‘K-Love’ star Gabby Padilla on Pinoys’ passion for K-dramas

The actress also shares the lesson she learned from filming the rom-com series

Saying Filipinos are big Hallyu fans is an understatement. Our love for anything Korean can be seen in our choice of beauty products, our preferred dining experience, and down to the songs that are dominating our music charts. Our passion for it can also be seen in our obsession with K-dramas and -films. This time, a local series captures it with a light plot any viewers will find it hard not to tune into it and feel the kilig

Gabby Padilla as Fran

“K-Love,” a Viu original series, chronicles five urbanites as they live, love, make mistakes, and confide in one another through laughter and heartaches. Their stories mirror a fans' life with great admiration for Korean entertainment. And after weeks of following the story of Tish (Iza Calzado), Jay (Jake Cuenca), Sheila (Isabelle Daza), al’s (Sue Ramirez), and Fran (Gabby Padilla), the show is about to present its final episode on Feb. 3 on the streaming platform. 

But before that, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle got the chance to talk to one of the show’s stellar cast. Giving life and personality to the uber-relatable Fran is Gabby Padilla. First gracing the theater stage as a thespian, Gabby’s passion for her craft led her to explore acting in front of the camera. Since 2018, she has been part of indie films such as “Billie and Emma,” “Kalel 15,” and “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral,” among others. With “K-Love,” Gabby presents a different side of her acting skills that is just a delight to witness on screen.

During our chat with the actress, Gabby walked us through her “K-Love” journey, detailed her fondest memories on the set, and shared her view on Filipinos’ love for K-drama.

Hi, Gabby! First off, how do you feel now that we are about to see the finale of ‘K-Love’?

It still feels very surreal being here. We worked on this for six weeks. We all lived with each other so we saw each other each day. There were a lot of bonded relationships by the end of filming. I look back and I have nothing but fondest memories. I’m so grateful because I get asked many times, “What are you most grateful for from this project?” It is really the relationships I got with the cast. It has been fun and a lot of the time, especially with a series like “K-Love,” we’re like playing all the time on- and off-cam.

What are the scenes you find challenging and easy to film?

My favorite scene to film was the one in the mall with the girls with pink wigs. It was so much fun. Our producers and director were so chill. They gave us the freedom to do whatever. So my co-actors and I really played with the scene. The challenging one would be Fran pitching a scene to Jamie Wilson. As Fran, she pitches the whole brand strategy, and it was just a long monologue. I have known Jamie since my theater days. So there is pressure to get it right.

How is it different acting in front of the camera from acting on stage?

Aside from the audience being there and the live energy, acting in front of the camera is a different discipline. In theater, it is really about rehearsals. Whereas here, a lot of the time, you get there on the day and you never know what’s going to happen. You just create in front of the camera so good chemistry is needed within the ensemble because it could go wrong or very right. Different stakes for different mediums, but I can’t compare. 

What is the best lesson you learned from Fran?

I’m similar to Fran in the sense that I like to plan, or at least I have already a track to follow for the next five years. But as we’ve seen and heard about her journey, a lot of the time life has better ideas than our imagination can even comprehend and it is not a bad thing. It makes life less scary for me. 

If you were to give Fran a piece of advice, what would it be?

Fran, generally, has her things together. Maybe, I would remind her to stand up for herself and to prioritize herself, because she has a tendency to put others first. In the course of the whole series, we see her growth as she finds her confidence, and her voice, and pursue what she is really passionate about. 

Last year, talks about banning ‘Korean and other foreign-made movies in the country’ made the headlines. What’s your view on this?

I think, no one benefits from limiting any kind of media, art forms, or any form of cultural experience. If anything, these enrich society or a person when you expose them to these experiences. Just give people the agency to choose what they want to consume. If there is anything that we can do from what we see in the Korean entertainment industry, it is to learn from them and see how important government support is when it comes to the arts industry. We shouldn’t be spending our time worrying about how much Korean content we are consuming and maybe we should be worrying more about how we are supporting our local industry. 

Stream the season finale of “K-Love” and all its episodes for free on Viu. 

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