We’ve finally met the girls of the phenomenal “Penelope Band” in the coming-of-age series “Teen Clash,” which premiered last March 17. But we know just one episode feels ‘bitin’ that’s why we at Kapamilya Chat gathered the female clashmates – Jayda Avanzado, Bianca de Vera, Gail Banawis, and Fana – for an extended ‘kwentuhan’ about the show.
The cast members described “Teen Clash,” as a refreshing tale of youngsters with clashing personalities who somehow manage to come together through their common dreams and love for music. Beneath the tried-and-tested rom-com drama trope are sentimental lessons about friendship, dreams, and family.
Jayda takes the lead as Zoe, who comes off as stubborn but is just determined. Joining her in the Penelope Band are Yannie (Bianca), Sab (Fana), and Ayumi (Gail).
Since “Teen Clash,” is an adaptation of Ilyn Anne Danganan’s hit Wattpad story with a huge following, the stars won’t deny the pressure. They know fans can be critical on social media, but they assure that any alteration in the narrative will be likable to audiences of all ages. “Hindi siya exactly the same as they envisioned it to be since they said na inaantay nila ‘to for the longest time. Pero I think pare-pareho naman kami na tina-try namin na mag-cater sa gusto nila kahit iba ‘yung script,” explained Bianca.
More than that, they are just thrilled to share the fruit of their hard work, especially Jayda who has been attached to this project for three years now, as it was first pitched to her as a podcast in 2020. It was just after the lockdown season when ABS-CBN decided to turn it into a full series.
Jayda prepared for her first lead role by reading the original novel, and she instantly fell in love with Zoe, “Sobrang connected ako sa character. It’s really such a blessing for me to be able to bring somebody like her to life.” She made sure to retain the bits and pieces of Zoe that made readers love her. Also, part of laying the groundwork for Zoe is taking acting workshops under Olivia Lamasan together with her co-stars, and building rapport with them.
Even Fana, who is making her acting debut, worked doubly hard for her role as Sab, a lesbian caught in a complicated love triangle with Kobie Brown and Andi Abaya’s characters. Fana said she went to the audition with zero expectation, “Sobrang speechless pa rin ako now kasi hindi ko talaga in-expect na ako ‘yung makukuha for this. Sobrang memorable nitong experience.”
As for Bianca, she was asked to attend the look test without knowing what it was for, hence, this project came like a sweet surprise, though she was initially assigned a different character.
Jayda and her on-screen partner Aljon Mendoza were present during the go-see to also take part in the deliberation, “We would have our own little comments on who we think would be good for the role.” She pressed that her co-actresses gave their characters a mix of familiar and refreshing elements, thus they’re all deserving. Jayda is naturally sweet and supportive toward her castmates, praising them one by one for their performances. She further revealed that there were a lot of rotations in the casting, but Fana was retained as Sab throughout and she’s not surprised because Fana did well without any trace of being an acting neophyte.
“Sobrang interesting ‘yung audition process, to see so many talented people come together. And then finally the creatives came to a decision. I’m so glad to be with these girls,” Jayda smiled. “Sobrang malapit talaga itong project na ‘to sa puso ko kasi nakita ko siya in all its different forms… from the pitching process. Just to see kung paano siya unti-unti nabuo and to see it in its final form.”
That explains their sentimentality and excitement during the first two episodes’ special screening, “Na-overwhelm kami with emotions seeing it become a real thing. It’s such a fulfilling thing kaya over the moon talaga kami.”
The ladies went on to reminisce their first meeting and impressions. They’ve watched one another in their previous shows like Bianca in 2 Good 2 Be True and Gail in Pinoy Big Brother, and the latter was also able to interview Jayda virtually. What happened was they low-key ‘fangirled’ upon seeing each other in the flesh.
Bianca detailed that she knew Jayda for her music, seeing her as talented and pretty, hence intimidating. But she learned that Jayda is very grounded, which makes her the perfect lead, “Kasi in order to be a good lead, in order to be the captain of a ship, yeah, she’s good pero mabait din.” She went on to recall her first meeting with Fana during their look test, saying Fana’s potential shone in the room while they were having a scene together. She started rooting for her since.
Fana then shared that she first encountered Bianca on TikTok and 2 Good 2 Be True, “Sobrang funny ni Bianca… And I’m a fan of her kasi ang galing niya rin talaga mag-acting. Minsan kumukuha din ako ng tips paano mag-acting.” On Gail, they first met outside work and she thought Gail is a snob, “Feeling ko hindi niya ako papansinin. Pero no’ng nakausap ko siya, sobrang magka-vibe din talaga kami.”
Jayda also mentioned that the cast had a karaoke bonding and the girls had a bathroom ‘chika’ session before the actual work started. And she’s so thankful to have known them. She looks up to Gail as her older sister, the one she would run to when things get rough.
Meanwhile, she first met Bianca in a Christmas Special in 2021 and she remembers Bianca helped her fix her top. She further discovered her bubbly side during the cast bonding, “Parang ang gaan niya kasama. I consider her to be one of the funniest people on set. We always laugh when Bianca is around. Nakaka-happy kang kasama,” she said, further commending Bianca for her wit, which makes her the best in adlibs during takes.
On Fana, whom she first met on a show back in 2020, music is that one thing that connected them. “Sobrang hanga ako sa’yo as a singer,” Jayda told her with a smile. “I remember I would talk about her with my mom. Sinasabi niya na ang galing talaga ni Fana. No’ng mas nakilala ko pa siya, gusto ko ‘yung aura niya and even my parents really like her.”
These girls just click on- and off-cam, genuinely rooting for one another. Now we’re all converted fans of the Penelope Band.
Catch them in “Teen Clash,” every Friday at 8 pm on iWantTFC.