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Julia is definitely the class act Barretto

February 6 ------ Julia Barretto first stepped into the public eye when she started her showbiz career at age nine. Now 26 years old, she has definitely sharpened her acting skills to major-league level, what with her upcoming film, "Ikaw Pa Rin ang Pipiliin Ko," pairing her off with one of the GOATs (greatest of all time) of Philippine Cinema, the one and only Aga Muhlach. 


With every entry in her growing filmography showing acting skills that emerge more refined from one title to the next [Julia counts 10 movies to her name, from 2015's teenybopper flick "Para sa Hopeless Romantic" all the way to her show-stopping first venture into the sexy genre with 2022's "Expensive Candy"], she will surely be regarded as one of the defining actresses of her generation, just like Aga was his. Julia's talent, though, isn't the only thing that makes her the class act our column today declares her to be. Seeing her and speaking with her this week after quite some time in a cozy roundtable — and without anyone else in the cast with her like our previous encounters — every little bit that makes grown-up Julia a woman of sophistication simply unraveled. On top of the list, in the opinion of someone who has met and witnessed many a young actress' progress in the biz, is Julia's cognizance. When I say she's got a good head above her shoulders, she really does, because Julia's not merely articulate in the way celebrities become from getting used to endless interviews all their lives. Compellingly, her answers are not the perfect and conventional "artist answers," but they are thoughtful, discerning and level-headed, and they come out quick! Case in point, it can't be easy to reply to questions about the deluge of adverse reactions that the May-December storyline of her movie with Aga has attracted lately. Yet in responding to them, it is evident that Julia has transcended the confines of her early years in the spotlight and even avoided falling into the typical "born and raised in the biz" personality. Instead, she has blossomed into an intelligent young woman whose professionalism and sensitivity especially shine through in her latest venture. 


Acknowledging the feedback and concerns some netizens have raised regarding the almost three-decade age gap between her and Aga to be played out on screen, Julia thoughtfully expressed, "I super understand [where they're coming from]. No one is invalidating anyone's opinion. We're neither normalizing nor advocating this 'unconventional relationship.' "This is why my last post about the film was that the most or the least I can request is [for the movie to] just be given a chance." Smiling as she shrugged her shoulders, Julia asserted, "Love is love," highlighting the diversity of human relationships portrayed in the movie. "And this film is a unique love story [whose] inspiration happens in real life." Still careful to balance out sentiments, Julia was likewise quick to assure everyone, "We wouldn't have been on board if we knew the film was going to send out the wrong message or that we were doing something that would be illegal in any way. The production wouldn't have happened in the first place. "At the end of the day, It's up to the viewers [to discern] what they learn from it [when the movie comes out]," she noted. 


Another class-act attitude Julia exudes is her sheer dedication to her role. When asked if she felt awkward on set with Aga, 54, she emphasized the importance of fully committing to the material to stay true to the story's authenticity and get the job done as it should. "From the beginning, I never even welcomed the thought that it could be uncomfortable [between us] because, for me, once you commit to the material you have to be in it completely. It can't be one foot in and one foot out," she asserted, adding that if any awkwardness did happen in certain scenes, they would only serve to make the encounters between her young character and Aga's older role even more believable. Off-cam, Julia properly knew her place, showing Aga whom she told The T-Zone she decided to call "Legend," rather than "Tito," which would have certainly not helped either of them her utmost respect. "He deserves the tag. I have too much respect for him," she chuckled, recalling how initially, Aga suggested she just call him "Ags" to break the ice. Julia's professionalism actually impressed her leading man immensely, with Aga who admitted he initially hesitated to accept the project revealing in an earlier interview that it was when he took his cue from Julia that everything fell into place. And so, as the trailers show, Julia and Aga's on-screen chemistry worked beautifully against the serene backdrop of Baguio, where she plays Jas a strong-willed choir student and Aga Michael a strict and conservative 50-something conductor who develop a bond over the beautiful music of George Canseco. As they navigate the complexities of love and age, Julia's nuanced portrayal and unwavering commitment to truth reaffirm her status as a class act in "Ikaw Pa Rin ang Pipiliin Ko" and in the industry in general. Because if you will remember, throughout the many personal controversies she has overcome throughout her young life be it those that stem from her famous aunts and mother (the Barretto sisters); her complicated relationship with her father, Dennis Padilla; or even the beginnings of her going-strong relationship with Gerald Anderson, to name a few Julia has always remained quiet, and has come out of her life experiences as the thoughtful, sensible and dutiful woman that she is today. So that if and when she speaks, now looking beautiful, stylish, polished and graceful every time to boot she definitely has something worthwhile to say. 




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