TAGS: antipolo city, ate girl, ion, it's showtime, jackie, jackie gonzaga, jackie home, kuya escort, mommy luisa, vice ganda

Photography: Gio Marasigan

From a passionate dancer to the viral favorite It’s Showtime’s Ate Girl, the 24-year old Jackque Gyl Gonzaga, popularly known as Jackie Gonzaga, tells her admirable journey in an exclusive interview with StarStudio.ph.

The bubbly and talkative Jackie rides with the whole team going to her family home in Antipolo City right after her day’s work in It’s Showtime.

Her mother Mommy Luisa happily welcomes everyone and immediately offers “suman” – a famous delicacy in Antipolo City.

Now that Jackie is entering the much bigger world of showbiz, she readies herself with learning through her own experiences, without forgetting what made her the Ate Girl we all love today.

Ate Girl is the family’s Baby Girl

Growing up as the only girl with five older brothers, Jackie reveals that her childhood was fun and very outdoorsy. “Ang childhood namin noon, patintero. ‘Yung laro talaga, sa labas. Larong kalsada. As in lupa talaga, nilalaro ko talaga yung lupa,” she fondly recalls.

She also shares that her being the only daughter was a plus (she got exempted from doing the household chores mostly), but not until she reached the age of 13. “Kunwari uutusan yung panganay, syempre mapapasa sa’kin yun. Kahit anong mangyari may matitira’t matitirang utos para sakin,” she laughs.

She has 5 siblings: Francis, 39; Patrick, 36; Al Dean, 35; Jain, 32; and Lyndsey, 28. Jackie appreciates that her older brothers are not being excessively protective to the point that she felt she has lost her freedom. “’Yung parents namin strict na, so kami chill lang.”

All of her brothers are now working, and some are in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Jackie with Mommy Luisa, eldest brother Kuya Francis, niece Celine Treisha, and nephew Khalil Jacob

Jackie’s father Daddy Florencio is a trumpeter at a Caribbean cruise ship. Every summer, he comes home to his family in Antipolo City where they feel his strong presence. “Ever since bata ako, nafi-feel ko yung presence nya pag summer na. Yung pagka strict, daddy figure talaga.”

On the other hand, their loving and supportive mother Mommy Luisa took care of Jackie and her brothers while Daddy Florecio was away. Jackie also shares that Mommy Luisa was a secretary at a garments company before she dedicated her whole life to looking after their growing family.

Jackie’s childhood would be incomplete without her dancing memories as a kid. “Nursery pa lang sumasali na ako sa mga programs na may dance prod,”she points out. “Tapos may mga competition, kinder, diba parang may mga competition na, ‘yung per group.”

As a child, her interest in entertaining other people was already evident. It’s no wonder why her natural charm and spontaneity on television became something viewers are looking forward to.

Ate Girl in School

The adorable little girl that Jackie had blossomed into a persevering and passionate young lady. She entered college carrying the dream of becoming a flight attendant.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Jackie took International Studies, minor in Gender Studies at Miriam College which she considers a very challenging program. “Sa course ko, kawawa ako, kasi more on reading ‘yung course ko,” she says. “’Yung ibang majors namin, nagbibigay ng handouts 300 pages, isang recitation lang ‘yun.”

She also expresses a lot of admiration for her classmates who were really fast and good in reading and comprehension. “’Yung six pages nga, natagalan ako ng isang linggo. Tapos 300, nabasa niyo?”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

But, Jackie never really slowed down in her academics: in fact, her love for dancing sustained her all throughout college. Being a long-time Pep Squad member also inspired her to maintain her grades (as subject failure may cause her removal from the group).

