When Mikee Quintos and Kate Valdez made waves on the Encantadia remake two years ago, showbiz watchers were already wondering if the newbies can live up to their hype. If their performances in current teledrama Onanay are testaments enough, then these young actresses have proven that their primetime success is no fluke at all. They have been able to back up their big breaks with their raw talent and dedication at such young ages—Kate is 18 while Mikee is 20.
Their continuous improvement in the acting department is seen in their effective portrayals in Onanay. At present, strangers don’t call them by their Encantadia Sang’gre names (Mira and Lira) anymore. They are now called Natalie and Maila, a clear sign that their characterizations have made an impact on casual viewers. Natalie is played by Kate, who tells Inside Showbiz Weekly: “Ngayon napansin ko na I am more brave na mag-jump sa mga heavy scenes, especially when it comes to handling emotions.”
She relates, “Mixed emotions ‘yung naramdaman ko when they told me that I will be part of the show. I felt nervous at first because ‘yung character na binigay sa akin is kontrabida. But I also feel blessed dahil binigyan ako ng opportunity to show people that I can do versatile roles.” As for Mikee, she states: “My initial reaction was disbelief, I guess. But there was a voice inside my head whispering, ‘You better step up your game and be ready if this is happening!”
She was also eager to showcase her learnings from workshops via her portrayal of Maila. “Compared to how I was in Encantadia, I can say that I’m more confident with my instrument (myself and my craft) now and with how I face emotional scenes in Onanay. I trust myself more now. I realized, because of experience also, the way you deal with pressure changes. It can affect you positively or negatively. At the end of the day, your only competition is really yourself.”
Encantadia was the biggest break of Kate and Mikee before Onanay came along. The telefantasya is a project that they will forever be grateful for. “From Encantadia, I learned na dapat marunong kang makisama sa mga tao around you. Also, being patient sa lahat ng bagay and to always stay focused. ‘Yun ‘yung mga natutunan ko na ngayon, na-apply ko sa set ng Onanay,” says Kate.
Onanay may be a far cry from Encantadia in terms of set design, costumes, and special effects, but the simple drama also has a family story as its core. “Sa similarities, for me as Mira from Encantadia to Natalie from Onanay is that they have the same problem in terms of getting the things they want. Ang difference naman, si Mira is strong but has a good heart unlike Natalie, sa simula palang makikita na ‘yung pagkamataray at spoiled brat niya,” continues Kate.
Mikee also talks about her previous and current primetime characters: “The same thing about Lira and Maila is that they’re both longing for their mother’s love but Lira’s so much more hyper than Maila. And Maila’s struggle with her father is harder than Lira’s.” She likewise treasures Encantadia which is her first-ever show: “Everything I know about being an actress I learned there. Like how to read a breakdown to the overall work ethics required from us, how important it is to be prepared and do homework because it really shows on TV when you’re not ready.”
The camaraderie between the actresses is further strengthened and it is nice to see their dynamics on television again. Their characters in Encantadia were cousins while they are half-sisters now in Onanay. “I feel happy dahil we were able to work together again. I know that because of this, magiging strong ang bond ng friendship namin. Plus, I am comfortable working with her na so that helps a lot,” says Kate.
Mikee comments, “I felt safe with Kate. We already know each other and how we work on set. So, working together again but as somewhat enemies this time was exciting because I trust Kate’s professionalism enough to know that exploring intense scenes won’t affect how we are off cam. At the same time, I knew I had someone on set that can help me trigger strong emotions.”
Kate confesses, “Actually, malaki talaga po ang inadjust ko for my role because it’s really hard for me. To be honest, nahirapan ako kasi ang layo ng personality ko dun sa character ko. Ngayon, na-realize ko na masarap pala maging kontrabida. I’m actually starting to love it.”