Jennylyn Mercado (born May 15, 1987) is a Filipina actress and singer. She became famous after winning in the first season of StarStruck, a reality-based talent search show of GMA Network in the Philippines.
In the October 14, 2004 episode of TV drama series Magpakailanman of GMA Network, which featured her life story, viewers learned more about her childhood.
In May 4, 1991, when she was nearly four years old, she made headlines as a battered child. Her assailant was her stepfather, who burned her skin with cigarette butts and whacked her back with a flat iron. Her mother, who was then in Dubai working as a domestic helper, immediately came home. She came not to take care of her daughter, however, but to bail out her partner, who was in detention.
Her mother migrated to London and had her own family. Jennylyn's aunt, Lydia Mercado, legally adopted her.
In June 2004, Mercado's biological father, Noli Pineda, now 50, came home for a holiday. His arrival did not go unnoticed by the press. Reports came out saying that he was asking for money from his now self-sufficient daughter (an accusation she has strongly denied, insisting that her father wanted her to use his surname. She and her biological father, who is based in Korea, keep in touch.
Mercado is now the official spokesperson of the Bata Foundation (Christian Mission Services), a non-governmental organization. It operates with basic funding support from its partner organization, Christlicher Missiondienst (CMD) headquartered in Germany, supplementary assistance from two Japanese organizations and a few local groups, with the help of Feed Hungry Inc. and the GMA Artist Center.
Mercado was a senior at the Augustinian Abbey in Las Pińas, where she actively took part in school programs.
Because of her hectic work schedule after winning Starstruck, she had to take a leave from school. If given the time and opportunity to pursue her studies further, the young actress has said that she'd like to take up mass communications as a major.
On the April 3, 2004 episode of Startalk, a Philippines-based talk show, Mercado admitted that she suffers from a heart ailment which prohibits her from becoming too tired, overly excited, or angry.
Mercado spent her 18th birthday with abused children from the CMSP, distributing gifts and just spending quality time with the children. MAQ Productions SM Megamall Cinema threw her a belated 18th birthday celebration to coincide with the premiere of her first movie, Say That You Love Me. This was the Philippines' first ever movie premiere with a birthday debut. Mercado's gown was created exclusively for her by fashion designer Rajo Laurel. Award-winning production designer Edgar Martin "Egay" Littaua also contributed to the dress. Mark Herras, leading man in Say That You Love Me and Mercado's real-life boyfriend, escorted her, together with other young men from her family, Starstruck, GMA Network, and Regal Films.
She became the girlfriend of co-StarStruck survivor Mark Herras but their relationship has now ended. Although the pair may have declared that they have split up, their on-screen team-up bears no signs of breaking down.
Jennylyn was being wooed by numerous men (like actor Jake Cuenca who gave her a dog - Migs - while working with her in the 9th season of Love to Love entitled Miss Match. But all were just rumors.There were also hints that Jennylyn and Mark got back together again but there had also been rumors that she and her former non-showbiz boyfriend, Jigs Cristobal were back together, too. Jen denied all of these saying she has not got back together with Jigs nor Mark. Some sources also said that she's been courted by Captain Barbell star, Patrick Garcia.
The young singer-actress has stated that none of the rumors are true. She claimed that, at present, she still is entertaining suitors and that her career is her utmost priority.
Now she admitted that she has been going out with award-winning actor, Patrick Garcia. The two had recently been spotted together in one of the country’s finest island, Boracay. Rumor has it that the two is now officially together as confirmed by some of their friends. But the actress-singer neither admit nor deny about the status of their relationship. In one recent interview by Dolly Ann Carvajal of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jennylyn explains, “"I don't deny that Patrick inspires me but that is all for now.”
Before Starstruck fame
Jennylyn started out as a recording artist, in 1999, with Alpha Records through the recommendation of her voice coach Susanna Pichay. She was with the singing group G4 of Nonoy Tan. Unfortunately, two of co-members didn’t continue on so the group and the planned album was scrapped. But the group was able to record two songs. Though her short experience with the group dismayed her, it developed her love for singing.
After G4, another opportunity was opened to her and that was modeling. She kept herself busy with a number of VTRs from advertising agencies.
Luckily, her patience paid off as she landed an endorsing stint with Bambini cologne and a Ponds television advertisement before that. She also made it to the elite Circle of 10 modeling search along with fellow Starstruck member, Dion Ignacio. She won the Ms. Photogenic title and some cash. But according to her, she was also a contestant in the previous year’s search. She withdrew from it because the cigarette smoke from the bars they visited as part of the search’s promotions made her sick and affected her voice.
