More than two weeks after we witnessed the shocking accidental death of her character Clarice Padua in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, DJ Jhai Ho recently caught up with fast-rising actress Rhen Escaño in the latest episode of ABS-CBN Entertainment’s online talk show Hotspot.
While she has astounded us with her compelling performances in the said teleserye and the movies she appeared in, she disclosed that it was actually never her dream of becoming an artist. In fact, she’s the shy type who’s not keen in mingling with other people and would always feel out of place. Thus, it really surprised her how she mustered the confidence to join school pageants when she was in college and be where she is at present.
Just when we thought that her showbiz career only started in the recent years, Rhen revealed that she has been finding her way in the industry and waiting for her breakthrough for 10 years already. She was only in highschool when she got discovered by a talent scout of ABS-CBN while walking outside its premises with her friends. Even though she was initially suspicious, she still chose to trust that person and willingly gave her personal details and photo. And that’s when she began undergoing workshops and became a talent.
However, it has never been easy for Rhen. After years of working on a slew of series under her management, she suddenly felt unsure if this is the right path for her. “Dumating ako sa point na parang walang nangyayari. Actually, ang daming hindi nakakaalam na 10 years na talaga akong nagta-try sa industry, na mabigyan ng break, na mapansin. So, no’ng time na ‘yon parang sabi ko, lahat na ata ng istasyon napagdaanan ko na tapos ngayon parang wala pa ring nangyayari. Sabi ko, parang ‘di ata talaga para sa akin, so balak ko nalang no’n na mag-stop na lang.”
That’s the time when her first two movie projects came – “Untrue,” starring Xian Lim and Cristine Reyes, and the LGBT indie film “Adan,” which she topbilled opposite actress Cindy Miranda. This made her realize why she had to wait for a long time before snagging her big break.
“For how many years, para akong nakakulong sa isang box. Parang sabi ko, baka kaya hindi nagwo-work ‘yong career ko kasi masyado akong takot. Hindi ako makalabas do’n sa box na ‘yon. Ayokong mag-try ng different things na hindi ko nagagawa before, parang playing safe ako lagi,” she related.
Then she added, “Feeling ko, ito talaga ‘yong kulang sa akin before kaya hindi ko maramdaman na para sa akin dahil wala ako ng tinatawag na tapang. So ngayong na-absorb ko lahat ng mga time na ‘yon, na parang nandito pa rin ako, binigay sa akin ‘to, siguro may lugar talaga ako someday.”
She and DJ Jhai Ho then went on to talk about her experience in being part of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano as the bratty and maarte Clarice Padua, the daughter of Tirso Cruz III’s character Arturo Padua, who admired Cardo so much. She recalled being contacted by her manager after the premiere night of “Adan” and visited the set of the series to meet Direk Coco Martin and the rest of the creators and ensemble cast.
Rhen imparted feeling nervous, excited, and astonished at the same time when it was declared that she’s already part of the series, without having to show them her acting skills. Even though it was her first time working with most of her colleagues, not to mention being surrounded by the veterans just on her very first day, everything went pretty smooth and easy for her as she made sure to exert all her best.
As the pandemic loomed, she actually didn’t expect to be included in the pool of cast and crew who would be part of the lock-in tapings in the previous months. This further motivated her to do great in every scene they took by always coming to the set well-prepared and doing her best to not commit any mistake.
When asked regarding the things she learned from Direk Coco, she imparted that every time he talked to her, he never failed to advise her to focus on her career, especially amid everything that’s happening in the present. She should also not let fame get into her head, not allow herself be engulfed by the system because the world they belong in could be overwhelming, and do her best in every scene she does.
“So, sa lahat ng bagay talaga, aalalayan ka niya. ‘Yon ang nakakatuwa sa kanya. Never nangyari na ‘yong tipong kapag kasama namin siya sa set at saka siya ‘yong ka-eksena namin, never mo mararamdaman na papabayaan ka niya. Parang akay-akay niya talaga lahat. Kaya nagwo-work ‘yon for five years dahil hindi niya pinabayaan lahat ng tao. Lahat ng taong ‘yon tinulungan niya talaga,” she related.
