FYI, when Raynold Tan was filming a BL series in the Philippines, he was also finishing his college thesis in Singapore.
Life has a funny way of working sometimes. One day, you’re filming videos to post on social media, and the next, you’re in the Philippines to shoot your very first international drama. Such is the life of Singaporean content creator and actor Raynold Tan. The young talent first lit up screens in his native Singapore on TikTok and built a following on the app. As an embodiment of a new generation making moves in new media, Raynold quickly became a social media star, and that was even before he got his college diploma. Soon enough, his life would take him to unexpected places when an opportunity in the Philippines came calling.
The Day I Loved You, Regal Entertainment’s digital BL series released earlier this year, was looking for an actor to play one of its two lead roles, a Singaporean student. Raynold, who is a rookie in the acting scene, got connected with the local producers with the help of his Singaporean management. Next thing he knew, he was on his way to the Philippines to film his first-ever series.
In The Day I Loved You, Raynold plays Eli, a Singaporean exchange student in the Philippines who isn’t too pleased with his school setting and tries to find ways to get suspended and be sent home. To put a stop to this, Eli’s guidance counselor introduces him to Nikko (played by award-winning actor Tommy Alejandrino), the feisty yet kind straight-A student. The two are worlds apart, but something special brews as they spend more time together, and in the process, Eli learns more about Filipino culture and finds love in his new friend.
When The Day I Loved You debuted on YouTube in late April 2023, it was met with positive reviews and had its fair share of viral moments on TikTok, helping the series rack up cumulative views in the millions. Needless to say, it was an impressive turn for Raynold as a foreign lead actor in a Filipino series. The role also helped land the young thespian on the map as a new face making waves on the scene and one to watch out for. Get to know more about Raynold, his thoughts on filming The Day I Loved You, dealing with the dreaded college thesis, and more in our exclusive chat below.
Did you always imagine yourself working in the entertainment industry?
Not at all. I never once thought I would be a part of the entertainment industry. As a kid I definitely did dream, but it was just that, a dream.
Was it hard transitioning from being a TikTok content creator to an actor?
Definitely. I do the occasional skit once in a while but acting for television is a completely different ball game. Acting doesn’t come naturally to me and I had to learn a lot along the way and I still have much to learn.
How did you learn about your role in The Day I Loved You?
I learnt about it through my manager. The Changing Point (my Singapore management) were having collaboration talks with Virtual Playground (my Philippines representative). During this period, The Day I Loved You was doing their casting and required a foreign exchange student, and I happen to fit the role.
This is your first lead role in a drama series and you filmed it in the Philippines. What was that experience like? Were you nervous doing this big leap in your career?
It was a fruitful experience. I learnt a lot during my time in the Philippines in terms of culture, language and of course, acting. I was EXTREMELY nervous. I was so scared I wouldn’t meet the expectations of Direk Easy [Ferrer] and the rest of the crew. But thankfully, the guidance of Direk, and the support and encouragement of the other cast and crew members helped bolster my confidence.
What was it like getting to work with a Filipino cast and crew?
It was a pleasure. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, I never once felt out of place. I also realized that I really love Filipino humor. We were constantly making laughing and making jokes on set. It was a really memorable time.
A big part of The Day I Loved You is the relationship between Nikko and Eli. With that said, how did you build that bond with your co-star, Tommy Alejandro?
It is unfortunate that we did not have time to bond before the filming of the show. However, I knew Tommy and I would have great chemistry from the moment I saw him. He is an amazing actor and has the purest heart. In between scenes, we would have heartfelt conversations and sometimes it felt like I had known him for a really long time.
While you were filming The Day I Loved You, you were also finishing up your college thesis. What was that balancing act like?
Going into filming, I knew that I would not have much time, if not at all to work on my thesis during my time in the Philippines. So I made sure to do as much as I could before I flew to the Philippines. But once I got to the Philippines, I put all my focus on filming and held off on working on my thesis until I came back to Singapore.
What tips would you give to other students who are currently going through the motions of finishing their thesis?
Do not procrastinate. This was something I regretted doing. Throughout my thesis ‘journey’, I consistently felt like I had a lot of time. However, towards the end, I realized that I was rushing a lot of things because I had severely overestimated the amount of time I had and underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete writing my thesis. Thankfully, I was still able to get it done.
What’s harder: making a thesis or shooting an international BL series?
Writing a thesis is harder :p When writing my thesis, although I had a supervisor, I was largely on my own. However, when filming The Day I Loved You, I had very clear instructions and guidance on what to do for each particular scene. I don’t think that shooting The Day I Loved You was particularly difficult, however, it was definitely more tiring than writing a thesis.
Can we expect to see you in more projects in the Philippines? What other roles or projects would you like to take on in the future?
Definitely, I would love to work on more projects in the Philippines if the opportunity arises. I would love to play a supervillain or someone with a mental health disorder.
You first became famous on TikTok. Now, you’re starring in a hit BL web series. But how would you like Raynold Tan to be known as?
I would like Raynold Tan to be known as an actor. However, I know that many people still know me as a content creator and I don’t expect everyone to accept me as an actor right now. To be honest, even I am kind of experiencing impostor syndrome and struggling to earnestly call myself an actor. At this point, I don’t think I am good enough an actor to truly call myself one, but I am working on it. And hopefully one day, I can truly call myself an actor and be recognized as one.
What do you think it is about you that differentiates you from all the other new actors on the scene?
I think what differentiates me is my willingness to try anything. In general, I am someone who although has favorites, likes to try different things. I believe I would be more willing to attempt to play new roles and more uncommon scenes.
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