If we look at the past two years or so, when sublime pivots to the dawn of black mirror episodes of our life—killing people, and with it, dreams and hopes that we had previously built—we all turned into a dead, rotting kid with nowhere to live.
The same narrative has been scrawled down to plot the story of rising actor Kelvin Miranda. By the time the 23-year-old was propelled to national consciousness, with a widely-celebrated film housed in an internationally recognized streaming platform as his vehicle to prominence, the world shortly was caught in a standstill.
His return to “normalcy”, much like the rest of us, did not arrive promptly after witnessing how the pandemic grievously dwindled establishments and businesses, that then pushed what looked to be a promising calendar of projects and endorsements on hold, all in just a flash of an eye.
“Mahirap talagang maka-recover agad. Noong parang nagkaroon ulit ng opportunity na mag-continue ‘yung industriya ng showbiz, hindi ko na rin inasahan yung sarili ko noon na makakabalik ulit since ang daming nawala, mismo pati ‘yung self-esteem ko, maging ‘yung tiwala ko sa sarili ko kung kakayanin ko pa ba i-pursue ‘yung dreams ko.”
Miranda’s next route, though, was to remain beneath the space filled with his thoughts of shattered visions while being corroded with turmoil and giving up after the successful run of his before-the-nightmare flick, Dead Kids, Netflix’s first Filipino movie released turning 2020. Of all of these things that were churning around him that took awhile to decelerate, he did admit that he didn’t foresee he would still be able to get to where he is now.
Most people just want a pinch of sign and inspiration to move forward, which others might have in a plethora of forms and style. For him, it meant filtering the load out of his head in the art of writing poetry and in his pieces, a wealth of references to the moon as a source of mental and spiritual fortitude to remain still and begin again.
“Kumbaga siya ‘yung naging inspiration ko, pati si God. Nanghihingi lang ako lagi ng sign—kung paano ba makakabalik, makaka-survive. Sabi ko, ‘kapag dumating yung panahon na bumalik ‘yung opportunities, hindi ko na sasayangin talaga. Mas pagbubutihin ko pa at pagyayamanin ko kung ano man ‘yung kakayahan na meron ako.'”
Sleeveless top, Nina Amoncio. Ruffled collars, Adam Pereyra. Trousers, Kelvin Morales.
And it appears that the stars have aligned for his misty pursuits, as his first project during the pandemic cropped up when he was cast in the official music video for Ben&Ben’s “Nakikinig ka ba sa Akin,” which has amassed nearly 4 million views so far.
At the time, at the height of the strictness of the “new normal” of productions, Miranda divulged it was “the toughest project” he had ever worked on as healthy protocols needed to be intensified to reduce hazards. PPEs including face masks and face shields were worn by the casts and productions, and they should not have been removed unless it was time to film.
“Nakakapagod man siyang isipin, pero para sa’kin, naging eye-opener itong pandemic kasi napakarami ko ring natutunan, natuklasan, at nabago sa mga pananaw ko sa buhay. As in, binago niya ‘yung pagkatao ko, sobra.”
Miranda, who was subsequently diagnosed for bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), and mild attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), framed his own perspective on life to give himself something to cling to whenever his symptoms flared up as he holds that at the end of the day, you are the only person standing in your way.
“Palagi akong bumabalik doon sa paniniwala ko na kung ano man ‘yung bagahe natin ay siyang dapat nating dalhin, hindi ‘yung bagahe ang magdadala sa atin. Kasi ‘pag yung baggage ‘yung nagdala sa’yo, talo ka talaga. Ang ending is, surrender. Wala ka nang magagawa; hindi mo siya matatalo.”
His approach to his trade has gradually altered as a result of “little things” in how he handled his emotions and kept business and personal matters disentangled. Miranda has since refined his perspective on pulling difficulties apart on set so as not to put people through struggles, in contrast to prior when he was still callow in the field.
