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The Blossoming of a Promising Love Team
The unexpected pairing of McCoy de Leon and Elisse Joson inside the Pinoy Big Brother House has thrust them as a love team to watch out for
Sometime three years ago, showbiz newbie McCoy de Leon was going about his song number in an event in Bataan. As the custom, McCoy scoured through the audience to choose a lucky girl to join him onstage. Instead of choosing from the audience, he picked a lovely young lady who was also part of the event.
“‘Di ko alam bakit siya ‘yung kinuha ko habang kumakanta ako,” McCoy shares with Inside Showbiz Weekly. “Dinala ko siya sa stage. Pinakilala ko siya nung time na ‘yun. Parang magulo ‘yung feeling bakit kinuha ko itong babaeng ito.” The girl he was referring to was Elisse Joson, who is now his partner in the budding love team called “McLisse.”
It seemed to be a foreshadowing of sorts. Three years later, 21-year-old McCoy and 20-year-old Elisse perform for crowds and send hearts aflutter. Their supporters have followed their happenings from inside the Pinoy Big Brother House during the Lucky Season 7 until now. They have guested in some television shows and are recent additions to primetime program FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. Their love team has a couple of endorsements this early on.
WHEN THEY FIRST MET
The Bataan event was just the second time that McCoy and Elisse met. Their first meeting was on the set of daytime television series Be Careful With My Heart where they played supporting roles. “Magkaibigan lang kami na hindi close talaga,” recalls McCoy whose full name is Marc Carlos Francis de Jesus de Leon. He has a Chinese name, Chan Min Que, because his mother’s grandmother is pure Chinese.
Elisse agrees with McCoy. She recounts that her impression of McCoy during their first meeting has not changed. “Same pa din kung ano siya ngayon, ‘yung pagiging tahimik and mahiyain nya. Pero mabait talaga.”
McCoy, on the other hand, has a different first impression of Elisse. “Masungit,” he remarks with a chuckle. “Masungit talaga”. Kasi tahimik lang siya tapos ‘yung normal face niya parang parating malungkot at ‘di masaya. Pero kapag nakausap mo na siya, makulit din. Madaldal pala tapos maloko din.” Elisse quips, “Kabaliktaran nung first impression ko sa kanya.” She laughs shyly.
McCoy adds that he began to admire Elisse from afar during the Bataan event. “Nung nakita ko siya sa event, iba ‘yung aura niya. Iba ‘yung hitsura niya, mas maganda siya. Tapos doon ko mas na-appreciate ‘yung kagandahan niya. Siguro dahil ang daming nakatingin sa kanya na mga guys and ang daming nagpapa-picture. So tinitignan ko lang sya at nagandahan talaga ako. Hanggang doon lang. ‘Di ko siya nakausap kasi nahihiya rin ako.”
It was but natural that since McCoy and Elisse have met several times already, they were expected to click right away inside the PBB House. But that did not happen. “Nagkakahiyaan kami nung umpisa,” shares Elisse, whose full name is Maria Chriselle Elisse Joson Diuco. “Since we knew each from before, we thought na kami ‘yung magiging close sa loob ng bahay pero naging baliktad kasi biglang tinukso kami ng mga housemates. So nagka-ilangan, nagkahiyaan. Until kinausap kami ni Kuya and sinabi nya na since kami ‘yung magkakilala, dapat kami ‘yung close talaga. So after that, okay na, naging komportable na.”
She clarifies that she did not plan nor intend to hype her love life on the show. “Some people think that I went inside PBB to open up about my exes and my love life. ‘Yung iba sinasabi that’s all I have to offer. But I went in PBB wanting to learn more about myself. Of course, part of it is they have to know my life story that’s why I shared them everything.”
