AC Bonifacio: A Generation In Motion
The night before our cover shoot, 19-year-old TikTok superstar, professional dancer and all-around creator Andree Camille “AC” Bonifacio stayed up until one in the morning playing at a computer shop with friends. Having constantly worked since she was 10 years old, she’s found a healthy balance between work and play, a way to reclaim her teenage years amid a cutthroat industry that requires her to grow up quickly.
The Filipino Canadian personality rose to fame when Lucky Aces, her dancing duo with Lucky Ancheta, guested on the American talk-variety show Ellen, which then got them invited to perform with Ariana Grande at her concert in Vancouver. Hard work paid off eventually, and in 2016, they became the first-ever grand champions of the ABS-CBN TV dance competition Dance Kids.
Azucar ribbed top and trousers
At the time, she was 11 and still attending traditional school in Canada. They would shuttle between two countries for months to keep competing. She narrates, “[Lucky and I] were going [back and forth] every week. I would go to the Philippines, learn and create a dance, compete, then come home and do school, then come back [to Manila]. [I would] do it all over again for three to four months.”
After their big win, they received a management contract, and she stayed in the Philippines. AC notes, “When we won, it was obviously worth the risk. Imagine being jet lagged 14 hours every week; it was so hard.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
AC Bonifacio didn’t always have that instinctive flair for being people-oriented and drawing attention to herself through her craft. She reveals, “I used to be an introvert. In Canada, I couldn’t even order my own food; I couldn’t make friends unless my mom pushed me. But being in the industry, you really have to learn to be an extrovert because [people] can misinterpret it.” She adds, “I have my people [whom] I’m very [extroverted] with, but I have my moments where I’m an introvert, too.”
Having been in the industry for almost a decade now, AC is not at all desensitized by fame and all the projects that have come her way, which includes a brief appearance on Netflix’s Riverdale. She narrates, “I never thought I would be working in this industry kasi I’ve specifically been a TFC (The Filipino Channel) fan for so long; ‘yun lang channel namin sa Canada (that’s the only channel we had in Canada). Every time I’d come home, I would watch Got To Believe or Be Careful With My Heart.”
Most days, she is still in disbelief. She explains, “‘Yung mga idol ko are the people I work with now (I work with my idols now). Being a Kapamilya alone is an achievement.”
A Kid at Heart
This December, the performer extraordinaire is turning 20, but in actuality, she still feels like she’s 10. She quips, “When I hit 10, I was like, ‘Mom, I’m turning double digits!’ I was so excited…now it’s my second decade, and I still haven’t grown in height!” Our hairstylist Kierlo, listening in on the entire cover story interview, jests, “Kakapuyat mo ‘yan (That’s because you keep staying up late)!”
Despite all the responsibilities that come with being a public figure and a working professional, AC is a self-confessed kid at heart. She reveals, “I feel like I’m still a kid…for those who personally know me, I’m loud. I will be jumping around all the time! I have my mature side, but my immature side comes out of me ‘cause that’s always gonna be a part of me that doesn’t go away. You can always be a kid at heart.”
The TikTok Generation
AC Bonifacio is, without a doubt, the impersonation of everything Gen Z: fiercely passionate, unstoppable and always online. The TikTok superstar has many thoughts about the app beloved by her generation where, as of writing, she’s amassed 6.6 million followers. In between takes at our cover shoot, she would break out in dance, with her smartphone recording every moment, creating content for her legion of fans.
As it creates internet celebrities out of unassuming personalities and creatives, she believes TikTok is a safe space where you can be your most authentic self, no matter what that looks like. She notes, “TikTok is killing it. It has [arms wide open] to everything that anybody wants to do. 15 seconds, 60 seconds, three minutes to do whatever you want, and it’s all up to you. You can do the most [awkward, funny, stupid] things, and people will appreciate you!” She adds, “That’s our generation now; we appreciate everything that everybody does.”
Kids These Days
Her very tight-knit circle from the industry includes two former Wonder cover stars, dance and content creator Niana Guerrero and singer-actor Darren Espanto, who she considers her best friends. Despite people eternally shipping their twosome, AC considers Darren as her “platonic soulmate.” She reveals, “With Darren, we’re on the same page and the same wavelength about everything. I’m telling you, we’re the same person, just [with] different genders.” She adds, “He really is like the kuya I never had.”
Meanwhile, she considers Niana her little sister. She comments, “A lot of people compare us all the time, and I get it; we’re both dancers, and we’re both in the same circle. But between us, there’s nothing at all…We’ll collaborate and do things together, ‘cause we just want to inspire one another.”
Leaving Behind a Legacy
With the ever-evolving digital landscape, things are always changing. For AC, she refuses to stay stagnant, doing her best to “learn and grow in my career and my personal life” in the capacity she can. She notes, “[With] dancing, singing, acting and hosting, it always changes. There [are] always new techniques, and you have to move along with…You gotta be unique and do something new, something people haven’t seen yet, and we have the [platforms] to do that now.”
If there’s one thing AC Bonifacio wants to leave behind, it’s the reassurance that anybody can start at any given time. The then 10-year-old dancer from Canada took a chance by sending in an audition video (with the help of her mom), which catapulted her into the all-around creator and celebrity she is now.
She reveals, “I want to leave people knowing that you can start—and do anything you want—at any age. There are people who say ‘You’re still young, you can’t do that.’ [I want] kids to know that you can start anytime you want; It’s all on you.”
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Art and Art Direction Alexandra Lara
Interview and Cover Story Elisa Aquino
Fashion Direction Nicole Blanco Ramos
Beauty Direction Elisa Aquino
Makeup Lin Uy
Hair Kierlo Velasco
Nails Her Tribe Nails
Location Chroma Studio