Amid the coronavirus pandemic, several people from all walks of life made a stand and emerged as heroes in their own ways. Even celebrities continue to lend a helping hand to the frontliners, the government, and those immensely affected by the lockdown period.
Kapamilya actor Miko Raval does his part by creating PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) for the frontline workers through his clothing business, Steeze Design Studios. A few days after the community quarantine was imposed, Miko was not only worried about Steeze’s sales but he felt more scared for the workers who have other mouths to feed. He knew that his business couldn’t afford to shell out money without the proper operations.
Coincidentally, the demand for PPEs blew up at that time. And his fiancée, Kaira Dimatulac, being a fashion designer by profession, joined the Manila Protective Gear Sewing Club founded by Mich Dulce encouraging everyone to take action in the fight against COVID-19. News about the scarce medical resources all over the country and health workers recycling trash bags as PPEs fuelled the local designers’ initiative. And after a quick meeting, Miko’s Steeze Design Studios signed up and started creating PPEs using the resources collated through donations. It was hitting two birds with one stone – helping the frontliners and providing opportunities for manpower.
In his recent Kapamilya Chat live interview, Miko took us to a quick tour around the Steeze studio. The first step in making PPEs, according to the actor-entrepreneur, is creating the pattern. Then, the ‘cutter’ will do his task and hand the pattern to the sewers.
After distributing 7,500 PPEs to healthcare workers and beneficiary hospitals, Steeze Design Studios still continue production of PPEs but, this time, they’re focusing back on commercial purposes. They cater to companies and organizations that would like to order PPEs for their staff.
Miko has indeed gone a long way as an entrepreneur since launching Steeze Design Studios with Kaira six years ago. The sweethearts, fresh college grads then, simply wanted to sell something for the Christmas season. But the universe brought them the right people and inquiries piled up, convincing them to take the garment industry seriously. From a 14-square-meter house that served as their small production area, Miko and Kaira managed to move into a 400-square-meter studio in a span of six years.
When asked how he is able to manage the business while working as an actor, Miko said the magic lies with hiring the right people and partners. Miko is confident that his ‘baby’ is in safe hands while he’s out hustling as a future bankable leading man.
As Jun Samaniego in Tubig at Langis
Apart from being the owner of the clothing factory Steeze Design Studio, we all know that Miko is also an actor whose biggest claim to fame is portraying the character of Fabio Serrano in The Killer Bride. But, did you know that before starring in The Killer Bride, Miko has been part of another Kapamilya teleserye Tubig at Langis?
He played as Jun Samaniego, a bad guy. In the series, Jun is Clara (Isabelle Daza)’s brother who connived with her and their father, Nestor (Efren Reyes Jr.) against the Villadolids.
Miko smiled as he relived the first few shooting days on the Tubig at Langis set. He was admittedly shy and intimidated, “kasi lahat sila may pangalan tapos ‘pag dumadating ako doon, ako ‘yung ‘the who’” With a knack for acting and fun-loving personality, Miko eventually fitted in and he got along well with his co-stars. Their friendship continued even after the show has concluded.
The neophyte actor then took every opportunity learning about the craft. He grasped inspiration from Zanjoe Marudo’s sterling dramatic performances. And while fans always take notice of their resemblance, Miko wishes to take the comparison beyond the façade. “Bro, sa physical pareho na tayo. Hinahabol ko na lang ‘yung acting skills mo,” he often tells Zanjoe in jest.
His most memorable moment from the show was shooting his death scene, coincidentally, on his birthday. It was in Tubig at Langis where Miko had his first taste of action scenes which would later on intensify in The Killer Bride.
Working with Maja Salvador on Wildlfower and The Killer Bride
A big part of Miko’s journey as an actor was playing the role of Marlon in Wildlfower where he first witnessed Maja Salvador’s fiery acting skills. He’s the best friend to Joseph Marco’s Diego Ardiente-Torillo, quite close to their relationship as good buddies in real life, thereby, creating a natural on-screen rapport.
