Blenda Calinaya’s role as “Philomena” in “Mga Kwentong Pambata Tuwing Gabi”, from FEU’s Lumetri Production directed by Edrian Cabudbod, was her 5th acting project since she really started pursuing her passion/dream of becoming an actress just last October 2019. People might think that She is a “late bloomer” in this field, but she has a theater background for 2 years during her college days in PUP Sining-Lahi Poly Repertory about 3 decades ago.

She had her first-time experience and it’s the most memorable thing being a part of the PUP Sining-Lahi Poly Repertory. During her first ever acting project with an outdoor, night scene, she had to travel all the way to Binangonan, Rizal, and Little Baguio Park in Quezon City. It was indeed exciting yet challenging to be bitten by mosquitoes.

” Nagpahid ako ng off lotion at may Vicks VapoRub din ako! ‘Di po ako ganong handa. Pero may part sa arm ko na naisahan o nakagat pa din ako ng lamok tsaka, medyo ngarag ang beauty peg ko tuwing nag shoot kami dito kasi natataon na the day before or the night before is meron akong raket (one is an Indie Film shoot then, one is my acting stint in “Kadenang Ginto”) pero dahil doon, it stretched my “sense of professionalism” to give/deliver my best for the scene takes despite of my lack of sleep. Buti na lang kasi maganda o peaceful naman ang vibe/atmosphere sa shoot, mababait at masayahin lang ang buong team”.

During her childhood in the late 70s, she had her eyes glued to the TV screen, attracted and inspired by the glams and elegance of Carmen Rosales, Gloria Romero, Susan Roces, and Rita Gomez. It fascinates most people to watch “Sine Siete” or “Sine sa Nuebe” movies from Sampaguita Pictures or LVN Pictures, giving everyone a shared emotion and connection towards the audience of the Philippines.

Every time she sees them, she had always dreamed that someday, she’s going to be a star like the actors and actresses on screen. “Napingot ako sa tenga ng Nanay ko kasi ambisyosa”, she said. Even though she has this unstoppable addiction of watching TV through the day, her mother was very supportive of her joining declamation contests.

As she stepped into high school, she became a fan of Lorna Tolentino, Gina Alajar, Vilma Santos, Sharon Cuneta, Dina Bonnevie, and Gina Pareño until college. But lately, her acting role models are Viola Davis and Meryl Streep.

She looks up to them since she isn’t able to attend acting workshops in theater acting schools as it brings artists to talent agencies where they could connect her to a lot of possible TV projects. But that doesn’t stop her from acting, she creates her whole DIY class for herself by the use of YouTube where you could possibly find videos on how to act, how to memorize a script, and learn from actors and actresses that share their experiences, tips, and advice. In addition to that, she watches tons of movies and TV series. She has been a TV addict since her teen years, but this is where she gains skill, she’s a whole “watch and learn” person without having anyone to tell her that phrase.

We all know that the challenges and fears don’t disappear in this world, Blenda didn’t focus much in the past to become the actress that she desired to be, she wished to shift her course that’s acting-related but her auntie had much supported her in the course that she had taken. Instead, she became an office girl.

Another determining factor for hesitating to become an actress is that she is vertically-challenged and not well-endowed. Insecurity entered the room and thought that her dream of becoming an actress was impossible. God pushed all those things away along with lines coming from a K-drama and Bollywood movie. That was her turning point, it gave her enough confidence to move forward despite her limitations.

“Are you happy selling mackerel for the rest of your life? Just be content telling your child one day: “your mother also used to have a dream once.” Dreams are not there to be reminisced but rather, to be pursued or to be fulfilled. Don’t do something that you will be sorry for the rest of your life.” – The King of Dramas

“He doesn’t have great physique, he is not very tall, he is just ordinary, so what makes him the hottest thing today? The answer is in your question. If he has all these? Then, what makes him different from others?”

“When a normal person becomes big, he becomes big but when a handicapped person becomes big, he becomes a legend.” 

– Amitabh Bachchan, Shamitabh

With the same role as an actress in “Philomena”, She got nominated too for “Best Actress” at CMFF2020 (CineMorayta Film Festival) last February 2020. And for her who had just started October 2019, being nominated or to be recognized in such a short span of time is already a blessing to her. She said that “Ang galing ni God mag-offset for all those seemingly lost years and opportunities!”

Keep yourselves tuned in with Blenda Calinaya’s unique Facebook page, she is very much updated with film festivals, and other local films that you might find interesting to watch.