Laurenti Dyogi Plays A Different Game

Laurenti Dyogi Plays A Different Game


The man behind a newly transformed Star Magic reveals what it takes to be at the helm of ABS-CBN’s talent management arm

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Below is an excerpt from MEGA Man’s cover story, where Direk Lauren Dyogi talks about his struggles, triumphs, and what it’s like to be at the top of the game.

No, he is not the voice of “God” in the reality TV show Pinoy Big Brother. He has denied this a few times, and leaves it to the audience to decide whether they believe him or not. But he is the visible, actual guy taking on the wheels of one of ABS-CBN’s most successful projects since it first aired in 2005.

Suit and trousers by JOAQUIN OFFICIAL

He is also the guy polishing and discovering the biggest stars in the county through Star Magic. This one is still something he wrestles with every day. “I was afraid that people at Star Magic would not like me, because one, Mr. M had a relationship with them for more than 25 years,” he says, recalling his thoughts when he was told that the highest position at ABS-CBN’s talent agency would be given to him.

“I was worried about people comparing me to Mr. M and Ms. Mariole,” he continues. Mr. M is, of course, Johnny Manahan, and Ms. Mariole is Mariole Alberto, the two venerated star-spotters who had cultivated Star Magic since it was born in 1992. “I was overwhelmed, but it was also exciting at the same time. Would I have accepted it at different times? I don’t know. It depends on the circumstances. Hindi ko naman masyado pinag-isipan because I understood what we were going through as a company.”

Suit and trousers by RYAN CHRIS

We are about to ask another question, when he interjects, as if he’s in a light-bulb moment: “Gano’n ata ako. I think, I realize, hindi kasi ako umaatras sa challenges, e. In my career, I’ve never really said, ‘No.’ Very rare occasions when I said, ‘No.’ I take on challenges. I don’t think much about it, I just do it. It helps that you just work.”

In hindsight, this has always been the way he takes on uncharted roads.

As a child, his only reference to anything related to television was German Moreno’s That’s Entertainment, Voltes V, and a few English children’s shows and animes. What he wanted to be then was to become an architect. He recalls the older people at his home playing mahjong, and he would stack up the tiles and build imaginative towers.

However, when it was time to decide on a course in college, at the University of the Philippines, he instead applied for a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. Sheepishly, he reveals that he didn’t have the confidence to apply for a spot in the university’s architecture program because it was a quota course and he was “not a math person.”

Suit and trousers by JOAQUIN OFFICIAL

Eventually, he fell in love with his course— and along the way, fell in love with his now wife, Liza, who is a year younger than him.

Direk Lauren graduated with honors, and thought it would be easy to look for jobs because of his achievements. He was wrong. After taking on small projects and a few rejections, in 1989, he eventually landed a gig as a production assistant at ABS-CBN. He was going through the ropes when Mr. M offered him to take on the role of assistant director for the now defunct popular youth-oriented show Ang TV.

He considers a few milestones in his career, most notable of which were being tasked to lead the reality division, becoming a business unit head, then becoming head of entertainment, and, the most recent one, heading Star Magic. He also takes pride in having directed some of the biggest films in the country, including Now that I Have You (2004), the first full-length film of Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz, All My Life (2004), and And I Love You So (2009).

Interestingly, of all the many paths he has taken, Direk Lauren admits that the one closest to him will always be meeting and discovering new talents during auditions.

Suit and trousers by DAQUILANG. Knit Sweater by EDIT.

He says, “When I go around searching for possible artists, that is such a joy for me. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. You change the template of what is being appreciated by the public. You are able to change the template of who people can look up to.”

Direk Lauren has been with ABS-CBN for more than 30 years, yet he admits there were many times he wanted to shift gears: “I have a five-year itch,” he laughs. “Every five years, I find myself moving to different jobs.”

There was even a time when he was ready to leave the country and work for the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation. The company already had an of f ice ready for him. Then, his wife Liza got pregnant with their only child, Lian. Twenty-seven years later, Lian is now known as singer-songwriter Lian Kyla, and Direk Lauren is still with ABS- CBN, at the peak of his career.

Discover how Direk Lauren is leading Star Magic into a new era in MEGA Man’s June 2022 issue, now available in ReadlyMagzterPress Reader and Zinio.

Creative Direction NICOLE ALMERO
Grooming Direction MIA CASTRO
Fashion Direction RYUJI SHIOMITSU
Grooming AIMEE GREY assisted by CHINO MANIQUIZ

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