He also marvels at how McLisse came about: “Nag-start kasi kami na hindi namin akalaing sabay kaming mag-jo-journey in showbiz. Kasi simula nung tinuksu-tukso lang kami, nakita namin ‘Ay bakit ganun? Ano bang meron sa atin?’ Hanggang sumabay nalang din until natuwa ako sa personality niya, yung ugali niya, at kung paano siya makitungo. Plus, kung paano niya mahalin ang pamilya niya lalo na ‘yung mommy niya. Doon talaga siguro ako kinilig sa kanya. After ng mga last part ng PBB, doon na namin napapansin na sabay pala kami ng pwedeng patunguhan.”
THE REAL SCORE
Their fans are not just updated on their latest career developments. They also eagerly await updates on their friendship or relationship. McCoy assures that what the fans see is genuine. “That’s what we’re really careful about. We talked about it naman na hindi porket nilala-loveteam tayo, kailangan mayroong ipilit. Tignan natin kung anong mangyayari between us. ‘Wag nating gawin para lang sa career. Kung ano man ‘yung nangyari sa atin, ipakita natin sa kanila. Kung anong pinakita natin sa loob ng bahay ni Kuya, ipakita natin sa kanila.”
He adds, “Nanggaling kami sa reality show. Nakita nila buhay namin. Dumating ako sa point na kung ano man ang relasyon namin na nakikita nila, gusto ko ituluy-tuloy na namin. ‘I-public na natin kung ano man ang nangyayari sa atin.’ ‘Yun ‘yung ginagawa namin kaya kami nagpapaka-natural lang talaga. Kung maging kami man, sasabihin namin for sure. Kung nililigawan ko na siya, sasabihin ko. Kung gusto ko na siya, sinabi ko.”
Despite having lots of fans who are rooting for them to get into a relationship, they say that they are in no rush. “I think in time.” Elisse answers when asked if she will allow McCoy to pursue her, “There’s a right time for that, pero for sure naman, of course.”
McCoy notes, “Kung mangyari man ‘yun, hindi pa sa ngayon kasi alam ko she’s not yet ready. But we’re happy. Nakita ko naman sa kanya na kuntento pa kami sa ngayon.” He reiterates, “At sa amin naman, bonus nalang kung may mangyari na serious relationship kasi ine-enjoy namin kung anong meron sa amin ngayon.”
Although they have downplayed the possibility of courtship at this point, both of them admit that the other has what it takes to be an ideal significant other. McCoy says that Elisse is girlfriend material: “Lahat ng nakita ko sa isang babae na gusto ko, nakita ko sa kanya kasi importante sa kanya ang education and family. Religious din. We always pray bago mag show, bago mag-guest.” Elisse, for her part,
says that being old-fashioned makes McCoy boyfriend material: “Yun din ‘yung isa sa mga gusto ko in a guy or someone I’d be in a relationship with in the future. Kasi ‘yung mga nakikita kong guys ngayon are very aggressive, very straight to the point. Sometimes hindi na nagiging respectful. With McCoy, ‘yung pagka-old fashioned niya ‘yung tipong hindi niya masabi-sabi ‘yung feelings niya, nahihiya pa siyang sabihin pero pinapakita niya sa kung paano niya maipapakita.”
They even match each other’s descriptions of an ideal significant other. For McCoy he says an ideal partner is “mapagmahal sa pamilya, religious, and then hindi nakakalimutan ang school. Importante din sa kanya ang education. Maputi, maganda ‘yung buhok, chinita.” As for Elisse, “Ever since wala naman akong type, but then pag ina-ask ako I’ve thought about it na din. Gusto ko ‘yung mestizo, ‘yung parang may lahi. Tapos ‘yung hindi masyadong pa-macho, hindi mayabang. Gusto ko ‘yung may dating pero hindi proud that he’s good looking. Sa ugali naman, gusto ko ‘yung sweet kasi hindi ako masyadong sweet.”
The love team also shared the things that they like about each other. Aside from Elisse’s personality, character, beauty, and love for family, McCoy says of Elisse: “Sweet siya pero hindi siya showy.” Another thing he likes about Elisse? “‘Yung pagiging selosa niya,” he adds with a giggle.
