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A Mother-Daughter's No-Filter Conversation: Jessa and Jayda on Work, Love, and Kindness

In this exclusive interview, Jessa Zaragoza and Jayda compliment each other, giving us a glimpse of how they've fostered a strong sisterly bond grounded on love and respect

It’s Mother’s Day, and as we look at our favorite mother-and-daughter pairings, we realized that Jessa Zaragoza and Jayda Avanzado are indeed one tandem we never tire of seeing together. Of course, the dynamics between them are particularly striking, let alone their shared passion for singing and acting. 

Joined at the hip, the power duo perceive life through their own lens in a very similar way—be it in how they go about their careers, how they communicate their needs, and how neat-freak they can be when organizing their home. Jessa and Jayda bond over the same interests, too, which proves to us that age is truly just a number. 

“Honestly, for us, a very ideal way of spending time together is getting maybe a nice pamper day—you know, get our lashes done together or a massage and just have a nice meal together,” Jayda shared in an exclusive interview with Metro.Style, to which her mom chimed in: “Hindi naman tayo masyadong adventurous!”

“Our definition of downtime together is really just being homebodies together—watching things together, seeing movies,” Jayda butted in. “We’re already in such a crazy industry and it’s already a given to be caught up in all of that, but it’s nice to have something to come home to at the end of the day that for us, iba naman.”

Quality time, as they would define it, is as simple as being each other’s go-to shopping buddy, workout partner, and of course, katsismisan. Or, as Jessa and Jayda would put it: nothing too crazy; just their plain, old, genuine selves. “Kasi ’yung work namin, ’di ba, nasa entertainment kami. Lagi kaming nasa labas; laging nakabihis; laging around people. So parang ’pag ’yung mga ganitong okasyon, ’yung baliktad naman ’yung gusto namin,” Jessa said.

As a very Gen Z parent, it’s easy for Jessa to catch up with her 20-year-old kid as well. As the famous line in the film Mean Girls goes: “She’s not a regular mom; she’s a cool mom!” She knows how to navigate Instagram, comb the internet for hilarious memes, and watch makeup vlogs to kill time. Name that cute video and she has it. Name any pop culture news and she knows it.

“She generally is the funniest person that I know, and she’s so spontaneously funny. She has a gift of making me laugh the hardest,” Jayda revealed, telling us that although people would normally think that Jessa is downright serious, she just isn’t and never was. “It’s very easy for my mom to cheer me up. She knows the way to my heart. Mababaw lang talaga kasi ’yung kaligayahan ko. When it comes to her witty punchlines and one-liners, it’s such a classic in this house.”

“’Yung mga hirit ko kasi, siyempre hindi alam ng mga tao ’yun. Talagang unfiltered,” Jessa added, backing up her daughter’s claim. “Kahit ’yung dad niya, ’yung tipong napapailing na lang talaga sa mga hirit ko. Parang hindi siya makapaniwala ’yung utak ko napupunta du’n. Sinasabi ko ’yung hindi nasasabi ng ordinaryong tao.” 

To Jayda’s delight, her mom’s humor is also one thing she admires most about her. Jessa’s spirit endears her to everyone who meets her, and boredom fails to take up space whenever she’s around. 

“When it comes to my friends, I’m so proud to introduce her to them so they can experience how funny she is. There’s never a dull moment with my mom. It’s a mixed bag. You’ll never know what you’re going to get with her,” Jayda carried on, saying that she loves taking videos of Jessa every now and then just to capture her raw reactions. It’s almost a sisterly relationship that they have fostered, and no matter how busy each one can get, there’s always something to draw humor from.

Kunwari bising-busy ako, guguluhin niya ko. Tatawagan niya ko. Sasabihin ko talaga sa kaniya, ‘mare, puwede bang mamaya ka na lang tumawag?’ Bising-busy ako!’ ’Yung tipong ganu’n ’yung relationship namin,” Jessa declared. “Pero may mga times na mommy-and-daughter talaga.”

Being well-aware of each other’s boundaries, Jayda agreed to what her mom thought. “Now that I’m a little bit older, too, I can sort of realize that at one point, my mom was my age, too. So it’s kind of nice to talk about certain things that I go through, especially since I’m in the industry as well. There are a lot of things that she definitely understands. She’s able to pick up on certain things that some people might miss, and I feel like that’s something I’ve slowly started to acquire with age and more experience.”

Growing up in the public eye, Jessa is basically a walking example for her daughter, who is also now pursuing the same path as she did. Whether it’s makeup, fashion, or singing, Jayda is living proof that her mother’s genes truly made a mark in her DNA. “I think I went through that phase where I just wanted it all when it came to makeup. I wanted to try everything, and I think that contributes to my love for glam. Obviously, I saw it with my mom, because for a lot of her engagements or events, she does her own makeup. So I think that fostered that kind of love for makeup,” Jayda looked back.

