Kaila Estrada: How she stays humble, plus off-cam trivia about trending “Linlang” scenes

Kaila Estrada has been making waves on social media, thanks to her brilliant performance in the digital series “Linlang” where she took on intense acting sparring with Kim Chiu, Paulo Avelino, and JM De Guzman, who are all seasoned thespians in their own right, as well as with drama icon Maricel Soriano.

Given the oversized prowess of her more senior co-stars, Kaila admitted that she felt nervous mounting scenes with them, let alone if the scene required hefty emotions.

But the series’ followers would agree that there were no hints of jitters in the way she ate her portrayal of Sylivia, the woman who fell victim to her husband Alex’s (JM) betrayal. All she served up were emotional depth and power, so much so that Sylvia’s trending confrontation scene with her husband’s mistress, Juliana played by Kim, felt too palpable and much like a cathartic experience to the viewers.

“Sobra talaga akong kinabahan for that scene. Alam ni Ate Kim ‘yun, for sure naramdaman din niya na grabe, ibang level ‘yung kaba ko du’n,” she recalled. Thankfully, Kim was supportive, “Si Ate Kim kasi, she’s so sweet. So, nagyayakapan kami before and after.” She also acknowledged the guidance and talent of Director FM Reyes.

Kaila added that everyone was watching the shoot including Maricel, which is why she felt more scared.  “Magkasama kasi kami sa standby nu’ng day na ‘yun, and then sabi niya sa akin, ‘Galingan mo ha? Galingan mo manonood ako.’ True enough, kasi outdoor namin kinunan ‘yung eksena na ‘yun, nando’n siya sa bubong ng bahay nanonood. Nakikita namin siya. So, talagang nakakanerbiyos.” She continued, “But I’m so happy with how it turned out and that people loved it.”

Kaila says that it’s also an honor to share big scenes with the Diamond Star despite the pressure, let alone be friends with her. She revealed of their intense on-screen confrontation, “Nakakatawa, naaalala ko before that nando’n kami sa standby, sabi ko, ‘Nanay! Oh my God, ito na ‘yung eksena natin.’ Tapos sabi niya sa akin, ‘Naku! Huwag kang kabahan, ako lang ‘to!” She couldn’t believe that she was acting opposite Maricel in a scene where she must shout and unleash her pent-up emotions at her.

“’Yung scene na ‘yun, we did a couple of rehearsals. Si Direk FM Reyes was also so brilliant. He wanted me to really be firm. Gusto niya talaga ‘yung, ‘Galit na galit ka na dito. Puno ka na dito, so kung kailangan mo sumigaw, do it.’ We did a couple of rehearsals,” she looked back, adding that she was internally starstruck with Maricel but she must not break from her character. “The way she delivered her dialogue, she wasn’t even screaming at me, pero sa sobrang sakit ng dialogue, para niya akong sinuntok sa tiyan. Parang ganu’n ‘yung feeling.”

The best thing about working with showbiz luminaries is learning from them. Kaila mentioned that Maricel loved giving her advice, and the greatest one that she still carries to this day is to never let herself be intimidated.

“Until now, parang naririning ko pa rin siya na binibigyan ako ng advice,” she smiled. “Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Huwag na huwag kang ma-i-intimidate sa mga ka-work mo. Always think na when you’re given a task, pinagkakatiwalaan ka to fulfil that task. So, huwag na huwag mong iisipin na hindi mo siya kaya,’ parang gano’n. Hanggang ngayon, lagi ko pa rin siyang sinasabi sa sarili ko whenever I’m fazed with a scene or something that I feel like is very challenging.”

Kaila was admittedly scared of playing Sylvia since it's the most mature character she’s ever had. But she’s happy and utterly grateful for the way things happened, and for the immense amount of appreciation that has come her way.

“Maraming salamat sa pagmahal n’yo kay Sylvia kasi minahal ko rin ‘yung character na ‘yun.” She added, “I’m so grateful to Direk FM Reyes, Direk Jojo Saguin, and also our creatives kasi binigan nila ng chance si Sylvia to shine. And binigyan siya ng opportunities na maging palaban. Kasi feeling ko naman lahat tayo may kakayahan na maging palaban, eh.”

In order to knit Sylvia to her own flesh, she studied her backstory and motivation. “We really dug deep ‘cause she also has issues  with her family. She has her personal insecurities din and, of course, her toxic relationship with Alex. Talagang sobrang lalim nu’ng pinaghuhugutan ni Sylvvia. Kulang din siya sa pagmamahal sa sarili niya dahil, I feel like, dahil feeling niya ang daming kulang sa kanya kahit hindi naman.”

But despite Sylvia’s imperfections, she’s also worthy of love, Kaila believes. “I feel like Sylvia is a good person pero good people have their limits also.”

In keeping with Sylvia’s journey, Kaila was asked her advice to those staying in a toxic relationship just because they’re blinded by love. She thought, “It sounds so cliché pero dapat talaga mahalin mo muna ‘yung sarili mo. When you love yourself, you won’t allow people to mistreat you kasi ganu’n mo vina-value at nirerespeto ang sarili mo. Kailangan mo mahalin ang sarili so that you don’t let others walk all over you.”

“If you find yourself in that situation, I hope you find the strength to remove yourself from that situation and know that you are lovable. If the person in front of you doesn’t value or respect you, then you can always walk away and start over with somebody else,” she imparted.

Kaila is a believer of karma, and she’s certain that it will work on Alex and Juliana. If she were to speak to Juliana, from Sylvia’s POV, she’d warn her: “Karma is just around the corner.”

And to Alex: “Sana masaya ka na ngayon dahil sa mga desisyon mo sa  buhay. Sana mapanindigan mo ‘yan. But karma is also waiting for you.”

Sylvia’s character was shown to have died in a recent episode of “Linlang,” sparking off theories from netizens. Asked if Sylvia’s death was just a way to “linlang” or trick the viewers, all Kaila said was, “Secret.”

Those who’ve been missing Kaila after she exited “Linlang” can look forward to her many more projects. She’s also currently part of Donny Pangilinan and Belle Mariano’s primetime teleserye “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Netizens are voicing out their suggestions and requests as well, with some wishing for Kaila to collaborate with her fellow nepo babies Jennica Garcia and Janine Gutierrez. When told about this, she reacted, “Oh my, God! I would love that. Nakakakilig kasi talagang it’s an honor. Thank you na hinilera niyo ako sa kanila, salamat, kasi hinahangaan ko rin sila bilang artista. And I would love to work with them one day.”

From there, she extends her thanks to everyone who appreciates her as an actress. “I’m just so grateful and so overwhelmed with happiness sa mga feedback and comments na nakukuha ko lately.”

With all the praises and projects, what keeps Kaila grounded? "I know I still have a long way to go. I have a long, long way to go, a lot to experience. Marami pa akong genres and roles na gusto kong i-explore. Also, just the fact that I want to be able to do this for a very long time.”

She also lives a humble journey by keeping to heart Director Rahyan Carlos’ advice during their past workshop that every actor is just as good as his/her last performance. “I never forgot that. Having that in mind always keeps me on my toes.” Of course, viewers’ supportive comments also remind her to always do her best in every assignment.