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‘Artista Academy’ alumni Malak, Marvelous look forward to a big 2013

Malak So Shdifat and Marvelous Alejo. (Photo of Marvelous by Analy Labor/InterAksyon)

Sophie Albert and Vin Abrenica, the proud winners of the first season of “Artista Academy”, are not the only ones looking forward to making a major impact this 2013.

Their equally talented batchmates who have developed their own following are also poised to make their mark in the Year of the Snake. In fact, Marvelous Alejo and Malak So Shdifat, two of the more free-spirited “AA” alumni who are known to march to the beat of their drums, are already doing it on their own terms.

It can be recalled that Marvelous was one of the early frontrunners in the show dubbed as the country’s biggest and most intensive talent search. The versatile 16-year-old Veterinary Medicine major topped the competition’s Live Exams on at least two occasions. But health issues eventually took its toll on Marvelous and she eventually got “kicked out” of school in the latter rounds.

That, of course, did not prevent Marvelous to jumpstart her career even before the Grand Finals night. Although not without her share of controversies such as being caught on camera being kissed by fellow AA alum Alberto Bruno, being accused of faking her “illness” and rumored to be wearing a P50,000 gown in a public function, Marvelous actually managed to do well for herself last year and has two major projects to show for it.

One is the ninja-themed independent TV series, “Shi no Kage” directed by Julius Roden. The other is “Ang Mangkukulob”, an independent horror film directed by award-winning animator Ron Sapinoso, which premiered just last October.

“Tuwang-tuwa ako kasi punong-puno yung premiere namin at sobrang ganda nung movie nung napanood ko. Sana magkaroon ng chance na mapalabas ulit para mapanood pa ng marami,” she told InterAksyon in a recent interview.

This year, Marvelous said she hopes to complete her debut album for PolyEast Records which was partly made possible with the help of the equally controversial lawyer Ferdinand Topacio.

Her association with TV5 is also far from over as she recently got good feedback for her guest performance in a Christmas episode of “Pidol’s Wonderland”. Later in the year, she’ll be included in the cast of “Akinel”, another upcoming romantic teleserye starring “AA” runners-up Chanel Morales and Akihiro Blanco.

“After ‘AA’ there was really no time to rest for all of us. Nasabak agad kaming lahat sa work and natutuwa naman ako at may projects agad sa TV5,” she said.

Like Marvelous, 2012 has also been a bittersweet year for Malak, the “AA” finalist who admits to being disheartened for not making the Final 6. Often compared to Katrina Halili, Malak is not exactly new to controversies herself.

Even before “AA” began, Malak had already been raising eyebrows as wags made much ado about the fact that she was living with her boyfriend after running away from her aunt who, up until then, had been her guardian.

Malak clarified to InterAksyon back then that while she and her boyfriend (yes, they’re still together) were living under one roof, she actually sleeps in his mother’s room. She now lives in her own condominium unit.

The 20-year old Fil-Jordanian beauty recently appeared on TV5’s “Enchanted Garden” as the evil stepsister of Eula Caballero.

This year, the 20-year old Masscomm Advertising major is expected to be a more prominent presence in Vin and Sophie’s new romantic drama, “Never Say Goodbye” slated to premiere this coming January 28.

“I play a woman who is so obsessed with Vin here. Nagtata-trabaho ako sa isang men’s club at girlfriend ako ni Edgar Allan Guzman na obsessed naman kay Sophie. Kami ‘yung magpapagulo sa buhay nila dito,” Malak told InterAksyon during the recent story conference for the series.

Malak said that while she’s a bit wary that she is being given ‘kontrabida’ roles this early, she finds her role in the upcoming teleserye very “challenging”.

No less than TV5 Talent Center head and “Never Say Goodbye” Mac Alejandre is impressed with Malak in this project.

“Ibang Malak ang makikita n’yo rito. That’s why I included her and the other ‘AA’ graduates in this series. Ganun kataas ang confidence ko sa kanila,” the director enthused.

For her part, Malak said it’s also important to be physically prepared for the role. “Kailangan ibang level ng sexiness ang ipakita ko dito,” she said with a laugh.

Speaking of sexiness, the actress revealed that some friends are already urging her to pose for men’s magazines like FHM if she ever gets offered. Asked about the prospects of appearing in sexy films, which seems to be enjoying a renaissance of sorts as of late, Malak said now may not be the time for it just yet.

“First, I want to establish myself as a really good actress. I still have a lot to learn and hopefully, the workshops can help me in that aspect. But aside from sexy roles, what I really want to do is action sana, ‘yun bang sexy spy or CIA agent. That would be great.”