8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities that are Famous Globally

8 Famous Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities that is famous Internationally.

The Ilokanos, also known as the Iloko people, are the third-largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines and are primarily found in the Ilocos Region on Luzon’s northwest coast. The Ilocano (or Ilokano) language is the native tongue of the Ilocano people.

There has been a continual migration of labor to different parts of the country to the southernmost reaches, and even to other places like Hawaii and California that is why some people in this list is making big waves globally.

Photo: Bretman Rock Youtube Account

On July 31, 1998, Bretman Rock Sacayanan Laforga was born into an Ilocano family in Sanchez-Mira, Cagayan, Philippines. His father, Edmund Laforga, named him after Bret Hart and The Rock because he loved professional wrestling. When Rock was seven years old, his family relocated to Hawaii, where he grew up playing baseball, soccer, cross-country, and volleyball.

After one of his films on contouring went viral in 2015, he gained popularity as a creator on YouTube and Vine. Rock is well-known for his hilarious outlook on life and for creating cosmetics tutorials. He has appeared in various music videos, including MTV’s Following: Bretman Rock (2021), and was the first openly homosexual man to grace the Playboy cover in October 2021.

A People’s Choice award for “Beauty Influencer” and a prize for “Breakthrough Social Star” at the 2021 MTV Movie and TV Prizes are just two of the accolades and awards Rock has garnered for his work on social media.

He was named one of the 30 Most Influential Teens by Time magazine in 2017. He was also named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Asia – Media, Marketing & Advertising” list in 2018.

Rock was highlighted on the Gay Times cover for Pride Month in June 2019. Rock worked with stylist Andrew Gelwicks at his debut New York Fashion Week appearance in September 2019.

In the ten-episode fourth season of the YouTube Premium online series Escape the Night, which debuted in July 2019, Rock performed the part of “The Playboy.” Rock would be the star of the upcoming season of the YouTube program No Filter, MTV revealed in December 2019.

Rock debuted his makeup line in early 2020 in association with Wet n Wild cosmetics. To promote the line, he held a press tour in February 2020 in Los Angeles with companies including Buzzfeed, Condé Nast, Hearst, and others.

Rock made a special appearance on the third episode of James Charles’ YouTube Original series “Instant Influencer” on May 9, 2020. Rock debuted his eyewear line in November 2020, focusing on sunglasses, in association with Dime Optics, a company with headquarters in Los Angeles. He released six frames, of which two were only available at Revolve and four were offered at Dime Optics.

On May 14, 2021, Rock appeared among other online stars in the music video for Bella Poarch’s debut track, “Build a Bitch.” Rock received a nomination for an MTV Movie and TV Award in the category of Breakthrough Social Star in June 2021. On the day of the ceremony, he was declared the winner.

Rock had a brief appearance in the music video for the song “INFERNO” by Sub Urban and Bella Poarch in August 2021. Additionally, he took part in a stream that promoted the video.

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

2. Maja Salvador

ilocano celebrity

On October 5, 1988, Maja Ross Andres Salvador was born in Aparri, Cagayan, Philippines. Her father, Ross Rival, was a former actor, and her mother is Thelma Andres. Salvador comes from a long line of actors, including her uncle Phillip Salvador and her father Ross Rival.

Since her debut, she has achieved success and won accolades for her leading roles in the TV series Ina, Kapatid, Anak, The Legal Wife, Bridges of Love, and FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, as well as in PHR Presents: Impostor, Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin, Nagsimula sa Puso, and Impostor. 

When Salvador played Lily Cruz/Ivy Aguas in the acclaimed revenge drama series Wildflower, she established her standing as a superstar. The series gave Salvador a sweeping nomination for Best Actress at the esteemed Asian Academy Creative Awards, Asian Television Awards, and won the Asia Contents Awards in 2019 where Wildflower was also nominated for Best Asian Drama in addition to the high ratings and heavy advertising loads.

Her portrayal of Camila dela Torre in the 2019 revenge drama The Killer Bride, which won the national award for best telenovela at the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2020, followed her generally positive reviews.

3. Jessica Soho

famous ilocano celebrities
Photo: Adobo Magazine

On March 27, 1964, Soho was born in San Fernando, La Union, in the northern Philippines. Her parents are agriculturalist Maura Aspiras and government worker Abelardo Soho. Concepción “Cion” Soho and Sixta “Apo Ittang” Aspiras, Soho’s grandparents, had an impact on her storytelling.

Soho pursued a degree in mass communication at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Luis Beltran, one of her lecturers, motivated Soho to complete her education and pursue a career in journalism in Manila.

In January 1985, Soho began working for GMA News and Public Affairs. A feature article about the opening of the Manila Line 1 from Baclaran to Monumento served as Soho’s first voice-over report. Later, Soho was given the defense and military beats.