Her mother’s fashion sense, according to the UMG artist, is an asset that has been passed on to her mold, too. They both have a fondness for bootleg jeans, flared bottoms, and crop tops, and even go on a shopping spree in the States every couple of months. “Ako naman ’yung taga-‘kunin mo ’yan!’ ‘Ang laki ng puwet mo diyan!’ ‘Ang ganda!’” Jessa quipped.

As a wanderlust seeker and food enthusiasts themselves, the two Js are very much into traveling together as well. Jessa shared with us where they want to go next: Europe!

“Japan would always be nice! We wanted to go for cherry blossoms. Obviously, it’s over already but that would be nice for us to have a nice getaway,” Jayda suggested in turn.

For this year’s Mother’s Day celebration, meanwhile, Jessa and Jayda chose to honor the special occasion with the entire bunch, especially that Jessa’s mom—who is from San Diego—just came back to the Philippines to spend Mom’s Day with the whole family for the first time.

Sa’min, precious, priceless moments ’yung mga ganu’n na magkakasama-sama. Kasama ko rin siyempre ’yung mga siblings ko na nandito sa Philippines. Tapos, kuwentuhan lang. I’m sure, sobrang maraming hours ang kuwentuhan,” Jessa mused. To which Jayda added, “This one’s special because I think it’s a nice way of getting together on that particular day to celebrate her as well. Because if it weren’t for her, then I wouldn’t have my mom.”

When asked about her mom’s top qualities, however, Jayda can only think of a few but interesting things. It’s as if she cannot fit every good trait in one box, but tried her best to nail her answer anyway.

“One thing about my mom: she doesn’t sugarcoat things. Kunwari, parang may hindi tama, kailangan mong i-address o ayusin ’yun. That’s something that I definitely picked up from her. And I keep a conscious effort to keep those kinds of things in life,” Jayda began, looking up to her mom’s ability to be conscious of what she can and can't tolerate. “Despite them not forcing me into the industry, I think that they didn’t shelter me from it completely either. I saw the ins and outs of it. Therefore, when I decided to make the decision to join show business, it was something that I fully made up in my head.”

Being raised in the Avanzado household, where mutual respect and being on time is highly important, Jayda also knows how to channel her learnings into her own career choices. Her professional relationships have a strong foundation, all thanks to Jessa for teaching her early on that being firm and being disciplined are two weapons that will allow her to survive such a cutthroat industry that is showbiz.

Kapag mayru’ng bagay na kailangang gawinkailangang tapusin—she’ll go out of her way. Very conscious siya sa deadline. Nirerespeto niya ’yung oras ng iba, very aware sa mga nangyayari. Hindi ’yung parang nagpro-procrastinate na lang,” Jessa described her child. “Natutuwa ako kasi alam ko na kahit hindi ko siya kasamahindi kami magkasamamaaasahan ko siya na mayru’n siyang disiplina.”

“Honestly, hindi ako maka-relate [sa ibang magulang]. Siyempre, hindi naman siya perfect, ano? Mayru’n ding mga pagkakataon, mapapagalitan siya, mapapagsabihan. Pero wala naman ’yung major na, tipong sinasabi nila na parangsakit sa ulo,’ ‘tatakas,’ o ‘mabarkada.’ Hindi siya perfect, pero mabuti at mabait. Magkaiba ’yun!”

Smiling for what she heard, Jayda returned the compliment: “I learned a lot from her as an actress as well. I mean, she’s been doing this since she was 11 years old, so she has all the experience for it. And it’s nice to have that firsthand kind of wisdom that I can get anytime, anywhere. I try to think about how she chooses to handle things and not let it directly affect her for her own sanity. She’s been through so much more than people really know or more than she lets on… I wish I could have at least half of that kind of strength. I mean, I am trying. It’s a conscious effort. But it’s nice to have something to look up to when it comes to that.”

Besides Jessa being street-smart, being able to shrug off negativities that don’t figure in her life is another feature that Jayda wishes to embody. As she goes further into adulthood, she is slowly learning how to stick to her non-negotiables, protect her inner peace, and communicate with good intentions. Jessa’s strong sense of self sure played a part in nurturing Jayda’s character, too, helping her daughter develop self-awareness as she springs from an innocent girl to a matured adult.

Sana mas mamana ko pa ’yung pagiging organized niya, ’cause my mom has such a gift for [organization] to a point where [it] can be a bit extreme, but obviously, for the betterment of everybody involved…We don’t like to settle with ‘puwede na’ when it comes to things,” Jayda asserted.

