Lockdown stars: 10 personalities who found fame during the pandemic

MANILA — While most of us struggled just to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are also those who made the most of the lockdown and made major strides in showbiz.

Indeed, the lockdown didn't stop these 10 individuals from showing off what they got (in alphabetical order).

JC ALCANTARA

JC Alcantara got his big break in show business during the lockdown when he was cast as Mico Ramos in the boys' love (BL) online series "Hello Stranger" opposite Tony Labrusca.

Prior to pursuing an acting career, Alcantara was a commercial model. He was discovered by ABS-CBN executives Ruel Bayani and Laurenti "Lauren" Dyogi after he was featured in a viral TV commercial for a fast food restaurant.

In August 2020, Alcantara became part of Rise Artist Studio, the talent management arm of ABS-CBN Films.

With the success of the BL series, Alcantara, who had been dubbed "Quarantine Star," once again played Mico Ramos in "Hello Stranger The Movie," which was released last month.

JM BALES

Photo from JM Bales' Instagram account

After his stint on Tawag ng Tanghalan in “It’s Showtime,” singer JM Bales marked his name in the music industry during the pandemic season as his “Magandang Dilag” trended on social media and other digital music platforms.

Bales, who was a contender in the noontime show’s singing competition back in 2018, recorded the viral song for the swimsuit competition of the first-ever Miss Universe Philippines last year.

Due to its fun and upbeat music, “Magandang Dilag” easily captured the netizens’ attention and made it a viral TikTok challenge.

Bales also put up a song last year which he co-wrote with her sister, titled “My Everything.”

KOKOY DE SANTOS

Kokoy de Santos got his big break in acting when he was cast in the film "Fuccbois," an official entry to 15th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, but it was his starring turn in boys' love (BL) web series "Gameboys" that made him into a bona fide star.

After "Gameboys," de Santos followed this up with another BL digital series "Oh, Mando!" which was produced by Dreamscape Entertainment and was released on iWantTFC last November.

Early this year, he also ventured into music with the release of his single "Lagi-Lagi."

He will also be seen in the second season of "Gameboys."

CHARLIE DIZON

Charlie Dizon has appeared in a number of projects in the past but she became a household name after she won the best actress award at the 2020 Metro Manila Film Festival for her performance in the movie “Fan Girl.”

Before her acclaimed portrayal in the Antoinette Jadaone-directed movie, Dizon was also seen in the Star Cinema film “Four Sisters Before the Wedding” as the young Teddie.

With those two movies to thank, Dizon’s rise to stardom has become unstoppable.

After “Fan Girl,” she appeared in “Virgo,” an episode in the iWant TFC original anthology “Horrorscope.” She was also cast in the upcoming ABS-CBN series “Viral,” where she portrays a woman who falls victim to a sex scandal.

Moreover, Dizon was tapped to play the title role of “My Sunset Girl” just last month, marking her second concurrent lead role in a major project. An upcoming iWant TFC title co-produced by Dreamscape Entertainment, it is not yet clear whether “My Sunset Girl” is a film or a series.

DJ LOONYO

DJ Loonyo's Instagram account

From a dance cover for the frontliners to a recording contract.

Online sensation DJ Loonyo found his way into the entertainment industry, thanks to his viral dance cover of “Fight Song,” which was dedicated to the frontliners during the start of the lockdown in the Philippines last year.

DJ Loonyo, whose real name is Rhemuel Lunio, captured the attention of many social media users in the country which eventually opened doors of opportunities to him, especially in showbiz.

He continued to be a talk of the town when he collaborated with actress and YouTube star Ivan Alawi for a vlog which sparked “LooVana” loveteam.

The viral TikToker has also released his single, titled “Teka Muna” before recently signing a contract with Universal Records as part of its roster.

MACOY DUBS

Macoy Dubs, whose real name is Mark “Macoy” Averilla, gained newfound fame for his portrayal of Aunt Julie, a character on Facebook and TikTok inspired by the way his mother catches up with her friends.

Before taking on this persona, Averilla was a creator of Tagalog-dubbed clips of movies such as "Mean Girls" and "The Devil Wears Prada."

While he continues to thrive on social media, the online star still dreams of working on television someday.

RABIYA MATEO

Most Filipinos first heard of Rabiya Mateo in October last year after she was named the winner of the inaugural Miss Universe Philippines pageant.

The 23-year-old represented Iloilo City in the competition where she bested 45 other candidates representing cities and provinces nationwide.

A lecturer by profession, Mateo’s main advocacy is education because her studies is what “helped me to have that comfortable life that I and my family deserve.”

Currently, Mateo is gearing up for the international Miss Universe pageant in the United States where she will represent the country.

EZ MIL

Ez Mil is a US-based Filipino rapper who shot to fame thanks to his viral performance of his song “Panalo” on the Wish bus.

His popularity, however, also drew controversy, as history groups, including the National Historical Commission, criticized a portion of his lyrics erroneously mentioning that national hero Lapu-Lapu was beheaded.

Beyond “Panalo,” Ez Mil has created other works, notably the much-awaited music video “Kultura,” a collaboration with another Pinoy rapper songwriter PJ Segovia (aka HBOM).

Currently, the Olongapo-born rapper is gearing up for a virtual concert which will be held on April 18, Manila time, via the livestreaming platform KTX.ph.

MISS EVERYTHING

Photo from Miss Everything's Instagram account

From TikTok to vlogging.

Ericka Camata, also known as Miss Everything, is now taking her funny videos to a wider audience with her YouTube channel.

Miss Everything rose to fame amid the pandemic for doing TikTok dances, which already have millions of views, before appearing on various television and online shows.

Right now, the viral star is also busy doing content on her YouTube account which has close to 900,000 subscribers, as of writing.

Her trending song cover of “2002” has also reached its original singer Anne-Marie, who reacted to it several times. She even looked forward to a possible collaboration with the internet sensation.

MICHAEL PACQUIAO

Michael Pacquaio, the second son of senator and boxing champion Manny and Jinkee Pacquiao, took social media by storm in July 2020 after he wowed netizens with his rapping skills.

The 19-year-old made headlines again after he performed his song "Hate" live on the Wish 107.5 bus. As of writing, the video of his performance has been viewed almost 15 million times.

In previous interview, the young Pacquiao said he intends to seriously pursue a career in music.

Just last month, he released his new single "Ba't Ganun Nalang," and on Sunday, made a trending appearance on the Sunday noontime show "ASAP Natin 'To."

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