THIRD GENERAL ELECTION: Will Thea Itona’s MNL48 story be more sweeter?
Thea Itona (Team L)
1st GE rank: 45th | 2nd GE rank: 17th
Coming in as a shy girl with big dreams in her mind and a love for milk tea, Thea Itona started her MNL48 journey two years ago after ranking 45th in the First General Election.
In her first year, Itona was one of the group’s less known members as she wasn’t able to make the main senbatsu for the idol group’s first three singles, with her major involvement being part of two Team L songs: “Umiindak na Saya” in the first single and “Igai ni Mango” in the third single.
With the big break seemingly elusive for her, Itona took the time and worked hard to improve as an idol in terms of performing and fan service. But little did everyone know that she will be one of the biggest movers in the Second General Election last year, ranking 17th and getting the Undergirls center position.
A sudden upgrade
Her surge in the Second General Election enabled Itona to be more involved in the group’s limelight. Initially slated to center the Undergirls’ first-ever song “Gingham Check”, the sudden graduation of Team MII member Sayaka Awane paved the way for her first-ever senbatsu appearance in the group’s fourth single “Ikaw ang Melody”.
Despite her non-involvement in the fifth single “High Tension”, Itona quickly rebounded and secured a second senbatsu appearance, this time for the upcoming sixth single’s coupling song “10nen Zakura”.
These developments in her second year have served as a catalyst for Itona’s improvement in all aspects of being an idol without compensating the adoring personality that her fans love. In an online interview with PAKSA MNL, Thea kami-oshi and one of CommuniThea’s administrators Andrew Macariola emphasized this, adding that Itona “reinvented herself only to realize that see needed to be herself and from there, she shown more of her talents in dancing and singing and she showcased what she has to offer as a member”.
Furthermore, Itona has also engaged with fans in other interests and hobbies especially during the ongoing quarantine period, from playing Mobile Legends or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds in the wee hours of the morning known as PuyaThea Gaming to cosplaying characters from different anime shows. Most recently, she enrolled in a multimedia arts class and has opened an art account on Instagram to post her digital illustrations.
Angelo Villarosa, another Thea kami-oshi, says that he is inspired by his kami-oshi’s talents. “I am actually amazed because she and I have the same interests and I relate myself to her. I love digital arts, I am a huge anime fan, and I also love cosplay. I would say that Thea is one of the most creative idols I’ve seen because of her skills in arts”, he said.
When it comes to fan service, her followers say it is Itona’s best asset as an idol. Her simple yet genuine style of interaction has never failed to motivate and entertain, even reaching to some unbelievable extent like replacing her Facebook page’s profile picture or tackling a trending issue inside the MNL48 community. CommuniThea administrator Katrina Bianca attests to this, saying that Itona’s personality makes fans relate more to her. “Physical appearances and talents matter as an idol, but I think how you present yourself and your personality and attitude towards what you do matters in the end”, she added.
Itona’s official fan club CommuniThea has focused on promoting in a different approach for the upcoming Third General Election. Aside from the usual posting of social media updates done by CommuniThea, Kani Games has developed a mobile game to promote Itona using her favorite milk tea and pearls.
The “Catch Me If You Can” mobile game was launched last March 30 and has already reached more than 500 downloads on the Google Play Store. It has helped to not only gain new fans, but showed an alternative method of promotion.
With her breakthrough proving to be a game-changer in the Second General Election, the possibilities are endless this Third General Election for Itona with the stakes running higher. Nonetheless, her fans aim to help her reach the Top 10 or even a Kami-7 slot. “As a fan of Thea, I would love to see her in those ranks. In the end, I hope to share this same enthusiasm with the rest of the fans so let's make it happen”, Macariola said when asked about this possibility.
Itona’s fans also reaffirmed their commitment to support their kami-oshi no matter what happens in her seemingly roller-coaster ride inside MNL48, with Villarosa assuring that the fans will always have her back. “Always remember that we, the CommuniThea, always have your back. Nandito lang po kami kahit anong mangyari”, he said. Bianca echoed the same sentiments. “Basta love ka namin and we will support you no matter what”, she promised.
CommuniThea has also thanked all of Itona’s fans for their continuous support and encouraged their fellow fans to keep doing so. “Let’s join our kami-oshi sa kanyang journey”, Bianca added.
A fruitful second year has paid dividends for Thea Itona as she has made significant progress as a part of MNL48. With the Third General Election just around the corner, her fans hope that a favorable result will only help “Milkthea” make further progress.