(TV) Artista Academy announces Top 16 finalists PROFILE HERE!

The long wait is finally over. TV5’s Artista Academy has named the 16 young aspirants who will vie for the coveted P20 Million worth of total prizes and the chance to live the glamorous artista life in what is deemed as the grandest and most intensive talent search on Philippine television.

Emerging as the luckiest and most deserving of the 13,000 who came to the one-day grand auditions held last June 19 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum, the Artista Academy Top 16 finalists are Akihiro Blanco (Pasig), Alberto Bruno (Marikina), Benjo Leoncio (Cebu), Brent Manzano (Quezon City), Chanel Morales (Bacolod), Chris Leonardo (Laguna), Jon Orlando (Quezon City), Julia Quisumbing (Makati), Malak So Shdifat (Manila), Mark Neumann (Quezon City), Marvelous Alejo (Valenzuela), Nicole Estrada (Pasig), Shaira Mae (Las Piñas City), Sophie Albert (Mandaluyong), Stephanie Rowe (Pampanga), and Vin Abrenica (Pampanga).

As Artista Academy students, all 16 finalists will be given full scholarship to the Asian Academy of Television Arts (AATA) to undergo a comprehensive curriculum-based training with the best and highly esteemed professionals in the industry, including multi-awarded director Joel Lamangan, music master Louie Ocampo, dance guru Georcelle Dapat of G Force.

By the end of the competition, Artista Academy will announce the Best Actor and Best Actress who will win a total of P20 Million plus lead roles in a forthcoming TV5 teleserye. Not only will they be certified professional actors after they finish their course from AATA, they will also be the richest winners in the history of all talent searches in the country.

Artista Academy airs from Monday to Saturday after Wil Time Bigtime. Marvin Agustin is the reality host who shares with viewers the 16 Students’ journey every night while Cesar Montano takes charge as the Live Exam Presentor every Saturday. Sitting in as Live Exam Critics are Lorna Tolentino, Gelli De Belen, and TV5 Talent Center Head and renowned TV and film director Mac Alejandre.

The Artista Academy Top 16

 The Artista Academy Top 16


17 yrs. old



A certified school heartthrob who has had six girlfriends since he was 14 years old, Japanese-Filipino Akihiro Blanco is used to performing in front of people because he often sings at their family-owned resto-bar on his free days. Although he is confident with his singing and dancing talent, he admits that he is a bit apprehensive when it comes to acting. He promises to pay close attention to his advisers and instructors at the Artista Academy so that he would learn the ropes of acting and become a versatile and multi-talented performer someday.




16 yrs. old


For someone who lives in Italy and only stays in the Philippines during school vacations, this Filipino-Italian is amazingly fluent in the Filipino language. Though his Italian lineage is evident in his intense and spontaneous personality, he is also naturally charming, a quality that easily endears him to just about anyone who hears him talk. He admits that he only took a detour to the Artista Academy auditions in Cubao after he and his cousin played billiards in the area. He just tried out on a whim and never expected to make it this far in the competition.




21 yrs. old



Benjo has the makings of a future hunk and matinee idol. With his great physique, killer smile and steadfast attitude to persevere in show business, he is bound to grow as a first-rate actor given the proper training and exposure he will be getting from Artista Academy. This Cebuano model gets along well with just about anyone, though he admits that at times he just opts to keep quiet when he gets self-conscious with his Tagalog. But like all other challenges he faced in the past, he is ready to overcome this language hurdle to become the star he has always wanted to be.



20 yrs. old

Quezon City                                                                   

Turbulent is a word that can best describe Brent’s childhood. An emotionally battered child who was also physically abused by his mother and step father, the self-confessed Lonely Boy has moved from one place to another – from an island in Bulacan where he grew up and attended elementary school, to Cavite where he stayed until he was 17 years old, and to Manila where he decided to stay and take control of his life. He has joined many pageants and talent searches in the past, but it is with Artista Academy that he comes closest to realizing his potentials and fulfilling his dream of being the best person he can ever be.




16 yrs. old


True to her über-sosyal name, Chanel was the center of attention during her prom when she arrived in a limousine donning a Rajo Laurel gown, with Survivor Philippines’ Marvin Keifer as her date. It was just one of the many breathtaking feats this daddy’s princess manages to pull off with great finesse. However, being the only child also makes her the sole recipient of her father’s incredible strictness – hence her no-boyfriend-since-birth status.





20 yrs. old


Chris admits that he wants to pursue a career in show business in order to build a better life for himself and his grandparents, who raised him after his mother left and had her own family in Japan. Chris has no idea of his biological father’s identity because his mother never wanted to talk about him and even kept all his dad’s photos from him. All he knows about his father is the surname Petrou. When he asked for his ex-girlfriend’s help in tracing the surname, they found out that the name is of French descent. Chris dreams of meeting his European father someday.



