If you’re a loyal Candy reader, you’d already know that we’re always on the lookout for fresh, young talents in the local showbiz scene. Today, we shine the spotlight on Shanaia Gomez, the 19-year-old star you probably know as the “Rising Darling ng Quezon City” from Pinoy Big Brother’s (PBB) latest Celebrity Edition. Now set to join the He’s Into Her season two cast, Shanaia is definitely achieving greater heights in her promising career.
If you’re looking to join Shanaia’s fan club, here are six fun facts that you should know about the showbiz newcomer:
1. Shanaia comes from a non-traditional family.
Born in Ireland on May 15, 2002, Shanaia was born to a Filipino mother and an Italian father. While that technically makes Shanaia a half-Italian, her older half-sister is still a full Filipino. Unfortunately, Shanaia never got to see her biological father as a child because her parents separated before she was even born. Their family moved to Canada when Shanaia was about eight years old, but she would also end up leaving them a few years later to pursue her showbiz career in the Philippines. Recently, Shanaia got to meet her biological father through social media, consequently learning that she actually has another half-sister in Italy.
2. Shanaia fell in love with performing during her childhood.
Because her mother had a performing arts school in Canada, Shanaia was exposed to performing at a very early age. As early as six years old, she would watch ASAP Natin ‘To with her mom and post song covers on YouTube in the hopes that she would go viral someday. Inspired by several pop icons like Liza Soberano and Kathryn Bernardo, Shanaia even joined a five-member girl group in Canada called Charms. The pop group even opened concerts for Filipino artists like Darren Espanto!
Moreover, Shanaia also has a beauty pageant background. She was the Miss Philippines Canada first-runner up in 2016, but she doesn’t see herself joining another pageant in the near future due to the nerve-wracking Q&A portion.
3. Shanaia used to be a Kapuso actress.
Shanaia was only 14 years old when she officially joined the industry as a star-in-training under GMA Network. Apparently, she was first discovered through a Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation pageant that GMA hosted for the Filipino community in Canada. When she moved to the Philippines in 2016, she auditioned for several TV commercials and eventually bagged a MAGGI Magic Sarap commercial co-starring Ian Veneracion. (Bonus trivia: She used her very first artista paycheck to buy a dog named “Maggi.”) A year later, she ended up leaving the network because she didn’t know how to speak Tagalog fluently at the time.
4. She’s a great singer.
In 2019, Shanaia joined Idol Philippines and made it to the mid-rounds despite receiving a “no” from Moira Dela Torre in her audition. While Shanaia gained a large following through the singing competition, getting eliminated was still a difficult experience for her because bashers accused her of being “maganda lang.” Following her elimination, she considered leaving the industry because she could no longer book any new roles amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But because of the support of her mom, she decided to audition one last time for ABS-CBN’s Rise Artists. Thanks to Shanaia’s charming personality and impressive vocal ability, she was finally able to ink a deal with the agency last 2021. If you’re curious about what her singing voice sounds like, she uploads numerous impressive song covers on her YouTube channel.
5. Shanaia was a PBB housemate.
After securing her contract with ABS-CBN, Shanaia joined the Celebrity Edition of PBB alongside Albie Casino, KD Estrada, Alexa Ilacad, and Anji Salvacion. In a previous interview, Shanaia shared that she felt so surprised when she first heard that she was going to be a housemate because being a PBB housemate has always been her dream. Likewise, despite being the seventh evictee, Shanaia’s still very grateful for all the lessons and friends she gained throughout the show.
6. Shanaia is a budding actress.
Commercials aside, Shanaia has also appeared in TV series Click, Like, Share alongside Belle Mariano. Currently, she’s working with Belle again for the second season of He’s Into Her, but Shanaia shared that she also hopes to work with love teams KathNiel and LizQuen in a future rom-com project.