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Barbie Forteza: Ray of sunshine

Barbie Forteza

Barbie Forteza

BARBIE Forteza is a drama sweetheart and an effective comedienne in one small and sweet package.

On TV, she can make audiences cry with her when she essays dramatic roles in the many teleseryes she has done for the Kapuso Network (the latest of which was the top-rating afternoon soap, “The Half-Sisters”) and then just as quickly, she can make them laugh as she mimics Kris Aquino on the noontime show, “Sunday Pinasaya.”

Starting off with the usual teenybopper roles, Barbie eventually set herself apart by exploring different types of characters, even dipping her toes into the realm of indie movies for which she was greatly rewarded: a Best Supporting Actress award in the new breed category at the 10th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival for the film “Mariquina” in 2014 and a Best Actress award at the 36th Fantasporto International Film Festival at Oporto, Portugal for the indie film “Laut” early this year.

The pretty and always bubbly 19-year-old was bursting with excitement as she talked to the Cebu press about her newest project: the primetime
romantic comedy “Meant to Be” which will usher in the year 2017 for the Kapuso network.

Set to premiere early January, the teleserye will pair Barbie with not just one but four leading men—Ken Chan, Ivan Dorschner, Jak Roberto and Addy Raj.

Here, Barbie shares more of her passion for acting, going the unconventional route via independent films, and learning the art of timing, especially in pulling off a good joke.

Some compare “Meant To Be” to such Asianovelas as “Meteor Garden” and “Boys over Flowers.” What’s your reaction?

Oo nga. Madami nga akong naririnig. Kaya lang siya naitutulad sa “Meteor Garden” kasi apat ‘yung lalaki pero plot-wise at tsaka ‘yung characters, iba din. Sa “Meteor Garden,” dalawa lang yung lalaki na in love kay San Cai, pero ito talaga literal na apat na lalaki ang magkakagusto sa female lead.

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Bukod dun, kahit ‘yung conflicts iba din. Pero syempre, di din naman po agad-agad matatanggal sa mga tao yung medyo i-compare sa “Boys over Flowers” but this is a story of four best friends falling in love with one girl, dun mate-test ‘yung friendship.

When did you know that you will be topbilling a new teleserye?

May mga bali-balita po pero syempre di naman ako maniniwala hangga’t hindi talaga manggagaling sa network, and it was not formally confirmed to me. It was two months ago, I think when they met up with me. Actually tinawagan lang nila ako for a meeting daw, di ko pa alam kung para saan.

Tapos inupo nila ako. Tapos pinresent na nila sa akin ‘to. Sabi ko: Sandali, hindi ako nag-gown. Pasensya. (laughs)

Did all of your leading men audition for their roles?

Opo. Medyo delicate ang pagpili sa kanila. Mga nakadalawang screen tests kami, around 20 ata sila nag audition. Ako rin po kasi mismo ang naka-eksena nila.

What were your first impressions of them?

Nakakatuwa kasi lahat sila hindi talaga magkakilala, so lahat sila ibang-iba ang atake. Nakakatuwa, parang ako tuloy yung biglang na pressure kasi paulit-ulit lang yung script ko, paulit-ulit yung sinasabi. Tapos sila iba-iba yung ginagawa nila. Tapos iba-iba din sila ng language. Kaya nakakatuwa, kasi kahit iba-iba sila ng culture and nationalities, andun ‘yung pagka-Pinoy na malambing, gentlemen at courteous.

How would you describe your character in “Meant to Be?”

Simple siyang babae, pero iba siya sa ibang babae. Hindi kasi siya yung tipong naghahabol at tsaka di niya intention at all na magkagusto sa kanya yung apat. Aksidente nga lang ang pagkakakilala nila eh, biglaan lang, hindi ko ginusto di ko sadyang puntahan. Talagang fate ang nagpatagpo sa aming lima. Si Billie kasi is simpleng babae, hindi maarte, at maagang nag mature kasi siya yung bread winner ng pamilya nila. Trabaho-bahay, trabaho bahay yun lang lage. Wala pa talaga sa isip niya ang love life kaya lalong gumulo ang isip niya kasi may mga panibagong feeling simula ng makilala niya ang apat. Parang bigla siyang naguluhan kung anong susunod niyang gagawin.

Since you are the leading lady here, do you feel more pressure, like in terms of making the series rate?

