At an age where kids fussed over Christmas gifts and played patintero with their friends, Kyline Alcantara worried about paying the bills. Though difficult, she always found ways: covertly sell stationery during recess, split a single piece of fish with her mom for dinner, and hitch rides on a family friend’s vegetable truck to join star hunts in Manila. Shy and unassuming, the 13-year-old Kyline reaped little screen time playing the younger versions of teleserye leading ladies—and that was only if she got lucky after several failed auditions.
That was nearly a decade ago. Now close to turning 20, Kyline has gone from being an underrated child actress to one of the most bankable Gen Z stars today. Her current status as Sparkle Sweetheart was several years in the making, a proverbial crown that she had to shed blood, sweat, and tears for. But make no mistake, this teen starlet’s career is just starting to take off.
Finding Her Wings
When I first met Kyline at a press conference a few weeks back, she didn’t strike me as a 19-year-old. Clad in a houndstooth mini dress and pointy stilettos, she captured the attention of every audience member as she climbed on stage to sing “Parang Baliw,” the theme from the rom-com K-drama While You Were Sleeping. As soon as the crowd broke into applause, she grinned at the flashing cameras and accepted her appointment as Honorary Ambassador for Korea Tourism in the Philippines—a grown-up position fit for a grown-up actress.
The next time I met her, I expected to see the same artistahin big-girl poise. Instead, I encountered a quiet teen perched on a makeup chair watching ASMR TikTok videos, eyes glued to her phone as she casually ate boiled bananas from a plastic container.
DEWY GLOW. To mimic a goddess-like glow, don't be afraid to pack on the highlighter. Kyline opts for Ever Bilena's Glow Out Highlighter in Spotlight (P275) for a youthful lit-from-within glow.
"How was the shoot?" I ask. Her eyes are tired, but she smiles politely and tells me it was fun, that the kitschy Y2K-esque outfits we dressed her in encouraged her to wear more color. She looked every bit like an elfin Bratz doll for this cover, a far cry from the neutral getups and understated looks on her Instagram feed. “I was surprised nga, I don’t usually wear bright clothes. But this inspired me,” she confesses, her eyes sparkling with excitement as she laughed.
Christy Dress, $49 (approx. P2689); Naomi Sheer top in Mermaid Cove, $32 (approx. P17560), both from Blackbough Swim, blackboughswim.com. Top, P995, from Bershka, bershka.com.ph. Corset, P1695, from Stradivarius, SM Megamall. Shoes, P4995, from Melissa, SM Megamall. Earrings, P1100, Bracelets, P1100, Pearl Necklace, P3600, all Spaceskullpixie, instagram.com/spaceskullpixie/. Flower Pendant, P900, from MIRRO Beads, instagram.com/mirrobeads/.
It was this youthful gaze that reminded me she was only 19, add to that how she did wacky poses for test shots, cracked corny jokes in between layouts, and giggled mindlessly when we gave her bubble sticks to play with. Later on, these innocent moments would prompt me to ask about her childhood goals, the kind of stuff she prayed for every night before money was on her conscience.
Without any hesitation, she tells me that stardom has always been in the books for her. “Bida-bida talaga ako ever since. Akala talaga ng mga magulang ko baliw ako, as in. In front of the mirror, ang dami ko nang emotions na pinapakita,” she says.
Acting has been Kyline’s pride and joy since she was three years old. Apart from practicing different facial expressions in the mirror, she also loved joining school musicals and criticizing teleseryes. She wasn’t even 10 years old when she made it to the top 10 of Star Circle Quest and played minor roles in Wansapanataym, Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin, and other local television staples.
Years before she realized that her passion paid the bills at home, the stage was already her personal playground. “Basta umaarte ako, I'm in my own world,” she gushes. “Habang nagtatrabaho ako, parang lang akong naglalaro, and I'm just doing what I love.”
Chloe Bikini Top in Copacobana, $50 (approx. P2744), Corset, P1695, from Stradivarius, SM Megamall. Cover-up, P900; Denim Skirt, P1800, both from Monki, SM Megamall. Shoes, P4995, from Melissa. Earrings, P1100; Bracelets, P1100, both Spaceskullpixie, instagram.com/spaceskullpixie/. Flower Pendant, P900 Chunky Necklaces; P1100, MIRRO Beads, instagram.com/mirrobeads/.
The concept of the “real world” gradually creeps up on most young adults. But for Kyline, reality was more like a sudden slap in the face, a harsh one that took form in an eviction notice. “At first, I didn't mind [working] because I was super young. But eventually, noong mas tumanda ako, na-realize ko ‘yung pressure,” she shares, recounting that she was barely 13 when she became her family’s breadwinner.
“Doon na yung time na pinapalayas kami sa bahay kasi wala akong masyadong show,” she adds. “Doon ko na-realize na parang, the pressure is definitely on. Kailangan mo talagang magtrabaho every single day for your family.”
With this realization came another heavy lesson: Opportunities don’t always come to those who work the hardest. Kyline may be a sought-after actress now, but she’s experienced her fair share of discrimination in the cutthroat entertainment industry. And just like any other insecure adolescent, she couldn’t help but take rejection personally at the time.
Growing up as a probinsyana, she was usually the first to get shunned by commercial agencies and casting directors. At some point, coming from a broken family also robbed her of the opportunity to be a role model for fellow young girls.
