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Jolina Magdangal Talks About the Joys of Being a ‘Pop Culture Icon’

Jolina Magdangal Talks About the Joys of Being a ‘Pop Culture Icon’
Jolina Magdangal

Singer-actress, television host and mother of two Jolina Magdangal was a household name for many Filipino pop culture fans, especially those who grew up watching her in the ‘90s, and she is happy to remain a positive influence even to the younger generation of audiences today.

Magdangal rose to fame as a recording artist and for starring in hit romantic-comedies with on-screen partner Marvin Agustin, including “Labs Kita… Okey Ka Lang,” where a love confession with the line “Oh, yes, kaibigan mo lang ako…” (I’m just your friend) made people who got friend-zoned felt seen.

Contributing to her mainstream popularity was her trendy and peculiar fashion statements, which made her an “icon” to many female teenage millennials, who proudly wore butterfly hair clips to school. She even had her own “Jolina” dolls made and other merchandise.

News 5 and OneNews.PH caught up with Magdangal in a recent JolliTown event of fastfood giant Jollibee held at the SMX Convention Center, where she was introduced as brand ambassador, to ask her thoughts about being labeled as a “pop culture icon” to this day.

Minsan ayoko mawala ‘yon, ‘yung feeling na parang ‘talaga ba?’ Hindi dahil kinukuwestiyon ko ‘yung sarili ko or ano, kundi parang sobra lang akong grateful (Sometimes I don't want to lose that feeling of ‘really?’ Not because I am questioning myself, but I'm just so grateful),” she said. 

Magdangal shared that even she gets surprised when many younger fans approach her and request selfies. They would tell her they knew her because of their mothers, who owned notebooks with an image of Magdangal on their covers.

“Thank you ha. Kasi noong panahon na ‘yon alam ko na [kapag] artista ka, may manonood sa ‘yo. Pero, siyempre, ngayon iba na rin ‘yung path mo, ‘di ba... Ang sarap ng feeling” (Thank you. Because during those years, I know that as an artist, someone is going to watch you. But now, of course, you’re on a different path… It feels good),” she said.

Recently, Billboard Philippines included her as one of its featured artists for its debut issue. She was also part of its launch party along with other icons such as “Asia’s Songbird” Regine Velasquez and Pinoy pop (P-pop) sensation SB19.

Magdangal said getting that privilege was unexpected, but she deeply appreciates it. “I thought when they called me, it was just going to be a simple feature, but it was a full article… Thank you),” the 44-year-old celebrity said mostly in Filipino. 

When asked how is she taking the attention after all these years, the seasoned performer said it doesn’t feel like a responsibility for her because she knows it wasn’t forced. Magdangal added she is not even after any showbiz title, but just wants people to also learn something from her.

Ang dami kong pinagdaanan talaga, and para mabigyan ka ng ganoong title, parang may na-mark na ako na panahonKaya ako na-pro-proud kasi ang sarap ikuwento sa mga anak ko (I went through a lot, really, and to be given that title feels like I made a mark in an era… That’s why I feel proud because I love to tell that to my children),” the actress shared.

Magdangal has a son and daughter (Pele and Vika) with husband Mark Escueta of the band Rivermaya. She said as much as she wants to tell her children about her status as a Filipino “icon,” she also prefers that she discovers that part of her life on their own.

The Kapamilya star also refused to drop names as to who she thinks can be the next “pop culture icon” among the latest crop of contemporary Filipino actresses in the industry today, citing a totally different entertainment landscape and considering the influence of social media.

She would rather let the public decide on that because “they are the ones who get to see on camera the kind of charm” that an artist has, which resonates with them.

Magdangal is currently working on her daily talk show “Magandang Buhay” (Good Life) along with Velasquez and Melai Cantiveros. It airs every morning on TV5.