Career advice from Ai Ai

Ai-Ai delas Alas knows a thing or two about what makes a star. Not only does she belong to the traditional, old-fashioned way of creating stars, the comedy maven is the very embodiment of an unlikely star.

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Who would have thought that the homely comedienne who had made the rounds of comedy bars and played everything from bit parts to cameos would go on to star in the biggest hit of 2003, “Ang Tanging Ina?” Some 15 years after her breakout role, Delas Alas is still with us. She continues to tickle funny bones, and from time to time, she does gritty indie projects to prove that there is another side to her than merely throwing punchlines.

“I believe stardom is a gift from God. It is up to you what you would do with the gift but it is best if you nourish it, nurture it. There are so many factors that contribute to being a star. Talent is just one of them. Humility, smarts, dealing with other people, a fair amount of luck. And one should keep innovating, reinventing. You cannot be stuck in one image forever. The turn-over of stars is so fast that you’d be left behind if you’re not able to catch up.”

The manner by which stars are discovered has also changed drastically. Reality competitions have proved to be more than just a fad. It remains a popular way to search for potential stars while the whole country is watching.

This is perhaps why GMA-7 is launching new reality singing search “The Clash” on July 7 and every Saturday and Sunday night thereafter.

Unlike other TV singing competitions, the 62 shortlisted “clashers” will battle it out one-on-one until the finale in September.
Delas Alas is the only non-singer in the jury, the other two being Lani Misalucha and Christian Bautista. Regine Velasquez is the host of “The Clash.”

“Lani, Regine, and I have more time to bond while we’re working on ‘The Clash.’ We’d take our meals together, talk about all sorts of topics," the comedy actress said.

For someone who seems so alive and oft-times irreverent on stage, Ai-Ai said she is easily overcome with nervousness. “If I were just starting out, I would not join a reality search because I'd get nervous. Even when I play badminton, I often wonder why I lose when I know that I am not exactly a lousy player.”

Of late, Delas Alas had branched out into talent management. Her first ward is the rap group Ex-Battalion. She is about to launch another group that she plans to shroud in mystery. “You will see them perform, but you’ll never know about their personal lives.”

The budding manager lamented one of the ill effects of social media taking over our lives ---- mystery has become extinct. “There is little mystery now. The tendency is that when fans get tired of an artist, they would just move on to the next one.”

To this day, even when she can afford to be a bit complacent, Ai-Ai delas Alas takes her craft seriously. In fact, she still oversees the outrageous costumes she would wear to events and shows. “That is one lesson we can also apply in real life. You should never tire of working on your craft, because someone better, more talented, more ferocious will always come along, ready to take over your spot.” (With report from Arnel Ramos)