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Jourdan Sebastian: Act, and you shall receive |

Young Star

Jourdan Sebastian: Act, and you shall receive

- Paula C. Nocon of the Philippine Star’s YS -
As with many other actors before him, it all started with a dream.

Jourdan Sebastian had just undergone two major life-altering experiences. He was in his fifth year as a Political Economy major at the University of Asia and the Pacific when he was asked to leave the school because of a controversial play he wrote and produced.

Then, he was hired by Star Cinema as a concept development writer, and a bit later by ABS-CBN as creative assistant. He worked there for two and a half years, during which, despite a good position and good pay, he experienced agonizing stress. That stress, Jourdan says, "pointed out that that kind of work just wasn’t for me. Then, I read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and the words ‘Be faithful to the dream and the dream will be faithful to you’ just struck me."

Feeling lost, he prayed to God for guidance, and one day he woke up with a vivid dream still fresh in his mind. "It was a classic example of ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ God spoke to me through that dream, and I interpreted it as my calling. After that, I knew I was meant to be a teacher and an actor. My mission is to act, to make people laugh, to perform, and to help others that way."

After that, things seemed to work out by themselves. As a teacher, he devised and spearheads Act Now!, a revolutionary acting workshop that uses the craft of acting to empower people in finding their true desires and overcoming their fears. He also gives free workshops, called KOINE, for underprivileged kids.

As an actor, he just wrapped up work for a children’s TV show called Karen’s World (NBN), is on tour for Subtext, a one-act comedy by Mike Dingalanan that won the Palanca award in 2002, is working on a new TV production called Food Trip, and participates on open mic nights at Sanctum, Intramuros, for his Spoken Word performances.

At age 25, Jourdan declares proudly: "I’ve found my ‘design,’ so now I have the power to say no to things that aren’t according to my path."

It’s the role of a lifetime. Jourdan is now living the part of a Bright Young Thing.

Tell us about Act Now!

It’s a workshop that uses acting as a medium to let go of one’s fears. Acting, basically, is about exposing yourself to the public.

The premise is: Face your fears, live your dreams now, don’t wait. Shyness is actually false humility; it’s pride.

You have to be humble first, before you know who you are and know what you want. So it gives the participant a sense of identity, since you can’t act if you don’t know who you are. When you have a sense of identity, you find a sense of destiny.

The results have been great. The transformation is like caterpillars to butterflies!

What state are you in right now?

I feel alive, passionate, excited! I can’t wait to carry out all the things I’ve been dreaming of.

How has living independently help you fulfill your dreams?

When you get out of your comfort zone that’s when you truly live your life. I used to earn pretty well at ABS-CBN, plus benefits and all those other perks, but I was so stressed out. I don’t know where that money went. I was always paying for things, sort of buying my stress off.

Then I realized that the stability of that kind of job was just an illusion. I had to take a risk when I left, which meant letting go of that perceived security.

Now, the money is not as regular, but it just comes easily. I am less in debt now than before. I just have faith that things will work out. And they do!

What’s the best thing about your generation?

We’re dreamers but we’re also underdogs. We’re constantly ridiculed — they say we’re just a bunch of texters, we don’t know what we want, we’re lost. Which means there’s nowhere else to go but up.

What’s the worst thing about your generation?

We’re just plagued by our fears and hang-ups. We don’t have a strong identity. It’s always about not knowing who we are, if we’re gonna make it, if we have what it takes.

It’s a pity, because we’re talented, we have all this information and knowledge, but we’re paralyzed by fear.

I guess that’s why many young people resort to drugs. Drugs fill up an emptiness, to numb fear and pain. But there are so many things out there that can give you a natural high, a more satisfying high.

What would you like to do for your country?

My vision is to help nourish a new breed of Filipino artists who faithfully, fearlessly commit themselves and others to live their dream now.

What’s the best thing about being Filipino?

Our islands. The people who say that our country is hopelessly ugly probably have never seen the beautiful places all over the country. I’m passionate about the beauty of the Philippines. My favorites are Sagada, Palawan and Vigan.

And Filipino artists are great. We have so much talent. If we haven’t really fulfilled our potential it’s just because we’re afraid. We fear failure, we fear financial insecurity, we fear taking risks.

What advice would you like to give the older generation?

Believe in us; believe in this new generation.

Success is...

Living according to your design and desire, and nothing is missing.

Failure is...

As I’ve experienced, failure teaches you that you don’t have just one chance. You have many chances, many other opportunities. Failure humbles me, it teaches me that I’m not perfect. I can fail. It’s a crucial element to success. If you’re afraid to fail you cannot achieve success.

Give three people you look up to.

Jesus Christ, for his leadership. Charlie Chaplin, for his genius — he was the greatest comedian ever. Dolphy, for his humility.

How is acting an art?

It’s an art of exposing who you are, regardless of the medium. You only switch techniques according to the medium. When you act you cannot completely be another person; it’s still you that will come out. It’s about how you interpret a role. I, for one, am not a seasoned actor, but that’s okay. I’m glad to have that rawness.

See, there are two sides to acting: art and entertainment. Artists want to provoke. Entertainers want to satisfy and please.

How can the acting craft be improved here in the country?

We have to encourage artist-actors. They will give more truth to the craft. Truth will make us more original, innovative, universal.

What’s sexy to you?

Confidence. A lot of confidence.

What do you look for in a partner?

She has to believe that she is beautiful — spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically. She has to be courageous. Our relationship would be about facing our fears and living our dreams together.

Have your acting workshops helped you in your personal relationships as well?

Yes, absolutely! Before, it was about taking. I was demanding, lustful, give me, me, me! Now it’s about giving. What can I give, give, give?

When you’re insecure you tend to be selfish. You can only think of yourself. When other people are doing well you put them down. But when you’re secure with yourself you are happy when other people are happy. You don’t compete with others; you believe in your own design and that eventually your own time will come.
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Inquire about ACT NOW! workshops through mobile 0917-5317957 or e-mail Send your nominations for BYT at or

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