EXCLUSIVE: Andrea Brillantes on Reuniting With Kyle Echarri, Finding Forgiveness, and Graduating From Senior High

EXCLUSIVE: Andrea Brillantes on Reuniting With Kyle Echarri, Finding Forgiveness, and Graduating From Senior High


As she bids goodbye to her Senior High role, Andrea Brillantes welcomes her era of growth, faith, and peace

The graduation of the Northford students on the last episode of Senior High also marks an end for the actors who play the titular high school pupils in the series. After almost five months of portraying the role of twins Luna and Sky, Andrea Brillantes finally bids goodbye to her beloved characters. While the actress never had the chance to actually go through the normal high school life, this experience full of learnings and possibilities is ultimately close enough. 

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Lessons from Sky and Luna

Nu’ng una, very intimidated ako sa characters ko. Rare lang ‘yun, actually. Parang ang layo namin,” the actress admitted. For some, playing one character is already challenging enough. What more taking two identities who had stark struggles as a high schooler? What helped Blythe in getting into the heart and soul of the twins? Knowing and taking charge of their stories. 

Andrea is beginning the year with a clean slate after Senior High’s ending

Parehas na parehas [pala] kami,” she eventually realized. “Iba lang ‘yung circumstances. Kasi at one point, mas Luna ako. Pero ngayon, mas Sky.” Some people might think that her hugots are all coming from the experiences she has had since she was three. But for someone who has been in the industry for more than a decade, it’s her professionalism that triumphs over anything. “Iniisip ko na totoo silang tao. Parang sinasapian nila ako. Kapag nabuo na sila in my head, sila ‘yung hinuhugot ko.”

In playing Sky and Luna, the actress found a deeper appreciation to life

In treating the twins as actual human beings of their own, the Kapamilya star found herself learning from the two in the months that she spent with them, as them. “Forgive before it’s too late. ‘Wag mong isarado ‘yung heart mo sa family members mo kahit gaano kasakit, kahit gaano kahirap, kasi ‘di mo talaga alam kung kailan mawawala ang isang tao. Open up kasi makakatulong sila, kaysa dalhin mo siya mag-isa and malunod ka. Or kung hindi man sa family, sa friends, or pray. ‘Yun ‘yung nangyari kay Luna—dinala niya lahat mag-isa,” she pointed out.

Senior High realities

What the netizens initially thought as a show highlighting the lives of privileged teenagers who wouldn’t actually reflect the daily struggles of young Filipino students actually served as an instrument to discuss the realities of the youth today. From bullying, mental health, and poverty to harassment, grooming, and abuse of different kinds, the list could go on. 

The Senior High star always had the realities of youth in mind while playing the twin roles

Out of the sensitive topics that they shed light on, one of them hit close to her. ”The teacher, the predator; ginagawang prey ‘yung students na very vulnerable.” While reading and shooting the scenario, her memory fog suddenly remembered how she actually knew someone who went through it. “Talagang pinagdadaanan siya, talagang totoo siya.” For this reason, she took the acting more seriously. “Bibigyan ko ng justice, ‘yung tamang emotions for the scene. [Para sa] lahat ng naging victim ng ganu’ng klaseng pangyayari.”

Moving up and moving on

The truth is, Andrea is not blind nor quiet amidst the noise. However, her eyes are open and her direction is clearer this time around. This epiphany hit her while shooting the last few scenes of the series. According to the actress, they shot the big scenes all in one day—graduation, Obet’s demise, and even the revelation of Luna’s killer. 

Now older and wiser, Andrea and Kyle found their way back to each other

Nagpray ako,” the actress recalled. “[I told myself that] I need to do good and great dito sa scene na ‘to because I need to prove to people na marunong pa rin akong umarte.” She also wanted to prove something to herself. “I need to prove to myself na hindi ako loser or what. Focus sa grief, sa pain na mawalan.”

In the show, Blythe also reunited with Kyle Echarri as the two made a reel-to-real comeback through the show. Before their reunion, they had a solid friendship, as seen on their vlogs in the past. They last starred together on Huwag Kang Mangamba, and were even members of the Gold Squad since their Kadenang Ginto days. 

One thing’s for sure—KyleDrea’s mutual care, trust, and respect for each other is as real as it gets

Asserting her decision on leaving the love team chapter behind her story, she said that it was Senior High’s premise that made her say yes to the project, and eventually the arc of Sky and Obet. “Bonus na rin na si Kyle kasi magkakilala kami, [magkababata] kami. Hindi na kailangan i-build ‘yung bond,” she clarified. She also mentioned her fellow child actors, Xyriel Manabat and Zaijan Jaranila, as her good friends. Meanwhile, she fondly deemed Angel Aquino and Kean Cipriano like family to her.

The graduation of Blythe

Just like Sky and Luna, Blythe had her own moments of weighing her own place in the world. In every attempt to find her direction, faith serves as her compass. “I [have always been] a believer,” she started explaining. “Never akong ‘di naniwala sa kanya, pero maraming beses na nagalit ako sa kanya, nagtampo ako sa kanya. I [kept] asking why.” 

Blythe has never had it easy, but it’s faith that keeps her going

After going through a cycle of questioning and worrying about her relationship with God, the actress credits an estranged friend who strengthened her belief in the higher being. “[Now,] every time na meron akong setback, instead of running away from Him, I run to Him. Mas nagiging peaceful ‘yung life ko.”

Summing up her reflection on life, she said, “Marunong akong tumanggap. Kailangan ko lahat pagdaanan para matuto. 20 pa lang ako, marami pa akong kailangang [matutunan.] Looking forward lang ako to [what life has in store.]” As she uttered these words, one could hear her newfound maturity.

This year, Blythe only has her eyes on putting words into actions

As graduations are endings and beginnings in one, Blythe looks forward to the next chapter of her life. After her solo escapade to Spain, where is her next destination? “Babalik akong Spain!” she quickly answered, lighting up. She mentioned that after her trip, her friends also wanted to come with her. “Pero kung hindi, itutuloy ko pa rin mag-isa since kaya ko na rin. I just love it there.” 

A dreamer and a doer by heart, thinking about her far future is also already on her mind. “Kung papayagan ako ni Lord, yes. Kung okay na ‘yung family ko,” was her answer to the possibility of settling in the said country. “Kahit ilang buwan lang,” she added. She then shares that her dream is to own a café there and tend to it from time to time, and to even look after chateaus. As she was talking about her dreams like this, it reminds us that beneath the actress that is Andrea Brillantes, there lies the core of a learning and living Blythe. 

Who knew that in finding solitary comfort, Blythe found the relationships she’s worth keeping?

Photography KIERAN PUNAY
Sittings Editor PEACHES GARCIA

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