John Prats: The Next Best Thing
Showbiz insiders tag him as the next Aga Muhlach - and with good reason.
Like the award-winning actor and heartthrob, John Prats seems to have a knack for charming people with his smile and easygoing nature. His fans love him for his good looks as much as they love him for his portrayal of troubled teen, street urchin, superhero and the like in the films and TV shows he has appeared in. His face is plastered all over teen magazines, and he already has several product endorsements under his belt.
But the similarities between him and Aga end there, because technically, John still has a lot of work to do to get to where Aga is now. After all, he's only 18. He hasn't seen and experienced much of what the world has to offer? yet.
"To be the next Aga Muhlach is talagang wow. Made na si Tito Aga," he says. "But I really want to make my own identity. As 'the next Aga Muhlach,' people expect me to do what Aga has already done. I feel pressured, but you just have to be yourself. As long as you love your work (it's okay)."
To cut the story short, he wants to be known simply as John Prats. Which is just as well, since we're sure the fans wouldn't have it any other way, anyway.
John is one of those actors who practically grew up under the spotlight. He started in the kiddie show Ang TV at the age of eight, and later starred in films like Batang X, Rollerboys and Ang TV The Movie. His more recent movies include the award-winning Tanging Yaman, Narinig Mo Na Ba Ang L8est (which, coincidentally, stars Aga) and Trip.
John is probably best known for his role as "Yuan" in the now defunct youth-oriented TV series G-mik, but he now has a chance to show his funny side in the sitcom Whattamen, where he plays a batang kalye named Oca. He also has a new TV show coming out, but he's keeping mum about it, only going as far as saying that his role is "more mature."
"I didn't really consider Ang TV as 'work.' There were a lot of kids, so every time I went to a taping, (it's like) 'O, laro tayo! Esmyuskee! Nge!" he grins, recalling the punch lines that made the show famous. "With Tanging Yaman, I was so nervous. Gloria Romero, Johnny Delgado, Dina Bonnevie and Edu Manzano are all great actors and actresses. You really had to concentrate. It would have been embarrassing if I made a mistake."
Well, mistake or not, John did get a few tips - and learned a few tricks - from his experiences. "The best thing about acting is that you can do anything you want. For example, in a role, you can be another person; you can experiment," he muses. "Maybe I've matured, because now I see my work differently. I'm really focused now. Yung ginagawa mo, kailangang nasa puso mo."
The path to acting maturity gets a bit complicated as time goes by, however. For one thing, John is hell bent on finishing college - he's a freshman taking up Business Administration and Information Technology at Thames International Business School. (Asked how he rates himself as a student, he replies that he's "average. Okay naman. I feel that I'm improving in everything that I do.") John plays the drums in a band he put up with fellow teen actors Carlo Aquino and Stefano Mori called JCS. He also enrolls in workshops to further hone his acting skills.
"I think I can balance work and school. Kaya naman eh. Nagawa ko nung high school," he explains. "It's really hard. Now I fixed my schedule. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have four subjects. I don't have work for the whole three days. So for the rest, you can take me."
John also loves listening to music (he likes The Calling, Dave Matthews Band and Incubus), malling, and hanging out with friends. Does he have time for crushes then? "Of course, of course," he answers playfully. "But I'm not the type who'll go up and say, 'Hey, I'm John. What's your name?' Hindi naman ganun."
Maybe it's because he takes his responsibilities as a role model to heart. "I need to set a good example for everyone. I have to watch what I say and do. So it has to be perfect, because kids and teenagers look up to me." His parents are also there to help keep his feet firmly on the ground. "My parents (Daniel and Alma) are very supportive. They always teach me to be humble. Pakikisama - that's the main thing they tell me and Camille," he states, referring to his younger sister who is also into acting. Camille played his younger sister, Roni, in G-mik. "You should give everyone equal treatment."
If his life were made into a movie, it would definitely not be a tearjerker, because he seems to be doing alright.
"Maybe I need to improve on my drama. Sometimes it's hard for me to cry, because you know, I'm a very jolly person. It's hard, because once you get involved in a role, after 'Cut!', dala mo pa rin. Nandun yung emotions mo."
For an apt ending to his "movie," John continues, "Five years from now, hopefully I would have already finished college. And I hope I'm still here in the industry, and I hope I can put up my own business. An award for me is a bonus. It's my dream."
Now we know why the young ones look to him as their next pin-up boy. "Wow! I didn't know that. Well, it's flattering." We go on and tell him that the girls really seem to like him. "Oh my God," he says, his expression disbelieving. He's not up there with Aga yet, but he's well on his way.
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