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

“Pumapasok ako dati, minomotivate ko yung sarili ko para sa training,” she explains. “After class, sa gabi, may training for Pep Squad, so nilu-look forward ko ‘yun, tapos pag wala, syempre pahinga para maexcite yung katawan mo.”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Jackie’s unwavering determination for the sport reaped achievements throughout her college life. For the three years, she had been with the group, Miriam College Pep Squad was never ‘dethroned’ from the annual Women’s Colleges Sports Association (WCSA) Cheer Dance Competitions.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

However, it was not always a glittery college life for Jackie. Just when she thought all things were under control, she received an FA or ‘failure due to absences’ for one of her subjects. “9 AM class kasi ‘yun eh. Since galing akong Antipolo, nale-late ako, pero pumapasok ako, nagre-recite ako. Sinisipagan ko kasi yun na nga lang minor ko eh,” she emphasizes. It later resulted to her taking summer classes.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

On her fourth and final year in college, Jackie left the Pep Squad, and tried dance. This time, she joined the Company of One—the official dance troupe of her school where she developed hip-hop dancing, popping, and locking.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Jackie graduated in college dancing. “Actually more on dancing [ang college life], yung studies ko, parang mino-motivate ko yung sarili ko na wala akong bagsak para makapag-sayaw pa rin ako,” she points out. “Siyempre, ‘yun na nga lang buhay ko eh.”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

And there’s so much more to admire about Jackie as she finished her degree with flying colors when her thesis was awarded Best Thesis in the entire International Studies program. She reveals that she was so fascinated about Gender Studies that her thesis group focused their research on the LGBTQ+ community.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

“Wala naman silang paki kung tatanggapin sila ng tao, pero hindi nila ma-out kasi nga sa religion nila,” she talks about her encounters during their immersion. Her thesis group was also invited to Thailand to present their research, but Jackie refused to go because she felt the need to rest after graduation.

Greater things are coming

Jackie shared that after passing college with flying colors, she still wanted to become a flight attendant. It’s a profession she had always seen herself enjoying.

However, her dancing feet were restless.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

“After grad, nagsayaw na ako,” Jackie says. “ Tinatry nilang sabihin, bakit di ka mag-office? Ayoko.”

During that time, her Daddy Florencio was reluctant of her only daughter becoming a dancer.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Luckily, she had found an opportunity to grab even before graduation. “Nakita ko sa Instagram, may audition ang G-Force. April, nag-audition ako. May ang graduation.”

She was accepted as a trainee, and she never knew that it was enough to let her dance on the noontime Sunday variety show ASAP. “Sobrang biglaan ng mga pangyayari. Sobrang bilis talaga … di ko ineexpect na kasama yun,” she narrates.

Jackie quit G-Force because she got exhausted from her travelling to and from her house. “Umuuwi ako nu’n ng Antipolo. Magre-rehearsal ako du’n, 1 PM, tapos nakakauwi ako, 1 AM.”

After her short-lived stay with the G-Force, Jackie was informed by one of her colleagues about the upcoming It’s Showtime auditions. Luckily: she was chosen to be part of the It’s Showtime dancers.

She admits that her first few days with the group were difficult for her because she was used to learning steps the way her former Pep Squad taught her: slow, firm, and precise. She also adds, “Nung pumasok akong Showtime, matigas talaga galaw ko.”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

With enough sets of training and practice, Jackie found herself dancing smoothly with the group. Jackie believes that she has improved so much since she entered It’s Showtime.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Things turned out quite unexpected when Jackie was randomly assigned as the bowl bearer in one of the show’s segments Miss Q&A. “Di ko rin alam bakit ako yung nasabihan. Hindi lang naman ako yung nagbo-bowl.”

Screenshot from ABS-CBN Entertainment Youtube video

Maybe it was written in the palm of her hands that she would be later known as the graceful bowl bearer Ate Girl. “Si Vice talaga. Siya lang talaga tumawag sa akin nu’n [Ate Girl]”.

For countless times, It’s Showtime main host Vice Ganda would call her Ate Girl on national television. Vice Ganda would also notice how she walked towards him in an exaggerated fashion. It then sparked their ‘flirting’ on It’s Showtime that made her an instant viral superstar, with 8.3 million views in one of her Youtube videos.

