time to time, Edward Barber is keeping his eyes on the prize: making things matter, whatever it may be. “I always wanted to make my mark on the world,” he punctuates with a smile. Well, by the looks of it, he is already fast etching his sense of purpose in his own little corner. The rest?Ah, those are codes of permanence taking root, making a strong and sturdy case for the boy we call charming.—ARDC
On the onset, despite the initial shock of his playfulness, one can immediately sense Marco Gallo’s strong character, although he shares that some may misunderstand his straightforwardness for being crass: “Gusto ko na klaro ang relationship ko with other people. If I have a problem, I’ll say it. Ayoko ng plastikan, ng may galit na dala-dala mo every day.” He credits this to how he was raised as an Italian, saying, “In Italy, pinapalaki ang mga tao to use their freedom of speech. But you also have to listen to the opinions of others and create dialogue. ‘Di ibig sabihin na kung tama ang isa, mali yung isa. Pwede naman tama pareho.” Very wise words for someone who just turned 17 earlier this year. However, Gallo shares that he is still learning to improve in many ways. “When I went in PBB, batang isip pa ako,” he says, quickly adding with a laugh, “Well, I still sometimes am batang isip pa but nag-mature ako. Nag-extend ‘yung pasensya ko.”
It was also in PBB where Gallo realized his strengths, weaknesses and his passions. “Akala ko na pag labas ko ng bahay, babalik ako agad sa Italy,” Gallo says. He couldn’t be more wrong. When he was asked to join the show business industry, he realized that he did have a passion for one thing after all: acting. “I did it in school and enjoyed it. I wanted to give it a try kasi ayoko ng ‘What if?’”
“Ang motto ko in life is carpe diem, to seize the moment. You won’t know when kukuha ka ni Lord, so hindi ko masyado nag-iisip ng bukas,” he says in his relaxed manner. To Gallo, it isn’t so much the material things but matter but the memories.”‘Di ko kailangan ng madaming pera. I’m rich in my heart if marami akong memories in life.” Looking through his Instagram account is a testament to this statement of his. From road trips with family and friends to talking about the simple joys of cooking, the boy knows what truly matters. In fact, if his career in showbiz were to suddenly disappear one day, he says that he would probably return to Italy. “I will be sad because I love my job right now. But wala naman talaga ‘to sa plano ko. So I will just go will the flow,” he says.
Of course, Gallo never forgets about wishing his fans the best. When asked about what he wants to say to his supporters, he focus shifts on the topic of to overcoming challenges. “You don’t need to be perfect; hindi ginawa tayo na pare-pareho. Kayo ang magdadala sa sarili mo. Kayo lang ang pwede mag-decide sa sarili mo.”
While he does admit that he still has some growing up to do (after all, he is only in his late teens), Gallo, with his big heart and outspokenness, will surely make it far.—M.R.