Fame didn’t even cross the mind of then 14-year-old Jessy Mendiola when she joined Star Magic’s workshop back in 2007 together with her older sister.
But it seems it was her destiny to become Philippine television’s next big star because out of the many aspiring, young talents in her batch, she was the only one who caught the eye of star maker Mr. Johnny Manahan.
“I can still remember Mr. M asking me ‘Gusto mo bang mag-artista?’ The clueless me back then answered, ‘Is it okay if pag-isipan ko po muna? Can you give me three days?’” Jessy recounted.
She did think about it for three days and after discussing the matter with her mom and siblings, Jessy signed up with Star Magic, the country’s most prestigious artist management arm. But she did not say “yes” to Mr. M’s offer because she wanted to be an actress, but rather because she felt the need to be the family’s breadwinner.
“Life wasn’t easy for us especially before I entered showbiz. I grew up without a dad and it’s only my mom who’s working to support our needs. I’ve experienced very tough times. I have experienced not having much. I even experienced eating instant noodles for dinner for many days,” she shared.
Jessy was born in Dubai to a British-Lebanese dad and a Filipina mom. She moved to the Philippines when her mom decided to start anew here. Jessy lived a life apart from her dad and grew up seeing her mom as both a mom and a dad to her and her two siblings.
“My mom has been working hard all her life. That’s why it was very easy for me to take a stand and unburden her of the responsibility of providing for our family,” she explained.
From being a simple high school student, Jessy’s life turned 360-degrees when she entered show business and began acting on television. Like any other rising star, she went through a series of workshops and did minor roles on various ABS-CBN programs. She waited long hours on the set, with only minimal speaking lines. Slowly, the reluctant star began to embrace her newfound passion, acting.
“I have learned to love the craft and it motivated me to do better. I am working not only to provide for my family, but because I have actually started to enjoy acting. I realized that I really want to become a good actress,” Jessy revealed.
She waited patiently for her career to blossom until she finally got her big break. In 2010, she was launched in her first title role as “Sabel,” a show that marked the beginning of her reign as ABS-CBN’s next teleserye princess. Her popularity and premium as an actress were bolstered after she did the television series “Budoy” and afternoon soap “Precious Hearts Romances Presents Paraiso” and starred in her first movie “The Reunion.”
Now tagged as one of Philippine television’s prettiest faces, Jessy has become one of the country’s fast-rising cover girls after being featured on the covers of top glossy magazines such as Metro, Chalk, Men’s Health, Meg and Preview. She has also proven to be a sought-after product endorser after brands Head and Shoulders, Myra E, Boardwalk, Bench and McDonalds tapped her to be their image model.
Bigger things await Jessy this year as she is set to reprise the role of Maria Mercedes played by Mexican superstar Thalia back in the 90s.
“This is really one of my dream roles. I grew up watching Maria Mercedes and I still can’t believe that I will actually become the Pinay version of this character loved by many Filipinos,” she said.
Just recently, Star Cinema also announced that Jessy is set to do a movie with John Lloyd Cruz, Richard Gomez, and Dawn Zulueta.