EXCLUSIVE: Jake Cuenca & Kylie Verzosa In Their First-Ever Interview Together
A regular pair at some of the chicest events in the metro, Jake Cuenca and Kylie Verzosa make a hot couple. For months, people have been speculating that the Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Los Bastardos co-stars are dating, but there were barely no social media posts to support the rumors. You know what they say, today, it ain't official till it's Instagram official.
The two met on the set of the Ang Panday film back in 2017. We asked them what their first impression of each other was. "Na-gwapuhan ka sa'kin 'diba?," Jake asked Kylie. "No!," she said. "Didn't you like the long hair?" he asked again. She replied, "No! I hated his long hair." This banter went on throughout the interview.
Kylie details how they first met, "I met him first in Panday. He had this long hair and super thick makeup ('prosthetics naman 'yun,' Jake interjected), and he approached me. He messaged me, and medyo dinedma ko s'ya."
"That's true... [but] first impressions don't last naman pala," Jake points out, sharing that whatever initial thoughts they had about each other were immediately replaced with pleasantries as soon as they got to know each other more on the set of Los Bastardos.
In September last year, Jake posted a photo with Kylie during the ABS-CBN Ball, sharing how excited he was about working with her on the pocket book-turned-TV series whose pilot episode aired in October. In November, he started posting video clips of his scenes with Kylie, using the hashtag #JaYlie (the combination of their first names). In December, Jake made his first appearance on Kylie's Instagram feed via a video snippet of a scene between their characters Isagani and Dulce, giving a peek at their onscreen chemistry. Just three days after this post, she was seen with Jake again, this time at the "A Run for Life: A Race to Battle Depression," a marathon she and Jake participated in. That same month, Jake posted a selfie with Kylie, and netizens couldn't help but point out what a beautiful couple they make. Since then, he has been treating his followers with photos of him and Kylie, further hinting at a brewing romance.
On Kylie: Animal print slip dress by Jemore Wilson | On Jake: Velvet tuxedo by Zara
Fans started adoring them as a couple and loving how they look so good and stylish together especially when they are donning twinning outfits. Last March, he even posted a photo of them in color coordinated blue and denim ensembles, captioning it with: "to matching outfits and more adventures together." In April, Kylie finally Instagrammed photos with Jake during a quick escape to Bali, their first-ever out of the country trip together. What followed was a series of romantic photographs—sunbathing and lounging by the beach—which undeniably show just how in love these two are. And things couldn't get any more Instagram official than that.
Since their vacation in Bali, the couple has become inseparable, a package deal at the events of brands like Louis Vuitton, Shake Shack, and Longchamp.
"I think we met at a perfect time, considering past experiences, maturity, growth. For me, now is the perfect time," Jake says.
It is this point in their lives when they're already certain of their dreams and goals—they're whole and able to share a part of themselves with an equally passionate partner, someone ready to support the other and be a source of inspiration and motivation. In this case, "you complete me" would be an apt sentence.
"What I love about Kylie is that she knows what she wants"
On Jake: Black tuxedo suit by Ziggy Savella | On Kylie: Dress by Jemore Wilson
"What I love about Kylie is that she knows what she wants. When she decides to do something, she does it wholeheartedly and with passion—her advocacy and everything that she does in life," he says of Kylie, the Miss International 2016 titleholder who has been advocating for awareness on mental health. Her being smart is also a quality Jake thinks is sexy. "When you finally do give your insights about everything, it’s 'wow,'" he told her.
Kylie, on the other hand, admires how passionate Jake is, saying, "He is super passionate about acting. What he does, he really gives his 110% to everything. For me, he truly is an artist."
Their relationship is still on its early stages, but the love and respect they've developed for each other are evident with every beautiful word and mesmerized glances.
After their first out of the country trip in Bali last Holy Week, the couple is looking forward to spending many more adventures together. "I wanna travel more with him," Kylie says, with Jake mentioning that Positano and Venice in Italy top their bucket list of places they want to see and experience.
The thought of vacationing in these beautiful Italian destinations sure is romantic, but what Kylie found sweeter is when Jake revealed in our interview that one thing he hopes to do soon is to introduce her to his family in Spain. "They're gonna love you there," he told her. Smitten and deeply touched, all she could muster to say was "awww." And we found ourselves saying "awww" with her. When you're around these two, and they start looking at each other as if they're the only ones in the room, it's an expression you won't help but use often.
