Photography: Raymond Cauilan
Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) is known not only as “Teleserye ng Totoong Buhay”—putting together the most random people to rediscover things about themselves and about their other “housemates”—but it has also become a gateway to showbiz (and sometimes, a new adventure for those are already part of the entertainment industry).
The local franchise of the Dutch reality TV show, Big Brother, has also become the breeding ground for new love teams that have very strong following—which oftentimes turn from reel to real.
One of those love teams is McLisse—the ‘ship (or relationship) name of housemates McCoy de Leon and Elisse Joson. Fans first ‘shipped’ (as millennials call it) the pair when they were housemates in PBB Lucky Season 7, which aired in 2016.
McCoy and Elisse’s chemistry and combined charms have since inspired acting projects and generated more fans.
McCoy played the role of Inigo in Be Careful With My Heart. Screengrabbed from YouTube (JANELLAstersOfficial).
But did you know that McCoy and Elisse didn’t meet for the first time in PBB? The stars of the rom-com, Sakaling Maging Tayo, reveal to StarStudio.ph in separate interviews how and where their initial meeting happened.
McCoy says it was during a promotional show for the daytime soap, Be Careful with My Heart, where he played his first-ever TV role. The show was held in Bataan, which happens to be Elisse’s home province.
In an Instagram post, McCoy wrote: “We all start as strangers” September 9 2013 ??Happy Birthday to you” Photo from Instagram (@hashtag_mccoydl).
He takes us back to the time when he participated in the promo show in 2013.
“Isang show to, e, ’tapos ’pinakilala lang ako: ‘Ito nga pala si Elisse, taga-dito siya,” he recalls. “Kasi kinuha po ako para mag-show. ’Tapos naging part din siya ng show ng Be Careful pala, ’tapos ’yun, sa isang stage, kinuha ko siya as partner na din, [habang] kumakanta ako. Kadalasan mga audience ’yung mga kinukuha ko pero ayun, siya ’yung kinuha ko.”
McCoy adds that he later learned that he and Elisse have common friends, including actor Jerome Ponce, who played one of the lead roles in Be Careful with My Heart.
Elisse plays the role of Cheska in Be Careful with My Heart. Screengrabbed from YouTube (Elisse Joson).
Elisse, on the other hand, says that the promo show wasn’t actually their first meeting but rather their first close encounter.
“Actually, wrong siya,” she laughs. “Siyempre magkakilala na kami noon. Pero ang una naming meeting ay ’yung sa taping ng Be Careful with My Heart. Pero ’yung naaalalang memory namin is that time, ’yung show nga. Actually, show siya ni Ate Maja [Salvador] sa Bataan, parang provincial tour ’tapos isa siya sa mga guests. Ando’n lang ako, since I’m from Bataan, ando’n lang ako to, like, watch it. And also, part din ako ng Be Careful, parang pino-promote din.”
A McLisse sweet moment inside the PBB House. Photo from ABS-CBN PBB.
“Masungit” was McCoy’s first impression of Elisse, but after getting to know her more, he found her to be “sweet pala and enjoy kasama.”
He recalls that he felt comfortable upon seeing her familiar face inside the PBB House. “Unang kita ko sa kanya, nakita ko agad ’yung mga kaibigan ko, ‘Uy, si Elisse ’to, ’yung friend din nila Jerome saka ni Jon, ganyan,” he says, referring to their Be Careful with My Heart castmates, Jerome Ponce and Jon Lucas.
A still from PBB Lucky Season 7 with McLisse. Photo from ABS-CBN PBB.
That comforting feeling was also sensed by Elisse. She tells us now that it was nice to know someone in the PBB House. She adds that her first impression of McCoy was that of a guy full of secrets.
“May look siya na parang there’s so much …” she says, trying to find the right words. “Parang di mo alam kung ano bang klaseng tao ’to, gano’n.” Three years after their PBB stint, Elisse sees McCoy in the same way. “Actually, tama naman. Ma-keep siya sa sarili niya. Reserved. He doesn’t share his feelings often. Ganyan.”
A photo taken during the PBB Lucky Season 7 housemates’ shoot. Photo from ABS-CBN PBB.
When asked about how their romance blossomed and who admitted to have feelings first, McCoy is quick on the draw.
“Ako, siyempre bilang guy,” he says. “Pangit naman kung babae, bihira lang ’yung mga gano’n.” McCoy laughs with kilig, as he recalls initiating their communication via text messaging.
“’Tapos ‘yun, sinabi ko—na may gusto ako sa kanya.”
With that confirmation from McCoy, it’s no small wonder then that he and Elisse worked so well as a love team.
They weren’t acting like they had special feelings for each other, because they actually liked each other. That’s why, they were so effective in their lovey-dovey roles in their post-PBB projects, such as FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano and The Good Son.
Those times, Elisse recalls, were “pa-cute muna” as their off-screen pairing was just starting.
On Instagram, Elisse wrote in 2017: “#TuloyPaRin ang awit ng buhay ko … basta kasama si @hashtag_mccoydl). Photo from Instagram (@elissejosonn).
People who saw McCoy and Elisse at that stage of their love team and romantic relationship couldn’t help but remember Elisse’s character in her popular fastfood commercial. Indeed, she’s finally found love.
Today, three years after McLisse was born, the magic that McCoy and Elisse make onscreen hasn’t waned.
It also probably helped that they did separate projects. Elisse starred in Wansapanataym’s Ofishially Yours and McCoy acted in a few Maalaala Mo Kaya episodes.
So, by the time they’ve reunited for their upcoming Blacksheep flick Sakaling Maging Tayo, everything about them feels fresh and exciting again—and we’re just as breathless.
Art Direction: Alfred Amado
McCoy's Glam Team
Hair and Make-Up: Ryan Panaligan
Stylist: Rodel Briñas
Elisse' Glam Team
Hair: Bee Amarga
Make-Up: Varda Atienza
Stylist: Ryuji Shiomitsu
Photographer's Associates: Mark Jayson Santos and Jonathan Gonzaga