Shows & Happenings

Hottie Alert: JC Alcantara—Tony Labrusca's New Screen Bae & LGBTQIA+ Ally

Hottie Alert: JC Alcantara—Tony Labrusca's New Screen Bae & LGBTQIA+ Ally

With the rising popularity of the Boys Love or BL series among Filipino fans (sparked mostly by the appeal of the recent Thai series 2gether), it’s no surprise more and more productions are coming out with their own local versions.

Black Sheep, for one, just launched its first digital series Hello Stranger. Directed by Petersen Vargas, the online show has honor student Mico (played by JC Alcantara) unexpectedly getting paired up for a class project with varsity athlete Xavier (Tony Labrusca). Unlike Tony who has played sexually fluid roles in past projects like Double Twisting Double Back and Love Lockdown, former commercial model-turned-actor JC counts Hello Stranger as the biggest break in his young career.

[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Presents: Dee Dee Marie Holliday On 'Painful' Coming Out Journey]

JC, 19, originally hails from Batangas. He admits he had actually turned down BL projects in the past until Hello Stranger came along.

Ito ang pinakauna kong nagawa na naka-love team ko ay same gender. Medyo naninibago rin ako pero nung binigay sa akin itong role na to, nung inaral ko sya nalaman ko sobrang rom-com talaga sya na na-in love ako sa isang kagaya ko. Kaya sobrang nakaka-excite rin para sa akin na gumanap ako ng ganitong role bilang actor,” he gushes.

JC got his first break after starring in a commercial that went viral, after which ABS-CBN’s bosses gave him the role of Bogs in the 2018 drama series Halik. He has moved on to flex his acting chops in episodes of shows like Maalala Mo Kaya and Ipaglaban Mo. WIth Hello Stranger, he might just be setting himself up for something bigger.

More than being nervous about his audition for the movie, however, JC admits he got more intimidated after finding out his co-star's identity.

Nung nag-audition ako, hindi ko alam kung ang in-audition ko ay para sa BL series. Kaya nagulat ako nugn sinabi sa akin na magiging ka-love team ko si Tony Labrusca. Alam naman natin na si Tony ay galing sa Glorious. Natakot ako. Alam mo yung feeling na si Tony Labrusca—mga daring scene na laplap scenes? Ganun yung naisip ko sa sarili ko! Pero nung nabasa ko yung script at kinausap naman ako ung director ng Black Sheep na ganito pala yung role ko, gumaan yung pakiramdam ko. Nakaka-proud makatrabaho si Tony. Excited ako! Sana magustuhan nila kami,” he enthuses.

[related: Hot Stuff: BrightWin, Thai 'BL' Stars Part Of World's Biggest Virtual Meet-And-Greet]

Beyond the juicy script, JC also shares why his heart has always been very close to the LGBTQIA+ community.

May lesbian ako na tita, may mga friends din ako na bisexual at gay. Para sa akin, kung mahal mo ang isang tao, siguro puwede mo naman sabihin pero in a way na di ba nga love is love? Kumbaga kapag na-in love ka sa same gender mo, mahirap din mag open up, eh. Mahirapan rin sila. Walang masama sa pagiging bisexual or gay, kung ano man yung gender preference mo, as long as wala kang tinatapakang tao, nagpapasaya ka ng tao, at nagmamahal ka ng totoo. Ipakita mo sa tao na ganun ka talga. Maging proud ka sa sarili mo,” he declares.

Beyond just Pride Month, JC hopes people can learn to be more accepting and loving of each other—no matter the orientation.

Sana someday tanggapin na sila ng society natin. Sana hindi na sila i-discriminate ng mga tao. Happy ako na may BL series na dito sa Pilipinas na makakatulong sa kanila na hindi na sila matakot. The show’s message is love is love. Marami kayong matututunan dito sa series na ito,” he adds.

Suffice to say, he admits also learning more about the broad LGBTQIA+ spectrum while doing the project.

Sana magustuhan nyo kasi inaral ko talaga ito para maging effective na actor at mailabas ko kung sino ba talaga si Nico at ma-inspire lahat ng tao na mahalin kaming lahat dito. Sana makita nila ang positive dito. Syempre merong ding pagko-compare sa ibang mga gumawa ng BL series sa atin pero positive yung tinitingnan namin na outcome,” he says.

[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks: Tony Labrusca Re-Enacts These Iconic Movie Lines!]

JC remains thankful for his latest project, as it helped alleviate his cabin fever. Like many singles, he spent the quarantine period alone in his condo with the rest of his family in the province.

Nagka-depression ako nitong lockdown. Sobrang daming problema na pumasok sa akin. Naaksidente ako before the lockdown so hindi ko alam kung saan ako kukuha ng pera pang-ayos ko nun. Nag-da-drive kasi ako tapos nabangga ako. Yung car ko kasi, walang insurance. Sobrang hirap sa akin. Yung nanginginig ako, tulala ako sa kung bakit nangyari sa akin ito," he breathes out.

"Sobrang malas ng 2020 ko. Parang sobrang hirap ng pinagdadaanan ko nun and wala, wala akong kasama, wala akong family dito. Sobrang nakakalungkot na ganito yung pinagdadaanan ko. Pero I keep in touch din naman sa family ko, na kung okay ba sila. Palagi kong kinakausap nanay ko. Buti na lang sobrang thankful ko dito sa Black Sheep na binigyan nila ako ng chance.”

ALSO READ: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks: 'Love Thy Woman' Cast On Biggest Relationship Learnings

Photos taken from JC Alcantara's Instagram

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