Her friend Nina Sanchez asked her to sing as her guest one night at the Café de Malate located in Madre Ignacia St., Malate, Manila. Afterwards, she was asked if she was interested to sing regularly (every Monday and Thursday night) by Bobby Velasco, the owner. This was her first lounge act since G4. This boosted her self-cofidence because some of the Filipino celebrities who started out with Café de Malate include the likes of singer-dancer Gem Ramos, singer-actress Hannah Villame, recording artists Bhem Rosas and Karen Villar, Sandra Amor and Kyla who was known then as Melanie Calumpad.
She also played a role in hit soap opera Kay tagal kang hinintay with Lorna Tolentino in th eother network (Abs-cbn).She also played the role of Rio Locsin’s favorite student in the GMA teledrama Ang Iibigin Ay Ikaw as well as in the weekly series Nagmamahal, Manay Gina, where she appeared three times.
StarStruck is the first reality-based talent search on Philippine television in recent history. Its pilot episode aired on October 27, 2003. Out of thousands who auditioned for a stab at stardom, only 100 were chosen for the first cut. From 100, it was trimmed down to 60, from 60 to 30 and from 30 to the 14 finalists. Needless to say, Jennylyn made the cut.
The final fourteen underwent various workshops and training in order to develop their personalities, talents, etc. But, the twist was that every week, one of the Final 14 will have to say goodbye until only four remain.
The winner was announced on a two-hour TV special dubbed StarStruck Final Judgement held on February 1, 2004. Araneta Coliseum, the venue of the event was jampacked by thousands of StarStruck fans and supporters. Mark Herras and Jennylyn Mercado were proclaimed Ultimate Survivors and each of them received one million pesos plus exclusive contracts from GMA Network. The Final Judgment rated 42.8%, impressively high for a late Sunday night telecast.
Jennylyn may not have looked overwhelmed when her name was announced as the female ultimate survivor, but that was only because she was too dumbfounded to react. Asked – a few days later – to choose which part of her life she wanted to relive, she choses February 1, 2004, the day she won the contest.
Because of the StarStruck fever, GMA Network created a new show, Stage 1: The StarStruck Playhouse. The StarStruck test continues on this show where the Final 14 have to prove their staying power in the business. Every week from Mondays to Thursdays, the show presents a miniseries starring the starstruck 1 final 14, this time their acting prowess is put into test. The show already went off the air with high ratings.
Fridays would serve as critical day because the audience will judge their performance for the week through text messaging. An acting award is also given to the survivor who excelled in that week. Stage 1: LIVE! is also somewhat a variety show for the Survivors. If Mondays to Thursdays, they showed their acting skills, during Fridays, they are able to show their dancing, singing and hosting prowess. The show was hosted by Chynna Ortaleza and Cogie Domingo with Raymond Gutierrez. The show already went off the air with high ratings.
The Ultimate Survivor of Starstruck Batch 1 has a lot to be thankful for. She is now one of the hottest stars in Philippine television and the other half of the most bankable love team in the country today.
Her first feature film was in So Happy Together, where Jennylyn played Kris Aquino's rebellious daughter. What followed was another hit film in the same year with Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin in the teen-flick Let the Love Begin.
As a true testament to her rising stardom, she has also starred alongside real-love Mark Herras, in the blockbuster success, 'Say That You Love Me'.
In addition, her recent portrayal of the young Corazon in the movie Blue Moon which she co-stars with Eddie Garcia, Christopher de Leon. Boots Anson Roa, Mark Herras, and Dennis Trillo has received accolades from fans and critics alike which earne her acting nominations in all the major award giving bodies. This same role has garnered her first ever acting award as the Best Supporting Actress in the Gawad Tanglaw Award.
Mercado's next film is Eternity, a historical love story produced by Regal Films that also features Dingdong Dantes, Iza Calzado and Mark Herras. The movie will open around the Philippines on September 6, 2006.
"‘Eternity’ is one of the best films I’ve made so far. It’s a beautiful love story that shows how the present can affect the past, as shown in the surprise twist in its ending.” said Jennylyn Mercado.
December 25, 2006 was the release of Jen's Metro Manila Film Festival entry Super Noypi where Jen plays Lia a girl who travel back in the present from 2070.
Aside from a successful movie career, Jennylyn is a GMA-7 contract artist that has graced several television shows, making her a household name. But among her numerous TV projects, it is probably her princess fairy character Milagros/Lira in the fantasy soap opera Encantadia that has truly made her star shine even brighter.
On May 2006, Mercado will star on another GMA soap entitled I Luv NY. With her ex-flame and screen partner Mark Herras and New York City as its backdrop which constitutes 70% of the whole soap, this will absolutely soar high in ratings.
