Kaila Estrada’s learnings from portraying jailed radio DJ Karen Bordador in ‘MMK’ series


Karen Bordador                                                                               Kaila Estrada

“What if I did go to prison for five years?” asked Kaila Estrada, who added that “imagining and getting into that particular mental and emotional space” was the most challenging part about portraying former radio DJ Karen Bordador in a two-part episode in “Maalaala Mo Kaya” (MMK).

Karen was imprisoned for alleged illegal drug trade but was acquitted five years later. That particular part of her life is the subject of a two-part International Women’s month special on “MMK,” which began streaming on March 12 and will conclude on March 19.

“It was difficult to portray her because I’ve never been in a similar situation. In the beginning, I was so nervous. I wasn’t sure where to channel that. What I did was to simply focus on Karen, on what she must be feeling while she’s in prison and when she finally came out. In my mind, I asked, ‘What about my mom? What will happen to my future?’”

Kaila, daughter of actors John Estrada and Janice de Belen, added: “The fact that Karen is so positive and would fight regardless of what was thrown at her was really inspiring. My main takeaway from the experience was that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Karen’s story showed me that. While in prison, she found a purpose. By telling her story, she was able to help so many people, including those who were inside with her,” Kaila explained.

No regrets

Prior to the tragic incident, Karen was working as a radio DJ and model. She had just also participated in ABS-CBN’s reality contest “I Do.” Her charmed life suddenly changed when, while visiting her boyfriend at his condo, policemen raided the place and arrested them for allegedly conducting illegal drug operations. She got acquitted in April 2021.

Asked what she felt about being locked up for five years for a crime she didn’t commit, Karen said: “Firstly, to say that I was robbed of five years of my life is so negative. I stepped out of jail with gratitude and appreciation, without hate or any form of revenge in my heart. Yes, five years have gone but they were years I spent enriching myself there. I was physically imprisoned but I was flying. I’ve become more mature. I’m now so far ahead of myself because I was able to really grow.”

She added: “I have a dream board where I would list down everything I wanted to do. Today, I’m simply ticking off one item after the other. My story being told in ‘MMK’ is part of that. It happened only less than a year after I came out. They say that wherever God places you in that’s where you’re supposed to be. So now I’m here, I’m outside. I have no regrets.”

Karen, who also recently participated in the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother,” added that she felt honored to be the subject of a two-part MMK episode “on the month when we celebrate women. Back then, I wondered if someone would like to share my story, so I wrote down every single detail of what happened to me in a day. This is amazing.”


Kaila, who met Karen during taping, said what she loves about the latter is her positivity. “She always looks at the bright side of things. She showed me how her perception of things helped her survive those five years of being in such a devastating situation. I learned a lot portraying her,” she stressed.

Kaila’s first venture into acting was the drama series “Viral Scandal.” She admitted that show business can be really overwhelming for her.

“There were times when it feels surreal, but I’m so grateful. I feel that my hard work [while still in training] has paid off. I’m happy when my parents say they’re proud of me and that they watch the work I do. They’re very supportive,” the 26-year-old said. “My dad gives the most feedback. My mama, not so much because she said she doesn’t want me to feel too conscious. My dad is super happy and claims to watch ‘Viral Scandal’ all the time. He just tells me to do my best in every scene.”

Joining Kaila in this episode directed by Raz dela Torre, are Lou Yanong and Shamaine Buencamino. You can watch “MMK” on A2Z, Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live on YouTube, ABS-CBN Entertainment Facebook page and iWantTFC. Outside the Philippines, it is available on cable and IPTV via The Filipino Channel. INQ

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