A lot has changed in the life of Kaladkaren Davila, or Jervi Li in real life, since breaking the internet with his viral field reporting spoof three years ago. In the episode of I Feel U aired on September 27, the TV personality had a sweet travel back to his humble beginnings.
KaladKaren started in the media industry as a writer and producer. He also belongs to an organization in UP Diliman called UP SAMASKOM. The group produces annual musical variety shows. In a production that’s a parody of the 2016 presidential election debates, he was tapped to impersonate broadcaster Karen Davila as the moderator because of their similarities. He did his assignment and slayed the performance by sounding a lot like the real Karen. That was how KaladKaren was born.
However, the viral video that launched him to social media popularity was the satirical field reporting ala Karen Davila in 2017. It was an accidental fame as KaladKaren and his then-colleagues simply wanted to have a good laugh.
The incident sparked his idea to create parodies of Karen’s current affairs show, “May Puhunan.” He caught the netizens’ and even Karen’s attention, landing him a guest appearance on the veteran journalist’s radio program. It was followed by an invite from Gandang Gabi Vice, Tonight with Boy Abunda, and countless more blessings.
Looking back on his unexpected journey to showbiz, KaladKaren realized that what’s supposed to happen will happen. “Kapag mapagbiro ang tadhana, minsan hindi natin alam kung ano’ng bubulaga sa atin isang araw, may it be good or bad… If it’s written and if it’s for you, it’s gonna happen no matter what the circumstances are,” he said. Proving this is how he went viral without even trying.
He never dreamt of becoming an on-cam talent, either. He just wanted to succeed behind the scenes as a television executive. Nonetheless, he embraced the opportunity given by the ABS-CBN management. He’s grateful for the trust. This brings him back to the belief that whatever is written will always find its way to him.
As he unmasks himself of his onscreen persona, KaladKaren remains the family-oriented Jervi. He’s been a breadwinner for a long time. He started to support his sibling’s schooling after he graduated from college. His elder sister worked as a nurse but the meager salary wasn’t enough to support the family’s needs. ‘Raket’ has always been his life. And he’s proud of all his hard-earned accomplishments, especially those family-related.
Now that life is a lot more comfortable, KaladKaren only wishes for his siblings’ success in career. The youngest in the brood is currently in college. His then-struggling sister is now a nurse in Ireland.
KaladKaren didn’t have to keep his sexuality a secret. His family was aware and supportive since he was a kid. They just knew by the way he moves. He started to act more feminine and put on makeup in high school.
“Kinausap din ako ng Daddy ko. Pero ang sabi niya sa akin noon, mag-decide ka. Kung anuman ang mapag-desisyunan mo o kung sino ka talaga, tatanggapin ka namin,” he shared.
His father is also close to his boyfriend, Luke Wrightson. And speaking of his love life, KaladKaren revealed that he and Luke met in Hong Kong 8 years ago. They were both on a holiday tour with their friends. Wearing his red hair and Rihanna-inspired outfit, KaladKaren went partying with his group. That’s how he caught Luke’s attention. They had a fun night talking then. Luke decided to join KaladKaren’s squad in Disneyland the next day.
KaladKaren felt the spark between them. He knew the instant attraction will lead to a relationship. Since he’s fallen in love, he decided to work for the blossoming romance. They continued to keep in touch virtually. He’d send Luke long sweet messages and made him felt cared for.
KaladKaren waited for one major sign to prove Luke’s feelings – if he decides to come to the Philippines. He did. Two months after, it was KaladKaren’s turn to fly to Luke’s place in the United Kingdom and meet his family and friends as well.
Keeping a long-distance relationship is without a doubt full of challenges. Even if he stays with him in the UK, Luke would still be away for work as a merchant navy. Sometimes, KaladKaren finds himself anxious about the future, scared to spend the rest of their lives playing with the distance.
However challenging, KaladKaren believes the relationship is still worth fighting for. The love between them made him realize the power and beauty of acceptance. No matter who he is, there’s someone in this world loving and embracing him unconditionally. And that’s more than enough to convince him to stay.
“Marami sigurong mas gwapo kay Luke, mas mayaman kay Luke. Pero hindi ko makukuha sa kanila ‘yung nakuha kong assurance na pagmamahal, na unconditional love. So, kumapit talaga ako na parang, ‘Ito na to!’ Nararamdaman ko na,” he said.
Before the interview ends, KaladKaren was confronted by questions coming from Luke himself. He was asked who the boss is in the relationship. KaladKaren described himself as submissive, thus the boss would have to be Luke. He might be opinionated but Luke always has the final say.
He also revealed that Elton John’s “Your Song” is their relationship anthem. “Handa akong ibigay ang buong buhay ko, ang buong pagmamahal ko sa’yo. I may not have a lot of things to offer but what I’m offering you is my life and what matters in me.”
Lastly, KaladKaren was prompted to pick one significant event in their relationship. He’d go for their fourth anniversary European trip as one of their best moments together.
There are so much more to look forward to in KaladKaren and Luke’s love story. For the meantime, they’re things slowly.