What the pandemic has taught Dingdong and Jessa’s ‘unica hija’
Stepping out of the shadow of famous parents is no easy thing. You could suffer by comparison and be given little leeway for mistakes. But Jayda, the “unica hija” of Jessa Zaragoza and Dingdong Avanzado, is dead set on finding her niche in the biz.
When I watched her perform live, the 16-year-old stunner owned the stage. As she keeps blossoming, Jayda is bound to be the entertainment biz’s next “it” girl. Avancez, avancez, Mademoiselle Avanzado!
Here’s my chat with Jayda:
What’s the best and toughest part of being the daughter of Jessa and Dingdong?
As a kid, I didn’t think of them as “famous” parents. Initially, their line of work was my definition of normal, since I was a tour baby—they brought me along with them on tour. I didn’t realize that was quite unconventional until I started going to regular school.
But the best thing about having parents in the industry is the wisdom they pass on to me. They show me the ropes.
The toughest part is how people tend to undermine the hard work I put into my craft. I’ve met people who think I have it easy, with my parents being in the industry and all. But that isn’t the case. I simply come from a different background, but that doesn’t erase the fact that I have to work hard to make a name for myself in this industry.
What’s the upside and downside of being an only child?
The upside is that I have my parents’ undivided attention. Another one would be, since I’m an only child, my parents would take me with them everywhere, so I did spend quite a bit of time with a lot of adults, which has shaped me as a person.
As for the downside, I think it’d probably be, when my parents get older, I would probably have to take care of them alone. So, I could see why people would say that having a sibling would help with that.
But I honestly see that as even more of a reason to work harder to become successful and financially stable, to be able to give back to my parents when they reach that age. Growing up, I didn’t think there was a concrete wish for me to have siblings.
What has the pandemic made you realize?
That it’s the simple things in life that truly matter, and we should not take them for granted. Like waking up in the morning, to eating a homemade meal, and having your family with you. Life is precious. Not a moment should be wasted. It’s also made me realize that it’s important to keep the faith and strengthen your relationship with God, more so at a time like this.
What advice about love and show biz did your mom and dad give you?
To stay grounded, to never forget where I came from and the people who helped me get to where I am and where I want to go. And to always show respect to everyone I work with. To be an original, enjoy the ride, and treat each moment as an opportunity to learn.
To be smart in love, as love sometimes has a tendency of making people think more emotionally than rationally, which isn’t always good. And to know my priorities.
What are some things that not too many people know about your parents?
People tend to view my mom as serious and stern when, in reality, she’s the funniest person I know. She’s the one who gets our “laugh trip sessions” at home started. And people don’t know how “takaw” my dad is. Our pet name for him is Dodeng Daga, because he loves nibbling on food, especially late at night, when everyone else is asleep.
What scares and excites you about falling in love someday?
I think making a deep emotional investment and being vulnerable to someone is scary. Knowing that at any moment, everything could just not work out, and it’ll feel like it was all for nothing. But that’s part of the excitement of taking that risk for someone.
Among the hits of your dad and mom, which one would you want to do your own version of?
I’ve already done a version of my dad’s song, “Wish I Could.” I also want to do a cover of his “Maghihintay Sa ‘Yo” or “Much Longer.”
As for my mom, most of her songs are for the brokenhearted, so I have to wait until I’m older to sing them. I see myself doing a cover of her “Ikakasal Ka Na” and “‘Di Ba’t Ikaw.”