On September 25, 2006, Jennylyn will also star in the 7th season of Now and Forever, entitled Dangal, with Mr. Dennis Trillo. This is the first team up of the two young award winning actors of GMA. Along with Jennylyn and Dennis, the other cast are Ms. Cherrie Gil, Katya Santos, Ciara Sotto and Desiree del Valle, Mellisa Mendez and Mat Ranillo III.
In a time when 10-track debut albums don't make much sense, Jennylyn has been lucky enough to score original compositions by master composer Vehnee Saturno and enlist Janno Gibbs for a duet cover of the classic ballad If I'm Not In Love With You on her debut album, Living the Dream. The album's carrier single titled "Kahit Sandali", another Saturno original , enjoyed major airplay and became one of the most requested songs at the time of its release. To date, the album is now certified Platinum.
With a successful album under her belt, she can now boast of being a true recording artist, a wish that she had always dreamed of. When asked what she prefers acting or singing, Jen answers, "singing, definitely singing." In fact, she is now preparing for a second album. Weekly, she is able to highlight her musical prowess in the teen variety program SOP Gigsters
On May 2006 , Jennylyn is back with her sophomore effort ironically tagged Letting Go. Astonishingly, this album signals a change in direction for Jennylyn, both musically and emotionally. This is a 10 - track album that showcases Jennylyn Mercado's versatility in singing. The first single "Sa Aking Panaginip" sees Jennylyn singing with more assurance, more purity about love and loss that offers listeners an initial glimpse of a renewed star. Created by veteran Vehnee Saturno, Jennylyn is well complemented with the orchestral backing but she never drowns in the sea of musical arrangements. In fact, during the grand climax she funnels her rich voice as if declaring her valiant comeback, proving that she is a woman on a mission.
Aside from possessing a lovely voice, Jennylyn can also play the drums and guitar.
First Major Concert
Jennylyn's first major concert is on May 15, 2006, the day of her birthday. The title of the concert is "Music In Me". The concert is located at the Music Museum in Greenhills. Special guests are Mr. Janno Gibbs, Mark Herras, Aiza Seguerra, Hale and his surprise guest Christian Bautista. It was a sold-out event and rumors has it that there will be a repeat. The concert's highlights are the duet of Jennylyn and her surprise guest Christian Bautista and the sensual dirty dancing with her on-screen partner Mark Herras.
The teen star’s charming face as well as her cool and calm personality has earned her several commercial offers and endorsements. She is currently the image model of following:
1. Star Mall
4. Bambini Cologne and Lotion
8. Calayan Surgicare
9. WL Foods
10. Finds: Jen's Boutique
11. No Curfew Watches
14. Star Choco Nut
* 2006 Kaya Mo Bang Ibalik - Letting Go (Jennylyn Mercado album)
* 2006 In Another Lifetime - Eternity
* 2006 Sa Aking Panaginip - Letting Go (Jennylyn Mercado album)
* 2006 Moments of Love with Janno Gibbs - Moments of Love
* 2005 Awit ni Lira - Encantadia
* 2005 Tamang In Love- Living the Dream
* 2005 If I'm not in Love with You with Janno Gibbs
* 2005 Sapat na ang Minsan - Living the Dream
* 2005 Kahit Sandali - Living the Dream
There was a circulating pornographic MMS video in the Philippines showing a naked girl bathing who was supposedly Jennylyn. But Jennylyn denied this and insisted that the girl in the video has bigger breasts than she does. Being a hot personality, just recently Jennylyn Mercado was again intrigued as there is a circulating alleged sex video of her with ex-boyfriend Mark Herras. Both parties denied the allegations.
Jimmy Bondoc concert
When Jimmy Bondoc, a singer from the Philippines, held a concert on November 25, 2005 at the Music Museum, Jennylyn was advertised as one of the guests. However, the Starstruck Diva did not show up.
Jennylyn clarified that she met the singer in an out-of-town show where both of them were performing and discussed his concert, but did not make any commitment to perform as a guest since permission from the GMA Artist Center was needed as they are the ones responsible for all of her bookings.
Batista to Jennylyn: "I Love You"
On September 7, 2006 WWE superstar Batista visits his ethnic homeland, Philippines. On an episode of S-Files Batista guested in it and was interview by Pia Guanio, on the middle of the conversation Pia shows Batista some few pictures of artist from Philippines, Batista then saw Jennylyn's picture saying "Oh my god, who is this?", then he kisses the picture saying, "Hi Jennylyn, I love you". The next day Jennylyn then stated that she was flattered and was a fan also of Batista. She also said that she is ready anytime to meet Batista in person.
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