“Ayun lang ‘yung mako-control mo eh, hindi na sila. So, you have to control yourself always, all the time and kahit nasaan ka. Hindi ka p’wedeng mawala sa sarili mo. Kailangan precise and self-aware ka.”
Sharing his ordeal happened antecedently, “Kasi na-experience ko ‘yun once noong nasa taping ako, sobrang tinamaan ako ng problema at hirap akong magtrabaho kasi apektado talaga ako. Nanghingi ako ng time sa direktor ko na baka p’wede makahingi lang ng 5 minutes to 10 minutes para lang ikalma ko yung sarili ko.“
Top, Kelvin Morales. Trousers, Nina Amoncio.
Being an artist means juggling two very different worlds. One that is focused on bettering his relationships with his family and friends and the other serves as entertainment for others outside of his realm. This is why it’s imperative to block one from blurring the lines and taking over the other in order to keep both of them.
Miranda is of the same mind. Taking care of his personal space and comfort zone meant maintaining a personal life split from his work as an artist. With toxicity in the entertainment industry and its peripheries almost inevitable, he believes that his reality is a safe sanctuary for him to breathe.
“Kasi hindi natin alam kung kailan tayo mapapagod. Hindi natin alam kung kailan tayo susuko. Para alam natin kung saan tayo pupunta kapag dumating ‘yung mga oras na sobrang pagod ka na, para siya doon.”
Despite the separation and a sense of self-awareness, he admits that his work as an artist still interferes with his personal space when the fatigue becomes irrepressible that he just wants to slump against the cushion rather than use the time to rekindle.
With this profound outlook on life, Miranda thinks that these adversities are intended to uncover how life should be and why you should take chances without hesitation or timidity. “Wala namang madali. In life, there is no easy way. You have to choose your heart.“
Unquestionably, Miranda’s drive is what shunted him over the edge. Despite the wide variety of characters he had already played in films and television shows, he felt that his performance as Santa Maria in cult favorite Dead Kids was the most significant as he had never imagined being a part of such colossal projects with so many people place bets on him.
“Siya talaga ‘yung pinaka-gumising sa’kin na, ‘Ayan, para d’yan ka. Ibigay mo ‘yung best mo. Kapag nagsimula ‘yan, hasain mo ‘yung sarili mo sa mga posibleng pumasok na magandang bagay para sayo.’ Sobrang naramdaman ko talaga siya.'”
Jacket, Nina Amoncio. Mesh top (worn underneath), Proudrace. Trousers, Adam Pereyra.
Knowing that the production and filming processes for television programs and movies differ from one another, Miranda underlined that it brought him a substantial amount of trust to be a part of the GMA Prime Time program The Lost Recipe, which premiered in 2021 and gave him his first lead role on television.
For Miranda, the good times don’t end here. He has been in numerous other productions, including sitcoms and romantic comedies, beefing up his already varied body of work. The difficulty of changing his approach, personality, and even physique to achieve what was necessary to attain came along with his arduous ascent through the industry. But in portraying these characters, it continued to shape and mark his education as one of his mother network’s most promising leading men.
He transitioned from playing an offbeat role of a young man who fell for an older woman in Loving Miss Bridgette, to playing an adolescent boy named Ralph in his recently-launched afternoon series opposite Kate Valdez, Unica Hija, just off a previous role he had to play for Mano Po Legacy: Her Big Boss.
He shares, “Sa TV sobrang hirap mag-prepare, sa totoo lang ,kasi time is a challenge, kulang talaga. Minsan, during taping doon ka palang din nag-iisip ng gagawin mo para sa character, unlike sa movie na talagang meron kang time. There’s really greater room to play around.”
As the kind of person who never ventures forth unprepared, Miranda always ensures that he performs effectively by requiring a considerable amount of preparation from stepping into the physicality required of his role and studying into things that will allow him to depict the role accurately. Nevertheless, there is no other option except to go with the industry’s deeply embedded culture.
