Fil-Am Thomas Orlina shares personal stories, discusses pop culture, fashion and dating in new web series
We live in a world where content creation and digital storytelling is becoming more accessible for filmmakers, musicians and aspiring entertainment moguls.
One of those dreamers is Filipino-American Thomas Orlina, who decided to utilize all the available tools of the trade to make his mark in the entertainment world.
Best known for being an on-air host of AfterBuzz TV and a red carpet correspondent, Orlina currently works with Warner Brothers as a corporate communications representative. Previously, he worked as an executive assistant at Telepictures Productions and as publicist’s assistant at TMZ.
His current side venture as an entertainment influencer comes in the form of a brand new show of which he is the creator and executive producer, called “Your Time With Thomas.”
It is an eight-part docu-series on YouTube where Orlina puts a light on a wide range of topics from pop culture and fashion to relationships and sexuality. He also shares glimpses of his life and puts an emphasis on his cultural heritage.
“I’m extremely proud of being Filipino-American,” Orlina, 29, told the Asian Journal in a recent interview. “I think there’s a huge void in the Filipino-American community. I’m at a point in my life where there’s hardly any Filipinos in the spotlight that I can look up to, and that saddens me. In this day and age, with all this talk of diversity, I think there should be more and I want to be one of the first ones.”
He films his episodes all around the City of Angels, taking viewers on an expedition across the world’s biggest playground for ambitious creatives.
Since the show premiered in July, Orlina has enjoyed growing online success, garnering more than 20,000 views from all over the world. Through his show, he’s been able to connect with people from all over the United States as well as Hong Kong, Australia, the U.K and, of course, the Philippines.
Each episode acts as its own stand-alone piece that tells its own story. In the second episode, Orlina recounts his experience in coming out as gay, a poignant episode that has resonated with his viewers, where the next episode discusses friendship.
“The fans, they’re really diverse and it’s truly an honor to be able to deliver my show to such a wide range of people,” Orlina said. “It really means a lot to me that my show has already impacted so many people in this positive way. The real message of the show is to dream and to be inspired and to really go after what you want in life.”
Orlina produces the show and said he takes his time with every detail. However, Orlina emphasizes that it’s not a one-man show and he owes a lot to the collaborations with director and editor, Myles Yaksich and marketing strategist consultant, Stephen M. Thornton.
Orlina says that he eventually wants to take “Your Time With Thomas” to the small screen, and has been pitching the show to television studios.
“I think there’s a story and I think the topics would resonate with a huge audience,” Orlina said. “There [are] 3.4 million Filipino Americans in the United States and the fact that there is not one Filipino male TV personality is really a shame. I think there’s a huge market for us out there and I want my show to be the first ground-breaking show for our community.”
Obsessed with pop culture growing up, Orlina always knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment world. As many young Fil-Ams know, parents usually prefer their child to have a profession that guarantees financial stability. Orlina’s mother originally wished for her son to enter the medical field, but steadfast Orlina saw a different path for himself.
“I always knew in the back [of] my mind that I was going to make something of myself in entertainment and I think when she saw when I was in college and I was working really hard in my night classes and do everything I can to make it in the industry at that point she really knew this was my passion,” Orlina recalls. “Now when my mom and my family visit me at my job at Warner Brothers and they see what I do they know that this was what I was meant to do.”
The desire to become involved in the entertainment world came naturally to Orlina. At a young age, he was inspired by reality television, particularly MTV’s “The Real World.” Since then he’s been on the forefront of all things entertainment and celebrity, adding more ventures to his already solid entertainment oeuvre.
Orlina, who has said that he’s always wanted to be the Ryan Seacrest for the Fil-Am community, added, “I’ve always been very ambitious and I’ve always wanted to represent the Filipino community, and I hope ‘Your Time With Thomas’ resonates well with our community.”
Episodes of “Your Time With Thomas” can be found on http://thomasorlina.com/.