MANILA -- Seventeen-year-old Ashley Diaz can easily be just the next pretty face who recently joined showbiz. But if you’re the daughter of actor Joko Diaz and the granddaughter of veteran character actor Paquito Diaz, the teenage Diaz undeniably carries with her the esteemed pedigree of her family.
Yet, make no mistake of boxing Diaz into her prominent surname, although it is not surprising that she also pursued the same path taken by her relatives, who respectively made reputable names in the entertainment business.
“I always see my dad on TV, my lolo in movies and even my Tita [Cheska],” Diaz told ABS-CBN News. “That influenced me, in a way, to enter the business. I felt like I really belong to showbiz. That made it fulfilling for me to also act.”
Diaz realized she was finally ready to enter showbiz when Viva offered her a management contract. She was cast in the new drama series, “Di Na Muli,” where she is paired with Andre Yllana, also a showbiz scion. The series airs on Vivamax.
“I felt the support at that time, so I felt I was ready to pursue showbiz and my career at the same time,” Diaz said. “But Papa advised me to have fun and not to forget my studies, because it’s very important that I finish school.”
Diaz does not deny she instantly felt the pressure once she made her acting venture, even if she is the daughter of Joko Diaz. “Kinabahan ako talaga,” she honestly admitted. “Palagi kong nakikita si Papa sa TV and movies. Nakaka-pressure a little bit.”
This early, not a few are saying Diaz undoubtedly exudes chemistry with Yllana, something that even the best publicists cannot simply just manufacture at will for a young love team.
For Diaz and Yllana, the chemistry comes out naturally once they are both in front of the cameras. “I admire Andre’s eyes,” Diaz admitted. “Whenever we have scenes together, I always look at his eyes. Very expressive.”
Reporting to the lock-in taping of their drama series allowed Diaz and Yllana to be eventually close to each other. “That gave us the chance to really get to know each other,” Diaz said about her and Yllana.
Diaz prepared herself to be groomed for showbiz. She underwent an acting workshop, where she initially met Yllana, before she started the weekly series.
“I developed my friendship with Andre starting from our workshop,” she recalled. “Our friendship didn’t stop there. It developed until today. I was able to prove that Andre is such a nice person.”
Reel and real-life sweethearts Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla are “very inspiring” for Diaz. “From the time KathNiel started until now, ang galing nilang umarte,” she commented about the love team. “Ang gaganda ng projects nila together.”
Diaz is interested to play villain roles, too, where her lolo undoubtedly made his mark. “I want to experience playing contravida,” Diaz enthused. “Kung magagawa ko siya, why not?”
The enduring fascination of Diaz with acting started even earlier when she would watch the early films of her dad and her lolo. She particularly remembers their film together, Pablo Santiago’s “Sigaw ng Katarungan” (1984), with action king Fernando Poe, Jr.
“My lolo was the contravida there,” Diaz recalled. “Kahit bata pa lang doon si Papa, nakita ko na ang chemistry niya with his co-stars. Hindi siya nadi-distract sa ginagawa niya.”
This pandemic allowed Diaz, who is in Grade 12 at San Beda College in Alabang, to be closer to her dad, as well as to her family. Admittedly a papa’s girl, Diaz feels thankful to the quarantine measures that allowed her and her dad to do a lot of things at home.
Diaz’s dad advised her not to be selfish, especially now that she joined showbiz. “From the time I was young, pinapakita na sa akin at tinuturo na ni Papa ‘yun,” Diaz disclosed. “I told him, now that I am also in showbiz, ipapagpatuloy ko lang ang mga tinuro niya sa akin.
“Napaka-humble ni Papa and very giving. I’m thankful to him for that. But sometimes, that’s just his trait na ayaw ko din. There are people who tend to take advantage of him.”
Her mom, Abigail, was a flight attendant for 20 years and now works as an immigration officer.
Diaz does not deny idolizing Sarah Geronimo, a successful singer-actress, and will not mind following in the latter’s footsteps. “In singing, acting and even dancing, ang galing ni Sarah talaga,” said Diaz about Geronimo.
The teenage Diaz is also promoting her debut single, “Pag-ibig Na Ito,” now out in all digital platforms.
If Diaz probably didn’t enter showbiz, she will be sidetracked to join beauty pageants. She’s had offers to join beauty contests, although she’s not closing the doors yet. “I am still looking into it,” Diaz said. “I want to ask my parents for advice.”
Diaz is aware showbiz will not just be a mere walk in the park for her, as she intends to seriously make her own name in the business. After all, her foundation was built not in shifting sands, so her career will not easily topple even if controversies or intrigues arise.
Diaz is apparently ready to shine on her own, given the right breaks that will eventually entrench her into the showbiz firmament.
“With the right effort, I know it takes time,” Diaz affirmed. “But this is a conscious decision and I’m ready to make a go of my showbiz career.”