How rejection inspired Kyline’s rise to stardom

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
How rejection inspired Kylineâs rise to stardom
Fast-rising Kapuso star Kyline Alcantara
Photos by Ver Paulino

MANILA, Philippines — One year ago, GMA 7’s Kambal Karibal star Kyline Alcantara was feeling down and discouraged, wondering why she wasn’t getting a regular acting project for almost three years already.

The 15 year old (real name is Kyline Nicole Aquino Alcantara; not related to the Aquino political clan though, interestingly, her lola is also named Corazon Aquino) started out as a child actress and showed promise after being cast either as the mean girl or the younger version of the lead stars in soap operas.

However, Kyline found herself confined to guest appearances in her former network. She was thankful for these occasional assignments, but for someone who didn’t exactly have the means in life, it certainly wasn’t the most ideal situation to be in.

Yun po yung time na pinalayas-layas kami,” recalled Kyline to The STAR, referring also to a scene from a Magpakailanman episode that dramatized her life story. It became a TV ratings winner and Twitter trending topic the first time it was aired.

‘I didn’t use rejection as a reason to give up. I used it to become stronger as a person and as an artista na din.’

Said episode had a replay recently due to a public demand. “It was true po. (We got evicted from home) not only once, but three times because we couldn’t pay the rent,” she added. 

From that Magpakailanman episode, you can glean as much that this petite, bedimpled girl went through a lot. Problematic family life (although her parents have since reconciled and happily accompanied her to this interview), financial struggles (they would hitch rides on delivery trucks owned by a family friend from their hometown in Bicol going to Manila for auditions) and rejection. Or make that rejections, because she wasn’t good enough, talented enough or pretty enough to make it in the entertainment biz, she was told.

“It’s all true. Hindi lang isang tao, madami pa. I had relatives who would tell me these things. I don’t know why, maybe they just didn’t have that much faith in me po,” reflected Kyline. “But I didn’t use it (as a reason) to give up. I used it to become stronger as a person and as an artista na din.

As young as three years old, Kyline was showing signs of someone who could be an artista someday.

Sila (parents) po yung nakapansin because dati may salamin kami sa Bicol, tapos I’d be acting in front of the mirror. I’d be changing emotions, nagiging mataray ako, umiiyak ako, tumatawa ako.Baliw ata yung anak ko.’ They thought, I was crazy (laughs). I was three years old at that time. When I was about six, nag-ki-critique ako ng mga teleserye: Bakit wala siyang luha? So, parang dun nila nalaman na ah, may passion ito sa pag-aartista. So, they pushed me to become an artista. The good thing with (my parents), they didn’t stop me from going after what I wanted to become.”

‘I read the comments (online) because I want to know their reactions to what I show them (onscreen).’

Thus, when work became particularly scarce a year ago, the articulate teen confessed, her voice turning softer, “Di alam ng parents ko ‘to, pero sinasabi ko sa ‘yo, I became depressed po. Because this is my craft and I really want to work… I got depressed because (I felt) nobody appreciated what I was doing, nobody appreciated my hard work. Parang nakaka-depress naman talaya yun.”

To cheer herself up, “I would watch videos — that’s how the Internet can help also — videos that are inspiring. And, of course, through the support of my parents and I talk to God.”

Then the Kambal Karibal offer came. GMA 7’s top-rating, supernatural-themed primetime drama has been running for nine months to date, extended several times already and might — just might — last until the end of the year.

Kyline said, “Kambal Karibal helped me a lot. Matagal akong nawalan ng trabaho… maybe two or three years. I had guestings but these were not enough to help me financially. When I transferred to GMA, I didn’t expect that people would appreciate me in Kambal Karibal. I’m very happy po.

Kyline initially auditioned for a smaller role, the young Jean Garcia, before she was made to audition for one of the main characters — the scheming Cheska, who comes in between the BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) love team.

‘I can manage myself, I can manage my health, bigyan lang ng bigyan niyo po ako ng work and I won’t complain.’

It’s a role that has since grown big and very important, and the plot of the story had her eventually assuming triple characters Crisan/Cheska/Criselle. Her portrayal of all three has been earning praise from fans and pundits.

“Thank you (for the compliments) but for me, it’s really teamwork and kung wala ang production, wala ang artists, wala ang crew, di naman magiging successful yung Kambal Karibal,” she said. “I read the comments (online) because I want to know their reactions to what I show them (onscreen). Yes, may compliments… May nagsasabi sa akin pero para hindi lumaki yung ulo ko, well, I’m not avoiding them, but I try not to put them in my head.”

And she just relishes the opportunity of being a kontrabida, with the legendary screen villain Bella Flores as her idol. “Napanood ko po ang video niya sa isang website, and she said, ‘Walang bida kung walang kontrabida.’ And she’s one of the queens of all kontrabidas. I want to be a bida-kontrabida na may pagka-action star. That’s my dream!”

With her increasing popularity (she broke the million-mark in terms of Instagram followers since Kambal Karibal with 1.4M), Kyline feels the responsibility of being someone looked up to and takes it seriously. She said she can’t show anything negative to the public. “Because if I become negative, someone na parang ni lo-look up na, how much more… (they might think) yung idol ko (ganun) so ako din. Yes, (I take it seriously, being seen as a role model) especially among the youth because maraming tumatakbo sa isip ng mga kabataan ngayon like suicide and things like that. Ako may mga ni-lo-look up din na sobrang positive nila. Gusto ko maging ganun.

Kyline with Kambal Karibal costars (from left) Pauline Mendoza and Bianca Umali

In local showbiz, Kyline fan-girls over actresses Julia Montes, Kaye Abad and Marian Rivera. Of fellow Kapuso Marian, she related seeing her for the first time when she was just an extra on the set of the primetime queen’s TV series Darna almost a decade ago.

“The first time I saw her, I thought she was Barbie,” she said. “Now that we’re working together in Sunday PinaSaya, binibigyan niya po ako ng advice like don’t get tired, ’wag mapagod, because I still have a long way to go. One time, I was interviewed on TV and she DM-ed (direct-messaged) me a screenshot of it. Then she told me, ‘Whenever you need my help, I’m just here.’”

Kyline is turning 16 in September with a concert (yes, she can also sing and has struck a recording deal). Her only wish is to have more work.

Kyline, who has signed a five-year contract with GMA Artist Center, said, “(I told my manager) I can manage myself, I can manage my health, I can support myself, bigyan lang ng bigyan niyo po ako ng work. Just give me more work and I won’t ever complain. Maybe I’ll just say, I’m sleepy, but I will still wake up for it!”

If there are other youngsters who also want to pursue acting dreams, this is what she has to say: “If you love your work, you will really work hard on it even though there will be people telling you, hindi mo kaya yan, hindi mo maabot yan kaya tigil-tigilan mo na yan or mag-aral ka nalang. Well, yes, mag-aaral ako, I can multi-task,said Kyline, an eighth grader and scholar in a Christian School in Cainta. “So learn to multi-task, learn to be patient also, you need to wait because marami din gustong makaabot diyan sa pangarap na yan. But once you’ve reached it, treasure it, that’s what I’m doing right now.”



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