Even before he auditioned for the talent search series “Pinoy Boyband Superstar” last year, actor-singer Tony Labrusca was already a familiar face.
The guy was already known for breaking the heart of fellow reality show contestant and young actress Elisse Joson in that “Tuloy Pa Rin” commercial of McDonald’s last year.
“Kaya Niya, Kaya Mo,” the third commercial in the series and the second to feature Tony and Elisse, now shows Tony recalling the breakup and feeling a tinge of regret upon seeing that Elisse has moved on with another guy, played by McCoy de Leon.
To date, “Kaya Niya, Kaya Mo,” has garnered close to six million views on YouTube since it debuted late last March.
In an interview with InterAksyon, the 21-year-old balikbayan from Canada admitted feeling a bit of pressure with the publicity garnered through the campaign and by the popularity of the MacLisse (Macoy-Elisse) loveteam.
“Of course I felt so much pressure, I know MacLisse already has such a huge following. Magugustuhan ba ako ng tao as the heartbreaker for MacLisse? Maa-appreciate ba nila yung take ko as the heartbreaker and the guy who would be heartbroken. So I felt a lot of pressure filling the shoes that needed to be filled for this commercial,” he said.
Tony says he can relate to the character he portrayed, but not in the way most people would think. He claims that he hasn’t been in a situation where he broke someone’s heart and regretted it.
“A heartbreaker, I would say, no. But to be the heartbroken, I think I have. I mean everybody has their own experiences of heartbreak, so in terms of doing this commercial, I definitely made sure that it was coming from me and my experiences.”
As for having his heart broken which, in his case, might have included his bridesmaid finish in “Pinoy Boyband Superstar” as one of only two finalists who failed to make it the final cut, Tony shares how he handles it.
“It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to break down. It’s okay to be heartbroken, it’s really okay. It’s about taking the steps forward, taking the tiniest steps, the baby steps, and doing whatever it takes to get from point A to point B to point C, to finally getting better.”
“Whenever I’m heartbroken or when I feel really sad about things, I let myself feel sad. I let myself go through all of the motions without doing anything that would hurt me or the people around me. Because I know a lot of people, when they’re heartbroken, they don’t know how to express it in an appropriate way because it hurts so bad. I think for me I just want to go through the motions to know that it’s okay, although it’s not okay, without hurting anybody or hurting myself.”
Tony returned to the Philippines only nine months ago and within that short period was able to establish a following via the commercials and that boyband search. Prior to returning to the Philippines, he had tackled a variety of jobs overseas, from fashion and retail work to cutting hair as a barber.
“My first job was flipping burgers at McDonald’s in Canada,” he admits.
Coming home to the Philippines has opened so many doors for him. He has landed quite a few endorsement deals; apart from the McDonald’s commercials, he is also the newest celebrity endorser of SM Milanos, along with his brother James Ryan. He will also be appearing in teleseryes this summer, details of which he cannot disclose at the moment.
Seeing Tony in the limelight doesn’t come as such a surprise. Showbiz is in his blood, after all. Tony is the son of character actor Boom Labrusca and Angel Jones, member of the ‘90s hip-hop soul group Kulay. He recalls growing in an environment where music and singing was a part of daily life.
While joining Pinoy showbiz wasn’t part of a grand plan, Tony confesses that like his parents, he has a natural love for the performing arts and he wants to pursue a career in this field.
“I just want to meet people, perform, act, sing, travel and have fun. For this chapter in my life, this is what I want to do. It’s not what I intended but I’m here, I’m ready, I’m ready to ride my wave,” he said in conclusion.