For the first time ever, Soho won a Bronze Award at the New York Film Festival in 1991 for her coverage of a hostage situation in Cagayan Valley[6]. The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas also gave her the Ka Doroy Valencia Award. She was awarded the Grand Prize by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in 1994 for her reporting on a breaking news event. The 100 Filipino Women of Distinction selected during the Philippine Centennial festivities include Soho.

With the GMA Network serving as the first Filipino network, Soho helped conceptualize the one-hour documentary television program I-Witness, which she co-presented from its debut in 1999 to 2004. For the I-Witness documentaries “Kidneys for Sale” and “Kamao,” she became the first Filipino reporter to win a Peabody Award in 1999. She also won the Asian Television Award for Best News and Current Affairs Special for the 2001 “Saksi”

For their coverage of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2014, Soho’s GMA news programs Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, and State of the Nation with Jessica Soho received Peabody Awards. Additionally, Reader’s Digest Asia awarded Soho consecutive victories for Most Trusted News Presenter thanks to State of the Nation.

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

4. Darren Espanto

famous ilocano celebrities
Photo: Darren Espanto Spotify Account

On May 24, 2001, Espanto was born in Calgary. Marinel Gonzales and Lyndon Espanto, two Filipino registered nurses who immigrated to Canada from Isabela, had their first child with him. His parents introduced him to the Tagalog dialect of the Filipino language. Espanto began singing when he was three years old. From a young age, he had a passion for music, and his parents encouraged him to pursue his goals.

Espanto was the only singer from the Philippines invited to participate as a guest artist in the Chinese Singer 2019 grand finals in April 2019.

Disney specifically chose Espanto and Phoenix Morissette from Asia to perform “A Whole New World” as part of the Aladdin movie marketing in the Philippines in May 2019.

He took part as one of the 11 ASEAN vocalists that represented each member nation when the theme song for the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, “Side by Side,” was released in November 2019.

Espanto was selected by the United Nations Development Programme (under its Philippine office) in April 2020 to serve as its first-ever celebrity Youth Advocate for the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which put a particular emphasis on youth empowerment, biodiversity conservation, and climate action.

Along with December Avenue, Espanto represented the Philippines in the renowned Expo 2020 Dubai in November 2021. In April 2022, Espanto released “Pabalik Sa’yo” through UMG Philippines. An hour after its release, the song reached number 3 on Apple’s Philippines iTunes store. Espanto is one of the Southeast Asian musicians with whom Calum Scott worked on the song “Heaven” in June 2022. Soon after its release, the song shot to No. 2 on the Philippine iTunes store.

Espanto was listed as one of the artists in the recently created Republic Records Philippines under UMUSIC Philippines, it was revealed in July 2022.

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

5. Ann Curtis-Smith

famous ilocano celebrities
Photo: Ann Curtis-Smith Twitter Account

The daughter of James Ernest Curtis-Smith, an Australian lawyer, and Carmencita Ojales, a Filipino from Bolinao, Pangasinan, Anne Ojales Curtis-Smith was born in Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia, in 1982.

One of the most well-known celebrities in the Philippines is Curtis. According to Forbes Asia, she is among the top 100 digital stars in the Asia-Pacific. She still has the highest followers on Instagram (over 17 million) and Facebook (over 18 million), making her the fourth most popular Filipino celebrity as of 2021. 

She is presently the second-most followed Filipino star on Twitter and the top with 14 million followers among Filipinos. Additionally, Curtis was the top Instagram influencer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

6. Jake Cuenca

Photo: Star Magic

On December 30, 1987, Juan Carlos Leveriza Cuenca was born in San Jose, California, in the United States. His mother is a businesswoman of Filipino ancestry from Ilocos Norte, and his father is an architect of Spanish origin from Valencia, Spain. Cuenca’s father is Juan Tomas Cuenca, and his mother is Rachele Leveriza.

Jake has been in a number of well-known films, including In the name of love, Status: it’s complex, My Neighbor’s Wife, Villa Estrella, and Tuhog. and included independent movies about AIDS such as H.I.V. : Si Heidi, Si Ivy at si V (2010), Nuwebe (2013), Lihis (2013), and Mulat (2014), a movie about child sexual abuse that won local and international prizes (2014)

Jake’s performance in Diane Ventura’s Mulat (Awaken) earned him his first best actor prize at the International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) in New York in 2014; this is the same film that just earned him his second best actor prize at the 2016 World Cinema Festival in Copacabana, Brazil.

He joined Team Socceroo F.C. in October 2011, and the team later competed in Division 2 of the United Football League as a guest club in the 2011–12 United Football Cup. He hasn’t yet played for the first team because of obligations in the entertainment industry.