Anyone of us could probably relate to Miko when he listed down the black wedding scene as his favorite event in the series. Taking us back to that moment, Miko revealed that the iconic scene was helmed for three days and the production made sure not to give audiences a hint of what was coming. He won’t also forget the scene where he and Joseph along with 200 talents rallied against the Ardientes. “It was a heavy scene. Puyat at pagod kami individually pero nu’ng nag-combine kasama ng maraming tao, ang intense ng kinalabasan,” shared Miko. Being a part of Wildlfower bestowed him with a rare opportunity to work with veterans like Tirso Cruz III and Aiko Melendez.
More than a year after, Miko reunited with Maja in the small screen via The Killer Bride, the top-rating teleserye that skyrocketed him to fame. He was just an accidental leading man, Miko said, as if trying to downplay the overwhelming popularity of his character, Fabio Serrano.
“Sa first few scenes, mas matapang si Fabio, so I had to bring her up kaya mas komportable. Pero siguro kung baliktad, baka mas natakot ako kasi ang galing ni Maja maging alpha female,” he reminisces.
As the plot thickened, viewers got more drawn to Fabio’s knight-in-shining-armour persona and his unconditional love for Camila and Emma (Janella Salvador) until more and more started shipping him with Camila’s character. Hence, the ‘accidental leading man’ view he was talking about. At that moment, Miko knew he was at the make-or-break point of his career. “Ito na ba ‘yung leading man status na hinihintay ko buong buhay ko,” he asked himself that time. With his following flaring up in no time and still a loud clamor for a follow-up lead role, Miko’s question has finally been answered.
Miko as Ramp Model and his proven Instagram poses
Before he gave us Fabio Serrano, the The Killer Bride leading man who raised every girl’s standards when choosing the right guy, Miko Raval first gave modelling a shot. Yup, Papa Fabio can also slay the runway! The multi-hyphenate juggled ramp modelling and playing for the UP Diliman Men’s Basketball Team and later on added businessman to his resume.
Proving how passionate he is about life, Miko grabbed the chance to enter showbiz without any reluctance. In 2011, he met his manager at a ramp event. And when asked if he wanted to become an artista, Miko said yes. “I was in college and I didn’t what to do so, sabi ko ‘try natin’,” he recalled and then quipped, “I was a lost boy.” Miko underwent acting workshops and eventually signed a contract under Star Magic in 2012. His first teleserye was the Meg Imperial and JC De Vera starrer Moon of Desire.
In his Kapamilya Chat live interview, Miko gave us a glimpse of his modelling skills. So, those wishing to slay their quarantine Instagram posts can learn from the legit hunk model. His first lesson was the ‘tambay look’ which netizens could use to brag their new kicks. And if you got a new watch on your wrist, Miko swears by the captivating effect of the ‘masakit ang batok’ pose. You may also pretend touching the chin while staring at a distance. The ‘sakit-tiyan’ pose works best when flexing your fit and healthy figure. Don’t forget to flaunt your best assets. These easy-to-do poses can be followed even while at home during this quarantine period. There’s no need to dress up because, according to Miko, an oversized white pambahay t-shirt is still the most versatile outfit.
As tips to aspiring models or artistas, Miko suggests finding a talent manager who could help you get into the system. Although, becoming a celebrity nowadays has been easier with the advancement of social media. And cliché as it may sound, being true to yourself still works wonders.
Relationship with Kaira Dimatulac
When he got engaged to longtime girlfriend Kaira Dimatulac, Miko wrote, “I found myself a real ‘killer’ bride,” as caption to a photo of the proposal. The momentous event happened during a trip to South Korea last December, at the peak of The Killer Bride’s intense road to finale.
Indeed, Kaira has got the ‘killer’ looks and an adorable personality that charmed Miko. The couple were college sweethearts and have been partners on almost everything including their clothing business, Steeze Design Studios. Their love story started out with Miko taking a boost from social media’s messaging features; until Kaira realized that he is also her type.
“Makulit and he is nice,” Kaira described her fiancé. She added that Miko’s mostly serious on-screen characters are a contrast to his bubbly and loving personality behind the cameras. In a past Magadang Buhay interview, Kaira promised Miko to always be supportive of his journey as an actor and that she will always make him happy.