Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake

At first glance, Jameson Blake embodies the classic boy-next-door. Aside from being one of the original members of the all-male dance group Hashtags, Jameson’s own charismatic and good-natured appeal can make an entire crowd swoon. It might seem like the 20-year-old only has room for portraying the good guy stereotype on screen, but don’t be fooled by his magnetizing gaze and endearing dimpled smile—this half-American total performer is out to transcend the industry’s typecasts and exceed their expectations.

His acting repertoire is a fitting testament to his remarkable theatrical flair. A bold portrayal of millennial teen Maxim Snyder in the coming-of-age film 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten paved the way to a rightfully-deserved Best Supporting Actor award back in 2016. The young actor might only be on the cusp of his foray into acting, but with five upcoming films in his belt, Jameson is bound to find a spot among the big leagues sooner than later.

It’s clear that the versatile actor is destined for greater things ahead. Some of his films to look out for are the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 horror entry Haunted Forest where he stars with fellow young actors Jane Oineza, Maris Racal, and Jon Lucas, as well as the 2018 rom-com Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wifi with Sue Ramirez. But among his impressive movie lineup, Jameson believes that his role in a forthcoming project called So Connected, alongside Janella Salvador, is his biggest one yet. “I really like the story and I feel like I kind of deserve to play a big role like this. There’s going to be a lot of pressure pero I’ll do my best.” Jameson shares. The bar is set higher with an acting accolade already in the bag, but we can expect nothing but steadfast dedication and profound passion from the rising act.

Clad in retro-chic pieces, the young heartthrob worked his charm in front of the camera before sitting down with us for a one-on-one chat about how it feels to go up the stage alongside the Hashtags, the most relatable character he’s ever played, and how much he’s grown as an actor.

Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake Cover

You’re still with your group Hashtags up to now. How does it feel to be part of a group like that?
It feels great because I get to work with this talented group of people. I get to express my talents with people who are like my brothers. I’m with them everyday so it’s like being a student hanging out with your classmates or like being siblings in a family.

Do you still get nervous performing on stage?
Yeah, it’s something I’ll never get over with. But I think it’s normal naman. You get used to it after a while but then you’ll always have that nervous feeling with you when you think about performing in front of the camera or on stage. It’s still pressuring.

What’s your pre-show ritual to shake off the nerves?
I pray, take deep breaths, and just don’t think too much about it.

What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
Sleeping. (Laughs) I rarely get sleep now. I watch series din on Netflix, and go to Pampanga to be with my family.

Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake

L: Floral Button Down, Jacket, and Trousers all by Folded & Hung; R: Turtleneck by H&M, Jacket and Trousers by Folded & Hung

How much do you think have you grown as an actor since your first stint in 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten?
I’ve learned a lot since 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten. I’ve been expanding my skills in acting ever since I got my first acting award. It kind of motivated me to do even better, to focus more, and be more into the craft. After doing movie after movie, I was also able to do teleseryes with different people so I got to explore more about my craft.

You’ve been in a couple of indie movies already. What do you like about the indie scene?
In indie movies, I like how they make their stories. They’re more realistic and more interesting, in a sense. It’s also more chill and more natural. If you want to express your emotions to the fullest, they’ll really make you take your time to do it. There’s less pressure, so you feel more relaxed to do your best.

You have five upcoming movies. Can you talk a little bit about each of them?
The first is Haunted Forest which is coming up soon. I’m with Jane Oineza, Maris Racal, and Jon Lucas. The next movie is called Nay. I’m with Sylvia Sanchez and Enchong Dee and it’s horror din. The third one is called Mama’s Girl and it’s also under Regal Entertainment. Sylvia Sanchez is also a part of it, as well as Sofia Andres and Diego Loyzaga. I play a character who’s a band vocalist so he’s like a celebrity in the story. But I come out as like the third wheel to Sofia’s and Diego’s characters. And then the fourth one, which we haven’t started yet, is called So Connected directed by Jason Paul Laxamana. It’s starring me and Janella Salvador. It’s about these two people who find their way together through technology. They don’t really have much in common except for this one thing that’s sort of related to technology, which is cyberbullying. There’s actually one more, it’s called My Universe, but it’s not finalized yet.

“I’ve been expanding my skills in acting ever since I got my first acting award. It kind of motivated me to do even better, to focus more, and be more into the craft.”

Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake-2

R: Polo Shirt and Sweater by Folded & Hung

So Connected would be your first lead role.
Yes, it’s my first lead role in a mainstream movie. Actually, it’s my biggest role so far.

How does it feel to get that that kind of opportunity now?
It’s like I was playing the lottery and then I won the jackpot. Parang ganun yung feeling. (Laughs) And even before I entered show business, I’ve always wanted to work with Janella Salvador and I find her attractive. When I always get asked which leading lady I’d like to work with, I always say na it’s her so I’m happy that I finally got the chance. I met her and she’s actually really nice.

Between indie and mainstream, are you leaning more towards choosing one over the other?
It doesn’t really matter actually. I’d do both. I’d do go-sees for indie movies and if I fit the role and I like it, sige go. Same din with mainstream, if I get the role then I’m game. It’s gonna be shown nationwide din eh, so why not ‘di ba?