"He is super passionate about acting... he truly is an artist"
We have seen so much of Jake on television and in films—both for the indie and mainstream market. One can say that be it horror, drama, romance, thriller, or action, he has almost done it all. However, his new action-political-drama film KontrAdiksyon, which is now showing in cinemas nationwide, is different from what he's done in the past. He had to maintain some kind of emotional continuity throughout the film. “It was sustaining emotions, sustaining the misery of the character it was going through because his wife was killed and raped in front of him,” Jake tells Metro.Style. “In some projects, there’s always a reset where the story takes another turn. Here, from start till the end, he doesn’t reset. It’s something that he carries with him for a long period of time and only in the end, he really lets go. Only in the very end of the film, he lets go because of what’s going to happen to him.”
In the movie, he plays the role of Alexis Borlaza, a human rights activist who goes at odds over the war on drugs in the country. “It’s very relevant in the times today when it comes to the drug war, with what’s happening in politics as well, but at the same time, it’s still a film. It’s still a very entertaining action film,” the actor says. “There are some learning points in the film that people will pick up on but more than anything, I think they’ll leave the cinema very much entertained with the fight scenes."
The audience can expect the intensity that he brings to every character he portrays, says Jake. “You don’t know if I’m a hero or a villain. At certain points in the film, you’ll see me as a hero but at certain points in the film, you’ll see that what I’m doing is completely wrong, psychopathic, and just crazy,” he teases. “When I play the good guy, I play the good guy but when I play the bad guy, I don’t really care what people think. It’s one of the reasons why they included me in the cast because I had to wear both hats in the film.”
On Jake: Black leather button-down by Jerome Lorico
Kylie was put on the spotlight when she was crowned as the Miss International 2016. Years after that remarkable victory, she found herself pursuing a career that made her realize her passion for acting. Currently, she's part of the cast of Los Bastardos. “Nothing beats being on set. Being there with the cameras, directors, my co-actors, and being in front of more than 50 people—nothing beats experience on the set, so I learn on the go,” she tells Metro.Style.
“It’s kind of a dangerous territory because people see you from how you begin to where you are now. Leaving everything aside 'yung 'pag-aartista,' I just really want to be a good actress,” she continues as she looked back on her days of being a beauty queen.
Like any good actor, Kylie loves a good challenge. When asked about her dream role, she immediately responded, “I want to play a psychopath, like a mentally challenged role. I like challenging roles but I’m getting there.” Her current favorite actress is Rosamund Pyke from the movie Gone Girl.
She may be focused on her acting career now, but she also makes it a point to remain involved with her advocacy on mental health awareness. She built an organization called “Mental Health Matters” which is a support group for people who go through the struggle of depression or anxiety. "It’s a soon-to-be foundation within the year and it’s been a growing community of over 5,000 members,” she shares.
Kylie has opened up about her own experience with depression and how a great support system helped her heal. She says, “When I was going through my own depression, I was so lucky to have my family or to have a family that understood. But what about people who don’t have that? Where do they go? Where do they run to?”
With the help of her organization, more people will have access to a support system which provides a community that is knowledgeable enough to help and be present for those in need. Through these small steps via Mental Health Matters, Kylie hopes to make a big impact on improving and breaking the stigma on mental illness here in the Philippines.
On Kylie: Suit by Jemore Wilson
Jake on Kylie:
“The thing is, us in our free time, it’s just leaving that celebrity status. We do everything that normal people do. You name it, we do it. I can just drop everything and there’s no pressure, no weight on both our shoulders, and we can just be ourselves. That’s what I enjoy the most—she brings out that side of me. It’s difficult to bring out that side of me because the actor side of me is most of my life. For me, to bring that lightness out of me, to bring that normalcy out of me, it’s something special. It’s amazing how she can do it... I was definitely crushing on her the first time I saw her. I found her very, very beautiful... Aside from being a beauty queen, she has a beautiful spirit, a beautiful heart, and a beautiful soul. That’s the side that, for me, is even more beautiful than her appearances, even more beautiful than being a beauty queen... I don’t require her to be anything more than herself so everything about her is special to me... I live my life one day at a time, I like to like my life to the fullest every single day that I do. For me, when it comes to her, every day that I do spend with her, I do try to be that guy to deserve her, be that man she deserves... For me, that’s something that you do on a day-to-day basis if you love someone—so that’s what I’m doing.”
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Creative direction by Butchie Peña
Kylie's makeup by Xeng Zulueta
Kylie's hairstyling by Kiel Otilla
Kylie's styling by Adrianne Concepcion
Jake's grooming by Jay Herrera
Jake's styling by David Milan
Writers: Grace Libero-Cruz, Angelica Montoro, and Brooke Villanueva
Video producer: Joan Ko
Videography by Pat Buenaobra