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

7. Vice Ganda

famous ilocano celebrities
Photo: Preen.ph

Vice Ganda was referred to as “Tutoy” by his family and friends before to coming out to them. This was his childhood nickname. Vice Ganda, the youngest of five children, spent his formative years in the Manuguit, Tondo, Manila neighborhood along José Abád Santos Street. His father, a native of Taysan, Batangas and a barangay leader in Tondo, Manila, was murdered when he was young, causing his mother, an Ilocana from San Juan, La Union, to leave her children to work abroad as a caretaker.

Vice Ganda made an appearance in a number of Wenn V. Deramas-produced comedy and television shows, including Dyosa. In the drama series Maging Sino Ka Man, he also appeared in the supporting role of Ang Pagbabalik. 

Vice Ganda joined the talent search program It’s Showtime in 2009, where he finally rose to the position of regular presenter and judge. The drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya has also covered his personal story of being bullied as a young, openly gay man. He started hosting his own Sunday chat show, Gandang Gabi, Vice, in 2011. The program was over in 2020.

Along with his fellow celebs, Angel Locsin and Robin Padilla, he was appointed judge for the fifth and sixth seasons of Pilipinas Got Talent in 2016. He was the host of the game show Everybody, Sing! in June 2021. Vice!, which took the place of his own discussion show Gandang Gabi! In October 2021, the game show came to an end.

He starred in the 2010 version of the comedy Petrang Kabayo, which was a runaway success upon release. The Unkabogable Praybeyt Benjamin, directed by Wenn V. Deramas and starring Derek Ramsay, was his next project. The film outperformed Petrang Kabayo at the box office, becoming the first local picture to sell 300 million pesos worth of tickets. Vice Ganda played the title role in the 2012 comedy This Guy’s in Love with U Mare! With Luis Manzano and Toni Gonzaga, the film is produced by Star Cinema and Viva Films and directed by Wenn V. Deramas.

He produced a second film in 2013 titled Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy. As an official entry for the MMFF 2014, Star Cinema released a film in 2014 titled The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin. Along with the actor Richard Yap, the actress Alex Gonzaga, and the actors James “Bimby” Aquino-Yap took part. Wenn V. Deramas served as the film’s director. 

Star Cinema’s official submission for the MMFF 2015, Beauty and the Bestie, was released in 2015. Along with Alonzo Muhlach, James Reid, Nadine Lustre, actor Coco Martin, comedians MC Calaquian, and Lassy Marquez, he took part in the event. Vice appeared in two successful films in 2018 and 2019, Fantastica and The Mall, The Merrier, both starring Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gutierrez, and Anne Curtis, respectively.

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

8. Bella Poarch

Photo: Slaylebrity

Denarie Taylor, Bella Poarch’s real mother, gave birth to her on February 9, 1997 in San Fabian, Pangasinan, the Philippines. Before being adopted by her adoptive family at the age of three, she was nurtured by her grandmother in the slums. Her adoptive mother is Filipino and her adoptive father is American. The couple first met in Saudi Arabia, where her adoptive father was stationed, before relocating to the Philippines.

Bella Poarch is the most popular TikTok user in the Philippines. On August 17, 2020, she made the most popular video on TikTok, in which she lip syncs to the song “M to the B” by British rapper Millie B. In May 2021, she released her debut single, “Build a Bitch.”

She was the third most followed user on TikTok as of July 24, 2022, behind Khaby Lame and Charli D’Amelio, with over 91 million followers. She currently holds the record for the TikTok video with the most likes (more than 50 million).

Poarch released her first song, “Build a Bitch,” on May 14, 2021. The accompanying music video, which debuted on YouTube, was produced with Daniel Virgil Maisonneuve, better known online as Sub Urban, and was dubbed “an ambitious, darkly humorous slice of new-school pop” by Billboard. It also includes appearances from Valkyrae, Mia Khalifa, Bretman Rock, and ZHC.

“Build a Bitch” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 58 in the week of May 29, 2021. Two weeks later, the song reached its highest position of number 56, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the US awarded it platinum certification. 

In Malaysia, Singapore, and India, “Build a Bitch” made the top ten. It also reached its peak in the top 30 on the Billboard Global 200 and in Australia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, and other countries. 

The song also made it to the top 30 in Canada, where Music Canada awarded it a platinum certification (MC). The Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry awarded the song gold certification after it peaked at number 60 in Poland (ZPAV)

It has currently achieved 414 million YouTube views. The music video was nominated for three awards: Best Pop Video – International at the UK Music Video Awards in 2021, Best Visual Effects at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, and Best Music Video at the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

On August 12, 2022, Poarch released her debut EP, titled Dolls. It features “Build a Bitch,” “Inferno,” and “Dolls,” her past singles, as well as the brand-new songs “Villain,” “No Man’s Land,” and “Living Hell.” Along with the EP, a music video for “Living Hell” made its debut. Grimes appears on “No Man’s Land” in addition to co-starring in the music video for “Dolls.” Rolling Stone commended the EP’s dark pop vibe.

Article: 8 Ilocano Celebrities and Personalities That are Famous Globally

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