Out of all the roles you’ve played so far, is there a character that you can relate to the most?
Siguro yung character ko sa 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten, si Maxim. In terms of background, he’s half-American, he lived in Pampanga, and kind of had a broken family. He came from another country and then came to the Philippines. That’s how I relate to him. Pero not really in terms of personality ‘cause Maxim is kind of like a psychopath and I’m not really a psychopath in real life. (Laughs)

Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake-3

R: Red Button Down is Stylist’s Own

Which one did you enjoy portraying the most?
Siguro si Fort sa A Love to Last. Kasi para akong mayaman dun so I have a Camaro and all that. (Laughs) I had fun with that character. And si Julia [Barretto] was really nice. It was nice working with her. Off-cam din, I enjoyed being on the set with the staff of the show and I got along with everyone.

What’s been the most impactful career advice you’ve received?
Tsong Joey Marquez told me before, “Do what you love”. And I kept thinking about it. If I’m gonna do acting, singing, and dancing when I didn’t enjoy doing it, then why am I even doing it in the first place? So I just kept putting it in my head that I have to learn to love what I do. I learned to love acting. I learned to love dancing. And if you love what you’re doing, you can express yourself through it to the fullest.

Was there ever a time when you felt like being in this industry was not for you? 
Yeah, there was this one time before I got my first movie. I did a go-see and then I broke down afterwards. Parang I was pushing myself too much. I wasn’t really that confident with myself and with expressing my feelings before. I used to put myself down. I kept telling myself na di ko kaya umarte. Tapos nahihirapan din kasi ako mag-Tagalog dati.

How did you overcome that?
After I got the acting award, that kind of boosted my confidence. Tagalog was also one of my main obstacles. I was half-American tapos I grew up in Hong Kong for 10 years so my first language was really English. Parang lately lang ako natuto mag-Tagalog pero nahirapan din talaga ko. Pero yun, most of my friends are Filipino so dun ako natuto to be better until I got used to it.

“If you love what you’re doing, you can express yourself through it to the fullest.”

Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake-4

So far, what has been the most important thing you’ve learned about being in the industry?
Siguro, choose your friends. Be with the people that will lift you up instead of put you down.

How do you deal with the negativity that comes your way?
To be honest, I haven’t really been bashed that much except for some negative comments like matigas daw katawan ko since dati kasi nung nagstart ako sa Hashtags, di naman ako marunong sumayaw. I just prove them wrong and I just focus. Dati talaga I take negative comments really hard which puts me down even more. I just don’t mind them now. Everyone will always have something to say about you, so just focus and do what you’re supposed to do.

If you had the chance, what would you tell your 10-year-old self?
Just be patient and don’t rush things. Love everyone around you, especially your family. And save money. (Laughs)

R: Le Coq Sportif Trousers

R: Le Coq Sportif Trousers

What’s one thing about you that many people would still be surprised to know?
I like K-Pop kasi eh, but when people find out, they’d be like, “Huh, ganon si Jameson?”. (Laughs) It’s not really something that I tell everyone, so they just eventually find out. (Laughs)

Aside from winning your first acting award, what’s been the proudest moment so far in your career?
First concert namin ng Hashtags last year. Yun yung parang sobrang sarap yung feeling. Yung endorphins talaga nun were everywhere. (Laughs) We felt so happy, we were all hugging each other. It’s the kind of feeling where you just want to pop the wine and celebrate with everyone. (Laughs)

Who else do you want to work with in the future?
I’ve been working with these leading ladies pero siguro in the future I’d want to work with the veteran actors na matagal na sa industry.

What’s your dream role?
I’ve always wanted to portray something like a hero. Di naman superhero na parang Marvel. (Laughs) Yung mga national heroes where I get to study the character. Yung mga historical people from decades ago that people still remember until now. Gusto ko ma-try mag portray ng ganon.

“Everyone will always have something to say about you, so just focus and do what you’re supposed to do.”

Retro Grade featuring Jameson Blake-6

Let’s talk about fashion. Describe your personal style in three words.
Lazy, dark, and cool.

Do you have any style icons?
Chris Brown.

What’s your go-to outfit on a normal day?
Shirt lang, tapos baseball cap. Then skinny jeans or joggers, ganon lang.

R: Coat by Topman, Floral Button Down and Trousers by Folded & Hung

R: Coat by Topman, Floral Button Down and Trousers by Folded & Hung

What’s your ideal first date outfit?
Syempre yung maayos. Di naman preppy pero siguro I’d wear a polo, jeans, then loafers or boat shoes.

Are you the type of guy who observes a skin care routine?
Well yeah. (Laughs) As much as possible, every day. After I shower, I use Pond’s Acne Control to wash my face, tapos I use moisturizer, then if I have time I usually put an eye mask for 30 minutes. I have problems with my eyebags kasi.

How do you stay in shape?
I’m basically thin. I have a fast metabolism so I have a hard time gaining weight. But when I have time and I have enough sleep, I go to the gym once or twice a week. And then dancing because I dance with the Hashtags so I burn fat that way. In terms of food, I’m not really fond of eating fast food. I’ve always liked eating vegetables. I like ampalaya, favorite ko ‘yun. As much as possible I try to eat healthy food, pero I don’t really go crazy na kailangan I have to count my calories pa. Just trying to keep healthy as much as possible.

Editorial Assistant