Before cameras tracked their every move 24/7 inside the closed off world of Pinoy Big Brother (PBB), Kisses Delavin and Marco Gallo were, in their own words, “normal students.”

Neither of them were PBB fans. In fact, as starry-eyed as Delavin has long been—she had dreamt of being on TV since she was six—she didn’t like the idea of PBB. “Everyone will get to know everything about you, and I didn’t want that because my family’s very private,” she says.

Gallo, on his part, only knew about the reality show back in Milan, Italy when his female classmates would remark about how much he looked like the PBB: 737 housemate Bailey May.

Yet somehow, they found themselves auditioning for the show. For Gallo, it was just a challenge that interested him, but one that he didn’t invest much hope on. “My friends were the ones who wanted to audition, then my mom insisted that I join them,” he reveals. “I didn’t even think I’d be selected out of all the people who were there.” Delavin, meanwhile, was at the tail end of a three-month leave she had taken from De La Salle University, which she took so she could try out her showbiz dreams.

She recalls, “I had won at pageants, but I hadn’t found any success yet auditioning for teleseryes. So I thought of trying PBB out.” Of the ironic twist that the show she was so reluctant to join turned out to be her passport to her long held dream, she says, “Maybe it was fate.”

The birth of #KissMarc

From normal students, the two are now collectively known as #KissMarc, one of the latest in a long line of love teams borne out of isolation inside Kuya’s house. One is a self-admitted sheltered kid who used to close herself off from the strangers she was forced to live with, the other a happy-go-lucky but straight-shooting Filipino-Italian who found the more sensitive side of Filipino culture a bit of a shock. Though they can no longer do some of the stuff they used to be able to do with anonymity—going to malls, simply hanging out with friends in public—they found the trade-off of a budding showbiz career, a legion of fans, and a Bench endorsement to be worth the challenges they had to go through.

Life at PBB

“Honestly, I didn’t think I’d last,” Gallo admits. “I tend to say what I’m thinking, and I’ve found out that Filipinos take what people tell them to heart. I knew I’d have problems with my housemates.” The “Pilyo Bello of Italy” was voted out of the house by the public by week 13.

Delavin didn’t think she’d last, too; early on, she would cry to Kuya about wanting to go home. “I’ve always been shy, so inside the house, it was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m living with people I don’t know!’” She eventually opened up to her housemates, encouraged by Big Brother. “He was the only one I used to talk to, but he told me that he believed in me, that I had to accept where I come from, but be open to a new life. I couldn’t just stick to what’s old; I had to reach out to other people.” Delavin ended up as a finalist.


Drastic shift

Life after PBB proved to be a 180-degree change to what the two were used to, but they’ve gotten the hang of adjusting to living in the public eye. Gallo admits, “I can’t say if I’d do it again, because there are times when I’d still wonder what would have happened if I didn’t join PBB. Like that film Dear Other Self—that’s how I’m like.”

“The first thing is I realized was that I have to accept what’s happening,” Delavin says. “I was in denial originally; I couldn’t accept that there are people who support me.” She has since acknowledged to herself that there are people who look up to her now and find her an inspiration. “I now know that I have to keep myself grounded and stay the same, because that’s who the fans love. I have to be the same Kisses that inspired them, or even better.”

Embracing fame

Delavin is happy to be living her dream, while Gallo is open to where the road will take him. As different as their approaches are to showbiz, the two know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they must embrace fully. The two have a movie in the works and a teleserye that will come out within the year; though they can’t reveal any detail as of press time, they’re obviously excited about these projects.

Neither regrets the mistakes they made inside the house. Delavin, especially, appreciates the growing up she had to go through. “I’m glad I opened myself up to new things,” she affirms. “There are so many risks involved in that, but I would have lost out on more things if I remained closed off.” As for Gallo, he says. “If I could sum up the whole experience in one word, it’d be ‘unforgettable.’”

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