19 yrs. old


Calling himself a “half-Italian, half-Filipino from Canada,” Jon easily adjusted to living in the rough district of Lerma where his mother grew up, though people often tell him that his good looks make him stand out in the “squatter” community. “I truly love the people in Lerma because that’s where my mom is from. For me, it has always been about getting to know my mom’s past here in the Philippines. The more I looked, the more I fell in love with being here,” he shares. Jon arrived last February, and although he has been to the country many times before, he has never actually decided to stay for long – that is, until he made it to Artista Academy’s Top 16. With his looks, talent and intelligence, he is definitely one of the strongest contenders in the competition.



22 yrs. old


Julia is honest enough to admit that she has lived a privileged life. Hailing from a well-to-do family, she enjoys the luxury of pursuing her interest in extreme sports, including wakeboarding, skydiving and scuba diving. She loves going to bars and house parties on weekends.








20 yrs. old


Malak is your typical troubled teenager who longs for attention and is in need of guidance. Born of a Pinoy mom and a Palestinian dad, she grew up without her parents by her side. She currently lives with her boyfriend because she had an altercation with her aunt who, until very recently, was her guardian. Hopefully, Artista Academy will help inspire Malak to embrace discipline and give direction to her life.






17 yrs. old

Quezon City                                                                   

This Filipino-Croatian Justin Bieber look-alike was born and raised in Germany, came to the Philippines when he was 12 years old, finished high school in Batangas, moved to England where he worked in a shampoo factory, returned to the Philippines and ended up pursuing a showbiz career via Artista Academy. He now lives in Quezon City with his uncle, who was the one who urged him to try getting into show business. In order for Mark to be fluent and comfortable with Tagalog, his uncle prohibits him from talking in English at home – a method that apparently works because Mark can speak Tagalog confidently with just a hint of accent which constant practice can eventually correct.




16 yrs. old


Marvelous is a consistent honor student since she was a kid. She spends most of her time doing house chores which she enjoys doing alone. An animal lover, she has a favourite pet hamster. Interestingly, they don’t have a sofa at home because her father wants a spacious living room. The family would just sit on the floor and talk until the wee hours of the morning, which has become their regular bonding activity. Inside the academy, she easily adjusted with the boys and considers Alberto as her closest friend.


16 yrs. old

Pasig City                                                                        

Although Nicole comes from a very religious and conservative family and is not allowed to have boyfriends at her age, she has had a few non-serious relationships already. She is a true kikay in every sense of the word. In fact, she has a book from which she learns the proper way of applying makeup. As one of the youngest students of Artista Academy, she is often the bubbliest and noisiest of the bunch. Will her animated personality make her stand out in the competition or will it translate to frequent trips to the principal’s office?




16 yrs. old


Stephanie is someone who truly loves the spotlight. In fact, she admits to posting her videos on YouTube in the hopes of getting noticed. She is also her family’s source of joy as she often indulges them with her penchant for comedy. Stephanie is fluent in Filipino, English and Taiwanese, thanks to her Filipino mom and British dad, and also because she spent part of her childhood in Taiwan where she attended a local school.





17 yrs. old

Las Piñas City                                                                 

Shaira may be a familiar face to some people as she has already appeared in a number of commercials. At her young age, however, she is haunted by a recent family tragedy that has left her questioning herself. She takes blame for the death of her grandmother because she believes that if she had only done better in driving her to the hospital, her lola would still be alive. Nevertheless, Shaira dedicates her Artista Academy success to her grandmother. This time, she really wants to do her best and make her lola proud.




21 yrs. old


At first glance, it is easy to typecast Sophie as the sweet girl-next-door. But behind her bright smile, one can sense the forlorn spirit of someone who is eager to break out of her shell. Having lived half her life seeing her beloved dad in a coma, Sophie has managed to distract herself with extreme sports and being “one of the boys”. In Artista Academy, she is expected to bloom and become one of the prettiest and most talented actresses of this generation.





21 yrs. old


Being the younger brother of Aljur Abrenica motivates Vin to become a well-rounded individual to prove his own worth. A talented musician who sings and plays the guitar well, he is also a culinary arts graduate – a feat that he is proud of because it distinguishes him from his brother who was unable to finish school. In his bid to step out of Aljur’s shadow, Vin auditioned for TV5’s Artista Academy instead of trying to join his brother’s home network. Not wanting any shortcuts to success, Vin welcomes the challenge of the real learning and school-based training that Artista Academy offers.



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Push Awards' Most Popular Entertainment Blogger of 2016, Rod Magaru is a celebrity Blogger who blogs about lifestyle and Entertainment. His Blog is known for breaking news on new projects in TV, Movies and reviews of products, hotels and awesome travel tips. He is also a Social media strategist, accepts hosting & speaking engagement. For inquiries email [email protected]