PATRICIA Tingjuy has held a deep passion for volleyball all her life. She’s been serious about volleyball since her high school years when she made the deliberate choice to join the varsity team instead of opting for the theater club.

But life takes unexpected turns. As her hopes of forging a career in volleyball eventually crumbled in college, she found success in the field of acting.

“My aim was to be a varsity player for UST in the UAAP,” she told the Varsitarian. However, the demands of being an architecture student required her to set aside her athletic dreams and prioritize her academic pursuits.

While her aspiration of becoming a UST Golden Tigress in college didn’t come to fruition, her passion for volleyball endured. Interestingly, her first acting gig involved portraying a volleyball athlete.

“I wanted to try acting, but I didn’t know where or how to start,” she recalled. “I began with commercials in November 2022 through a friend who also landed a commercial gig.”

In that commercial, Tingjuy portrayed a character who was also a volleyball player.

“Then, another friend of mine forwarded me the audition call for ‘Rookie.’ I thought it was a good fit for me because it involved volleyball, and I’m around 5-foot-6. Plus, it didn’t require previous acting experience, so I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?'”

Tingjuy, who earned her architecture degree in 2018, landed a lead role in the film, “Rookie,” a queer romantic comedy centered around the character, Ace, an awkward teenager who joins her high school’s volleyball team and navigates the complexities of adolescence while addressing issues of gender inequality.

In the movie, Ace, who initially had a desire to join a basketball team but couldn’t due to the absence of one in her school, experiences a significant shift in her perspective due to the impact of Coach Jules (portrayed by Agot Isidro) and Jana (played by Aya Fernandez), the varsity team’s captain for whom Ace ultimately develops romantic feelings.

“Rookie” achieved recognition at the Cinemalaya 2023 festival, earning the Audience Choice Award and the Best Editing accolade. Additionally, Tingjuy secured the Best Actress award for her performance in the film.

“I had forgotten that there’s the Best Actress category because I never thought I would get it,” she said about receiving the award. “I just started crying. It was so unexpected. It’s funny how life works sometimes.”

On the very same day she received the Best Actress award, she took the oath to become a licensed architect.

“Right now, with architecture, what I’m doing is gaining experience,” she said. “So I’m gaining experience in both architecture and acting… so that’s what I’m doing now, just collecting and collecting.” Karis M. Tsang with reports from Janica Kate Buan


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