“Mas mahirap sa serye dahil pabago-bago. Kailangan mo’ng i-meet ‘yung expectations ng masa, ‘yung mga nanonood sa bahay. ‘Yung energy, acting, doon at doon ka nalang babalik. Kasi ‘yun talaga ‘yung trabaho namin bilang aktor; hanapin ‘yung emosyon kung ano ‘yung dapat maramdaman, at ikwento mo base sa nararamdaman mo.“
Close to six years in the industry that saw him flex his acting depth and talent, Miranda wants to continuously explore his career path now, more than ever, that he is touted as the next big thing in his mother network, GMA 7, with roles that would expose him to many viewpoints and perspectives. And from there, he knows, he will be unstoppable.
Button-down shirt, Nina Amoncio. Mesh top (worn underneath), Proudrace. Trousers, Adam Pereyra.
“Gustong-gusto ko magkaroon pa ng maraming maraming roles na p’wede ko pa gampanan at pag-aralan. Parang ngayon, gutom ko sa pag aaral ng mga karakter.”
As skilled as he is, Miranda continues to harness his artistry by penning poetry and even songs. Through the use of metaphors and rhetoric, he enjoys the scenic part of writing where he can let out his frustrations and distress on work that lightens the weight on his head.
And as we live in a world where insensitivity has become routine and mental health issues are still stigmatized and perceived as ghosts for and by the uninitiated, for Miranda, his platform is not to be taken for granted. Despite his successes, was not an exempt from criticism and claims that he is exploiting his condition for popularity and attention. This, however, does not prevent him from continuing to advocate for these issues and do all he can to further them in the public.
“Mas nangingibabaw sa’kin ‘yung need for awareness na kailangan ko siya ipamahagi dahil hindi biro ‘yung danasin ‘yung ganoong pinagdadaanan talaga. Kasi maraming p’wede mawala; buhay, opportunities, or p’wedeng pakiramdam din. Kaya hindi ko na iniintindi kung ano ‘yung sasabihin ng iba, basta ginagawa ko ‘yung part ko para maka-contribute doon sa mga sumusulong at pinaglalaban kung ano man ‘yung dinadanas ko ngayon. Mahirap kasi talaga siyang tanggapin sa totoo lang. Habang buhay na namin siyang dala.”
Custom suit, Edwin Tan.
With other more projects lined up for him in the next months leading to the new year, on television, film, and even in his musical collaborations, Miranda’s rise appears to be inevitable.
He believes that he is still not far from realizing his dreams now more than ever, but one thing is certain, his playing field remains limitless and ever-evolving.
“Nagiging thankful nalang ako na napagdaanan ko ang lahat dahil kung hindi dahil doon, hindi ko mare-realize kung ano ‘yung mga pinanghahawakan ko ngayon.”
Miranda has never thought of his accomplishments as decorations to his person; rather, he uses them as motivation to improve his craft and his artistry. Looking to the future and considering how it might align is not something he leans to, as the most vital point for him is to give heed to and take care of what occurs now.
“Ang alam at ang focus ko lang ay ‘yung mga nangyayari ngayon at mga dapat ko pagbutihan sa craft ko; sa pagiging anak, pagiging kaibigan, as an actor and as a person. Kailangan ko maging mabuti sa lahat ng iyon.”
With additional text by Leo Balante
Produced, creative & fashion direction, and styling by Leo Balante
Photography by Jerick Sanchez
Grooming by Nadynne Esguerra
Video by Emil Santiago
Hair by Nadynne Esguerra, Leo Balante, and Kelvin Miranda
Cover layout by Bhernn Saenz
Featuring fashion by Edwin Tan, Kelvin Morales, Nina Amoncio, Proudrace
Editorial and shoot associates: Patrick Dale Alog, Andrea Ysabel Andres, Roni Mae Serrano
Shot on location at the New Monarq Studio
With acknowledgments to Tyronne Escalante and GMA Artist Center