Charlie Dizon Looks Back On Her Showbiz Journey So Far
This breakthrough actress talks about her beginnings in showbiz via the movie "Finally Found Someone," how "Fan Girl" changed her life, and the roles she hopes to portray moving forward
In 2017, a 21-year-old Charlie Dizon made her film debut as Trina in the John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo romantic comedy Finally Found Someone. Playing younger sister to John Lloyd’s Raffy, Charlie will be the first to admit that her role wasn’t exactly the glitziest just yet; she has minimal lines throughout the film, but it’s clear to anyone watching her in the background: with every purposeful expression on her face, there’s no doubt that this girl could be a star.
Tomorrow, Viral Scandal, the newest Kapamilya show she’s set to lead alongside Joshua Garcia, premieres on primetime. Just last year, she won the Best Actress award at the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival for her performance in Antoinette Jadaone’s Fan Girl, where she plays an obsessed teenage girl who gets to spend time with a fictionalized version of her idol, Paulo Avelino (played by Paulo Avelino himself).
“Sobra po,” Charlie says, referring to how much her life has changed since she bested four other actresses, including Nora Aunor, at that year’s very tight race. “Sobrang nagbago after Fan Girl. Kasi n’ung time na ’yun, parang fresh din talaga sa ’kin eh.” It had been a whirlwind experience, she recounts: two days after her audition, they had already started shooting. “Mabilisan lahat, so parang hindi ko po talaga alam kung ano ’yung i-e-expect. Siguro nag-dive na lang talaga ako.”
The film, which premiered at the 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival, catapulted Charlie—born April Rose Dizon Matienzo—to becoming a household name. In 2018, she was launched, along with Tony Labrusca, Donny Pangilinan, and Leila Alcasid, as one of the 13 new faces that make up Star Magic Circle Batch 2018. Since then, she’s appeared and starred in films like Loving in Tandem, Seven Sundays, and Four Sisters Before the Wedding.
To a young Charlie, becoming an actress, performer, and celebrity—or in our words, a full-time artista—has been a dream of hers since she was a young girl. She looked up to her ate, who, among her family, was always the one who would be told to become one. “Siya ’yung pinakamaganda sa’min, siya ’yung laging sinasabihan na mag-artista, tapos siya talaga ’yung na-sa-scout sa mall,” Charlie explains. “Tapos siya kasi ’yung pinaka-ka-close ko rin, so parang feeling ko siya ’yung role model ko noon. Kaya nu’ng nakita ko na parang p’wede siyang mag-artista, parang gusto ko na rin mag-artista.”
But this wasn’t always possible, or at least, it wasn’t always clear how it could become possible. Back then, Charlie didn’t know where to begin: where to audition, who to meet, when to go. “Nag-spark lang talaga ’yung interest ko lalo nu’ng pumutok ’yung K-pop industry,” Charlie says, illuminating how instrumental the Korean wave has been to her career beginnings. “’Yung first wave siguro ng hallyu noon, ’yun ’yung naabutan ko and sobrang nagustuhan ko siya. Pinag-novena ko talaga na sana may magpa-audition dito na Korean entertainment company and then natupad siya so akala ko noon para talaga siya sa’kin. Tapos nu’ng time na ’yun, hindi natuloy ’yung sa Korea, d’un ako nag-decide na i-try ko dito sa Philippines.”
Shortly thereafter, she applied to the Star Magic workshops, and soon enough, she was handpicked by Johnny Manahan himself—or Mr. M, as he is fondly called—to train for free. “Pero hindi pa rin mabilis,” Charlie adds. “Ilang years pa rin bago ako na-launch na Star Magic Batch 2018.”
For Charlie, each role she’s undertaken has reflected the challenges she’s faced as an actress: how to approach a character, for example, as well as how to understand the core of her character; and the challenges she herself faces as an individual. She admits that she’s still “matatakutin” (fearful) when it comes to roles, but it’s also clear that she’s slowly—but surely—working through her fears and qualms with each character she portrays.
In Viral Scandal, Charlie plays Rica “Ikay” Sicat—the eldest daughter of the Sicats, who are played by Dimples Romana and Miko Raval. Ikay is an architect’s apprentice whose controversial video goes viral. “Sobrang complex nu’ng character,” Charlie says. “Complex din kasi ’yung buhay niya talaga.”
As the eldest child with an OFW parent, Rica’s been expected to fill the role of mother-figure at a young age. Charlie also describes her to be “outspoken” and “liberal-minded,” and will fight for what she believes in, for as long as she knows she is in the right and that she is supported by her loved ones.
The teleserye is fitting for this day and age, as the digital age shows no end in sight. Viral Scandal is poised to tackle subject matters like women empowerment, the dangers of social media, mental health issues, and politics, and is something that is very close to Charlie’s heart.
“Sobrang meaningful nito sa ‘kin,” Charlie tells Metro.Style. “Kasi iba eh. Iba ’tong pinagdadaanan ko ulit ngayon... Kaya siya very meaningful sa’kin kasi gusto ko ’tong maging tribute talaga para sa mga taong may pinagdadaanan na ganito. Kasi, ma-ta-tackle talaga dito ’yung mental health issues, ’yung social issues, and I’m sure ang dami pong makaka-relate talaga, hindi lang ’yung mga artista; lalo na ’yung mga normal [na tao] talaga na naba-bash and ’yung wala silang voice na makapagsalita, lalo na kapag powerful na ’yung naglabas.”
Moving forward, Charlie’s got her sights set on other genres: horror, perhaps, or action. But Charlie’s biggest dream is to star in a romantic comedy—which, by the way, audiences can get a taste of in Viral Scandal. “Pangarap ko talaga, rom-com K-drama, ganu’n. As in, sobrang dream ko talaga mag-K-drama type,” Charlie reveals.
Of course—I had to ask her: Who’s your dream leading man, if ever?
“Park Seo-joon,” Charlie says, without skipping a beat.
Watch the trailer of Viral Scandal below:
Catch Charlie and the rest of the cast of Viral Scandal tomorrow, November 15, when it premieres on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z at 9:20 PM.
Lead photo from @charliedizon_