Jolina: The learning goes on
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2015 - 10:00am

After 27 years in the business (she started when she was nine years old), you’d think there is nothing more you could teach Jolina Magdangal. But even she herself was surprised to discover that there’s always something new you can learn.

When she first moved back to ABS-CBN after 12 years at GMA, Jolina was given two projects -— the reality singing competition Your Face Sounds Familiar and the Kapamilya Gold drama Flor de Liza. Both projects were out of her comfort zone, which is romantic comedy. So Jolina had to learn new tricks, master the art of impersonation for Your Face Sounds Familiar, and challenge herself by doing heavy drama with crying scenes and kissing scenes (it was her first time to do that, play a mistress, lie in a casket, and also the first time for her character to die) for Flor de Liza, which ended its run recently after seven months on the air.

In short, Jolina had to learn how to stretch herself creatively to meet the demands of both shows.

“You experience a different kind of pressure in (Your Face Sounds Familiar) because it’s a competition. And when it comes to music, I go for easy-listening songs, eh ‘yung Your Face Sounds Familiar, may impersonation pa na hindi patawa. In Flor de Liza, even if I’m more into romantic comedies, I was made to do drama ng bonggang-bongga ni direk (Wenn Deramas). So parehong show na bumungad sa akin sa ABS, kahit ako na-surprise ako.”

Flor de Liza, in particular, was a novel experience in so many ways, says Jolina. “Dito, halos kabuuan ng show, may sakit ako. First time ko maging kabit, first time na gumawa na may sakit ako at first time ko din humiga sa kabaong. Gusto ko din kasi ma-feel kung ano ang pakiramdam na nasa loob. Parang curious din ako. So in-enjoy ko siya.”

The dramatic scenes were not that easy even for an actor of her experience to execute. But direk Wenn gave her some advice on how to handle them that somehow made them easier.

“’Pag may mga crying scene dati, kabado na ako kasi di ako sanay umiyak-iyak. Hindi mo na ako makakausap kasi kabadong-kabado na ako. Dito, pinaramdam sa akin ni direk Wenn na ‘wag ko masyado paghandaan, baka di magmukhang natural.”

What also helped her in Flor de Liza was that she had something in common with the character.

“The reason I found it easier to cry in my scenes because I was a mother (in the series), it was my first time to do a role who had a child. Being a mom myself helped at saka timing din dahil nu’ng ginagawa namin ang show, nasa kasagsagan na ako ng pagiging high sa pagka-mommy ko, masayang-masaya ako. Kumbaga, perfect timing lahat, na bumalik ako ng ABS-CBN, I was ready physically, emotionally and mentally, OK na OK na ang feeling ko.”

It also helped that she was working with people she knew. “Timing din na komportable ako sa mga kasama ko, like Marvin (Agustin),” she says with a laugh. “First time namin ni Marvin na may kissing scene, ha. So I would never forget this show.”

Jolina was encouraged to try all these new things because she had confidence in direk Wenn.

“I trusted direk kasi alam ko na gagawin niya ang mga ‘yon (the crying scenes, kissing scene and death scene) not because he wanted the show to be controversial or to be talked about, but because they were needed in the story.”

This was no problem for her because, in Jolina’s view, the willingness to dare, dream, challenge and reinvent yourself constantly is an important quality for every actor to have.

Flor de Liza was thus an opportunity to put her money where her mouth is. “That’s why I agreed to do the series because I had a lot of new things to show to the people. Same thing with Your Face Sounds Familiar. Alam kong maraming magugulat sa pwede kong magawa. Kahit 27 years na ako sa industriya, kahit ako, kahit alam ko sa sarili ko na meron pa, timing din na gusto ko pa mag-grow, na meron pa akong gustong ipakita.”

Jolina’s next project will be Dreamscape Entertainment’s Written In Our Stars, with Toni Gonzaga, Sam Milby and Piolo Pascual. And like all her other projects, it will be another chance for her to stretch her wings and fly.

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