EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: First-timer Pinay contestant wins 2020 WCOPA Grand Champion Vocalist of the World

Mary Ashley Entrina (Instagram)

A 16-year-old Filipina and aspiring artist named Mary Ashley Entrina is this year's Grand Champion Vocalist in the World for Senior division at the recently concluded Olympic-style talent event, World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA).

In an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment, the young star from Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte was still on a high over her achievement.

Mary said she did not expect to win because it's her first time to join a singing contest. More, many of the other WCOPA artists are already professional artists from all over the world. 

"So I am thankful to God and to all my supporters who encourage me," she said.

Asked to give details on how her passion for music started, Mary said it started at 10 years old. Back then, though, she only knew how to play musical instruments, specifically drums, guitar, and bass guitar. Three years later, one of her teachers discovered her singing ability. 

This year, the decades-long tournament was mounted virtually due to the pandemic. Participants have had to send videos showcasing their talent. 

The judges included persons from the entertainment industry including agents, managers, casting directors, record label reps.

In a separate interview, WCOPA Team Philippines National Director Gerry Mercado said the Philippines had 76 representatives this year and they came from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

The WCOPA Virtual Competition was participated in by over 60 countries. There were approximately 2,500 entries from all over the world of which 155 were entries coming from the Philippines.

Out of 155, 126 made it to the semi-finals, 41 from the juniors and 85 from the seniors. Overall, the Philippines garnered 156 awards or broken down to 19 gold medals, 91 silver medals and 43 bronze medals.

The Philippines also had two entries that made it to the grand finals. Aside from Mary, Daniella Fernandez from Binan, Laguna was a grand finalist for the Senior Female Model.  

He shared the Philippines also won in the “Best National Costume” among 60 plus countries, the best “Individual National Costume” by the judges; and best “Individual National Costume” with the most likes with over 13,000 reactions, over 16,000 comments and over 1,300 shares over a period of 3 days.

Gerry revealed the Philippine representatives to the WCOPA Virtual 2020 will also participate in the WCOPA 2021 live event in July 2021 to be held in Anaheim, California, USA. 

He noted the participants were screened and passed through WCOPA Philippines’ selection process held from September through November last year. 

“Some of the Philippine delegates were already contacted by record producers and talent scouts in the US,” he said.

“Mary already received an invitation from Jeffrey Weber, owner of Weberworks Entertainment Group in California who’s into music production and music supervision. Mary was also invited to sing in the WCOPA 2021 live event.

“All certificates and awards are forthcoming and our delegates can already use this to bolster their standing in the entertainment industry,” Gerry said.

He reiterated that WCOPA does not promise fame or fortune to the contestants.

“WCOPA is a journey, not a destiny. It will arm you with recognition and knowledge in your passion, the performing arts. You will also be given the opportunity to represent our country and our people, giving a good name to the Filipino all over the world. Uplifting the Filipino brand through the performing arts.”

Since 2005, the year a Filipino won at WCOPA through Jed Madela, the country has produced other Grand Champions who are now celebrities in their own right. They include Rhap Salazar, 4th Impact, Junior New System (“America’s Got Talent”) and child actor Nhikzy Calma. 

“WCOPA is dubbed as the only Talent Olympics in the world, (celebrating 25 years next year). We make sure that the Philippines is represented every year (since 2005) by our local champions in every region of our country…  champions in the various categories of the performing arts. Vocals, Dance, Acting, Intrumentals, Modeling, Variety Arts etc.

“WCOPA Philippines believes that the best way to promote the country to the world is to show how beautiful and talented the Filipino people are. That this is a fact, not a myth,” he said.