It was a decade ago when GMA 7 introduced the popular reality talent search show ‘Starstruck‘. The show went on to revolutionize reality TV in the country, before it was later supplanted by ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy Big Brother‘. The show helped GMA bring in fresh blood to its Artist Center, something that lacked somewhat in the years after teen-oriented program ‘Click’ aired for the last time. The first batch of contestants would achieve varying levels of success several years after participating in the reality show.
The most recognizable faces from Season 1 were Mark Herras, Jennylyn Mercado, Katrina Halili and Cristine Reyes. Herras and Mercado were proclaimed Ultimate Male and Female Survivor, respectively at the end of Starstruck’s first season, and both would achieve success as actors and performers. Herras starred in shows such as ‘Encantadia’, ‘I Luv NY’ Time of My Life’ and recently ‘Pahiram ng Sandali’. In addition, he has also showcased his dancing and comedic skills as well. Mercado, now a single mother, recently appeared in FHM for the third time, and has also starred in various teleseryes, most recent being ‘Hindi Ka Na Mag-Iisa’. She also showcased her hosting talents in GMA’s reality search show ‘Protege’.
Halili and Reyes have battled for the title of ‘Sexiest Woman in the Philippines’ for several years. The former is more well-known for her villainous roles, best exemplified in her roles in teleseryes such as ‘Darna’ and ‘Marimar’. The latter, initially a GMA contract artist, would move to ABS-CBN and flourished as a Kapamilya. The younger sibling of Ara Mina made appearances as a protagonist in ‘Eva Fonda’, ‘PHR Presents Kristine’, ‘Dahil sa Pag-Ibig’, and as an antagonist in films such as ‘No Other Woman’. Both have also been embroiled controversially in issues such as sex videos and sibling rivalries.
While the foursome have become Filipino showbiz icons, some of the Season 1 contestants are still involved in the business today. Yasmien Kurdi, the runner-up to Mercado, recently appeared in a special role on the reboot GMA teleserye ‘Anna Karenina’, while Sheena Halili flourished as a comedian, recently appearing in the long-running ‘Bubble Gang’. And Nadine Samonte was last seen in the TV5 teleserye ‘Kidlat’ opposite Derek Ramsey.
It’s been 10 years since these fresh-faced teens first appeared on national television. Now in their mid-20s and with a lot of screen time already in their resume, their experiences in ‘Starstruck’ are all worth it.