EXCLUSIVE: Kaori Oinuma And Jeremiah Lisbo On Working Together, Quarantine Life, And Embracing Rising Stardom
The stars of lovecast "The Four Bad Boys and Me" sit down with Metro.Style for some life updates
Kaori Oinuma and Jeremiah Lisbo were just like other teenagers who grew up watching ABS-CBN, their eyes glued to the television and hearts beating faster at the possibility that one day, they could be on the other side of the screen.
A 21-year-old Jeremiah Lisbo laughs at his earliest memory of wanting to become an actor.
He recalls, "...Noong bata ako, in denial pa ako. Nanonood ako ng Goin' Bulilit, at lagi ko siyang inaabangan. May part sa sarili ko na nagsasabing gusto kong maging part niyan, gusto kong mag-entertain at magpasaya." He pointed out that the dream was something he'd kept private for years, only finding the courage to say it out loud much later. When he finally came to terms with what he really wanted from life, there was no stopping him. He wanted to become someone of influence, and nothing less. Getting his start in modeling and commercials, he was eventually scouted and the rest is history.
And then there's Kaori Oinuma. On a day just like any other in 2017, she turned to Pinoy Big Brother and saw Maymay Entrata, now an A-list celebrity, make her way to becoming the show's season winner.
"Gusto ko rin 'yun!" Kaori smiles, indeed getting what she wanted three years later when she emerged as a runner-up on the show.
"Nasa Japan pa ako noon. Doon pa ako nag-audition for PBB. Paglabas [ko sa PBB], sabi ko, 'Sige, tuloy natin 'yung pagiging artista.' Tapos andito na ako ngayon! Ang bilis! Nasa audition lang ako ng PBB, tapos andito na ako ngayon," shares the charmer.
Carried by different currents to a shared destiny of stardom, Jeremiah and Kaori still have moments of disbelief about how they got from Point A to Point B; both just watching Channel 2 in the comforts of their homes yesterday, they officially debuted as members of the first batch of Rise Artists Studio talents in February this year, and today, they're on the rise to becoming trailblazing artists for the next generation.
Together, they star in The Four Bad Boys and Me (alongside Rhys Miguel Eugenio), an ongoing podcast based on an online story with the same name written by Tina Lata (aka Blue Maiden), and are optimistic about more projects coming their way, sooner than later.
In an exclusive interview with Metro.Style, Jeremiah and Kaori reveal their experiences as newcomers on the scene, establishing their careers amidst a crisis, The Four Bad Boys and Me, their friendship, and what it truly means for them to be a Kapamilya star.
On meeting each other for the first time
First things first for fans of these Gen Z-ers—they're not an item! Jeremiah teasingly assures Kaori's fans that he isn't getting in the way of her and Rhys Miguel (another Rise Artists Studio talent, and Kaori's other half in the #KaoRhys love team) and they really are just work buddies. Kaori agrees, wholeheartedly.
Jeremiah: "First meeting namin, work lang talaga! Hindi kami nag-usap. Walang relationship, kasi work lang talaga 'yung mindset namin. Si Kaori, bagong labas sa PBB at ako naman, bagong launch sa Star Magic. Noong second meeting namin, signing naman [ng contracts], kaya work pa rin! Tapos ngayon, virtual naman, at dito naman nagbu-build 'yung friendship."
On The Four Bad Boys and Me, a new kind of digital series to enjoy
Digital series and podcast are new, exciting ventures for the country's leading film outfit, Star Cinema. And their first offering for their "Listen to Love" lovecast (love + podcast) is The Four Bad Boys and Me, starring these two, plus Rhys Miguel, Chie Filomeno and Maymay Entrata, too!
Jeremiah: "Makakatulong ito, kasi ang makaka-relate talaga sa The Four Bad Boys and Me ay ang mga estudyante. Gusto naming pasayahin sila dahil ang daming nalulungkot sa kanila."
Kaori: "Habang ginagawa rin namin 'yung podcast, sobrang nag-e-enjoy din kami. Isa rin ako sa nakikinig sa podcast... Nakikinig din 'yung family and friends ko at sabi nila, kahit pinapakinggan lang nila, nararamdaman pa rin nila 'yung emosyon... Marami rin kasing mga supporters na nagtatrabaho at nababasa ko na ang sarap makinig habang nagtatrabaho. Kinikilig din sila! Ako naman, natutuwa ako doon kasi tumatawid sa kanila 'yung kilig."
On their characters, Marky Lim and Candice Gonzales
They both have things in common with their podcast characters and who they are in real life.
Kaori: "Ako doon ay si Candice Gonzales. Siya 'yung bida doon, at isa siyang nerd. Nobody siya sa school nila... Si Candice, meron siyang goal sa story. Ganu'n din ako sa buhay; gagawin ko 'yung lahat para ma-achieve ko 'yung goal ko sa buhay. And, mapagmahal siya sa family niya; ganu'n din ako sa family ko!"
