MANILA -- It is understandable that newest showbiz star Andre Yllana will be inevitably compared to his parents – award-winning actors Jomari Yllana and Aiko Melendez – now that he embarked on an entertainment career.
While he is following in the footsteps of his parents, Yllana does not mind being identified as the son of Jomari or Aiko. Yet, he is ready to make a name for himself eventually.
“Sana makilala din ako as Andrei Yllana po talaga,” the 22-year-old Yllana told ABS-CBN News. “Hindi lang po ‘anak ni Aiko’ o ‘anak ni Jomari.’ Gusto ko rin po na gumawa ng sarili kong pangalan.”
He knows people will always associate him with his parents. “I know hindi mawawala ang mga questions about kay Mommy at Daddy. Growing up, I would always be asked kung umaasa pa rin ba ko na magkakabalikan sila.
“Even ‘yung mga issues ng both parties, tinatanong din ako. Nasanay na rin ako. Hindi na po nawala ang mga questions about them.”
Aware that he is treading the same path pursued by his parents, Yllana is ready to try acting seriously. He previously joined Star Magic, but his career fizzled out since he opted to prioritize his studies.
He is currently a fourth year major, taking up a course on automotive at Don Bosco Technical Institute. Now that he is graduating and merely completing his OJT (on-the-job training), he can devote more time to showbiz now.
“Mas may time na po ako ngayon,” Yllana said. “Naging distraction ang studies before, if ever I would join showbiz. Now, I grabbed the opportunity. Not everybody is being given this kind of opportunity.”
His dad Jomari, who’s into the car business, is not a big factor in Yllana’s college course. “Automotive technician is my personal choice because I love cars,” Yllana explained. “Si Daddy mahilig din. Nagkataon lang.”
As the newest member of the Viva family, Yllana recently signed up a management contract with Viva Artists Agency (VAA). He excitedly wants to do a remake of Jose Javier Reyes’ “Gwapings,” the 1992 youth-oriented film that starred his dad, with Mark Anthony Fernandez and Eric Fructuoso.
“Hindi na po ako lalayo,” Yllana declared. “Gusto ko rin makasama ‘yung anak ni Mark Anthony na si Grae [Fernandez]. Gusto ko rin magkaroon kami ng ‘Gwapings, Jr.’
“Baka pwede rin namin gawing possible ‘yun. Nakilala ang mga daddy namin as ‘Gwapings.’ Maganda kung gawin din namin ang bagong edition.”
Yllana expressed his desire to pattern his career after successful young actor Daniel Padilla. Yllana is also open to work with a love team. Eventually, he wants to work with the likes of Piolo Pascual, Coco Martin and even Vice Ganda.
Meanwhile, he does not deny that Liza Soberano is his showbiz crush for a long time now. “Consistent naman ang sagot ko diyan every time they ask me kung sino ang crush ko,” Yllana unabashedly said.
He has been given acting and even dance workshops to prepare for his showbiz venture. “Those are my biggest preparations,” he said.
“When I first had my workshop with Tito Ogie [Diaz], isa rin po si Mommy sa mga coaches before. Ewan ko lang po kung ano ang comment ni Mommy sa pag-acting ko. Nakita niya rin ako.”
Yllana keeps in mind that his mom is a versatile and award-winning actress. He wants her to be proud of him.
“Ilang tubig din ang ininom ko sa kaba,” he said. “Mamaya baka hindi natin ma-reach and mga standards ni Mommy. As of now, kayang kaya ko na mag showbiz. Siyempre, gusto ko din gumawa ng sarili kong style of acting.”
Meanwhile, his dad Jomari never failed to give sound advice to Yllana’s entry into showbiz. “Before everything, I talked to my dad,” Yllana said. “His only advice to me, kung saan daw ako masaya, pasukin ko kung ano ang magpapasaya sa akin.”
Yllana disclosed he and his dad have a better relationship now than before. “Lagi kaming nakakapag-usap ni Daddy ngayon,” he said. “Siyempre, he always reminds me to be humble at all times. Huwag daw po akong tatapak ng tao.”
Yllana mentions the names of female young stars he wants to work with, from Bea Alonzo and Julia Barretto to Yllona Garcia. He does not mind playing the third wheel in a love story with Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil or Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.
But Yllana also wants to do a project with his dad Jomari. “Gusto ko ding maka-work si Daddy,” he said.
Of course, he wants to figure in a challenging scene with his mom one day, although he is aware he will feel the jitters more acting opposite his mom.
“Araw-araw kaming magkasama ni Mommy, so ‘yung pagkakakilala ko sa kanya, baka magulat ako. Mas kabado din ako,” Yllana admitted.
“Kapag nakikita ko ‘yung mga roles niya, lalo na kung contravida siya, ako ang kinakabahan. So mas kakabahan ako kay Mommy, knowing how good she is.”
Yllana confesses he never kept anything from his mom. “Lahat sinasabi ko sa kanya. Tinatanong ko sa kanya. I’m very open to her. I don’t hide anything from Mommy.
“My inspiration is Mommy. Growing up, nakita ko na busy siya palagi sa pag-arte.”
Growing up, it wasn’t hard for Yllana to tread the same path his mom has pursued. “Dito rin ang daan ko. Habang tumatanda, I realized that. Tinuruan akong makisama sa tao. Kapag nakita kong tunay ‘yung tao, kaya kong makisama.”
Growing up in a broken family, Yllana will expectedly use that to internalize playing challenging roles. He was previously featured in an episode of “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” Yet, he is keen on doing action or comedy roles, too.
“I want to try action,” he said. “Medyo kinakabahan pa ako sa dramatic scenes. Pwede rin ako sa comedy.”
The newest young star knows he cannot please everybody, no matter how hard he tries. “Hindi po akong plastic na tao,” Yllana admitted. “Siguro ako ‘yung pinakatunay na taong makikilala niyo. I can offer ‘yung pagiging tunay talaga now that I’m in showbiz.
“Ready naman tayo to join showbiz. Hindi lahat ng tao mapi-please natin. Meron magba-bash sa atin diyan. Pero hindi din naman siguro mawawala ang mga supporters natin. Sana po ipagpatuloy lang nila ang pagsuporta.”