ALSO READ: HOME EXCLUSIVE: Proud to be Vice Ganda

Screenshot from ABS-CBN Entertainment Youtube video

When asked about how she feels exchanging hugot lines with Vice Ganda, she answers, “Naeenjoy ko lang, kasi masaya eh.”

Jackie also grew closer to Vice Ganda. “Mas okay, kasi ngayon openly nangangamusta sya. Di n’ya kasi talaga ako kilala [dati], tapos medyo bago bago pa ako nu’n,” she shares.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

“Actually, everyday nagiging routine na ng buhay ko eh. Yung moment na ‘yun tatawa ka lang, makikipag-kulitan ka lang,” she describes. “Kay Papa God siyempre, feeling ko narinig Niya yung dalangin ko.”

Screenshot from ABS-CBN Entertainment Youtube Channel

MORE OF ATE GIRL

It’s not a surprise that Jackie’s personality earned her fans and supporters. She has now more than a million followers on Instagram.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

In May this year, Jackie flew to Canada to join Vice Ganda’s show Ang Fantastic Concert ng Vaklang Twoooh! One of her most memorable experiences was when a Filipina from Canada shouted in a really big voice to call her attention. “Nakita ko na silang nakaabang… tapos may biglang, ATE GIRL!,” she remembers. “Mini-heart attack talaga ‘yung nangyari.”

Jackie later found out that the lady just wanted to have a photo with her.

A changed life

Because of her growing number of fans, Jackie now receives a lot of messages of admiration, advice requests, and makeup tutorial requests. So, she created a vlog to address all her supporters.

 

Screenshot from Jackie Gonzaga Youtube video

“’Yung vlog ko, kung ano lang talaga maisipan ko. Napaka-spontaneous talaga ng vlog na ‘yan,” she describes.

“Nagta-try ako actually mag-makeup vlog, mag-explore explore., Jackie elaborates. “Kasi parang ang saya lang i-share nung mga first time memories ko sa ibang lugar.”

Screenshot from Jackie Gonzaga Youtube video

Jackie also thinks that because of her effective hugot lines on It’s Showtime, people tend to ask her opinion about their personal relationships. “Parang ako, sige po, ano po bang mga tanong niyo … parang ako, ipagdasal po natin,” she jokes.

Screenshot from Jackie Gonzaga Youtube video

Jackie truly has a strong presence whether it’s on television or on social media. We cannot avoid thinking that the talented young dancer might be being an actress to showcase her capacity in showbiz sooner or later. “Kung may opportunity, why not?”, she answers. “Masaya kaya ‘yon, ‘yung acting-acting. Pero dapat mame-mentor ka talaga nang maayos.”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Jackie could not contain her happiness with all the blessings she has received. “’Di ko pa po alam anong mangyayari sa buhay ko. Basta po, bigla-bigla ‘yung mga blessings. Mag-expect po tayo, at magpasalamat.”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

She also shares that every day is still a challenge for her. “Siyempre pag sinabing inaabangan, kailangan mong ibigay ‘yung best mo, ibigay yung extra effort, na kailangan mong magbigay ng reasonable na trabaho para sa kanila.”

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

The once passionate dancer from Antipolo City, to her surprise, has now etched her own name in showbiz. Her values, motivation, and hard work to reach her dreams are just a few of the things we admire about Ate Girl—and the blessings she has received are clear evidence of a bigger hand at work.

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Jackie concludes the interview by leaving a piece of wonderful advice to the girls who want to be like her: “Ora Et Labora.”, she firmly says. “… which means ‘prayer and hard work’. Doon lang umiikot buhay ko, before ako maging Ate Girl.”

Amen, Jackie!

Photo from Instagram (@jackiegirlg)

Art Direction: Jobo Nacpil

Hair and Makeup: Eleny Natividad

Stylist: Ica Villanueva