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Pepe reacts to comparison to Empoy

Pepe Herrera is better known as a comedian but would you believe that he actually started as an opera singer? Born April 21, 1987, his full name is Jose Emmanuel Herrera and he’s a voice major at the UST Conservatory of Music, graduating in 2011.

“Baritone ang voice ko and I did operas before crossing over to local musical theaters for PETA Then nakuha ako sa TV, first in ‘Forevermore’, tapos sa ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ as Benny, sidekick in Coco Martin as Cardo. Doon ako nakilala ng tao but I had to resign after a year kasi I got sick with asthmatic lungs. Nahihirapan akong huminga at mabilis akong hingalin. I quit smoking and it helped.”

Now, he gets to play his first lead role in a mainstream film, “The Hopeful Romantic,” which opens in theaters on September 12.

“I play Jess, a valet parking attendant sa Manila Hotel. Nakatira ako sa lolo’t lola ko, sina Bodgie Pascua and Beverly Salviejo, and we’re very conservative. At my age, virgin pa ako kasi I believe I should give myself dun lang sa true love na pakakasalan ko. I meet Ritz Azul, na sobrang sexy and one leads thing to another. I lose my virginity to her and I’m afraid to lose her kaya nagpanggap akong mayaman para mahulog ang loob niya sa’kin. Pero siempre, the truth will come out at doon ang malaking conflict ng movie.”

Does he feel pressured some folks are comparing him to comedian Empoy Marquez?

“Ayokong i-compare or i-pressure ang sarili ko tungkol diyan. Hindi ako competitive at kaibigan ko si Empoy. Basta nagpo-focus lang ako na happy akong nakapagtrabaho ko sa Regal at nakapareha ko si Ritz.”