When Kim Molina isn’t filling the theater stage with her big voice, she likes to lend her talents to other forms of entertainment. She's had supporting roles in movies, and has also done her fair share of TV work. When she's feeling in the mood, she ventures into other more adventurous stints, like posing for a men’s magazine for the first time and giving it her best shot. Her biggest commercial break, however, came in the form of romantic-comedy flick Camp Sawi, where she played a lead role alongside four other mainstream actresses.
But despite all the blessings that have come her way, undeniable qualifications in the singing department aside, Kim feels like she doesn’t deserve to be in the spotlight.
“It’s really overwhelming,” she says when asked about her experience in Camp Sawi. “Confident naman ako sa skills ko in acting and singing, pero bakit ako kasama? Alam ko naman na hindi ako ganun kaganda. Gets ko po yun eh, so bakit ako kasama?” the 25-year-old says in jest. “Even this invitation to pose in FHM came as a surprise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really grateful, pero minsan natatawa ako kasi hindi ko ine-expect.”
Kim thinks it’s funny we invited her to do this. But the joke would really have been on us if we’d pass this opportunity up.
You started your career as a singer winning international contests, but who really pushed you into the scene?
My dad. Kapag weekdays dentista siya, kapag weekends, vocal coach siya. Merong organization sa Saudi Arabia, where I used to live with my parents, called Fil-pop Music Center. Yun ang extra-curricular activity ng Pinoy kids dun eh. Yun na rin yung tulong ng daddy ko sa Filipino community dun. My dad was a kontisero rin before, sa kanya ako nagmana. Yung lolo ko naman directed movies in the ‘40s, si Arnold Molina. Yung lola ko, si Norma Molina, kumakanta siya for Sampaguita Pictures.
You were trained well. Do you still get stage fright?
Kinakabahan lang ako pagdating sa lyrics. Minsan kasi pag may mga requests sa gigs, hindi mo kabisado. So pag ganun, iniiba ko minsan, ha ha! Nag-iimbento ako, nag-a-adlib. Dun ko yata nahasa yung improvisation skills ko. Palagay ko naging training yun sa akin sa pag-arte at pag-perform.
And you found your big break in theater…
Yes, I’d say so. But it wasn't easy. I was rejected in the first leg of Miss Saigon. Pagdating ko sa audition, I was in high heels, full-on makeup, kulot-kulot pa yung buhok ko. Para akong may concert, ha ha! Yun kasi sanay ko eh. Tapos hindi ako natanggap. I thought theater was not for me.
Did you ever think of quitting?
Kung hindi ako nag-take up ng Music Production in college, my parents would’ve wanted me to become a doctor. I wanted that, too. So sabi ko after doing Ghost the Musical and things don’t pan out for me in this industry, med school na. Nung na-expose lang ako sa first major singing contest na sinalihan ko, yung TFC Popstar, tsaka ko na-realize na I had that desire pala to really pursue the arts. It could’ve been a different story.
And the rest is history!
It was a big turning point in my life. I realized that for you to succeed in one thing, you have to let go of another. You can’t have both. Parang love di ba? Ha ha! Hindi pwedeng pagsabayin. I had to let go of my med school dreams to pursue singing, acting, and theater.
Were you surprised when you were asked to star in the hit rom-com Camp Sawi.
It’s as much a surprise to me as it is for everyone, believe me. Akala ko joke lang yun kasi baguhan lang ako.
Tell us more about your experience on the film.
I played the character of Joan. Siya yung suicidal sa lima sa Camp Sawi, a rehabilitation island for the broken-hearted. Among the five leads, sa kanya yung darkest story.
Nung nalaman ko sinong artista ang mga makakasama ko, lalo ako nagulat. Confident naman ako sa skills ko in acting and singing, pero bakit ako kasama? Naisip ko, ‘Ah, okay…comic relief.’ Pagtingin ko ng script, drama pala yung akin. Ako yung suicidal. Sabi ko, ‘Uuuy, paano?!' Ha ha!
Were you ever intimidated by your co-actresses?
Opo, hindi ko itatanggi. Alam din yun nung apat na girls. Ten days kami sa Bantayan Island, so imposibleng hindi kami magka-bonding. Roommate ko nun si Andi Eigenmann. Nung una natakot ako, kasi ensemble kami ng leads. So naisip ko baka mahirap makisama, but they never made me feel like I was the newbie. Ako yung madalas asarin dahil ako pinakabago, pero I was never bullied. Alam kasi nila natatakot ako sa kanila.
You don’t look like the type who easily gets scared.
Kaya rin sila natutuwa mang-asar kasi hindi ako pikon. Lahat ng ipagawa sakin, ginagawa ko. Ha ha! Pakantahin mo ako kahit saan, game! Kita niyo naman, first time ko kayong [FHM Team] makilala, naka panty lang ako! Ha ha!
How was the transition from theater to film?
I learned minimalism in terms of acting. Hindi na pwede yung over-the-top acting ko tulad nang sa teatro.
Going back to the character you portrayed, were there elements in Joan’s persona you could relate to in real life? Baliw ka ba sa pag-abig?
Thankfully wala. I’m really jolly, so I had to go to the extremes para maging in-character ako. Our director had to tell everyone na wag ako kausapin, wag ako patawanin, para makapag-internalize ako. Bawal ako ngumiti, bawal ako tumawa. Nakakapagod yung character ni Joan, ha ha!
And did you ever discover the cure to a broken heart?
Easy—merlot and cheese! Ha ha! Cheers!
Photography Ria Regino of Fat Cat Studio Styling Bea Soriano assisted by Justine Riguer and Sandy Advincula Makeup Mikka Marcaida Hair Gerald Magtibay
This feature originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of FHM Philippines