Coming out in her own style

Coming out in her own style

No 18 roses, no 18 candles, no cotillion. None of such traditional practices when a girl spends her debut, her “coming out” as an adult.

Star Magic member Andrea Brillantes turned 18 yesterday (March 12) and, as she told Funfare in an interview the day before, “I’m not having a grand party. I’m not used to celebrating my birthday with a party. I feel awkward being greeted by many guests singing ‘Happy Birthday’ as I enter the room. Di ako sanay sa ganoon. Besides, I don’t have that many friends na puedeng mag-offer ng 18 roses. Hindi ko talaga pinangarap magkaroon ng traditional debut. As I grew up, every time my birthday would come around, I always have taping.”

Pink ball gown with puffed sleeves by Patricia Santos

Which is just as well considering the restrictions during these perilous times.

Instead, is featuring Andrea in 18 gowns designed by 18 couturiers that include Michael Leyva, Mak Tumang, Francis Libiran, Mark Bumgarner, Vania Romoff, Patty Ang, Joe San Antonio, Debbie Co, Patricia Santos, Steph Tan and Erika dela Cruz, plus pieces from H&M x Simone Rocha collection.

Neon green feathered short dress by Patty Ang

Initially, Andrea wanted to spend her special day in Hawaii but had to scrap it due to the pandemic. Plan B was to go to Siargao, preferably by her lonesome.

“Something like an independent adventure,” she said, “just myself. I don’t want people who are boring.”

Green dress with floral top by Mark Bumgarner

She ended up celebrating with her family…at home.

Now that she’s 18, will she start being responsible?

“Sa totoo lang po,” she qualified, “I have been responsible since I was 10. That was the time when I started being the breadwinner in my family.”

The youngest among four children, Andrea said she grew up in her lola’s care until she was five years old.

“At first, I thought my lola was my mom. I stayed with her in her home in Sikatuna, Quezon City, and then I moved to my parents’ home in Taytay, Rizal. That was where I and my siblings learned the neighborhood games.”

It was her parents who accompanied her to auditions.

“Dami n’un!” exclaimed Andrea. “Pumipila kami. Talaga pinag-tiyagaan namin.”

Their efforts paid off. She was taken in as “extra” in ABS-CBN shows, became a regular cast member of Goin’ Bulilit (the “alma mater” of now big stars like Kathryn Bernardo, et al) and eventually bagged bigger roles as she grew up under the klieg lights.

“I started earning and helping in the family expenses,” said Andrea, now a prized property of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic helmed by a new captain, the well-loved Laurenti Dyogi.

At 18, Andrea expects to assume more responsibilities.

“Up to now, it’s my mom who takes care of paying the bills. I just give her the money. I didn’t want to know kung magkano ang babayaran because that could add pressure to me. Mataas ba ang babayaran sa kuryente? Ayokong malaman; bahala na si Mama. But Mama will not always be around, so I have to learn how to budget my money. Up to now, I don’t want to handle money kasi ang daling maubos. No, I am not a ‘buy dito, buy doon’ type of person. Kuripot nga po ako, eh!”

Will she learn to live alone, too?

“Before, I used to say that I want to live alone in my own apartment. Not anymore. You know what, I can’t even sleep alone. I sleep in one room with my siblings. We have a bunk bed in our room.”

She’s old enough to have a boyfriend, isn’t she?

“Not yet,” Andrea protested. “Puede na, why not? Ask n’yo muna ang Mama ko kung puede na, hahaha!!! But what I want is to have a car bago mag-boyfriend.”

As of now, she’s happy with Seth Fedelin, her loveteam-mate. They’re together in the Kapamilya series Huwag Kang Mangamba (theme song is by Louie Heredia) in which she plays Mira, a blind girl whose faith is so strong that she is able to strengthen that of other people.

“I’m happy with Seth. Maayos ang relasyon namin. He’s a good friend, always there for me.”

If and when, what kind of guy would win her heart?

“Wala akong gusto,” Andrea said it better in Tagalog. “Mas marami akong ayaw. Ayoko ng mayabang, ayoko ng tamad, ayoko ng suplado, ayoko ng mahina…may pagka-boyish ako at malakas ang character ko…ayoko ng mas lalaki pa ako sa kanya at ayoko ng hindi ma-effort kasi ma-effort ako.”

And what does she want?

“Someone who knows how to respect women, someone from whom I can learn during conversations, someone who seems to be a bad boy but with a good heart, ‘yung guy na masasakyan ang mga kalokohan ko.”

There you are, guys! The queue forms to the right.

(E-mail reactions at For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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