By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
Best friends Malia Baldovi and Thomas Orlina hope to reach new audiences and represent the Asian American voice in their new digital talk show, “Two Besties Together” or TBT.
The three-segment talk show features relatable topics and content that will entertain audiences of today’s diverse world. The show is released every Thursday as a play on the hashtag Throwback Thursday. The first episode premiered on Jan. 17 and was centered around the afterparty of the Netflix show “The American Meme,” starring Paris Hilton.
They hope that by providing both a female and male perspective, they can resonate with all audiences, and be the pioneers for the Asian American community.
Orlina and Baldovi have been best friends for a decade. They met while working together at a restaurant in Glendale. They became fast friends. “We’ve always wanted to work together and now is the perfect time to collaborate in a world where everybody and every brand have collaborated as besties,” Orlina said.
Their goal for the Two Besties Together series is for it to get picked up and turned into a franchise. “They should watch because the landscape is really changing. Asian Americans have a lot of interests, and it’s refreshing to see both a male and female perspective. We really see the show going the distance,” Orlina said.
“Not only a talk show, but a TV series that can be on E! or an action movie, there are so many endless possibilities to what the show could become,” Baldovi said.
The show has received a lot of great buzz so far and people in the entertainment industry have supported the duo.
The besties: Malia
Orlina describes Baldovi as “loyal, understanding, and an all-around go-to friend for comforting.”
As a child, Baldovi dreamt of being on the big screen after watching award shows like the Oscars and the Grammys. She’s wanted to work in the entertainment industry since she was young, and has been dabbling in different areas, including film production and music, to see what she likes best.
A family girl at heart, she’s appreciative of all the love and support that she’s received from her family and friends as she works to achieve her dreams. She already has ties to Hollywood as celebrity Nicole Scherzinger is a maternal cousin.
Baldovi hails from Maui, Hawaii and is of Hawaiian and mixed Asian descent (including Japanese, Filipino, and Indonesian). “The Hawaii community is very important to me and I’d like to inspire people and be a positive influence to people in Hawaii. I want to encourage them to keep pursuing their dreams and show them that if you follow your dreams and put your heart and soul into it, you can make it big,” Baldovi said.
Baldovi moved to Los Angeles about a decade ago because she wanted new opportunities. She had visited previously for vacation and fell in love with the city.
“I was going out all the time and roaming around LA doing different things. To me, it felt like I belonged here and two months later, I dropped out of school, quit my job, and moved to LA,” she said.
The besties: Thomas
Baldovi describes Orlina as very passionate about everything he works on, extremely supportive, and a “fun guy to hang out with.”
Recently signed to a talent management company and talent agency in Beverly Hills, Orlina continues to find ways to elevate his entertainment career. “Being on TBT has been a transformative experience,” Orlina said.
This is the second YouTube show for Orlina, who also starred in the eight-episode series “Your Time with Thomas.” He’s currently working on season two and was recently on CNN Philippines to talk about his show, diversity topics, and his contributions to the Filipino culture. Proud of his roots, through his artistry, he continues to be the voice for Filipino Americans.
Fans are encouraged to submit their photos with their besties so that they can be shown at the end of each episode.
The goal is for our followers to feel included, Baldovi said.
“People send bestie photos because they feel connected to the idea of people celebrating friendship,” Orlina said.
Despite being best friends, Orlina and Baldovi still have their creative differences. However, the show is a group project and they always try to be respectful of each other’s ideas. “It’s a real friendship and we definitely work things out. The TBT brand represents the notion that best friends will work out their differences no matter what,” Baldovi added.
“I just hope the world is ready for two different, unique personalities. We do want to make a difference and we are already looking into giving back as far as profits from our single to go to a charity,” Orlina said.
What to look forward to in TBT
In addition, TBT also introduces new brands to audiences. It’s their modern take of advertising from a direct consumer standpoint. They’re currently working with some brands to be featured in future episodes.
The besties also listen to a lot of audience feedback and sometimes crowdsource and tap into relatable topics — such as dating, social media, and transportation — to be discussed on episodes.
Orlina and Baldovi described their audience base as a wide range and all across the board, but they want to target millennials.“We are really aware of what’s going on right now and we feel good about the direction that things are going in. We’re excited about the podcast, music, choreography, and discussion topics that followers request. We’re trying to put out really great content and we’re going to give 110 percent to show people that we have what it takes,” Orlina said.
Baldovi has taken band and piano lessons to prepare and showcase her new talents in their new upcoming single. They’re also working with a songwriter and choreographer to produce their music video.
“We wear a lot of hats on this project and learning as we go,” Baldovi said.
Orlina is excited for their fans to hear the music because they’ll be able to see both him and Baldovi sing and dance, adding a new flair to their show. They don’t just want to be the hosts, but also performers. Orlina was in his high school choir and has always wanted to have his own single.
They’re also creating a podcast that will extend the conversation beyond the short episodes. The podcasts will be available on iTunes next month.
To watch TBT, search for them on YouTube.
Nina Huang can be reached at email@example.com.