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EXCLUSIVE: Meet Iyo Canlas, the tennis player-turned-actor taking the small screen by storm

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Iyo Canlas, the tennis player-turned-actor taking the small screen by storm

The tennis player-turned-actor speaks about his love for storytelling

They say life is a road that one travels on. Sometimes you hit a bump on the road, a pitstop, and even an unfortunate incident which gives you the chance to either carry on, take a turn, or arrive at your destination. Our next Manifesto guy had a clear path in mind until a soul-crashing accident happened that led him to a different career path to travel on. Meet tennis player-turned-actor Iyo Canlas as he shares his journey from playing on the court to playing lead roles on screen. 

At seven years of age, Iyo has been conditioned to be a torch bearer of his family’s lead on the game of tennis. Being one of the top tennis players in the Philippines, his pathway to greatness was pretty clear as he championed for Ateneo de Manila University, competing on countless courts, and even working in Spain that defined his career until his car crashed back in 2016 which left him in an almost vegetative state. 

This misfortune did not crush his spirits though. Iyo recovered, reinjured, and reconditioned himself for three years until he was fit enough to compete again. But the athlete did not come out of the unfortunate event as the best player as he succeeded as a greater one by redefining what success really meant to him after all the frustrations he has faced.

“Success is compounding. Success is not a target number after which you say to yourself that you’re done. Success is not a checklist. It is a direction, heck, sometimes, it could be a U-turn. It most definitely is made up of smaller successes. These are the successes that are not celebrated enough, and sometimes these are the ones that are only visible to yourself,” he shares. “These are the ones wherein only you could pat yourself on the back… And these are the ones that propel you to the highest of highs. Put in the work. Put in the hours. Even if nobody is watching. Even if it seems so small. Do it for yourself and your own gauge of success.”

Strange as it may seem, wisdom is not the only thing Iyo was able to gain from the accident. His inspiring story catapulted him to landing a couple of TV commercial jobs and even a role in a romance series titled “Stuck On You.” Iyo played a character named Reb who was the love interest of JM (Yves Flores) in the series which revolved around the two unalike guys who spent 14 days together in a lockdown. 

Garage caught up with Iyo about his new found love for acting, his fitness routine, as well as his personal style. Get to know more about the actor’s persona and identity on our exchange below: 

What do you like most about acting?

I fell in love with acting because of the different stories that actors get to tell. I could very much relate it to how I felt first recounting my very own story and sharing it to the world. This is where I realized that acting really does shed light onto the importance of stories and storytelling. 

I didn’t need to share my story. It could very much just remain in the past. But in recounting it and sharing it to the world, you allow your story to have transformative power. It no longer is about yourself. But, how your story can touch other peoples’ lives. It becomes a gentle reminder of humanity. It seemed so scary but the moment I got to share it and the feedback/comments I got from it and how it inspired people, meant so much to me. Any chance I could have to uplift or inspire others, in any way I can, I’ll take it. 

And that gives me the same feeling when I act. When I get to portray different roles and tell different stories, it just makes me feel so alive. When I see comments and people messaging me about the music videos, commercials, series etc. that I play in, it just gives me that feeling of kilig and it just keeps on reminding me why I love acting. 

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A post shared by Iyo Canlas (@iyocanlas)

As an athlete and a public figure, can you share your fitness routine?

Right now, I’m a bit more lenient with my fitness routine but before my last project, I had to lose 30 pounds for that role. 

For my workout, since my knee injury is life-long (the PCL, the strongest ligament of the knee was removed, not replaced,) I really have to work on my quads muscles for my muscles to act as the main stabilizer for my knee instead of the lost ligament. I work out five to six times a week, with lots of lower body exercises, such as squats. It’s mostly leg day for me but from time to time I also squeeze in some upper body workout whenever I feel like it. Other days would be spent as rest days and cheat days! 

In terms of diet, is there a plan you’re currently subscribed to? 

I don’t really have a diet plan right now but, thankfully enough, I generally eat quite healthy. So, a good mix of chicken breast, lean beef, greens, fish, eggs, and just whole foods would mainly comprise my diet. Also, I don’t eat pork and I’ve been eating brown rice for three years now! I honestly think that helps a lot!

How would you describe your personal style?

I like to keep things simple. A lot of my wardrobe is more on plain and basic pieces. But from time to time, when I feel like changing things up a bit, I also like to try on different styles. 

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What is your grooming routine?

Morning and night, I just really wash my face with a good face wash. From time to time, whenever I have upcoming shoots, I do an Aztec face mask and I visit my aesthetic clinic for facials. Generally, I’d like to believe that less is more. 

What can we look forward to from you in the future? 

I’ll be doing a couple more projects this year so better watch out for that and hopefully this pandemic ends soon ‘cause I’m just really so excited to go all out and see what’s in store for me in this career! Vote wisely this 2022! 

Photographer: Israel Vidal

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