Of course, mabigat na po talagang pressure. Kahit po naman ‘yung susundan naming teleserye (Someone To Watch Over Me) ay talagang mataas po ‘yung rating. Pero kasi if I entertain the pressure kaysa excitement ko na magkakaroon ng panibagong project, bagong makakasama ko. Ang dami kong pwedeng isipin na dapat kong ika-excite other than the pressure. Pero di ko po sinasabi na di ako napre-pressure, na pre-pressure po ako. Ayoko lang talagang isipin kasi madi-distract ako.

Barbie with three of her leading men for “Meant to Be”: Jak Roberto, Ivan Dorschner and Addy Raj

Barbie with three of her leading men for “Meant to Be”: Jak Roberto, Ivan Dorschner and Addy Raj

What were your preparations for the role?

This is a heavier challenge for me, ina-anticipate kasi ng mga tao na magiging redundant ako eh. Kasi halos lahat ng role na naibigay sa akin, halos pare-parehas. It’s a challenge na ibahin ‘yung tingin ng mga tao sa akin. That is why I am thankful to GMA. Aside from romantic comedy and drama, nilalagay na din nila ako sa indie films, straight comedies at variety shows.

How can the Filipinos relate to the series?

Pinoy siya ‘eh. Laging may touch of family. Makikita mo ‘yung love ni Billie, kung gaano niya kamahal ang family niya, mga kaibigan niya. Kahit nai-intimidate siya sa mga lalaki, hindi siya nawawala sa sarili niya, lagi pa rin siyang on her feet. At tsaka, feeling ko lahat naman tayo pagdating sa young love, hindi naman nawawala ‘yung you look forward kung ano na susunod. Kasi lahat tayo dumadaan diyan. Ang sarap ma-inlove.

How many months will the series run?

Confirm lang sa amin is ‘yung regular na three months. Pero since nauuso naman din ‘yung extension, hopefully kung tanggapin at panuorin ng mga tao. Third time slot po siya, replacing “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

How was it working with director LA Madridejos for the first time?

Sobrang gaan niya makatrabaho. Experimental siya pagdating sa shots at tsaka sa pag-atake sa bawat eksena, which is helpful po sa aming mga actors para di kami ma typecast at tsaka di kami maging isang atake lang. Almost the same scene, iniiba niya ‘yung atake. And also, this is written by Rene Dimla, a Palanca awardee. Siya din ang nagsulat ng movie na, “Bakit Lahat ng Gwapo may Boyfriend.”

Barbie performs with her leading men Ivan Dorschner, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto and Addy Raj for the GMA Christmas Special which will air tonight, 8:55 p.m. after “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.”

Barbie performs with her leading men Ivan Dorschner, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto and Addy Raj for the GMA Christmas Special which will air tonight, 8:55 p.m. after “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.”

You are one of the so-called “mainstream” stars who have also worked in indie films. How has the experience been for you?

Sobrang iba lalo na sa production. Kasi sa teleserye, well taken care of ka, meron kang standby area, meron kang portalet, masarap ‘yung pagkain.

May production staff na make-up artist, wardrobe and stylist. Pag indie film, “indie” ka masyadong maganda, ang production pero kung quality din lang at kung acting-wise, gusto mo talagang ma-challenge, ito ‘yung dapat mong gawin na nakaka-satisfy bilang actor.

What was your reaction when you learned that you will be given your own star at the Walk of Fame Philippines this year?

Sobrang nakakatuwa. Di ko alam kung ano ang naging basehan for me. Kasi ‘yung mga nakasama ko nung gabing ‘yun, bata pa lang ako pinapanood ko na sila tapos naging katabi ko sila nung gabing ‘yun, napaka surreal ng gabing ‘yun for me. And very thankful ako to GMA, kasi lahat naman ng achievements ko, are under GMA naman talaga. Di nila ako pinabayaan.

Who among the seasoned stars do you want to emulate?

Ang hirap kasi ang dami. Pero acting wise, syempre si Miss Nora Aunor na nakatrabaho ko. Career-wise, Miss Gloria Romero. ‘Yun talagang kahit saan mo siya makita, ‘yung grace, ‘yung respeto nandun.

The title of the series is “Meant to Be.” Do you believe in destiny?

Oo, pero hindi lage. May mga bagay kasi na ina-assume mo lang pero meron talagang destiny. ‘Yung kahit ayaw mong mangyari, nangyayari talaga. Malalaman mo ‘yung reason, later on pa. Mare-realize mo na kaya pala nagkaganun. Hindi lang sa lovelife, sa career, sa family, sa friends, kundi lahat. Lahat ng nangyayari hindi siya coincidental, parang lahat may reason.

TAGS: acting, actor, actress, Barbie, Barbie Forteza, celebrity, Filipino, movie, role, series, television
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