Toast of the town: Kaila Estrada

For the past week, social media has been abuzz with complimentary posts for Kaila Estrada’s intense performance in the drama series Linlang.

She plays Sylvia, whose husband Alex (JM de Guzman) is having an affair with Juliana (Kim Chiu), the wife of Alex’s brother Victor (Paulo Avelino). Sylvia then confronts Juliana in a physically and emotionally-charged scene.

One of Estrada’s congratulatory posts came from her own mother Janice De Belen, herself a seasoned and celebrated actor. De Belen shared a series of Instagram stories showing close-up shots of her daughter at the peak of intensity with this caption: “Kalma lang! Ang galing mo naman. Dapat na ba ako matakot? (Calm down! You are so good? Should I be scared?) Proud of you.”

Estrada responded with a repost, telling her mom in the caption, “Ma, sana ibang picture nalang (wish you used a different picture). Haha thank you, love you.”

De Belen commented, “Sinadya ko yan para bagay sa caption ko (I deliberately did that to match my caption.)”

Relax, don’t overthink

At the press preview of Linlang held in early October, Estrada said her mom has always been supportive and generous with advice.

De Belen’s reminders include: Be on time and read the script. And “figure out where your character is coming from. Laging doon ka babalik e (That’s where you’ll always go back). Kung ano talaga ang needs or wants ng character, doon ka babalik. (What your character needs or wants, that’s where you’ll always go back).”

“She also tells me to relax and not to overthink,” revealed Estrada. “Kasi sabi n’ya ’yun pa ang magki-create ng (She said that’s what will create) problems on the set. Just relax, read your script, know your character. Kaya mo ’yan. (You can do it.) Feeling ko, marinig ko lang s’yang magsalita, okay na (I just need to hear her voice and everything feels okay).”

The 27-year-old actor said her dad John Estrada, likewise a veteran in showbiz, is “super proud” of her recent achievement. “Sobrang happy naman sila (they’re very happy),” said Kaila, whose parents went their separate ways years ago. She’s the third in a brood of four.

Confrontation scene

Estrada admitted her mom’s advice helped her a lot since Linlang, which is streamed on Prime Video, serves as her first big break and breakout role.

“This is a very challenging and intimidating project for me. Kabado talaga ako kasi (I was really nervous because) as you can see, grabe ’yung cast, very powerful.”

About that sensational confrontation scene with Chiu: “Very physical po ang eksena (The scene was very physical). It came out that way because she’s also very professional, very generous with her acting. Okay kami talaga. (We’re okay.) She’s a breeze to work with. Hindi ko na rin matandaan (I can’t remember) how long we shot that scene. It was also technically difficult to shoot, with the movement and everything.”

Acting genes

Looking back, Estrada said her parents never really trained her or her siblings to follow their footsteps in showbiz. Her eldest sister Inah was the first in their brood to try acting. Estrada chose to do modelling gigs when she was in college. When she finally completed her studies in Art Management at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde a few years, she realized she also wanted to join the entertainment industry.

Estrada signed up with ABS-CBN and attended workshops with the network. Then she simply told her parents about her plans, and they supported her all the way.

“I think because it’s important for both of my parents na makatapos ako ng pag-aaral (that I finished my studies) before I decided on anything.”

Being a child of actors, she might not escape being called a nepo baby. Estrada said it has its advantages and disadvantages. “It definitely helps in name recall. People remember because they see my mom and my dad, or they remember when I was a kid. But siyempre (Of course) I want to be known for what I can bring to the table.”

She’s definitely on her way.