Viral Scandal stars Aya and Kaila make a stand on bashing, fake news

Tapped to portray meaty characters in the controversial drama series Viral Scandal, Aya Fernandez and Kaila Estrada deep dived and went the extra mile to gear up for their roles.

The unfading enthusiasm we always see in Aya’s eyes shined even brighter as she talked about her current assignment to portray Ella Montecillo, a breast cancer patient who represents women empowerment in a different light. Her character, a former “It” girl and part of Jigs (Markus Paterson)’s barkada, will bring an exciting plot twist in the coming episodes. Hint: it’s connected to her nightmarish past.

Aya is thankful for the delays that granted her enough time to plunge into her character. She was supposed to start taping for Viral Scandal a week after her role in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Dr. Audrey Mante, was killed off. “Blessing in disguise ‘yung mga delays para makapaghanda ako nang mas malalim.”

Kaila, meanwhile, is playing the daughter of Maxene Magalona and Jake Cuenca’s respective characters, Audrey and Troy Ramones. As Raven Ramones, the half-sibling of Charlie Dizon’s Rica Sicat, Kaila is pegged as a ‘kontrabida’ who will add more trouble and pain in Rica’s life.

Aya and Kaila expressed love for Viral Scandal – the powerful impact it creates tackling social issues, the generous cast, being part of the show, just everything about it. They feel blessed to be surrounded by and learn from showbiz’s finest gems, although Kaila lives with one at home – her mother, Janice De Belen. She said her mom rarely gives her acting lessons so she can explore the craft on her own. The only advice she got from Janice was, “Kailangan ko uminom ng maraming tubig ‘pag emotional ‘yung eksena.”

Kaila’s training mostly happens on the set. She’s one to ask questions, tips, and advice from her co-stars while doing her part in studying up the script. Same goes for Aya. Both of them are in tune with every cast member. They’re very grateful to the more senior stars for helping them navigate their jobs and to Direk Dado Lumibao for the workshop.

Sharing more thoughts about the powerhouse cast, Aya and Kaila had nothing but words of admiration. They talked about Dimples Romana and her encouraging words of wisdom that prove her credibility as one of the show’s torchbearers.

On working with Charlie, Kaila assures that their rivalry is only for the show. Off-cam, they’re sweet and clingy to each other; their Instagram stories would serve as proof. “Her charm is that she’s a real person. When she’s in her element as Rica, talagang ramdam na ramdam mo siya and it really helps as well in a scene. I love Charlie!”

Aya added that she’s proud of how Charlie embodies her new title as a primetime leading lady. She said Charlie deserves the big break, and more.

The Kapamilya beauties went on to talk about the relevant issues tackled in the storyline, one of which is sex education. For Aya, the topic will be effectively discussed first in school since teachers are more equipped with the know-how and not every parent is aware of the proper methods. “Kasi iba-iba ang maturity ng mga bata. Sa school, ‘yung mga teachers mas trained sila kung paano i-introduce sa mga bata, whereas sa bahay, hindi naman din lahat ng magulang ay napag-aralan ang sex education.” However, parents must also be willing to talk about it since the home builds a child’s foundation.   

Kaila also believes that both school and parents must work together in keeping the young informed about such delicate but important issues, “It is a part of life and it is a responsibility. Sa school, dapat din dini-discuss ‘yan kasi it’s important to learn about the illnesses that you can get, ‘yung mas technical. We should talk about it. Hindi na tayo dapat mailang kasi natural naman siyang nangyayari.”

They added that it’s time to be more open about these topics. They are proud and thankful that mainstream shows like Viral Scandal are taking the bold move. Aya thought, “It’s about time pag-usapan ‘yung trauma, na itong trauma, hindi lang siya pang-mayaman lang. Pinagdadaanan siya ng lahat ng mga naabuso. Awareness din itong teleserye na ito kung paano ka tutulong sa isang taong nakaranas ng ganun, kahit hindi viral, basta siya ay naabuso.”

Kaila added, “It shows the harmful effects of social media, how people should be aware of what we watch and what we share online. We should look on the other side and think about of the other people involved in the viral video – how they feel and how it’s impacting their mental health.”

Asked how they react and fact-check a trending content, Aya explained that it depends on the effect of the video. If it’s a feel-good material, then it’s fine to laugh at it. But if it stirs negative impact, she’d rather not add fuel to fire because, as the old aphorism goes, there are always two sides to every story. “Also, kung hindi ka maapektuhan sa video, huwag mo nang pansinin. Pero kung maaapektuhan ka, and let’s say ang bansa natin, kailangan mong alamin ang facts.”

For Kaila, “If it’s very delicate and very sensitive, better to not share it and look at credible sources muna kung totoo ba ito, ito ba ay fake news, or find out how to learn more about the situation without jumping to conclusions.”

As much as she wishes bashing doesn’t exist, Kaila has learned to accept it as part of her job, “It’s beyond our control, how people react or what people say. What we can do is really just ignore it and at the same time, we know ourselves better.” She can ignore the naysayers but it’s a different scenario when her family is dragged in the issues.

Aya, on the other hand, is open to people’s opinion, maintaining that there’s a difference between bashing and constructive criticisms. Thankfully, she hasn’t yet received anything that would count as hate. When she gets negative comments about her work, she simply takes them as a rubric to fix what needs to be improved.

“Nagbabasa ako ng comments. Inaabangan ko ‘yung sasabihin ng ibang tao, hindi dahil ‘yun ang definition ng self-worth ko kundi dahil sila ang pinagsisilbihan ko. Kung tungkol man ito sa trabaho ko o ‘yung impact at influence na nagagawa ko sa social media, ‘yung mga stands at advocacy ko, mahalaga sa akin ‘yung sinasabi nila. Makikinig po ako sa constructive criticism kahit pa gaano kasakit at mahirap tanggapin,” she explained.

There’s so much more to learn and watch out for in the next episodes of Viral Scandal. Recently, Archie (Vance Larena) was revealed as the culprit behind the spread of Rica’s viral scandal, but it’s just the beginning of more shocking twists to come.

Don’t miss an episode of Viral Scandal, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.

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