Liza Soberano (MNS Photo)

Liza Soberano (MNS Photo)

Here’s a little-known fact: Liza Soberano, star of the hit primetime series “Forevermore” and broadcast giant ABS-CBN’s “leading lady to watch for,” was a Kapuso at one point.

However, only a week after she signed up with ABS-CBN rival GMA-7, Soberano, then known by her real name Hope, asked to be released from her contract.

According to the 16-year-old actress, she auditioned to join ABS-CBN’s Star Magic and counterpart GMA Artist Center at around the same time, but it was the latter that first offered her a contract.

“And then after ko mag-sign sa GMA, tumawag ang Star Magic,” she said.

Although projects, including an appearance in a movie, were already lined up for her as a GMA talent, Soberano said she didn’t think twice to prematurely end her contract and take up ABS-CBN’s offer.

Noong pumunta ako doon (GMA), alam mo ‘yung… I didn’t feel at home,” she explained. “Siyempre gusto ko kung magtatrabaho ako, masaya ako sa [environment ko].”

Clarifying that she had no bad relations with anyone at GMA, Soberano added: “Hindi ko lang na-feel. Kasi dati palang, ABS na po ang pinapanood ko, so gusto ko talaga ABS.”

In March 2013, Soberano was launched as one of the 12 new “discoveries” of Star Magic, alongside Julia Barretto, Janella Salvador, Jerome Ponce, Jane Oineza, and fellow “Forevermore” cast member Kit Thompson.

At the time, Soberano had already appeared as the younger sister of Jake Cuenca in the defunct afternoon series “Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo.” What followed was a string of roles in high-profile projects that prepared her for the big time.

Three times in a row, Soberano was assigned to play the third wheel to romantic leads. She was Angel in “Must Be Love,” Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo’s launching movie. A year later in 2014, she joined the onscreen couple in the primetime series “Got to Believe,” once again as Padilla’s other love interest.

Soberano’s last big-screen outing, “She’s the One” in 2013, saw her as Gillian, Enrique Gil’s best friend who can only love him from a distance as he pours his affection on someone else.

Partnered with Gil in “Forevermore,” which debuted to strong ratings last October 27, Soberano is finally the leading lady. The two are also set to top-bill in 2015 Star Cinema’s adaptation of the Wattpad novel “The Bet.”

Asked how she is taking the succession of big projects, the soft-spoken Soberano said, “Nabibilisan nga po ako, eh, but I guess I’m just blessed.”

Happy ako pero medyo pressured din, kasi, bakit nga ba ako ang binigyan nila ng malaking project, eh one year palang ako? Siguro may ginagawa akong tama, siguro nagugustuhan nila ‘yung pag-arte ko. Kaya natutuwa ako na napapansin nila, naa-appreciate ng management ‘yung efforts ko.”

A half-American who grew up in the United States, Soberano said she is made to regularly attend workshops, a number of which are dedicated to improving her Tagalog and modulating her otherwise high-pitched voice.

Her efforts, at least to her vocal fans online, have paid off. (MNS)