One of the biggest child superstars on TV for ABS-CBN had been Zaijian Jaranilla. While he has done work for both major networks, he is best remembered as a Kapamilya, especially when he played the lead role of Jesus-pal Santino in the 2009 tele-serye “May Bukas Pa.” He would figure prominently in at least two more soaps afterwards, but as he grew older Jaranilla would be more often seen performing one-off roles in episodes of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” or “Ipaglaban Mo.” But now he has a new lead gig in a series that is streaming exclusively on the iWant platform.
The Manila Bulletin has it that Zaijian Jaranilla is starring in a new streaming series on iWant titled “Story of My Life.” This series’ theme is particularly poignant for Jaranilla, as it deals with the trials and tribulations of youth going through life while struggling with mental health problems, particularly depression. The former Kapamilya child star looks to cement his new image as a teen actor in the role of Rex, a constantly depressed teen looking for love and affection due to having a neglectful mother, and overachieving brother, being ostracized in school, and suffering heartbreak from a crush that he thought was the only good thing in his world.
While the circumstances are fairly dramatic, the experiences of Rex are familiar to Jaranilla who has had some ups and downs during his early-bird showbiz career. He notes that mentally-troubled people risk increased turmoil when getting involved in the entertainment industry, which can be very intrusive especially regarding the lives of celebrities. “When you’re in showbiz, your life is very open,” says Zaijian. “It’s like every little thing can cause issues. But we’re just human, and we lose patience too.”
So far, the one-time star of “May Bukas Pa” has avoided the pitfalls that could lead to depression by learning to keep his attention on more positive things. “I just keep thinking that there are always opportunities coming my way,” Jaranilla remarks adding, “Then I use all the rejections that have happened to me as inspiration.” Another perk for Zaijian that helps him avoid being down is his consciously minimal usage of social media. Nevertheless, he feels knows enough about depression and the importance of mental health to faithfully characterize his role of Rex, who seeks empathy and compassion from a world that tends to be very harsh on him.
“Story of My Life,” directed by Barry Gonzales III and co-starring Tart Carlos, Iyah Mina, Raul Montessa, Vance Larena, Belle Mariano, and Alyanna Angeles, is available for streaming on iWant.
Image courtesy of Inquirer – Bandera