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Hotspot Kaila Estrada MMK Karen Bordador

She may have top-caliber actors Janice de Belen and John Estrada as parents, Kaila Estrada is amazingly able to carve her own path in the industry as one of the most promising actresses of her generation.

With people seeing her as a “revelation” due to her impressive acting debut as antagonist Raven Ramones in Viral Scandal, she’s set to further astound us with her dramatic prowess through her first-ever appearance – not to mention lead role! – in Maalaala Mo Kaya as she portrays the inspiring story of former radio DJ and Pinoy Big Brother Kumunity Season 10 Celebrity Edition alumna Karen Bordador.

WATCH: Kaila portrays the life story of Karen Bordador in MMK

And she talked about her experiences and realizations while filming the two-part episode in the latest episode of ABS-CBN Entertainment’s Hotspot.

“Sobrang grateful po ako and sobrang happy ako na binigyan ako ng opportunity ng MMK na gampanan ‘yong kuwento ni Karen Bordador. Siyempre po noong una, kinabahan ako. Parang sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘kaya ko ba talaga, ‘to?’ Pero nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila kasi pinagkatiwalaan nila ako,” she told host DJ Jhai Ho when asked how she felt about being picked to do this project.

According to her, it was her Viral Scandal co-stars Dimples Romana and Charlie Dizon who were actually the first ones to find out about it since she was hanging out with them when she received the text message regarding the offer. Both of them expressed their excitement and support for her.

Her mom only found out about it by the time she arrived home and was equally happy and excited for her, to the extent that she had been bugging her to send her the teaser of the episode. She further related that she’s still in disbelief that she is already bestowed her first-ever lead role in an MMK episode despite being a newcomer.

“Actually, parang hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na, ‘oh my God, nag-lead role ako sa MMK. Parang sobrang tagal na ng MMK, lahat na ng iniidolize ko na artista napagdaanan na nilang mag-MMK. So, parang no’ng after nga ng shoot, lagi kong sinasabi, ‘grabe, nafe-feel ko na talagang artista ako kasi nakapag-MMK na ako. Sobrang saya lang sa feeling. I’m really excited na mapalabas na siya,” she enthused.

When asked how she prepared, the 26-year-old actress imparted that she watched the vlogs of Karen and her interviews online where she talked about her story and what happened to her. She also watched some of her highlights in PBB where she shared about her experiences, which included the instance when her mom sent her a letter while inside Bahay Ni Kuya. She did this in order to get to know her deeper and give justice to her portrayal of her story.

She also sent her a message on Instagram days prior to going to the lock-in taping and she’s very thankful with how generous Karen was in responding to her queries, making it possible for her to get insights so that her depiction would be more compelling.

Aside from that exchange, he was also able to personally meet her since Karen was there on the set since she’s going to be part of it as well, which serves as her acting debut. That opportunity gave her a better idea on how she is as a person, making her admire her because of how she’s able to inspire her because of her story.

With regards to the hardest part of portraying Karen’s story, she revealed that depicting a real person is already challenging enough, but having not experienced anything close to what she went through made it extra difficult.

“I think, the challenge for me was really to immerse myself in that mental and emotional space. And also to bring her personality also and let that shine through. Si Karen kasi, ang positive niyang tao e. Sobrang positive niya sa outlook niya sa life, and she always look at the bright side of things, and that’s something na sobrang ina-admire ko sa kanya,” she said.

Then she added, “Imagine ‘yong pinagdaanan niya, if na-imagine ko ‘yon sa sarili ko in that situation, I would be so devastated. Pero talagang lumaban siya and bumangon siya, and now she’s free and making the most of her life. Kaya ‘yon, sobrang ina-admire ko siya dahil doon.”

She may not have experienced anything that Karen went through, but Kaila was able to relate on how tight her relationship is with her mom, since she’s very close with her Mommy Janice, too. It pierced her heart when Karen’s mom did everything to make her comfortable inside the jail and for her to be treated nicely by her fellow inmates. The unconditional love and support of Karen’s mom towards her, as well as how she relentlessly fought for her, truly warmed her heart.

For her greatest takeaway from this touching narrative, she disclosed that it would be to not take time for granted because we’ll never know nor can tell what is going to happen, so we better make the most of the time that we have by spending it with our loved ones and the people you care about. Moreover, we must live and enjoy our lives, as well as strive to live a life with purpose and be passionate and empathetic towards other people.

Meanwhile, for her message for Karen, Kaila thanked her for trusting her to portray her story because she really learned a lot from it. Besides, she’s also looking forward to her journey in showbiz because she believes that Karen will definitely go places.

Don’t forget to watch Kaila’s MMK episode this coming Saturday, March 12 on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live and A2Z Channel 11.