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7 Facts About Barbie Forteza Who Caught Our Hearts Playing Klay In Maria Clara At Ibarra

Barbie Forteza facts

Barbie Forteza isn’t a new name in showbiz. But the actress has certainly gained her spot in the industry, from starting out as a child actor to recapturing our hearts as Klay in the hit TV series Maria Clara at Ibarra.

If you want to catch up on the actress’ 12-year career and become her fan, here are 7 facts you should know about Barbie Forteza, from her earliest acting projects to her views on women empowerment.

1. She started acting when she was 12

Forteza as young Jodi in Stairway to Heaven.
Image credit: GMANetwork

Forteza began her acting career at age 12. Her first role was the young Jodi, the female lead in the Philippine adaptation of the K-drama Stairway to Heaven in 2009.

After that, Forteza starred in popular tween drama series such as First Time and Tween Hearts. She was one of the most popular tween actors during the early 2010s alongside Joshua Dionisio, Bea Binene, and Jake Vargas. In fact, Forteza was number 2 on Google Zeitgeist’s Top 10 Fastest Rising People in 2010 at age 13.

But while she’s done so many films and TV series throughout her 12-year career, Forteza wants to do something out of her usual projects and explore the crime-thriller genre.

2. She’s won an international acting award

Laut‘s trailer.
Image credit: World Premieres Film Festival

With her hard work as an actress, it is no wonder that Forteza has bagged awards. Among them, the most noteworthy would be the 2016 Best Actress Award from the Fantasporto International Film Festival in Portugal.

This international accolade was for her performance in the indie film Laut where she played Nadia, an indigenous Badjao wife.

Besides this, she’s also received a number of local acting awards, the latest ones being Best Drama Actress and Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role – TV Series for her role as Klay in Maria Clara at Ibarra.

3. She is also a recording artist

Forteza’s 2013 song Meron Ba.
Video credit: UMUSIC Philippines

On top of being a prominent actress, Forteza is also a singer. She recorded her rendition of Pers Lab for the Tween Hearts’ soundtrack in 2010. In the same year, she also released a duet of Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko with OPM icon Rey Valera.

In 2013, she released the album Barbie Forteza. This included the single Meron Ba which was the OST for the Filipino-dubbed Korean drama Big.

Her most recent song release was in 2018, when she sang Nai-In Love Ako Sa Iyo with Derrick Monasterio for their TV series Inday Will Always Love You.

4. Maria Clara at Ibarra isn’t her first project with David Licauco

Forteza and Licauco in Heartful Cafe.
Video credit: GMANetwork

Klay and Fidel’s paths have crossed before Maria Clara at Ibarra. In 2021, Forteza and David Licauco played a couple in Heartful Cafe, a series led by their MCI co-star Julie Anne San Jose.

They were also love team partners in the TV series Mano Po Legacy: The Family Fortune in early 2022.

Fans speculate that FiLay will come back in the next historical fantasy series set in the MCI universe, Ibong Mandaragit. Forteza and Licauco are also rumored to have one more teleserye and two upcoming movies.

5. She’s dating Jak Roberto

Barbie Forteza Facts - Jak Roberto
Forteza and boyfriend Jak Roberto.
Image credit: @jakroberto

Unfortunately for those who ship Forteza and Licauco, the actress is already taken. She’s dating fellow Kapuso actor Jak Roberto.

The two confirmed their relationship in August 2017, which makes this year their sixth year together. They met on the set of Meant To Be and began to be seen on dates as the teleserye aired.

According to Forteza, her boyfriend is supportive of her love team with Licauco and the two are even friends.

6. She has a YouTube channel

Makeup tutorial vlog on Forteza’s YouTube channel.
Video credit: Barbie Forteza

Forteza also dabbles as a YouTuber. She started her YouTube channel in 2018 as a makeup vlog.

Since then, Forteza has gained 1.37 million subscribers. She still shares her skincare routine but she now also shares travel vlogs, food videos, and content with her boyfriend.

She’s also in many videos on her boyfriend’s channel, if you want to binge-watch more Barbie Forteza videos.

7. She believes in women empowerment

Video credit: GMA Public Affairs

In her interview with Jessica Soho, Forteza says she resonates more with Klay’s opinions than Maria Clara from the novel Noli Me Tangere, which MCI was based on.

Forteza explained that it’s because society’s views on women were limited during the Spanish colonial era. “Parang ang limited po kasi ng inaasahan ng mga tao sa kababaihan dati. [Kailangan] matuto ka lang ng gawaing bahay para mapagsilbihan mo yung magiging asawa mo.

(“People’s expectations of women were limited before. [Women] were just expected to know how to do house chores so they can serve their husbands.”)

She also added that in present day, women can be whatever they want. “Kung anong kaya ng lalaki, kaya ng babae.” (“What men can do, women can do too.”)

Things to know about Barbie Forteza

Barbie Forteza has accomplished many things in her 12-year career, exploring singing, vlogging, and even winning an international award in acting. On top of this, the actress has caught the hearts of many – both young and old – with her most recent role as the righteous Gen-Z Klay in Maria Clara at Ibarra.

We’re officially joining the Barbie Forteza stan train and are excitedly on the lookout for her future projects. Hopefully, we’ll get to see her as Klay in more TV series based on our classic historical novels.

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Cover image adapted from: Barbie Forteza,, GMANetwork