Elisse even notices parallelisms between her and McCoy. “He’s very caring. He’s not showy but then you’ll feel that he cares for you in his own way. Pa-simpleng magtatanong siya ‘Kumusta ka? Okay ka lang ba?’ And ‘yung pagiging close niya sa family niya, you’ll see na family ang priority niya. Nakakatuwa kasi ganun din ako. Sometimes I really see myself in him in many ways.”
Is there anything that they dislike about each other? McCoy relates that there is nothing annoying about Elisse even if she teases him a lot. “Sa akin wala naman ‘yung pang-aasar. Gusto ko pa nga ‘yun kasi mas nagiging komportable kami sa isa’t-isa.” Elisse only has good words to say except that sometimes people misinterpret McCoy because of his utter shyness. “Minsan ‘yung pagiging sobrang mahiyan niya, lumalabas na ‘pag may mga tanong, pa-safe daw. But he’s just really shy. Sometimes I just want to like ‘Uy!’ [She gestures her hand as if to playfully hit him].”
WORKING SIDE BY SIDE
McCoy and Elisse were visibly shy whenever they were asked about their relationship status. But actions speak louder than words. During the shoot, they were comfortable with each other. They talked and laughed a lot. Elisse playfully hit McCoy on his arm or pulled his ear whenever he teased her. McCoy made Elisse giggle a lot, too.
They even call each other Ma’am and Sir. “Tawag ko sa kanya Ma’am because palagi ko siyang gustong pagsilbihan. Siguro ‘yun ang reason ko,” explains McCoy. Elisse has this reason: “Minsan sa text or in person sine-Sir ko siya kasi very humble si McCoy. Kaya ‘pag sinasabi ko ‘yun, nahihiya siya kasi ‘yun nga parang mas mataas [siya].”
There is chemistry, indeed, whether in photos, videos, and in person. It is something that has caught the attention of fans, network executives, and entertainment media people.
While fans are still guessing as to what their next project will be, they are already wondering if they will witness a McLisse kissing scene anytime soon. Elisse admits that having a kissing scene is unavoidable in show business. “Hindi na kasi kami minor at hindi na rin kami sinasabay sa tweens or teens. Hindi imposibleng magkaroon ng kissing scene.” McCoy, meanwhile, nervously answered, “Dapat tinatanong diyan si Tita (Elisse’s mom).” He adds with a smile, “At tsaka sa mom ko.”
TAKING A BACKSEAT
The possible courtship process is not the only thing that had to take a backseat as McCoy and Elisse pursue their showbiz dreams. Their college studies had to be put on hold because their showbiz schedules have become way too hectic. McCoy stopped studying in Mapúa Institute of Technology as a BS Civil Engineering junior while Elisse stopped as an incoming AB Fashion Design and Merchandising senior in De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. It was a difficult decision for them to do. But they attested that they will surely go back to school and get their diplomas. “Kahit anong mangyari, ipagpapatuloy ko ‘yun kasi ang dami ko nang naipundar doon. Marami nang pinaghirapan at pangarap ko talaga maging engineer. Maybe after showbiz,” says McCoy.
LONG WAY TO GO
With their studies and love lives put on hold, McCoy and Elisse are ready to focus on achieving their career goals. They have already come a long way from being talents and guests to being endorsers and supporting actors. Both debuted on the boob tube in 2012. McCoy first came out in Be Careful With My Heart while Elisse was a guest in Walang Hanggan. McCoy went on to appear in Maalaala Mo Kaya, We Will Survive, Wansapanataym, and It’s Showtime as a member of the male dance group #Hashtags.
Elisse, meanwhile, acted in Be Careful With My Heart, Ipaglaban Mo, Maalaala Mo Kaya, Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon, Luv U, and You’re My Home. She appeared in the KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) movie She’s Dating the Gangster and indie film #Ewankosau Saranghaeyo. She, however, feels that her most memorable project to date is her solo fast food commercial which went viral. It did wonders for her career, gaining her much attention and giving her the moniker “Hugot Babe.”
