Influencer-turned-actor Iñaki Torres did not think twice when he was offered to play the role of Ace Tan in the upcoming Boys' Love (BL) series #MyDay The Series.
Iñaki, Aki for short, is paired with former "Bida Man" finalist Miko Gallardo in the digital series directed by Xion Lim.
Aki admits to getting a bit tense at times, but this is understandable: It's his first acting job.
He tells PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an exclusive interview on June 27, 2020, at their series' set location in Pasig City: "As a newbie, it's a good way for me to start with this project kasi ano siya, e, ginagawa mo siya nang masarap sa pakiramdam.
"Hindi ko hinahayaan yung sarili ko na magpakain sa pressure or yung expectation ng tao.
"Sobrang confident ko rin talaga sa MyDay The Series, sa lahat ng bumubuo nito kasi like yung set namin, hindi siya basta-basta.
"I'm proud and happy kasi nag-e-enjoy lang kami talaga. Hindi ka lang after dun sa pagsikat or yung opportunity.
"But also yung mga kasama ko dito, it turned out na parang family ko na rin talaga."
Aki and Miko are joined in the series by other first-time actors Juan Alcala, Frost Sandoval, Darrell Castillo, Shanice Eve, and Kristel Galang.
Also in the cast are Jamil Bonifacio, Leilani Kate Yalung, Gio Emprese, Lara Morena, and seasoned actor Yul Servo.
#MYDAY THE SERIES
The BL genre has gained traction among Filipino fans following the massive success online of Thailand's 2gether: The Series and South Korea's Where Your Eyes Linger.
Describing the character of Ace Tan, the role he plays, Aki says, "Medyo mayabang. Very arrogant kasi mayaman nga siya and spoiled brat...
"Walang alam gawin kundi maging socialite lang. And then medyo strict siya as boss."
He adds, "Medyo challenging siya kasi ang nakakatuwa naman, siyempre marami ng BL series na napalabas...
"So yung idea ko na lang nun, since tinanggap ko yung project na ito, it's an opportunity para mag-grow ka and also to learn something new."
Does Aki see any difference between the local #MyDay The Series and its foreign predecessors?
He said, "Compared po sa mga naglabasan na BL series from Thailand, siyempre yung kasabayan namin na Gameboys, etc...
"Ang nais namin i-highlight dito is family, Filipino culture, and also yung acceptance, and love and equality talaga.
"Yun yung gusto naming i-highlight kasi ang thinking po usually ng mga fan ng BL, it is much focused lang sa amin, yung bida.
"Ang maganda po dito, lahat kami may kanya-kanyang highlight ng stories.
"There's a reason bakit bullies sila, there's a reason bat ganito-ganyan.
"Kunyare si Ace, siya dito yung very arrogant, there's a reason behind it and that's one of the things they need to watch."
PREPARations FOR THE ROLE
Aki spent a great deal of time understanding his character.
He reveals, "I did my research. So siyempre, it's a BL series. It's a new thing, it's a trend.
"Napakahirap niya at first, yung aralin yung character, especially pag hindi ka sanay or malayo yung personality.
"Compared kay Miko, who is portraying Sky, medyo madali sa kanya kasi medyo similar sa totoong ugali niya."
He also underwent a two-day digital acting workshop with Mel Martinez before they started filming the series.
"I'm grateful kasi si Coach Mel ang dami niyang tinuro sa akin not just the acting workshop...
"But also the attitude and also how you treat everyone, talk to people, kahit na may social distancing.
"It's a big help for me na nag-workshop kami kasi it's a good way din to prepare me dahil itong series na gagawin namin, hindi lang siya pa-cute.
"Meron siyang drama, typical Pinoy family setting, and yung usual na napapagdaanan ng bawat pamilyang Pilipino."
Asked about the most challenging scenes in the series he has done so far, Aki replies, "Siguro, for me, especially it's a BL series, meron kasing part na intimate scenes.
"At first, very challenging siya pero ang maganda dun, when it comes to my partner, si Miko, gina-guide niya ako, kunyare kapag nasa scene na kami.
"Ang maganda naman dun sa amin, merong kami not just chemistry but also yung comfortable kami sa isa't isa."
Moreoever, Aki fully grasps what the series is all about, enabling him to overcome his initial jitters easily.
The 21-year-old social media influencer explains, "Before ako sumabak sa series, I'm one of the ambassadors of Red Whistle. It's an HIV awareness advocacy.
"I have lots of friends na member ng LGBT community. I realize na it's something they can also be proud of kasi pine-present ko yung LGBT.
"And gusto ko din siyang maging eye-opener sa society na being member of the LGBT, kasi ang thinking nila before parang magkakasakit ka, madumi ka, ganun.
"Ito kasing BL na ito, hindi siya kumbaga bastos tignan. It is much more sweet, yung character namin.
"Ang nilu-look forward ko dito is yung acceptance sa lahat. Kasi lahat makaka-relate, e.
"Hindi lang to about sexuality, but also family. Marami siyang hugot na kailangan i-look forward sa series."
#MyDay The Series will premiere on August 8 on YouTube, and is produced by Prime Event Productions Philippines Foundation Incorporated in collaboration with Oxin Films.