“Nag-audition ako sa mga commercials, hindi ako natatanggap agad. Ako ‘yung unang natatanggal kasi hindi ako pasok sa dating image ng beauty,” she recalls.
Spaghetti Strap Top, P995; Butterfly Baby Tee, P695; Both from Bershka, SM Megamall. Shoes, price unavailable, from Crocs, SM Megamall. Dress, P20000, from Randolf, instagram.com/randolfclothing. Earrings, P1100, Bracelets, P1100, Pearl Necklace, P3600; P900; all Spaceskullpixie, instagram.com/spaceskullpixie/. Flower Pendant, P900, from MIRRO Beads, instagram.com/mirrobeads/.
“Noong nalaman ng mga tao na [from a] broken family ako, [sabi nila na] parang, ‘Hindi ka magandang image sa magiging fans mo. If ever magkaroon ka nga ng fans, hindi maganda magiging mindset mo,’” she adds.
Having experienced these setbacks at a tender age, Kyline grew up quickly and learned that the journey to fame only progresses with luck, hard work, and most importantly, patience. After all, this is the same girl who continued to live in poverty even after she worked alongside Andrea Brillantes in Annaliza. She of all people would know that there’s simply no point in sugarcoating the industry’s fickle nature.
“Actually, marami talagang [challenges]. Napunta rin doon ‘yung kailangan mo magkaroon ng mahabang patience kasi hindi lahat ng taon ay nasa taas ka. It's a rollercoaster ride,” she claims. Still, Kyline insists with full certainty that she wouldn’t have it any other way. As she stresses to me, the word “regret” has never been part of her vocabulary.
“Regrets? Wala at all. I'm happy dahil with those experiences, nag-mature ako agad. Ang heavy agad ng responsiblity, [and] it made me think maturely at a very young age. Until now, I'm still thankful for it,” she says.
Flying to success
Now, all of Kyline’s efforts are finally paying off: She’s the newest face of Ever Bilena, the prime teen actress of GMA Network, and the other half of the fast-rising MavLine love team. Rather than letting success get to her head, she uses it as a launch pad to see what else she can achieve in the future.
She tells me that there are still lots of unchecked items on her bucket list, from building a new house for her family to starring in an action film. Reaching these milestones will undoubtedly bring a new round of hardships, but Kyline’s never been the type to complain about her job anyway. “Never akong nagreklamo kay Mama,” she explains. “Until now, kahit ako lang nagtatrabaho sa’min, it's okay. Wala akong ibang masasabi kundi masaya ako dahil tinutulungan ko ‘yung family ko and nakakapaglagay ako ng pagkain sa table namin.”
MATTE LIPS. For a plump and defined pout, go for a heavy-duty liquid lipstick. Kyline's wearing Ever Bilena's cult-fave liquid lipstick in Cashmere Blush (P200), a warm nude that enhances her sunkissed complexion.
I got a tiny glimpse of that patience during our shoot. Not once did she whine or request for any special treatment, even when she had to eat a cold meal for lunch at 3 p.m. or kneel down for half an hour to get the perfect shot. Wise beyond her years, Kyline understands that succeeding in something always involves some trial and error.
KOA sheer tank in Pink Fairyland, $32 (approx. P1756); Chloe Swimsuit Top in Sour Slush $50 (approx. P2744); Lou Sarong, $35 (approx. P1920), all Blackbough Swim, blackboughswim.com. Pants, 1200, from Monki, SM Megamall. Shoes, P3895, from Melissa, SM Megamall. Earrings, P1100; Bracelets, P1100; Pearl Necklaces, price upon request; P1800; Heart Pendant Necklace, P1900, all Spaceskullpixie, instagram.com/spaceskullpixie/. Chunky Red Glass Necklace, P900, from MIRRO Beads, instagram.com/mirrobeads/.
She swears that she’s a lot stronger and smarter now that she’s embraced that reality, especially since her past struggles have molded her into the Kyline that she is today. “Now, I have that knowledge na hindi na ako magpapaapekto masyado sa sinasabi ng tao. As long as I'm perfect sa mata ng mga magulang ko o sa mata ng Panginoong Diyos, I'm okay with that,” she concludes.
Before we ended our conversation, I asked Kyline to describe the moment she realized she made it in the industry. After a brief pause, she shook her head and gently corrected me.
“Until now, I really have to prove myself,” she says, brows furrowed and eyes unblinking. “I'm content with what I have right now, but I know that I'm not finished.”
As we wrapped up the shoot, she politely thanked everyone in our team and said her final goodbyes. She changed back into her casual clothes, a timeless beige ensemble, which reminded me of the grown-up Kyline I had initially met.
But then she smiled at us one last time with a playful twinkle in her eye, and off she went—ready to let her childhood dreams take flight.
Produced by: Cheska Santiago and Leika Golez
Photographed by: Aya Cabauatan
Filmed by: Yeyen Espineda
Art Direction by: Pau Moyano and Bacs Arcebal
Styling by: Maui Rodriguez
Makeup by: Gela Laurel
Hair by: Dale Mallari
Set Design by: Aren Dale Santos of ADSET Production
Wings by: Jestel Canlas and Kim Cabatuan of Mystical Wardrobes
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