From love team to solo projects: Grae Fernandez makes career change

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 03:37 PM

MANILA -- Rising young actor Grae Fernandez is the surprise banner new star of Virtual Playground, the talent agency affiliate of the brother-sister producing tandem of Dondon and Roselle Monteverde.

The 20-year-old son of Mark Anthony Fernandez, Grae reminds showbiz veterans of the brooding good looks of his late grandfather, action icon Rudy Fernandez. He was last seen as the love interest of Kira Balinger in ABS-CBN’s teleserye “Ang Iyo ay Akin.” 

The Monteverdes have hinted that Grae may also go into the action drama genre. 

“Before, when we talked about Grae, parang laging kailangan may ka-love team agad.This time, kailangan dapat maiba 'yung mga formula in doing things, “ Dondon told ABS-CBN News in a virtual media conference Wednesday announcing Grae and other celebrities as their latest acquisitions in their talent pool. “It’s time to explore new ways of actually showcasing his talent." 

Grae is heading back to Manila this week after an extended vacation in New York. 

“Makikita mo very much involved siya sa mga role na gusto niyang gampanan," Dondon added. “Makikita mo 'yung bata, nag-iisip talaga. He wants to grow in his craft, so we’re actually talking of creating new films for him na talagang babagayan ‘yan.” 

Virtual Playground used to be the stable of athletes who crossed over to show business, such as mixed martial arts world champion and “BuyBust” lead actor Brandon Vera, basketball idol Ricci Rivero, taekwondo gold medalist Pauline Lopez, UFC fighter and model Mark Striegl, and volleyball stars John Vic de Guzman and Jema Galanza. 

It has lately added in its roster Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa, Miss Globe 2015 Ann Colis, Alexa Miro, Krystal Brimner, Rob Gomez, Sarah Holmes, Rosh Barman, Carlo Tarobal, Kent Gonzales, Sarah Edwards and other talents. 

The Monteverdes clarified that, although they are exclusive to their agency, Fernandez and their other talents can still work with other networks and studios like ABS-CBN.

“This is also a convenient collaboration for all of us since we’re family, kahit ano’ng oras puwede mo silang tawagan,“ said Regal Entertainment’s COO and executive vice president Roselle Monteverde, of her talent 
management partnership with her brother, Reality MM Studio’s president and CEO Dondon Monteverde and Virtual Playground’s CEO Charlie Dy.
 
The triumvirate is the latest transformation of Regal Entertainment, a showbiz pillar which has launched the careers of many “Regal Babies”
and produced hundreds of movies through the decades. 

They also produced the in-demand digital series “BenXJim,” the celebrated “On the Job: The Missing 8” where John Arcilla won the best actor award in the recent Venice International Film Festival, and other projects.