“Shy ako… but I have a passion for being in the media,” admits Megan, trademark winsome smile in place. “Whatever they give me now—that’s what I will really work on. So if I have a hosting gig, I’ll super work on that, because that’s my first love. Although acting is my second, if it’s given to me, then I’ll give it 110 percent.”
Megan initially wanted to become a writer, but did not hesitate to take on a more visible role when the opportunity presented itself. Her gung-ho personality landed her a spot in talent reality show StarStruck on GMA 7. Three years later, when her fledgling career seemed on the downswing, she switched to rival talent pool Star Magic’s Star Circle.
Since joining ABS-CBN, she’s dabbled in reality TV, landed several hosting gigs, appeared in 10 movies, and most recently, acted alongside a stellar cast in the ABS-CBN soap A Beautiful Affair which concluded last January 2013.
Megan is candid about what she’s willing to do to achieve her goals—and what her limitations are. “I used to be such a timid girl. Getting in the business and meeting people and talking to people, it really helps me … I just wanted to have something to do with the arts, with being creative, with writing. And now it’s acting, and hosting, and hopefully, directing one day,” she says.
As far as movie genres are concerned, she admits to personally not liking horror movies, but sees nothing wrong with adjusting her comfort zone.
“I’m not really a fan of horror movies. I don’t like watching them. I’ll be in them because at least I don’t get scared, but if I have to watch it—ayoko na. Di ko talaga kaya,” admits the actress, whose credits include Regal Films’ White House (2010), and the cinema staple Shake, Rattle & Roll XI (2009).
The last movie she made, The Reunion (2012), was more to her taste, being a nostalgic retrospective on life as a high school student in the 1990s, featuring an ensemble cast roughly in their early twenties, reminiscing over now-classic songs by The Eraserheads.
“That one was pretty fun, I really enjoyed doing that movie. Having a cast like that, especially kung magkaka-age kayo, masaya ’yun e. You guys get to bond,” she enthuses.
She denies being picky over the roles she plays. “You accept that role, you’re the character, not yourself, so hindi ka puwedeng mag-reklamo, kasi hindi naman ikaw ’yan,” Megan explains.
“Ako, as an actor, I would love to be in any movie. Depende. Basta it’s within my limitations. Ang limit ko, no nudity. ’Yun lang naman,” she asserts.
While she has pulled off a tasteful if slightly racy cover shoot for a men’s magazine, she reasoned that wearing a bikini on a beach, with a trustworthy crew taking photographs, is different from shooting a nude scene in a movie.
“It all depends on the message that you put across. You have to consider so many things. … Why do you have to show skin? What’s the basis [for] it? You have to dig deeper into that. It’s always in the context,” she rationalizes.
Fitness vs. body image
The budding actress walked into the Health Today shoot donning a pair of black Doc Martens, an off-the-shoulder striped shirt—later adopted by the stylist to put together an ensemble for the shoot—over a pair of comfortable denims, and no jewelry; the watch she usually wears had been left at home. Her hair was casually gathered in a bun, and she had yet to shape her eyebrows. All together, it gives the impression that Megan prefers to keep things uncomplicated, even laid-back.
“This is normal for me; this is what I wear on a daily basis. So I guess ok naman ’yung itsura ko,” she states lightly. “I just have to be presentable because I don’t want to look like trash; especially with the kids that look up to me, I don’t want to look like I don’t take care of myself. So I always try to look presentable a bit.”
In an era of digicams, paparazzi, and intense scrutiny of showbiz personalities, Megan admits that sometimes it’s hard when people expect her to look exactly like her primped-up, bikini-buff photos.
“I’m just like any other normal girl. If you work out, you’re gonna be like that. If you don’t, you can end up having muffin handles,” she confesses.
Her approach when it comes to dieting tends to be very practical: Never skip a meal, eat healthily, consume brown rice and wheat bread instead of white rice—and cut down on fried food, chips and fast-food.
“I was really, literally, crying [prior to the men’s magazine shoot] because I didn’t want to eat this tasteless food, I wanted to eat pasta and pizza and ice cream and all that. But because I wanted something so bad, I really worked hard,” she says.
Nowadays, her diet is supervised by a trainer, but she remembers a time when she only had herself to rely on. “I used to not want a trainer because I used to be on a strict budget. So I would just search online … You really have to do it on your own, hindi ka lang puwedeng umasa lang … There are so many tips that you can get with eating healthy [online] and through you know, Health Today,” she said.
“Everybody wants to be fit, that’s for sure, but it has to start with you. If you want to be fit, then you’re gonna be fit, because you want that. You’re gonna push yourself to be fit. You can always dream about it, but … you will never achieve that Victoria’s Secret body if you’re not willing to sacrifice anything,” Megan points out.
For the moment, Megan is focused on balancing her work, studies, time for herself and her family. “They’re the people kasi that keep me grounded—my family, my friends—so once in a while we’ll go out, we’ll work out together, stuff like that. It really helps me stay the way I am.”
Despite an already-full workload, Megan was also appointed a national peace ambassador in September 2012 under the “I Am for Peace” awareness campaign spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. The campaign keeps apace with developments in the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, leading up to the creation of a new Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao by 2016.
In the long-term, Megan intends to be a game changer. She wants to write her own script, latch a message to showcase in her directorial debut. “It doesn’t always have to be about how much money you make. … The first film that I wanna make, which will be my thesis if ever, will have to be something that I want to voice out,” she explains. “I’m basically excited. I’m putting all these ideas in one notebook and I’ll eventually stitch them together when the time comes.”