On the topic of being kind, Jayda imparted what her greatest takeaway is from her mom. She mused, “You don’t always have to be nice, but you have to be respectful. I see the value in that because there are some people who take advantage of your kindness and you can’t let other people walk over you. At the end of the day, I know how to be able to communicate my side of things without having to resort to stooping down to a certain level.”

Jessa turned to Jayda briefly. She paused and reminded her: “Puwede ka naman talagang maging firm na hindi ka naman nagagalit. Sa reality ng buhay, lagi kong pinapaalala sa kaniya, lalo na dito sa industriya natin, hindi lahat ng mabait ay mabuting tao. Kailangan maging mapanuri ka sa pakikitungo mo. Mahirap talagang magtiwala pero kailangan mayru’n ka ring limits—boundaries.”

Maganda nga ’yung mayru’ng pagkakataon na dumating para makita mo kung ano talagang klaseng taong ’to. Kasi kapag sobrang happy—sobrang ganda lahatmahirap. [Dapat] makita ’yung nature talaga nu’ng taong ’yun… Kasi kapag masyado ka talagang mabait dito sa industriya natin, maaabuso ka.”

Ten years forward, between singing their favorite tunes “Points of View” and “Unconditionally” on karaoke, doing cardio, weight-training, and boxing together, Jessa and Jayda picture each other on the couch talking about the things they love. As a mother and her daughter’s biggest fan, Jessa would want Jayda to reach her ultimate goal, too. She said lovingly without an ounce of regret: “Gusto ko na sana mas ma-enjoy pa niya ’yung career niya, ’yung mga gusto pa niyang gawin sa career. Kasi ako, nag-asawa ko nang maaga, e.”

And while it’s a big “no” and a “hard pass” for Jayda to marry early, Jessa still hammers into her head that going after her dreams, first and foremost, is what she should keep in mind. Jessa told Jayda, “‘Yun ang isa sa mga pinagdadasal ko siyempre para sa’yo, tsaka gusto ko, ma-enjoy mo being in the business, magawa mo pa yung marami pang concerts, marami pang movies, maraming roles. Kasi nakakatuwa ding maging artista, di ba?”

Jayda, on the other end, responded with an obvious yes. “We have conversations about love and relationships and I think that’s one of the fun things that I really enjoy right now, because she also has an open-minded perspective. There’s no pressure on her part in terms of the whole settling-down thing.”

Basta tamang tao! ’Wag nating pilitin,” Jessa interjected. And hopefully not the right lover at the wrong time, too, as Jayda’s new song goes. 

Despite being co-managed by her celebrity parents Jessa and Dingdong Avanzado, Jayda is one to adhere to the decisions she makes. She has blossomed into an independent, responsible woman, just as what her mom hoped her to be. And although Jayda is turning 21 soon, her mother is keeping her promise: to be the one to turn on the lights whenever things are suddenly dimming.

Lagi akong nasa tabi niya, lalo na kapag kailangan niya ko. Kapag hindi mo ’ko tinatawag, nandiyan ako, nagmamasid-masid. Pero ’pag kailangan mo ako, resbak! Reding-ready. Sabi ko nga, ‘alam mo, ako, matagal nang nakatiklop ang mga sungay ko. Pero puwede ko pa ring ilabas kapag kailangan! Pero siyempre, I respect your diskarte sa buhay and space mo and ’yung mga decisions, kaya alam ko kung nasa’n lang ako dapat,” Jessa expressed.

Para sa’kin, ang pagiging magulang, ang role mo is to prepare your child sa buhay niya, para pagdating ng panahon, kaya na niyang mabuhay kahit wala ka na. Hindi ’yung nandiyan ka sa buhay niya, parang gusto mo, ikaw pa rin ’yung bumida sa buhay niya. Ako lang ’yung nabigyan ng responsibility ng Panginoon para i-guide ka. Ako ’yung napili ng Panginoon para sa’yo.”

Now riding her own wave, Jayda never fails to attribute her success to her parents. She considers them her life compass, and her mom her constant rock. “My mom is the best mom in the world because she is the strongest person I know. She could’ve used a lot of her struggles as an excuse to act out or lash out at the world, but she didn’t,” Jayda concluded, thanking her mom for being generous in many aspects.

“Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and for being so selfless,” Jayda’s message went. “Thank you for being so selfless in so many ways more than some people may give you credit for… Some of the things that you feel might go unnoticed, they aren’t. I hope to one day be even half the woman you are.”

Photography by Jayson Isaac and Cafeteria Studio

Fashion styling by Eldzs Mejia

Makeup by Rick Martell Calderon

Hair by Charlie Manapat

Hair color by Carl Dana of Hairticulture

Nails by Extraordinail

Lash extensions by New Lounge PH

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