For the past five years, Nicole Omillo has been making a name as a dancer and singer of the Viva girl group Sugar ‘N Spice. Yet, when the girl group parted ways, it was time for the twenty-year-old singer-performer to focus on her next chapter in life--a solo career in show business.
“I want to have my own name,” she says. “Nagsimula po kasi ako as an artist, as a singer po. Ganoon po ’yong pagka-audition ko po dito. Kumakanta po talaga ako, so having to be able to try other talents and to meet new people, ’yon lang po talaga ’yong exciting na nangyayari ngayon dahil ang dami ko pong ibang nakakatrabaho. I’m hoping that I get to work with other people.”
PURSUING HER PASSION
Entering show business never crossed the mind of the young performer when she was in grade school and high school. Originally, she aspired to pursue a career in business as she was heavily influenced by her parents who are business people themselves.
“I wanted to go to that industry,” she says. “’Yong pag-aaral po [doon], pinagseseryosohan ko po talaga, dahil I want to have my own business and, hopefully, make it big, before.”
Back then, she dreamt of owning a condominium business because of her interest in interior design and appreciation for buildings. However, it was another passion of hers that led her to set aside those dreams for a while.
During her studies at the Southville International School and Colleges, Nicole pursued her love for performing, specifically singing and dancing.
“Kilala po ako sa school na kumakanta talaga,” Nicole recalls. “Sumasali ako sa mga musical, basta kumakanta po at sumasayaw. It was something I did [because] it makes me happy.”
It was her passion for that craft that led her to be discovered by the choreographer to the stars Geleen Eugenio when a video of one of her school performances was posted online. The stage director recruited Nicole to audition for Viva.
“Given the opportunity, tinake ko na kasi hindi ko alam na pwede ko palang gawin ito, na pwede ko pala pagkakitaan, maging profession ito,” she explains. “It made me really happy na pwede pala mangyari ’yon, but before, it wasn’t in my head. It was something I did na makakapagpapasaya sa akin.”
At the age of 15, she got accepted into the Viva Artists Agency and was asked to do a workshop for one year before forming the all-female sing and dance group Sugar ‘N Spice with Issa Pressman, Jasmine Hollingworth, Jessie Salvador, and Nathalie Colipano. The group would be showered with opportunities to perform on live TV and in concert, appearing in a Sunday noontime show in TV5 and being guests on concerts headlined by James Reid and Nadine Lustre.
However, in 2017, with the girl group disbanded, Nicole had to move on to another level in her life which is having a solo career in showbusiness.
Remaining loyal to singing, Nicole released her first single Mi Amor that same year, which was used as the opening theme for the VIVA TV original series Tabi Po. The release of the single marked her debut as a solo artist.
After that, she jumped to another opportunity, this time singing renditions of four songs for the Viva Films flick Mr. and Mrs. Cruz starring JC Santos and Ryza Cenon. Her versions of The Juans’ Istorya and Freestyle’s Before I Let You Go (featuring Carl Guevara) topped music charts which gave Nicole major recognition.
However, her career launched to a different path when she was chosen to star in the upcoming dance film Indak starring Sam Concepcion and Nadine Lustre. Excluding her cameo appearances in a few films and a stint in the Sari-Sari channel show Class of 3C, this is Nicole’s first major acting role, which for her is a whole different world.
“It’s different,” she describes. “This is in a big screen, pero it has been really good for an experience dahil kasama ko dito ’yong mga kaibigan ko kaya po napakadali--the whole cast at in the long run, naging friends ko na rin po ’yong mga ibang bago kong nakasama.”
One of those was lead cast member Nadine Lustre, who shared tips to the rising actress during their first encounter.
“Kinakabahan ako kasi kontrabida po ako dito,” she recalls telling Nadine during their initial interaction. “I don’t know how to approach my character with you dahil first time ko din po umacting in the big screen.”
“Okay lang ‘yan. Magtutulungan tayo.” she recounts Nadine telling her. Nicole was a bit nervous to do her scenes because she had to act as an antagonist opposite Nadine. It was really a huge change for the up-and-coming actress.
“Nanibago po ako noong una kasi usually po ang role ko po [ay] inaapi ako or ako ’yong pa-sweet lang,” she explains. “Pero, honestly, noong una namin shooting day, maybe because sobrang pinre-prepare ko ’yong sarili ko, kinapalan ko talaga ’yong mukha ko [at] sabi ko [na] hindi ako pwede mapahiya [because] that’s Sam (Concepcion) and Nadine. [They are] big stars that I’m working with so kailangan talaga I give my best.”
However, despite the challenging role, Nicole feels grateful that she was given the role by the film’s director Paul Basinillo and Viva Chairman of the Board Vic Del Rosario, Jr. It pushed her to study the art of becoming a silver screen antagonist more, to perfect the craft she just entered in.
“Pinag-aralan ko po lahat ng kontradibang makikita ko, from international to local,” she narrates. “Ayaw ko ibigay ’yong typical kontrabida [...] kasi gusto ko po ’yong naiiba naman, ’yong mabigyan ng ibang feeling ’yong pagka-kontrabida ko because ’yong role ko po, ipaglalaban ko po dahil I am not me in my role. Ang iniisip ko lang po talaga, iba ’yong tama sa iniisip nila. I think I’m right. Ganun po ’yong role ni Steph. For her, everything that she thinks is right. Hindi lang nakikita ng ibang tao.”
With Indak marking her major film debut on August 7, Nicole continues to have goals in mind for her career as a rising actress.
“Aim high,” she says. “To reach as many possibilities I can. Wish ko lang is to have more projects and to work with new people, to meet new people, all the other artists. [...] ‘Yon po nakakapagpasaya sa akin: meeting new people, working with them, having different experiences.”
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