Even if they have gotten much attention already after their PBB stint, McCoy and Elisse still feel that they have a long way to go. They feel uncomfortable whenever McLisse is being pitted against established loveteams. “We’re not here to compete with other loveteams,” declares Elisse. “Hindi kasi ako makapaniwala na ganun nga… I’m just enjoying the journey.”
McCoy expounds, “Nakakabigla kasi we feel humbled na makasabayan agad sila. Pero sa sarili namin, matagal na sila. Marami na silang experience at marami na silang napatunayan. Kami, nagsisimula palang. Kulang pa at matagal pa ang dapat naming ma-experience para masabing kasama kami doon.”
‘CAN’T BRING THEM DOWN
They look up to a handful of artists and hope to attain their idols’ career achievements. McLisse considers KathNiel as their love team peg. “Nakita namin sa kanila ‘yung support nila sa isa’t isa at nagawa nila ‘yung mga achievements nila kasama mga nanay nila na laging nandiyan sa tabi nila. We want to do the same thing,”
Elisse shares that she is a firsthand witness to the KathNiel success story. “They’ve proven the steps to become a successful loveteam. They’ve been through it. Nakita ko rin kasi starting way back in 2011, 2012, kasabay ko si Daniel na pumasok sa Star Magic. I’ve seen how he entered and how he became a part of a loveteam. Kaya nasundan ko din sila from the start.”
As for the prime stars that they look up to, McCoy thinks highly of John Lloyd Cruz and Coco Martin while Elisse admires Angel Locsin and Coco as well. “It’d be weird kasi Coco is McCoy’s idol tapos si Ate Angel naman crush niya,” commented Elisse. True enough, Angel is McCoy’s dream leading lady while Sam Milby and JC de Vera are Elisse’s dream leading men.
Both of them wish to do an action genre project. They also hope to portray challenging roles of those with disabilities or medical conditions so that they may experience their hardships.They know that in order to reach the successes of their idols, they have to work doubly hard. They also have to toughen up against detractors, which is something that McCoy is not used to doing. “Sobrang malambot ang puso ko sa nasasabi sa akin na ‘di maganda,” he admits. “Ginagawa kong positive—take ko for improvement,” he says of turning the bashing around.
Elisse, meanwhile, is used to bashing already. “Before joining PBB, naka-receive na ako ng sobrang bashing. So going in PBB, I prepared myself already. No matter what other people say, kilala ko naman ‘yung sarili ko. So wala na silang ibang pwedeng sabihin na makaka-apekto pa sa akin.”
She only found it way too insulting when her family was also bashed. “It doesn’t matter if they say everything to me, pero ‘pag dinamay niyo na ‘yung family, that’s way too much na hindi ko na kayang palamapasin.”At the moment, McCoy and Elisse are grateful for all the blessings and opportunities. They are most thankful for their supporters for believing in them. “Palagi kaming ‘di magsasawang magpasalamat. Lagi kaming nandiyan para pasayahin sila,” McCoy addresses the fans. Elisse has nothing but gratitude as well. “Thank you ‘cause kung ano ‘yung naipakita ko sa loob ng PBB tinanggap talaga nila. Thank you kasi they accepted me with flaws, ‘yung buong ako.”She also assures fans that they will work harder on their craft. “I have so much to improve on and so much to prove sa mga tao that I somehow deserve to stay in the industry. I’ll do everything to prove myself.”
As everyone awaits what’s next for McLisse, the two PBB alumni are taking things in stride with a clear vision of where they came from and what they want to achieve.
Text Rosy Mina / Photography Edward dela Cuesta / Art Direction Macky Arquilla / Sittings Editor Nic Magquilat / Styling Patty Yap / Makeup by Effie Go / Hair by Aries Manal / Grooming by Manuel Majarucon / Special Thanks to Gourmet Gypsy Art Cafe and Star Magic