TJ Trinidad: A no-nonsense actor
Amadís Ma. Guerrero (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Teleserye (and lately of stage and screen) actor TJ Trinidad is a serious, reserved guy. Some may consider him aloof but that may not necessarily be the case. He is also soft-spoken, even during rehearsals, so that in his recent play The Normal Heart director Bart Guingona had to prod him, “C’mon, speak louder, project your voice…”

TJ comes from what you would call a comfortable background. He attended Colegio San Agustin and later took up Marketing at De La Salle University. While there, he joined two rock bands as the vocalist, but nothing really came out of it. And so after graduating he worked for several firms and then fate, as they say, intervened.

A friend informed him that ABS-CBN was holding auditions for a soap. With nothing to lose TJ, feeling a bit restless with his 9-to-5 job, decided to try out. And lo and behold, he was accepted. It turned out to be a soap with Judy Ann Santos, no less, titled Basta’t Kasama Kita and directed by Jerry Sineneng and Trina Dayrit. It was a supporting role, but a good start.

“They were very nice to me,” TJ gushed, “Juday, the directors from the top down… di ako makapalag.” Other teleseryes followed, capped by a lead role in Gulong ng Palad with Kristine Hermosa.

He stayed with ABS-CBN for seven years and then, because Eddie Gutierrrez (Tito Eddie) was a good friend of his dad, he joined GMA 7. And Annabelle Rama became his manager. And thus, he found his way into Zorro, playing the villainous Capitan Ramon Pelaez to Richard Gutierrez’s swashbuckling Zorro.

He has no qualms playing contravidas, character roles or leading men. “I haven’t stopped working since,” he says.

Another great experience for him was the recent Normal Heart, a straight play about gays, specifically about New York in 1981 when the AIDS epidemic was about to be unleashed. Surrounded by screaming queens, TJ’s character played it cool, not wanting to go public as a gay while desiring to help the victims of the virus.

“I was very scared, very nervous about it because it was my first time to be in a professional play,” he shared. “At the same time, I was excited.”

At about this hectic time, a different virus was being unleashed. TJ was doing a movie, Hawa, directed by Carlo Ledesma (Regal and Reality Films). It was inspired by doing a movie starring Brad Pitt, all about a virus that spreads and transforms into people to zombies. And he was one of those man-eating zombies.

“It was very difficult,” he observed. We were shooting in Mt. Makiling the rainforest and sometimes it rained.” He is in the GMA soap The Rich Man’s Daughter, directed by Dominic Zapata.

TJ has also written and directed a Cinemalaya indie film with the unprepossessing title Mga Hinatnan ng aking Kabalbalan.

“So that’s how I see myself (five years from now),” says the all-around artist. “I hope to do acting and directing, writing, hopefully more theater, more television, more films…”

And because TJ is a no-nonsense kind of man, chances are good that he will be able to pursue all his dreams.

ACIRC ANNABELLE RAMA BART GUINGONA BRAD PITT CARLO LEDESMA COLEGIO SAN AGUSTIN DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY DOMINIC ZAPATA EDDIE GUTIERRREZ JERRY SINENENG AND TRINA DAYRIT NORMAL HEART
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