Jeremiah: "Inspiration ng The Four Bad Boys and Me ang F4. Sobrang same lang ng character ko si Hua Ze Lei: tahimik, mature, and sensitive. Kahit nakikisama siya sa mga prank, alam niya 'yung mga boundaries at siya 'yung pumipigil kapag sumosobra na. Siya 'yung good guy and smart guy... 'Yung ibang ugali niya [meron din ako], like 'yung pagiging sensitive sa paligid at 'yung boundaries at dapat mong sabihin."
On working with Chie Filomeno and Maymay Entrata
Who would have thought that one of Kaori's first projects would put her side by side with the actress whose life piqued her own interest in showbiz? Maymay, the PBB alum turned A-list celeb, narrates The Four Bad Boys and Me, while Chie stars at its resident bad girl. Working with them has taught Jeremiah and Kaori valuable lessons to go back to in the future, no matter what it brings.
Jeremiah: "Noong naka-eksena namin sila, sobrang professional nila. Kahit virtual lang, on time sila, and every scene, binibigay nila 'yung best nila. Hindi mo makikitaan ng petiks."
Kaori: "Kahit mas nauna sila sa amin, tinutulungan pa rin nila kami, since baguhan nga kami. Sobrang thankful kami."
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Hindi ako makapaniwala na posible pala ito mang yari! 😮😍Congratulations to us @rhys_miguel and @kaori_oinuma ! We will play as Marky, Jeydon and Candice in the upcoming series adaptation of the wattpad novel ‘ The Four Bad Boys and Me ‘ by Blue Maiden (Tina Lata). This will be the first book of Star Cinema’s ‘listen to love’ digital lovecast series. #TheFourBadBoysAndMe #ListenToLove #StarCinema #RISExStarMagic #RISExStarHunt
On settling into the "new normal" and finding ways to spruce up quarantine life
Like everyone else, Jeremiah and Kaori miss a hundred and one things about "the old normal." The freedom to be out and about, working with and learning from more senior artistas, the excitement of being on cam, living without worry are just some of the things they wish they had, yet they continue to try their best to make light of current circumstances.
Kaori: "Kakauwi ko lang din sa Manila one week ago. Nandoon kasi sa Nueva Ecija 'yung family ko, so sila 'yung kasama ko. Dito, nanibago ako kasi iba 'yung kasama ko. Nakakalungkot noong umpisa, pero na-realize ko na ready na rin ako ulit sumabak sa trabaho kasi sobrang haba din ng pahinga. Motivated na ako... Kinakausap ko rin [ang] mama ko sa Japan at mga kapatid ko sa probinsya. Family first kasi talaga ako. Tinutulungan ko rin 'yung mga kapatid ko sa mga modules."
Jeremiah: "'New normal' na—back to school na, 'yung mom ko may work, 'yung kapatid ko naman front liner. Ako, andito, online work, so it's the same! Nakapag-set up na ako ng gym sa bahay. [I'm also] reading books and studying films, inaaral ko 'yung mga small details."
On what it means to finally be an artista, and what the last seven months have taught them
Knowing the impact of influence, Jeremiah and Kaori know that stardom comes with responsibility—that, and that being an actor requires more work than it seems. For young people hoping to tread the same path that they did, listen up.
Jeremiah: "'Pag pinapanood mo siya, akala mo madali. Kapag nandoon ka na, mahirap siya. 'Yun talaga 'yung na-realize ko."
Kaori: "Hindi siya talaga madali sa umpisa. May proseso. Kailangan mo lang ng tiyaga talaga."
Jeremiah: "Kailangang mag-grow up! Kasi, nakaka-influence ka na, especially sa kabataan. Na-observe ko na mga fans namin ay youth kaya kailangan namin mag-grow up to influence them in the right way."
Kaori: "Ang na-realize ko ay sobrang bilis lang ng panahon. Quarantine lang noon, ngayon back to work na kami. Bawat oras na meron ka with your family, 'yung mga mahal mo sa buhay, i-enjoy mo. Hindi mo alam kung kailan matatapos 'yun."
Jeremiah: "Ako, every project is an opportunity so you should give your 100, or even 110 percent. Maraming mag-o-open na opportunity kapag ginalingan mo sa trabaho mo, at para no regrets din. At 'wag maging petiks!"
Looking to the future, Jeremiah and Kaori each have long-term goals for themselves. For Jeremiah, it's to win an acting award and truly make his mark in the industry as an artist. As for Kaori, she has her eyes on finding the perfect plot of land and giving her family the ultimate gift: a home.
And as they continue to work their way up to join ABS-CBN's brightest stars, they invite you to listen to and watch The Four Bad Boys and Me and enjoy its last two episodes! You can watch and re-watch the previous episodes on Star Cinema's official Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify accounts.
Photos from @jeremiahlisbo @kaori_oinuma