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Chai Fonacier says her ‘existential crisis’ now over

By: - Reporter
/ 12:30 AM May 21, 2018

Chai Fonacier

Chai Fonacier sings and acts. Sometimes, she writes. She had worked as a radio DJ, as a communications trainer at a call center—“all sorts of stuff.” And for a while, she jested, she felt like she was having an “existential crisis.”

But as more acting projects for film and television started to come, and as her performances started to get recognized, Chai can now say, without second thoughts, that she is an actor.

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“Back then, when people ask me what I do for a living, I would say that I work for this or that company, and do art on the side. But now I’m grateful that I can finally tell them that this is my profession,” Chai told the Inquirer in a recent interview.

“I’m an actor,” she declared. And an award-winning one at that.

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In 2015, the Cebuano artist was hailed best supporting actress at the Cinema One Originals Digital film festival for her performance in “Miss Bulalacao.” The dark comedy “Patay na si Hesus,” on the other hand, won for her the best supporting actress award at the 2017 Luna Awards.

Growing trophy collection

Chai could very well add another trophy to her growing collection later this year. She has just been nominated for best supporting actress at the 2018 Famas Awards, this time for the drama “Respeto.”

“It’s great. Hey, it’s Famas!” quipped Chai, who found out about the news at a recent press conference for Regal Films’ coming romantic comedy “So Connected,” which she’s part of. “It’s nice for the résumé…It’s a good motivation to keep doing what I do as best as I can, because that was how I was taught.”

But while winning awards can be gratifying and flattering, it’s not the reason she does what she does.
“For it’s all about the story, whether deep or inane. We’re only a part of that, and so it’s important for us to do our jobs well as part of that big ship that is storytelling,” she pointed out.

Playing it by ear

“So Connected,” which opens on May 23, is one of her first big commercial projects. Chai doesn’t really discriminate between indie or mainstream—she plays it by ear.

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“I feel like I’m at a point in my career where it doesn’t matter. I’m enjoying myself and I’m still getting my feet wet—I have yet to know how deep the waters go,” said the actress, who has been taping a teleserye tentatively set for next year, and will star in “Born Beautiful,” a television spinoff of the film “Die Beautiful.”

“I hope that, one day, we wouldn’t have to make a distinction between mainstream and indie,” Chai said. “Personally, I strive to give the same quality of work, whether it’s for film or television.”

Chai, who joined the reality-based singing contest “Pinoy Dream Academy” in 2006, also intends to continue pursuing music. She has released an album, the trip-hop “Anesthesiac” with her band Womb.
“I actually was more into music and theater before I did acting. So doing music isn’t branching out for me—it’s going back to my roots,” she said.—ALLAN POLICARPIO

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