Kaila Estrada has been on a roll since she caught everyone’s attention with her astounding performance in the Kapamilya series Viral Scandal (2021). And with every character she dons, she just rises further.
It’s easy to be drawn to her every act. But all we see is the perfection that Kaila delivers in front of the cameras. Behind the scenes, she normally braves the jitters and pressure, which is inevitable for someone like her who is just starting out but has big expectations to meet.
In this edition of Kapamilya React, the rising actress reveals what really went down behind the scenes of her trending performances in different ABS-CBN shows.
She first reviewed her touching mother-daughter moment with Shamaine Buencamino from MMK “Beauty Behind Bars,” where she portrayed ex-Pinoy Big Brother housemate Karen Bordador’s life story. She counts this specific scene unforgettable for her organic connection with the veteran actress. “Sobrang saya niya katrabaho. Sobrang gaan niya katrabaho. And especially sa scene na ‘yun, parang doon ko talaga na-feel ‘yung connection naming dalawa kaya sobrang memorable niya sa akin,” she said of Shamaine.
According to her, the most difficult part of this episode was the transition to Karen’s life in jail because that’s when the weight of Karen's fate sank in. “It’s unfair that there are innocent people who have to go through that,” mused Kaila, adding that she felt the pressure and excitement at the same time. “It’s such an honor and privilege to be given an opportunity to be part of MMK.”
The next clip is from Viral Scandal where she played Raven Ramones, the ‘kontrabida’ half-sister to Charlie Dizon’s Rica Sicat. In this specific scene, Raven storms to Rica’s office to unleash her pent-up emotions, basically jealousy over Rica getting their dad’s attention and frustration over her parents’ annulment. The shouting match was coupled with intense hair-pulling, making it all the more nerve-wracking for Kaila.
Admittedly, it took her days of preparation. “Kasi siyempre first project ko ‘yung ‘Viral Scandal.’ So, ‘yung mga preparations ko para sa mga mabibigat na eksenang ganyan, grabe ‘yung anxiety ko. Sobra akong kinabahan for that, “she said, bringing to mind the teamwork she had with Charlie. They would hold hands to pass on energy before takes.
The easier part was getting fully in-tuned with Raven’s emotions since she herself was rooting for the character, “No’ng kinunan namin ‘to, I was already so invested and in love with Raven’s character that I didn’t really have to look elsewhere to draw emotions. As in sa character niya mismo, sa story niya, and sa family life niya, doon na ako mismo humugot.”
Asked her takeaways from Raven, she touched on the complexity of people, which proves we must not judge someone by the mere exterior. “Even ‘yung mga tao na pinag-iisipan natin na kontrabida, it’s not black and white, eh. They have pain. They’ve been through things that turned them into that kind of person. It’s really the complexity of the human condition,” she reflected. But despite the trauma and hurt, we can still choose to be better people at the end of the day, pressed Kaila.
She also guest-starred in Love In 40 Days playing her mom Janice de Belen’s younger version as Ofelia. She appeared in a few flashback scenes that established Ofelia’s past as a prostitute, hence a daring scene that showed her covered in blankets as the customer prepares to leave.
She admitted it’s her first time watching this scene, which reminds her of the anxious feeling of working with her mom. “Nando’n ‘yung mom ko, eh. Magkasama kami sa stand-by area and hindi kami sanay na magkasama kami sa trabaho.” In addition to that, she didn’t have much time to warm up before that scene.
Kaila shared that Janice isn’t one to give too much advice. “She doesn’t try to always talk to me about it, to mentor me. But when I have questions, she’s always there naman.” Her mom would only remind her of the basics such as knowing her lines and coming to set prepared. “She lets me do my thing. I think she respects my space and she trusts me.”
Of course, we couldn’t miss out her recent portrayal as Abby in Maalaala Mo Kaya’s finale episode titled “Passport” and tagged as “Scarlet Women,” which Kaila considers the most challenging thing she’s done as an actress.
“Grabe talaga ‘yung story, ‘yung mga pinagdaanan nila, so masakit panoorin ‘yung scene na ‘yun kasi naaalala ko ‘yung letter-sender, si Abby, at ‘yung mga girls na kasama niya. Ang hirap ng pinagdaanan nila,” she imparted after watching the scene of Abby being warned that they could end up in jail or dead once they try to escape the bar owner who forced them into prostitution.
Kaila is extremely grateful for MMK’s trust and the privilege to do an episode slated for the finale and 31st anniversary special. “It’s such a blessing and I will always be grateful to have been a part of this momentous occasion,” she said, adding that the whole taping experience pushed her out of her comfort zone.
“Really taping the whole thing was such a great and growing experience kasi challenging siya. It really pushed myself to my limits, of course, with the guidance of Direk Dado [Lumibao]. Si Direk Dado really helped me get into this character,” expressed Kaila.
She continued, applauding her co-stars, “Lahat ng mga nakasama ko dito sobrang husay at sobrang bait. Grateful din ako sa kanila kasi talang mabigat ‘yung kwento pero naging magaan ‘yung work dahil sa kanila.”
Kaila further thanked MMK for its contribution to her bio as an actress, “’Yun nga ‘yung sinasabi nila, ‘pag hindi ka pa nakakapag-MMK parang bitin ‘yung experience mo sa pagiging artista. That goes to show how iconic it is. I’m so blessed to have done not one but two episodes before the show ended.”
She then left her “pasasalamat” for the drama anthology: “MMK and Ma’am Charo [Santos], thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to tell these very powerful stories and for trusting me with these. I will never forget this. This is such a highlight in my career so far. I’m so thankful. I’m so grateful to you.”
Be amazed by Kaila’s dramatic prowess and behind-the-scenes facts by watching this episode of Kapamilya React.