MANILA, Philippines -- Prior to his signing up as a Kapamilya, Paulo Avelino had always wondered why he wouldn't get the "meaty roles."
A former GMA-7 talent, Avelino's ticket to joining showbiz was his stint in a 2006 reality talent search. Following his semi-finals finish, the 24-year-old actor landed various TV roles.
But for the half-Waray, half-Igorot heartthrob, none of the roles he was given was meaningful.
"Na-realize ko sa sarili ko, kulang ba ang binibigay ko?" Avelino told "Showbiz Inside Report" in an interview aired Saturday.
Being within his "comfort zone" then, the actor recalled, had made him lax in giving justice to his portrayals.
"Naalala ko rin kasi 'yung sinasabi ko bilang bata, when I would watch these films that are very inspiring, very moving -- na-realize ko na noong bata ako, gustung-gusto ko gawin, tapos ngayon, hindi ko binibigay 'yung buo ko," he said.
The offer to transfer to ABS-CBN was an opportunity for the young actor, as it meant being able to "re-invent [his] career."
"Nag-decide ako na pagbutihin. Sinabi ko sa sarili ko na magpupursigi ako mag-aral," he said. "[Lumipat ako sa ABS-CBN] kasi kung na sa labas ka ng comfort zone mo, mas nakakapag-explore ka, mas marami kang nagagawa na hindi mo akalaing magagawa mo."
Within a year of his transfer to the Kapamilya network in August 2011, Avelino landed guest and supporting roles in ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida offerings.
He would later earn raves for his portrayal as the "psychotic" Nathan in the top-rating series "Walang Hanggan," on top of winning his first Best Actor trophy from the prestigious Gawad Urian Awards for his role in the independent film "Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa."
In the 2011 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival entry, Avelino portrayed a student whose growing relationship with a gay friend triggers an internal conflict.
"Gusto ko lang po gumawa ng roles na magaganda," he said.
"Hindi po talaga ako makapaniwala," he added, referring to his Best Actor nod. "Kumbaga nag o-overflow lang 'yung emotions ko with happiness and kaba, takot."
Having had insecurities about his acting skills early in his career, Avelino said the award has boosted his condidence. "Hindi pala puro mali 'yung ginagawa ko, may tama rin," he said.
Now set to star in another ABS-CBN series, the romantic-comedy "Kahit Konting Pagtingin," Avelino continues to set sights on more "meaty" roles this year.
"Gusto ko makagawa na naman ng mga pelikula na magfu-fulfill sa hunger ko, a new character that I haven't done before," he said.