June 16, 2019

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Opinion

Winnipeg TV star Louriza Tronco shares talents on screens big and small

YTV
Louriza Tronco gets to showcase her singing, dancing and acting skills on YTV�s Make It Pop.

YTV Louriza Tronco gets to showcase her singing, dancing and acting skills on YTV�s Make It Pop.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/9/2015 (1380 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For actors seeking success in TV and movies, an early career goal is to land a project that will "make it pop."

For Winnipeg-born performer Louriza Tronco, Make It Pop might actually be that star-making vehicle.

The 21-year-old triple-threat has landed a starring role in the new YTV series, which showcases her talents as a singer, dancer and actor. Make It Pop debuted earlier this year in the U.S., Britain and Australia (and has already been renewed for a second season), so its Canadian première (Wednesday at 9 p.m. on YTV) feels a bit overdue.

"All my friends have been asking, 'When is it going to come out in Canada?' and finally it's going to be on next week," Tronco says during a telephone interview from Toronto, where Make It Pop's second season is already in production. "I'm super-proud that Canada finally gets to see it, especially my hometown."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/9/2015 (1380 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For actors seeking success in TV and movies, an early career goal is to land a project that will "make it pop."

For Winnipeg-born performer Louriza Tronco, Make It Pop might actually be that star-making vehicle.

The 21-year-old triple-threat has landed a starring role in the new YTV series, which showcases her talents as a singer, dancer and actor. Make It Pop debuted earlier this year in the U.S., Britain and Australia (and has already been renewed for a second season), so its Canadian première (Wednesday at 9 p.m. on YTV) feels a bit overdue.

"All my friends have been asking, 'When is it going to come out in Canada?' and finally it's going to be on next week," Tronco says during a telephone interview from Toronto, where Make It Pop's second season is already in production. "I'm super-proud that Canada finally gets to see it, especially my hometown."

The colourful, energetic, music-driven series follows three young girls at a performing-arts boarding school who form a band called XO-IQ and, with the help of their DJ friend Caleb, launch a career that extends far beyond the walls of MacKendrick Prep.

Tronco plays Jodi Mapa, a 15-year-old fashionista whose talents as a dancer make her a natural for the fledgling pop group. Also in XO-IQ are Sun Hi (Megan Lee), a free-spirited, smartphone-obsessed bundle of energy whose hunger for success is the trio's driving force, and Corki Chang (Erika Tham), the soft-spoken daughter of an overbearing overseas single father, who shakes off her initial shyness and becomes an equal partner in the music-making fun.

Promotional materials for the show refer to its music and the girls' band as "K-Pop inspired," referring to the South Korean musical genre characterized by its incorporation of audiovisual elements. It's apparent from Make It Pop's opening moments music, colour and movement are going to be the engine that drives the show's stories forward.

"It's such a great production to be a part of because it's something that involves singing, dancing and acting," says Tronco, whose performing career began at age seven when she was cast as a mouse in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's annual Nutcracker production. "Most shows don't have that; there have been a few, like Glee and Smash, but this one is specifically for a younger audience, so the whole family can watch it."

And in Tronco's case, having the entire family tune in could mean a large Winnipeg viewership for Make It Pop.

"My family's huge; my mom has 12 siblings, and a lot of them are in Winnipeg," she offers. "Christmas at our place is really huge."

Tronco, who attended Sisler High School, calls Vancouver home these days, having moved to the West Coast in order to enrol in the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria. While taking part in the two-year course, she travelled back and forth to Vancouver to audition for parts in movies, TV shows and commercials.

The first role she landed was on the spooky CW show Cult ("I had a dying scene," she says); subsequent screen credits have included the Lifetime movie Behind the Hit: Saved By the Bell, Disney Channel's Zapped, My Boyfriends' Dogs and My Life as a Dead Girl, and the big-screen sequel Night at the Museum 3: Secret of the Tomb.

After submitting an audition tape for Make It Pop, Tronco waited a full six months before hearing from the show's producers that they wanted to fly her to Toronto for a second look. Two more callbacks and a final casting call later, she had a part in the series — but not the one for which she'd originally read.

"My manager got the audition for me, and she actually had me read for the character Sun Hi, which is Megan Lee's role, which seems like crazy talk now, because she's so great at it," she recalls. "We sent the tape off to L.A., and they said they really liked me, but because of my dance experience, they wanted me to read for (the role of) Jodi instead."

Since Make It Pop debuted on U.S. cable's Nickelodeon last April, the show has gained a steady following and XO-IQ's music has taken on a life of its own, spawning a YouTube channel, colourful karaoke videos and releases on iTunes.

"Right now we're focused on filming the show, but we're hoping to keep producing music and pursue the band aspect as the show continues, hopefully, into more seasons," she says.

As for the longer-term future, Tronco — whose early performing background in Winnipeg included studies at Ken Peter's Dance Express and voice training from Joy Lazo, as well as roles in a trio of Rainbow Stage productions — says she'd like someday to tackle a role that reflects her Winnipeg roots.

"I would love to do a series about my Filipino culture," says Tronco, whose mother, Merla, is a nurse and whose father, Rene, is employed at Boeing Canada (she also has two older brothers, RJ and Emmanuel). "There's a show on ABC right now called Fresh Off the Boat, which explores Asian culture, and the CW has Jane the Virgin, which is about (Hispanic) culture. It would be great to do a show about a Filipino family."

Watch an acoustic performance by XO-IQ at http://wfp.to/xbr.

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @BradOswald

Brad Oswald

Brad Oswald
Perspectives Editor

After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.

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