Coming Clean with Kyline Alcantara
When we look back at iconic moments from cinematic and television history, we remember the kontrabida (antagonist). Nothing’s as gratifying to watch than a shameless slap on the face. In Philippine cinema, there’s no scene more iconic than Cherie Gil’s water-splashing scene from Bituing Walang Ningning. (Rest in power.)
Kyline Alcantara is no stranger to the limelight—and everything that entails. At the age of 10, she landed her first major role as the resentful Arlene in Annaliza with Andrea Brillantes. A few years later, she played another villainous role as Cheska in Kambal, Karibal—having perfected the role of a spoiled brat—with her co-star-turned-close friend Bianca Umali.
But her on-screen hostility could not be farther from the truth. While shooting Wonder’s August 2022 cover, the 19-year-old’s demeanor on set is effortlessly warm and jovial. After all, one of the defining traits of a good actor is how authentic they play their role; we almost believe that the performer and character are one and the same.
Growing up in the spotlight playing a kontrabida, she received relentless hatred from the public. She reveals, “I started getting hate when I was seven. Nag-start ako na kontrabida agad sa Annaliza. [I would tell myself] hindi naman nila ako kilala, ginagawa ko lang naman ‘yung trabaho ko (I started getting hate when I was seven. I started as an antagonist in Annaliza. [I would tell myself] they don’t know me, I’m just doing my job).”
Turning 20 this September, she may still be young but she’s experienced more than most people her age. She quips, “Ngayon na 19 pa lang ako, it’s just a normal thing. Nagkaro’n nga ako ng statement before na [hate comments] are my breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, midnight snack (Now that I’m 19, it’s just a normal thing. I had a statement before that [hate comments] are my breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, midnight snack).”
As much as she wanted to be liked, she quickly realized that nobody is exempt from this kind of treatment. She notes, “Kahit nasaan ka mang industriya, magkakaro’n ka talaga ng haters (Whichever industry you’re in, you’re going to have haters). You just gotta live with it. As long as you love yourself, you have your family to support you, then that’s okay—but it’s easier said than done.”
The greatest role the actress has ever fulfilled is being her family’s breadwinner, which eventually turned her into a “self-proclaimed workaholic.” While the rest of us had the luxury to simply go to school and hang out with friends without a care in the world as teenagers, Kyline was providing for her family. She reveals, “Prior [to] the pandemic, I’m definitely pro-hustle kasi ako ‘yung kailangan trabaho ng trabaho, bawal magbakasyon (Prior [to] the pandemic, I’m definitely pro-hustle because I’m the type to always keeps on working, I can’t take breaks).”
Kyline recounts the years when everything happened too fast, when she felt weary yet she had to keep on going. “I felt like a robot at the time; I had no time to process [what I was going through],” she shares.
Aside from being a devoted sister and daughter, Kyline also believes that she has a responsibility to her fans, who keep her going. Regardless of the hardships in life that she faces, she tries to be strong for them. She candidly reveals, “[I can’t show weakness] lalo na may fans ako na kabataan din. They’re in the phase [of their lives wherein] they’re confused, and sa’kin lang sila kumakapit. Ang hirap naman na kung ako—kung sino iniidolo nila, kung sino kinakapitan nila—ay magpakita ng weakness. Eh ‘di babagsak din sila. ([I can’t show weakness] especially since I have fans that are young, too. They’re in the phase [of their lives wherein] they’re confused, and they draw their strength from me. It’s hard if I—the person they idolize and draw strength from—show weakness. They’ll fall, too.)”
She recounts a busy day in her life: creating content for her social media platforms, going on meetings, reading scripts, answering emails, signing contracts and rehearsing on stage. While in lockdown, she learned how to do everything herself. Kyline notes, “Naranasan ko before ‘yung [setting up a] green screen, camera, ilaw. Lahat ako ‘yung gumagawa, even my hair and makeup (I experienced before [setting up a] green screen, camera, lights. I would do everything, even my hair and makeup).”
There’s no doubt that Generation Z is always in motion. With virtual platforms like TikTok and Instagram, one can easily express oneself. Kyline remarks, “Hindi lang siya pang-artista. For me, lahat ng indibidwal ngayon, may sari-sarili tayong platform (It’s not only for artists. For me, all individuals now have our own platforms). That’s a great thing to have.”
Still, the past two years, which have caused collective grief and turmoil, served as an opportunity for Kyline to make herself a priority and return to herself. “The pandemic made me realize that I need to take things slow and to choose myself din naman kahit papa’no (as well),” she reveals.
Now that she has more time to slow down, she realized that there are so many things happening in her head. She reveals, “I discovered that ang dami pala nangyayari sa utak ko. Hindi tama na shi-no-shove down ko lang siya every single time. As long as I’m shoving it down, it’s gonna pile up, and it’s gonna burst. Ang malala, baka bad timing pa! (I discovered that so many things are happening in my head. It’s not right that I just shove it down every single time. As long as I’m shoving it down, it’s gonna pile up, and it’s gonna burst. What’s worse is, it might be bad timing!)”
Through time, she’s found a way to deal with bouts of anxiety and depression—going to church and gathering in fellowship. “Pumunta ako sa Favor [Church], and the youth group really helped me. ‘Yun na ‘yung therapy ko and wala pang bayad. Lahat sila nakaka-relate and dinadasalan ka nila. (I went to Favor [Church], and the youth group really helped me. That’s my therapy and it’s free. They can all relate and they pray over me). It really felt great…God is there with you, every single time,” she shares.
In a few weeks, the fresh-faced kontrabida-turned-leading lady is turning 20. The I Left My Heart in Sorsogon star recalls the many struggles she’s had to face, especially as a young actress straight from the province who experienced hostile discriminaton. She reveals, “I’m thankful…because it made me stronger as a person and as an artist. Mas nabigyan niya ng kulay kung anumang mga ginagawa kong roles kasi kaya kong humugot from experience (It’s given color to the roles that I play because I can draw from experience).”
She adds, “I’m grateful for everything na pinagdaanan ko in the past few years. Mahirap, masakit at that moment, but now, looking back at it, I will always be thankful for those experiences and those challenges because I learned a lot. And I want to learn more! Sinasabi ko kay God: give me more challenges. (I’m grateful for everything that I went through in the past few years. It’s difficult, it hurts at that moment but now, looking back at it, I will always be thankful for those experiences and those challenges because I learned a lot. And I want to learn more! I tell God—give me more challenges.)”
In her next chapter, Kyline Alcantara is reminding herself to “indulge and savor every single detail.” Slowing down in a fast-paced world doesn’t deprive you of time or opportunities. She shares, “Lagi kong sinasabi sa sarili ko, alalahanin mo [na] this is a gift—the present moment. Live in [it]. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam…the power of now and staying still. (I always tell myself, remember this is a gift—the present moment. Live in [it]. It feels good…the power of now and staying still.)”
After years of showing up for other people and working nonstop, she’s finding peace in the quiet moments and remembering to make space for herself. And now she sees it with so much clarity—that from where she’s standing, the view’s already pretty impressive.
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Photography Colin Dancel
Art and Art Direction Alexandra Lara
Interview and Cover Story Elisa Aquino
Fashion Direction Nicole Blanco Ramos
Beauty Direction Elisa Aquino
Makeup Gela Laurel Stehmeier
Hair Brent Sales
Location Bulb Studios