Philippines’ newest international pop (I-Pop) Call It A Star also known as Calista raises the bar high for local girl groups with the grand launch of the music video for their debut single titled “Race Car” with a media event held last Tuesday, March 8, at Novotel Manila Araneta City Hotel in Cubao, Quezon City.

Calista, a Greek word which means the “most beautiful or feminine,” is composed of six multi-faceted teenage girls who share the same passion for performing. They are Anne Tenorio, Olive May Sophia, Denise Pello, Dain Leones, Laiza Comia, and Elle Pascual.

The group takes pride on their international-sounding music, which according to them is the management’s strategy to promote Pinoy talent in the international scene, making it a stand-out in the pool of Asian artists.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the highlight of the media launch was the reveal of their music video putting a spotlight on women empowerment. Written and composed by sought-after music producer Marcus Davis, “Race Car” is all about Calista’s race to the top of the industry.

Tyronne Escalante, Calista’s manager, proudly said, “Calista promotes women empowerment and ‘Race Car’ is meant to be an anthem. It’s for all girls who have a strong drive to reach the top and aren’t afraid to get what they want. Calista represents all women that are claiming their space. They’re here and they’re ready to prove themselves.”

Shot in a span of three days, the music video was filmed in the Asian Aerospace airplane hangar in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Complex in Pasay, I’M Hotel’s rooftop bar Antidote in Makati, and Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.

Merlion CEO Atty. Javier Flores explained the key visuals of their music video. “Calista’s ‘Race Car’ music video features a helicopter and sports cars. It’s a symbol of what you can achieve if you work hard. Our production team took the song to heart and worked tirelessly for days to ensure the success of this music video.”

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In a separate interview, Tyronne revealed that they invested a whopping seven-digit figure to pull-off the said music video. He added, “Hindi kami nage-expect ng return for now. Ang tinitignan naming [ay] yung magiging resulta nung investment namin, so ang tinitignan talaga namin is long-term, yung quality, best execution for the videos.”

Watch Calista’s official music video for “Race Car” here:

The press launch also featured concert-like performances from YouTuber and online sensation Niana Guerrero and international icon Billy Crawford.

During the interview with the press, the six ladies revealed that their management, Tyrone Escalante Artist Management (TEAM) and Merlion Events Production Inc. spearheaded auditions across the country to form the said girl group that they can bring to the international scene that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the industry.

It was in March 2021 when over 100 aspiring artists of all ages held their first round of auditions. They were then cut down to 50, then 25, until the final 6 members were chosen. All of this occurred at breakneck speed and the group was formed within three months in the midst of the pandemic.

Olive and the rest of the girls proudly recalled how they have undergone extensive skills enhancement activities for the past months. They would spend most of their day training under globally-renowned choreographer Nesh Janiola and vocal strength with voice coaches Arnie Mendaros and Marnie Jereza. They also have trainings for body conditioning, personality development, and public relations classes with world-class coaches and experts. They also revealed that they are currently living in one place, to which their parents gladly allowed and respected.

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Get to know more the charming members of Calista:

EDGY ANNE

Full name: Anne Tenorio

Favorite artist: Itzy

Celebrity crush: Daniel Padilla

Anne, a former VIVA talent and Mutya ng Navotas 2019, rose to fame when she competed in Showtime’s Tawag ng Tanghalan. Aside from appearing in Regal Film’s Walwal and Papa Pogi, she has also released two hit singles titled “Pinapangarap Mo” and “Bebe Ko.”

ALLURING OLIVE

Full name: Olive May Sophia

Age: 17

Favorite artist: Itzy, BlackPink, Twice, BTS

Celebrity crush: Donnie Pangilinan

A social maven with over 1.2M followers on TikTok and close to 20k followers on Instagram, Olive has been joining beauty pageants since she was young. Her last competition was when she won Miss Teen Cebu 2019 which led her to join the national pageant, the 2019 Miss Teen Philippines.

SPORTY DENISE

Full name: Denise Pello

Age: 18

Favorite artist: Twice, BlackPink, Itzy

Celebrity crush: Donny Pangilinan

A natural dancer, Denise is a scholar at the Dance Avenue Studio and has appeared in the hit song, “What,” by the rising P-Pop boy group SB19. She has also won several awards including placing 6th at the Open Division in Revolution International Dance Championship 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.

FIERY DAIN

Full name: Daine Leones

Age: 21

Favorite artist: BlackPink

Celebrity crush: Donnie Pangilinan

A Tourism college student, model, and ambassadress for several local brands and institutions, Dain is also a beauty queen with the following titles under her belt: Second Runner Up for Miss Teen Dasmarinas Cavite 2016, Miss Photogenic 2016 and First Runner Up for Miss Southern Luzon College.

SWEET LAIZA

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Full name: Laiza Comia

Favorite artist: Twice

Celebrity crush: Enrique Gil

Laiza is a Star Magic talent that has paved her own way as a versatile actress. She has appeared in hit TV series like Ipaglaban Mo, On the Wings of Love, Maalala Mo Kaya, and Filipino films like White House and Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang. She has also starred in numerous local advertisements.

CHIC ELLE

Full name: Elle Pascual

Age: 20

Favorite artist: BlackPink

Celebrity crush: Joshua Garcia

A natural in front of the camera, a beauty queen and a dancer, Elle was recently recognized at the Navotas Film Festival and was nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of “Iris.”

The group is set to headline their first-ever “Vax to Normal” Concert on April 26 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. This will be telecast on TV5 and will feature special performances by Yeng Constantino, AC Bonifacio, Andrea Brillantes, Elmo Magalona, Darren Espanto, and Ken San Jose. The concert is produced by Merlion Events Production Inc. and is directed by Nico Faustino.