Why Rhen Escaño can finally call herself an ‘actor’

Why Rhen Escaño can finally call herself an ‘actor’

By: - Reporter
/ 12:10 AM June 21, 2024

Rhen Escaño


Rhen Escaño doesn’t use the word “actor” lightly.

She has been in show biz since 2008, starting out with youth-oriented programs before taking on dramatic and sexy roles later in her career. But despite her experience, she just didn’t have the nerve to call herself an actor until the action film “Karma” (Viva Films, Happy Infinite Productions) came along.


“I have done comedies, dramatic roles and sexy films, but starring in an action film was one of my biggest dreams. I didn’t think I had it in me to pull it off, but I managed somehow. Iba ’yung pakiramdam pagkatapos,” she said at a press conference for the said movie, which is now showing in cinemas.


“I was reluctant to call myself an actor, but now I can say, yes, I’m an actor,” she added.

Rhen said her acting skills were often doubted so she always felt that she had something to prove. When she received a call last year from director Albert Langitan (“Ang Probinsyano,” “Rhodora X”), she jumped right in. “He told me that he wanted me to play the lead,” she said of Direk Albert, who also ended up as her director in the ongoing TV5 prime-time series “Lumuhod Ka Sa Lupa.” “My heart skipped a beat. I called Viva’s Boss Vic and said, ‘I want to do this. Please give me permission.’ And he said yes in five minutes.”

She wasn’t ashamed to admit that she accepted the project in hopes of people giving her a second look. “To be honest, gusto ko po na magpapansin. I want people to notice me,” she said, laughing. “Once I get nervous or scared about a role … and the more I feel like I can’t do it, the more I will do it.”

Fighting for it

“I like that people doubt me and say, ‘‘’Di niya kaya ’yan. Kaya niya ba ’yan?’ I’m stubborn. I will fight for it. I love proving myself. Because who knows? Perhaps it will all work out in the end,” she said. “The role is also something people wouldn’t think I would do based on my personality.”

In “Karma,” Rhen is Angel, a girl traumatized by the brutal murder of her father. She grows up wanting to protect the oppressed, but she crosses the line after accidentally killing a man trying to rob a family.

Thanks to her provincial kingpin uncle (Roi Vinzon), Angel escapes prison time, but is forced to join a covert assassin organization that targets the so-called “dregs of society.” In one of her missions, she kills a drug pusher who turns out to be an undercover policeman. This sets off a chain of events that leads Angel to the real nature of the organization she works for and the true story behind her father’s death.


While she believes in karma, Rhen balks at the idea of revenge. “Karma is something out of our control. I don’t think it’s up to us to initiate it. It shouldn’t be used as a fuel for revenge,” she pointed out, adding that experiencing bad karma doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a bad person.

“I have had my share of mistakes. There are people I have hurt. But if I did end up experiencing hardships as a result of those past actions, you can still see it as good karma, because you learn from them or they help you grow as a person and as an actor. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my failures,” she said.

“Karma doesn’t always mean you’re a bad person. People make mistakes—that’s part of life,” the 27-year-old Viva talent said. Rhen recalled how preparing for the movie was as demanding as the shoot itself. “I don’t really work out, but I have to be strong physically. It was a long process. It was my first time holding a gun, but I managed to hit the bull’s-eye on the target. I took that as a good sign. We trained in the morning and did acting workshops at night. I watched lots of movies because there’s always something to learn from them. I made sure to study the character well,” she said.

Rhen did her own stunts. By the end of shooting, she had bruises all over her legs “there was hardly any space left,” she joked.

“A particularly difficult scene was the one I did with Roi Vinzon. I had to carry a heavy rifle throughout. That was toward the end of the shoot, so I was already feeling exhausted from all the work I had done the previous days. My arms hurt badly, I wanted to put the gun down. But then Direk Albert told me, ‘I wouldn’t have chosen you if I knew you couldn’t do this.’”

“I was like, ‘Pa-tweetums at pa-sexy na lang ako forever?’ I didn’t give up,” Rhen said.

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By showing grit and determination, Rhen hopes to earn the trust of people in show biz. “I’m always thankful that I’m now getting considered for more roles. I love that I get tired from doing different projects. It only means that a lot of blessings are coming in,” she said.

TAGS: Rhen Escano

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