She continued, “So very thankful and blessed talaga ako sa lahat talaga ng mga payo niya. Lagi niyang sinasabi sa akin na, ‘Rhen, ‘yong pinagdaanan ko before ganyan na ganyan din. Diyan din ako nagsimula. Sipagan mo lang, huwag kang susuko sa mga pangako mo dahil balang araw. Tingnan mo ako ngayon, ‘di ba’. Parang lahat ng pinaghirapan niya, kung saan man siya nagsimula, and then naging Coco Martin siya. So isa siyang inspirasyon para sa akin na parang, ‘oo nga, ‘no? Talagang someday hindi malabo kasi may mga ganito talagang nag-eexist.”
The host then went on to ask her regarding her most memorable scene as Clarice that she still vividly remembers until now, to which she enthusiastically enumerated two. First was her scene inside the comfort room where Clarice was locked up by Task Force Agila because of incessantly attempting to escape.
Little did the viewers knew that reason why she was there for around three weeks was she was supposed to be pulled out by her management from the show to do another project. And to not make the viewers notice that her character would disappear, the production just decided to shot all her scenes there that would be aired for the next three weeks. But at the end of the day, her management notified her that the filming of her next project would be postponed. She was so shy to divulge it to the whole team, thus she’s grateful that they accepted it.
The second one was her death scene, which she actually didn’t expect since she was told before that her character would be present until the ending. Thus, she couldn’t help herself from crying on her last taping day and before filming her death scene. She also shared the fun back story regarding the scene where she had to lie down inside a coffin and pretend that she’s dead.
“Gusto kong sabihin sa kanila, unang-una sa lahat, guys, mag-move on na kayo,” she jestingly began as DJ Jhai Ho asked for her message to all her supporters and avid viewers of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. “Gusto kong sabihin sa inyong lahat na sobra ko talagang naa-appreciate ang mga ‘yon, as in. ‘Yon naman talaga ang dahilan kung bakit namin ginagawa ‘to e – para maparamdam sa mga taong nanonood ‘yong gusto naming iparamdam sa kanila. Na kahit ganito ‘yong sitwasyon natin ngayon, nandito kami para iparamdam sa inyo ‘yan – lungkot, tatawa kayo, magiging masaya kayo, maiiyak kayo. So, kung nararamdaman n’yo ngayon ‘yan dahil apektado kayo sa mga napapanood n’yo, maraming salamat po. Ibig sabihin, kumapit po kayo do’n sa character ko.”
She added, “So, thank you so much, guys. Sana hindi ito ‘yong maging ending, hindi lang dito matitigil ‘yong suporta kasi marami pa po kayong dapat abangan and sana din po sa mga makikita ninyo, e suportahan din po ninyo at mahalin din po ninyo katulad ng pagmamahal n’yo po kay Clarice. Of course, ‘yong mga kaibigan ko po sa Ang Probinsyano, suportahan n’yo po pa rin po sila. Patuloy n’yo po silang suportahan at mahalin hanggang dulo dahil hindi natin alam kung hanggang kailan ‘yan, pero ang alam ko lang, hinding-hindi nila kayo iiwan nang hindi magmamarka sa inyo lahat ng ginagawa ninyo ngayon. Lahat ‘yon maganda, lahat ‘yon kaabang-abang. So, please suportahan n’yo pa rin ang FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.”
When asked regarding the actors who she would want to be her leading man in a project if given a chance, the 23-year-old actress disclosed that she actually wishes to work opposite actors who are older than her, such as her childhood crush Carlo Aquino and Walang Hanggang Paalam star Paulo Avelino. But when it comes to those her age, it’s going to be Marco Gumabao to whom she’s able to already work with.
The fun and insightful lengthy virtual interview wrapped up with Rhen enthusiastically enumerating her step-by-step skin care routine and sharing some of the secrets behind her glowing and flawless skin.
Click on this video to see everything that happened in the latest episode of Hotspot!