Yes, he Ken do it!

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2015 - 10:00am

Ken Chan rushed in where, according to the poet Alexander Pope, angels fear to tread. Was Ken a “fool” to do that — you know, taking on an off-beat role as a transgender that other young actors (usually those perceived to be homophobic or afraid of their own shadow) wouldn’t touch with the proverbial 10-foot pole?

The soap is Destiny Rose which will premiere on GMA Afternoon Primetime on Monday, Sept. 14, after Buena Familia.

“Why would I turn it down?” Ken told Funfare. “Ang gandang role, ang laking break. When I was offered the role, sobrang saya ko, walang kasing-saya. I got a call telling me that I got the role and I cried and cried. I was at home and my mom also cried. It’s my first lead role.”

A Kapuso for three years now, Ken (who started in commercials) was hardly noticed in the shows that he has appeared in, such as Twin Hearts, Time of My Life, Biritera, Yesterday’s Bride, Rhodora X and Healing Hearts. He also regularly appears on Mr. Showman, Walang Tulugan, which is hosted by German “Kuya Germs” Moreno who is Ken’s No. 1 backer-supporter. “It was Kuya Germs and Tito Rams (David) who discovered me,” said Ken.

More than a dozen Kapuso actors auditioned for Destiny Rose.

“When my turn came, I didn’t expect anything,” recalled Ken, 20. “When I learned about the concept, I told myself, ‘Whoever gets the role is very lucky.’ Sobrang ganda ng story and I’m sure the viewers will be hooked. I feel so blessed that I got it. It’s the first time that a transgender story will be told on Philippine television.”

Ken said that he was told by the writers that the issue about transgender is very relevant since it is starting to be talked about today, coming as it does after the much-discussed subject of gays and bisexuals who have become accepted topics of TV dramas.

In the story, Ken’s character believes since he was a kid that he’s a woman trapped in a man’s body.

“As far as I know, the story is original and not based on a real-life story,” continued Ken. “In the first few episodes my character will be shown as a young man before the Destiny Rose character emerges.”

How did Ken internalize the role?

“I did it physically and emotionally,” said Ken. “I cut down on carbo; I followed a healthy diet, puro fruits and vegetables. I learned to drink lots of water. I had a little problem how to hide my private part. They didn’t want me to use plaster because they said it would hurt when taken off. Thanks to the make-up artists and stylists who taught me how to do it properly. No, I didn’t tie it. I studied how to bend it backward and press it with a tight pantyhose.”

A little problem arises when Ken has to answer the call of nature.

“Ang daming tatanggalin,” he laughed. “And then I have to put them back on again.”

To be more convincing, Ken did further research.

“I read up on transwomen,” added Ken. “I also talked to some transwomen. I wanted to know how they think, how they feel about themselves and the reaction of people around them, kung anu-ano. They gave me valuable pointers on how to make my portrayal believable and realistic. Tinuruan nila ako kung paano umarte na parang tunay na babae.”

Asked why he referred to transgender as “transwomen,” Ken said, “Actually, I didn’t know magkaka-iba pala ang transgender, transsexual at transwoman. I learned that transgender refers to those who choose what their gender should be. Transsexuals are those who undergo sexual realignment while transwomen are those who believe that they are women since they were born.”

Before the start of the shoot, Ken and his co-stars (among them his leading men Fabio Ide, JC Tiuseco, Jeric Gonzales and Ken Alfonso) underwent a “sensuality” workshop.

“Nothing heavy,” assured Ken. “Mild touching-touching lang, nothing passionate, nothing intense, no kissing-kissing, siguro kilig lang. We were careful not to touch each other’s private parts.”

Now that he has virtually gotten inside a transwoman’s body, would it be possible for Ken to fall in love with one in real life?

“Oh yes, it’s possible,” he admitted without being defensive. “It won’t be hard to fall in love with a transwoman. Kahanga-hanga ang mga transwoman. I studied Destiny Rose very thoroughly. Hindi biro ang pinagdaanan nila before they became what they are. I admire them, I am proud of them. Alam mo, ang daming magagandang transwomen. Many of them look more women than women.”

Ken has so immersed himself in the Destiny Rose character that his non-showbiz girlfriend (also a commercial model) has been teasing him.

“Sabi niya, mas maganda na raw ako kaysa sa kanya,” laughed Ken who is half-Chinese/half Filipino (he’s being tutored in Mandarin). “She was also my peg for the role. Natatawa siya. I know how she laughs, how she cries, how she moves, kabisado ko siya.”





(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

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