A lot of our favorite budding Gen Z stars are celebrity children and former child actors, but there are also those who still manage to shine in the industry as showbiz newcomers. For example, one young talent who’s quickly rising to fame this year is Karina Bautista. Also called Kare by her fans, the 20-year-old has definitely come a long way from her first-ever Star Hunt audition. Now, Karina’s an up-and-coming actress, an influential social media star, and a full-fledged Gen Z icon.
If you’re thinking about joining her loyal legion of fans, here are five fast facts that you might want to know about Karina.
1. Karina lived independently as a teen.
Karina was born on April 29, 2002 in Santiago City, Isabela. Notably, however, Karina learned to live independently at a very young age because both of her parents were working abroad. While her mother is a caretaker in Hong Kong, her Japanese father (yup, that means Karina’s half-Japanese) is working as a businessman in America. Consequently, Karina was raised by her grandparents for most of her childhood, but she ended up leaving their home when she was 12 years old because they didn’t get along well together. She went on to live with her aunt afterward but her stay there was also short-lived.
Determined to make it on her own, Karina decided to stay at an acquaintance’s apartment as a bedspace renter. The apartment owner—fondly called Mamita by Karina—eventually treated Karina like her own daughter because she was juggling work and school all by herself throughout her teen years. Karina would only move again in 2020 when she managed to buy her own condominium unit following several successful showbiz projects.
2. Karina used to join beauty pageants.
Karina enjoyed participating in various beauty pageants hosted by her school and her city government. In 2018, she was even hailed as the third runner-up for Mutya ng Santiago. She had to take a break from pageantry when she officially joined the entertainment industry because she felt that she was too young to join a national pageant for now. Nevertheless, the Catriona Gray fan has previously stated that it’s her ultimate dream to grace the Binibining Pilipinas stage before she turns 25 years old.
3. Karina is a student overachiever.
Although it was difficult for Karina to look after herself, these circumstances never stopped her from excelling in school. As an Accountancy, Business, and Management high school student at the University of La Salette, Karina was a student leader who had a penchant for public speaking. Throughout her high school life, she won several debates and public speaking contests because she was skilled in giving impromptu speeches and declamations. In fact, she delivered an impressive declamation while chewing calamansi for the special talent portion of her Star Hunt audition!
4. Karina is a former Pinoy Big Brother housemate.
Unlike most celebrities her age, Karina didn’t dream of being an artista when she was younger. She was never really that interested in entering the entertainment industry until she saw a Star Hunt casting call in one of her group chats. She then decided to audition for Pinoy Big Brother in an attempt to encourage her parents to live with her in the Philippines instead. After impressing the producers with her eloquence and humility, Karina was given the opportunity to be a Pinoy Big Brother housemate. She was also one of the candidates with the highest number of viewer votes, so it wasn’t long before she officially joined the reality show as “The Miss Independent of Isabela.”
While Karina didn’t end up winning the competition, the exposure she gained from the show still opened up numerous acting opportunities for her. Following her eviction, Karina appeared in various series such as Sandugo and Ampalaya Chronicles to prove her potential as a rising actress. A year later, she inked a deal with Star Magic’s Rise Artists Studio to work on other ABS-CBN projects, including Hoy, Love You and Viral Scandal.
5. Karina’s love team partner is Aljon Mendoza.
During her stay in the PBB house, Karina was linked to housemates Seth Fedelin and Aljon Mendoza. While Karina has already clarified that she and Seth are only friends, Aljon became Karina’s love team partner after they got paired in Sandugo. They also share a lot of off-screen kilig moments, making eagle-eyed KarJon fans wonder about their official relationship status.