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Star Maker Johnny Manahan Ponders Fame in Era of Influencers, Vloggers

Does talent still matter?
by Arianne Merez
Just now
Photo/s: Youtube/Star Magic; Shutterstock

With the rise of influencers, vloggers, and viral netizens, fame has become even more fleeting. Gone are the days when the famous were only seen on television and movies which begs the question, what makes a star nowadays?

It's "authenticity" for veteran star maker and former Star Magic manager Johnny Manahan or Mr. M.

"The people from social media are expected to be themselves, more authentic -- that’s the word they use all the time," he told reportr during a Zoom call with Summit Media journalists.

Mr. M, who mentored and managed the likes of Piolo Pascual, Bea Alonzo, John Lloyd Cruz, and Kim Chiu for years, said social media has made fame available for everyone.

Echoing American artist Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame, Mr. M said everybody gets a shot at the digital spotlight, even for a short period.

YouTube gave birth to vloggers that netizens religiously watch. Millions of views on their vlogs could rival those of major television shows.

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Social media personalities have become celebrities in their own right too with the likes of late vlogger Lloyd Cadeña, whose death in 2020 was heavily mourned by his fans, and was widely reported by major news outfits.


What Makes a Legit Influencer? Lloyd Cadena Success Has Internet Asking

At the height of coronavirus lockdowns, Filipinos turned to social media -- including video-sharing app TikTok for entertainment and a chance at becoming viral. Many had their own 15 minutes of fame because of TikTok. 

"More ordinary people have become stars," Mr. M said. "Everyone is famous."


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Everybody can now be a star -- at least, in the digital world. With just a phone camera and an internet connection, anyone or everyone can become famous even for a fleeting while, Mr. M. said.

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"I think it has become more democratic because you’re your own broadcast station," Mr. M said.

Where does talent fit in all of this? For Mr. M, it's still as important as it was before and people looking to stay in the limelight should work on developing it.

"You have to start with what you have, the skillset that you have but then there are programs, workshops," he said.

While he admits that he does not fully understand how fame on social media works, Mr. M said he welcomes the change, even noting that he feels "challenged."

"I think there’s room for growth, I’m not selfish about it. I probably am challenged but not selfish," he said.

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