With her pretty face and petite stature, Elisse Joson looks like the sweetest girl you'll ever meet. She arrived ten minutes early to our shoot, much to our surprise, and patiently waited for our team to set up, happily chatting with anyone who dared approach her. With her star on the rise and her Instagram followers growing by the day, the smiley quiet girl in front of me wasn't the celebrity I expected to show up at the shoot.
As I explained our hair and makeup pegs to her, she looked shocked. "It's something I wouldn't normally wear," she explains, but smiles quickly after, "It's something new!" And the look is indeed something new. With slicked back wet hair and an oily smokey eye, she is scrubbed clean of her usual sweet look and transformed right before our very eyes. "Iba talaga!" she exclaims as she examines herself in the mirror, and goes off to change into her first look. Styled and prepped, Elisse emerges from the dressing room, ready to take on her first layout, only there's something different.
Aside from the obvious makeup and hair change, there's something else in here that I didn't expect—fire. As she positions herself in front of the camera, she becomes a little more aware, a little more alive. And then I noticed something else. "Is that a tattoo?" I asked between layouts. It's a lifeline in the shape of a heart positioned on her finger. "Yes," she replied, "Noong time na pinagawa ko 'to sabi ko sa sarili ko, I'm strong no matter what happened in the past." It revealed yet another facet of Elisse we have yet to delve into, another reason why we're declaring Elisse as the girl to watch.
IMAGE Jeanne Young
Arnold Galang Vest, contact 0917 8035688; Weave Top and Skirt, weave.com.ph; Forever 21 Fringe heels, P1990, SM Aura
What started you on this path?
"Noong bata pa ako, nagworkshop na ako with ABS-CBN. Mahiyain talaga ako. After workshop, there'd be auditions, but I wouldn't go. My mom would always get mad at me, sayang daw kase we travel from Bataan to Manila just for the workshop tapos I wouldn't end up auditioning. I was super shy."
How did you overcome your shyness?
"Noong nag States na kami that's when I gained confidence. I went back here for a family emergency, and then I ended up trying out for Star Magic. After that I got a callback saying, pinagwo-workshop nila ako. After that, doon na nagstart, tuloy-tuloy na yung mga guestings."
So how did you get the McDo gig?
"I auditioned for it! Actually 'di dapat ako pupunta kase kasama ko si Sofia Andres noon and pupunta kami sana sa mall. Yung mom ko tumawag sakin at sinabi niya, 'Punta ka sa Makati may VTR.' Galing kami Eastwood so baka traffic. Pinilit niya ako, sinabi niya isama ko si Sofia sa casting. So we went there and ang daming tao! May mga Brazillian models, so I was like, 'Bahala na, parang di naman ako makukuha dito.' Everyone was taller or prettier than me.
"They told us we had to cry during the audition. Nagulat ako kase commercial lang dapat pero we had to cry! Nakita ko yung mga kasabay ko, umiiyak sila paglabas nila sa casting room. They were crying talaga! So sabi ko, wala na akong laban dito.
"They narrowed it down to three girls and four boys and said they would just call me. After a couple of days, they had another casting call at pagpunta ko doon, ibang set na naman ng tao. So I auditioned again and nagulat ako kase I was able to cry during the audition. After that I got a call saying I got the commercial. Nagulat ako kase sa dami ng mga kasama ko, dalawang batch 'yun, 'di ako makapaniwala na I was the one who got it."
IMAGE Jeanne Young
Weave Dress, weave.com.ph, Forever 21 Scarf, P280, SM Aura
What happened after the commercial? What changed for you?
"Everyone was calling me McDo girl! They weren't calling me by my name anymore, tawag sakin, McDo girl. I would get comments from people saying they liked the commercial and soon enough I got a call from Pinoy Big Brother (PBB). I tried out for PBB before and I didn't get it, so this time around I really think it was because of that commercial."
Is there anything in the works for you now in terms of new projects?
"Currently, I'm part of the cast of FPJ's Isang Probinsyano. After that, I'll work on something together with McCoy."
Sounds like you're getting busy these days! What's a normal day like for you?
"I wake up happy knowing there's something to look forward to. Before kase I'd get by because of school and a normal routine, ngayon iba-iba na. I don't know what to expect. Nakakatuwa because I enjoy every minute of working. Kunyare 'pag may shoot, kahit 24 hours pa ako mag-shoot kase I enjoy it. Sa taping rin, I enjoy it kahit matagal yung waiting time because I want to learn and improve my craft. Acting is my first love."
So what do you do during your down time when you're not working?
"I like staying home and being with my dogs. I have two with me in Manila and one back home in Bataan. We just stay home and watch TV. I enjoy waking up late 'pag walang work, very casual and slow lang yung day ko."
IMAGE Jeanne Young
Weave Dress, weave.com.ph; Forever 21 Hat and Choker, P1015 and P250; Charles and Keith Low-heeled shoes, P2450, SM Aura
Every time we mention your name, people instantly think of your well-curated Instagram account. How'd you come up with the look? Did it just happen or did you come up with it on your own?
"I like Instagram accounts na very clean tingnan so that's what I went for. Just bright, clean, and girly, like me! Para kita rin yung personality ko sa Instagram. I only use pastel colors or white, 'yun lang talaga, kaya most of my pictures are taken in daylight."
What happens when you have a shoot like this that involves dark colors that don't match your grid? How do you make it work?
"I put a white border around the photo so it can match! Kailangan ko siya isingit para bumagay sa feed."
What's something not many people know about Elisse Joson?
"What people see on TV is the prim and proper Elise, but when I'm at home I have a very kalat na personality. I'm more laid-back, I guess. Maingay din ako sa bahay! Very different from onscreen, but I'm not naman doing that on purpose, it's just that when I'm comfortable sa place and surroundings, doon lumalabas."
Watch her captivate you with her smize below!
Photos by Jeanne Young
Makeup by Anthea Bueno
Hair by Ethan David
Video by Spotlight Creatives