#YESANGPOGI Jame­son Blake

YES! (Philippines) - - Front Page - text by ro manalo Pho­tos by Cyrus Pan­gani­ban ARt di­ReC­tion by Jeremiah m. idanan

It’s a Fri­day af­ter­noon when Jame­son Blake qui­etly walks onto the set of his first YES! Mag­a­zine photo shoot. Some peo­ple in the photo stu­dio, who have only pre­vi­ously caught a glimpse of him on TV, are sur­prised to dis­cover just how good-look­ing the 20-year-old ac­tor is in per­son, es­pe­cially when he flashes his be­d­im­pled smile.

As we be­gin the in­ter­view, Jame­son lets out a quick yawn. We ask him if he is puyat, and he an­swers, “Hindi na­man. Mga five hours.” Is a night’s sleep of five hours nor­mal for him? “Yeah, that’s nor­mal na. But it’s enough for me,” he says with a smile.

He is a busy ac­tor, af­ter all, with two movies be­ing filmed si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Add to that the TV ap­pear­ances and other com­mit­ments hap­pen­ing in be­tween the film shoot­ings.

Jame­son is slowly but surely get­ting into the prime of his ca­reer. Not bad for some­one who, just three years ago, had zero act­ing or per­form­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

GAME- CHANGER

Jame­son An­drew Capili Blake was born to Robin Blake, an Amer­i­can, and Claire Gib­son, a Filip­ina, on June 17, 1997, in Hong Kong.

“Kind of gulo” is how Jame­son de­scribes his child­hood. “We had fi­nan­cial prob­lems,” he ex­plains. “Pero we were a happy fam­ily. Me, my brother, my sis­ter, my dad, my mom. We lived in Hong Kong. I was born there, and raised there for 10 years.”

When Jame­son was 10 years old, his par­ents de­cided to part ways and he, to­gether with his mom and two sib­lings, Ni­cholas and Abi­gail, came to the Philip­pines.

“At first,” Jame­son re­calls, “I’d al­ways see my par­ents fight sa Hong Kong and stuff, and I didn’t see my mom happy all the time. And when they sep­a­rated, siyem­pre I was sad. But then I was ten. Af­ter a while, you get over it, and I started to see my mom happy na­man, so that made me happy as well. And I was in con­tact with my dad, so okey lang na­man sa akin ’yon.”

The fam­ily set­tled in his mother’s home­town, Angeles, Pam­panga, where Jame­son would con­tinue his stud­ies at L’Al­tra Montes­sori School af­ter two years of tak­ing a break. He says that he ac­tu­ally en­joyed study­ing and be­ing in school. He ex­celled in aca­demics and was con­sis­tently in the top 10 of his batch.

“When I was a stu­dent kasi, I was re­ally into aca­demics. I like math even though I suck at it, and I like sci­ence. I like school books. It’s in­ter­est­ing to me, ’yong mga his­tory, sci­ence. I’m re­ally into that stuff... I liked sports din. I liked bas­ket­ball, chess, vol­ley­ball. Nasa bas­ket­ball var­sity ako dati.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school in 2015, Jame­son made the de­ci­sion to au­di­tion for the ABS- CBN re­al­ity-TV show Pi­noy Big Brother ( PBB).

“Be­fore PBB, I didn’t re­ally have any in­ter­est in join­ing show­biz. ’ Yong mga kaibi­gan ko said, ‘Try mo kaya mag-PBB! May po­ten­tial ka na­man!’ So I said, ‘Sige, I’ll try it out.’”

To­gether with his mom and his sis­ter Abi­gail, Jame­son made the trip to the Araneta Coli­seum in Cubao, Que­zon City, where the auditions were be­ing held for the first leg of the PBB sea­son, which was go­ing to be made up of teen house­mates.

“It was hard! There were so many peo­ple. Like, half of Araneta Coli­seum was filled up. You had to do group tasks, group per­for­mances. They would ask you ques­tions about your life and ev­ery­thing.”

Jame­son got to ad­vance in the au­di­tion process but ended up not get­ting cho­sen.

“What hap­pened was, I ac­tu­ally au­di­tioned for the teen part of PBB, but they didn’t ac­cept me any­more, kasi I was seven­teen na then. So I just moved on. I was plan­ning na to just go back to my stud­ies.”

But as fate would have it, he got a call af­ter one month. The pro­duc­ers wanted to see him again. This time, he got in and be­came part of the sec­ond leg of that sea­son, which would be com­posed of reg­u­lar house­mates.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it. When I got in, it was over­whelm­ing. I was in the house, and I was think­ing, ‘Am I re­ally here?’ It was kind of pres­sur­ing for me be­cause I was the youngest there. I was 18 and every­one else was 21 and above. I had to learn how to fit in. But PBB re­ally changed my life.”

CoN­fi­dENCE- boostER

Af­ter 31 days in the Pi­noy Big Brother house, Jame­son got evicted. He didn’t know what to do next.

“Af­ter PBB, I was think­ing, ‘What’s go­ing to hap­pen to me?’ Be­cause usu­ally, af­ter PBB, the house­mates would get projects, like act­ing. But I didn’t have much ex­pe­ri­ence with that, aside from do­ing some com­mer­cials ear­lier that year.”

Around that time, ABS-CBN was hold­ing auditions for an all-male dance group, which would be known as the Hash­tags and would be a reg­u­lar at­trac­tion in the noon­time show It’s Show­time.

“Well, I was never a dancer, so when I had a go-see for that, naisip ko, hindi na­man ta­laga ako dancer, so paano ’yan? But still they let me join the group.”

Things weren’t easy for Jame­son. He had to prove that he could keep up with the more sea­soned dancers of the Hash­tags to keep his place.

“It was kind of pres­sur­ing. Kasi, you know, si Direk Lau­ren [Dyogi] told me na if I don’t step up, I would have to leave the group, kasi I wasn’t re­ally per­form­ing well. Maybe be­cause I was still try­ing to get used to it pa. But then, I’m a fast learner, es­pe­cially when I’m into some­thing. So even­tu­ally, I got used to it, and they started to see my im­prove­ment.”

The TV dancer soon moved on to be­come a movie ac­tor. His first foray into act­ing was in the 2016 in­de­pen­dent film 2 Cool 2 Be 4got­ten, a com­ing-of-age drama that was part of the Cin­ema One Orig­i­nals Film Fes­ti­val. He con­sid­ers his role in this movie his most chal­leng­ing yet.

Jame­son ad­mits that, grow­ing up, he was more of an in­tro­vert, but ev­ery­thing changed when he got into show­biz, which forced him to so­cial­ize more and be more open to peo­ple. “I want peo­ple to know na I can be makulit and re­ally fun to talk to. Kasi a...

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