In June 2021, celebrity DJ Karen Bordador stepped outside for the very first time in five years after finally being acquitted and freed from jail. Two months later, in August, she came forward to bravely share what she went through in those years behind bars and the hard battle she fought to clear her name, as well as all the dreams she had hoped to achieve as a liberated and empowered woman.
One year later, she is rapidly rebuilding her career and has no plans to stop just yet!
This is the strong comeback of Karen Bordador.
“Things just spiraled upward,” Karen said in an exclusive interview with When In Manila. “I got into Pinoy Big Brother and then MMK featured me. And then after that, I got a radio show and then a talk show and then a lot of other things that were so exciting.”
“I did Pinoy Big Brother and it was such a great platform because of course it’s a place where you really show your character. You really show who you’re all about. I was able to reintroduce myself to the Filipino people and, thankfully, I was very much accepted by them,” Karen continued. After Pinoy Big Brother, I was given the chance to share my story some more through MMK. And then I got a billboard, I got two magazine covers. I got a radio talk show that’s very inspirational on kumu. And after that, I also got a talk show [and] I’m now a jock of Pie, the Pinoy Interactive Entertainment channel. Plus I’ve gotten to travel to some places too!”
“In one year, I was able to accomplish that. It was so fast and it’s still going by really fast. So it’s really exciting because what I lost in five years, I’m gaining in less than a year. So I’m really grateful,” she said.
But despite all the success that she’s attained these days, it hadn’t been a smooth-sailing start for Karen unlike what most may assume.
“I got to experience a little bit of discrimination dahil nga once you have that tainted in your name, you get a really different treatment,” she shared.
She talked about having difficulties opening her own bank accounts and securing new IDs, and her struggles to land projects and brand deals.
“Managers were trying to get me projects [but the brands] wouldn’t get me because I was ‘damaged goods’ according to them. So I really wanted to move forward in a grand way. Like if I was gonna do a comeback, it had to be a big thing wherein everyone’s united with the fact na I should be back because I’m a different person from what they thought I was,” she added.
And unite everyone, she did. To date, she has amassed thousands of supporters whom she lovingly calls her “Karenatics” and has received plenty of heartwarming messages from strangers, even those who admittedly joined in on the bandwagon of hate years ago.
“After I got out of PPB, I got so much flowers, gifts, [and] letters [from] people that are just happy na I’m finally home,” she shared. “I got a lot of sorries on Facebook too. And at the same time, I got a lot of people messaging me saying, ‘Oh, you’re so strong. I’m so inspired and I wanna be like you.’ So nakakapagbigay ng lakas din ‘yun diba? It just makes you wanna move forward. I think the best revenge is to really be the best version of you.”
Karen as the Star Patroller for TV Patrol (Image from Instagram.com/karen_bordador)
Karen’s flourishing career has not blinded her from still helping out her former fellow Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), of course. She makes an effort to use her platform to encourage people to donate to prison facilities and assist the friends she’s made in jail in getting lawyers so that they too can be freed. She even makes beadworks, a skill she learned while incarcerated, and proceeds from sales are donated to her prison’s aftercare program. After all, as she had expressed a year ago in her first interview with When In Manila, “I don’t want a selfish career; I just want to do things that are purposeful and beneficial to the community or to people who should be cared for.”
She affirmed that what she said then still rings true today. “I want everything that I do, or hopefully things that I will do, are inspiring. So although being in prison is a sad case, […] there’s a lot of stories that should be listened to, para lang to uplift our lives,” she told us.
Karen as the host for the daily talk show “Pie Night Long” on the PIE Channel. (Image by ATLAST.ph)
So, what’s next for Karen Bordador in the next year and beyond?
“I wanna make a book and I still need to make time for that. Also, since I’ve been focused on YouTube, I am extremely excited to start a talk show on my YouTube account, something that’s just mine [and] very personal to me. I’m already working on it and most likely it’ll air on July,” she said.
When asked if she ever felt like things went way too fast in terms of her career, Karen laughed and said simply: “I feel like I want it to get faster!”
“I mean, after five years of nothing, as in zero movement, no people to talk to, no way to show your talents, zero platforms, I’m just excited! If there could be more, I have so much energy [so] why not? People ask me, ‘How come you had work this morning and then you had work at night ’til 12 midnight, pero you’re still the most energized person?’ Eh kasi I got locked up for five years. I got so much to give, you know, so I don’t get tired just being outside. I’m so grateful.”
“Whatever I prayed for, it’s being poured right here. [And] I wanna use it for the good. I wanna make sure na I take care of it and not take it for granted,” she added.
Karen with her YouTube Silver Play Button for surpassing 100,000 channel subscribers. (Image by Ej Manalang)
It truly is a wonder how Karen, someone who had been dragged into controversy and deprived of freedom for five years, can pick herself up and keep moving forward with her head held high. This is the redemption she manifested and rightfully deserved, and she hopes that everyone knows that it can also happen to them as long as they believe it and fight for it.
“For everyone out there, you can definitely have a great comeback. It’s possible. No matter what part you are in your life, how old you are, how young you are, it doesn’t really matter. You define when. Honestly, it’s God talaga who decides for you, pero you’re the one who’s gonna put yourself out there. Once you believe na you deserve a brand new life, a brand new experience, a brand new you, it can happen. We’re all so stuck in the past, we’re all so stuck in that bad thing that happened to us, that trauma that destroyed our lives, but really you should be the one putting your different pieces of whatever back [together again]. You have to get stronger.”
“You define who you’ll be. It’s not gonna be the society. It’s not gonna be people’s idea of you. You create your idea of who you want to be and everyone will start believing when you believe. So believe in yourself, because we weren’t created in this world to just be here. We were created in this world to make a movement, to make people happy [with] whatever talents [that we] have. … And after you’ve gone through all that, that’s when you’ll be able to showcase to the world your strength and that your comeback can be way harder or way bigger than it was before. So believe that there’s a bright tomorrow [and] that it starts with today. So start today happy because tomorrow will be super-duper amazing!”
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