Yam Concepcion:'Bida, kontrabida labels don’t really matter to me’

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Yam Concepcion:'Bida, kontrabida labels donât really matter to meâ
I think one of the things I’ve discovered (from doing Love Thy Woman) is that I am a lot braver than I thought I was from when I first started. I used to have so much selfdoubt and easily get intimidated by big actors and directors. But over the years, I’d like to think that I’ve surpassed all the challenges thrown at me and just going for it!

Yam Concepcion wasn’t the first choice to play the role of Dana Wong, one of the women caught up in complicated familial relationships and conflicts in the ABS-CBN family saga Love Thy Woman.

But when Love Thy Woman ends tomorrow, Sept. 11, the 32-year-old Viva artist can pat herself on the back for another “kontrabida” job well done after Halik.

“Hindi nga sana dapat para sa akin itong role na ito, but siguro it was really meant to be,” Yam recalled during a recent virtual presscon while thanking the ABS-CBN production unit Dreamscape Entertainment for including her in the project.

The risk of taking on one kontrabida role after another though is that you accumulate haters along the way. She shared that she has been called kabit in public if not outrightly ignored by people “because feeling nila mataray daw ako which in person, I’m very far from that.” Worse, she had experienced receiving private messages “na parang ‘Papatayin kita,’ to the extent.” Note, however, that Yam related these stories with an unaffected tone and a rather amused expression because that’s how she really finds these intense reactions.

She said, “Never naman ako nainis. To be honest, natatawa ako. I don’t take them personally. I don’t know, but just like me, naiinis din ako, as an audience member, pag meron akong napapanood na isang kontrabida din. I feel like ganun din sila in a way that nakikita nila ang naiinisan nila sa TV tapos nadadala nila sa totoong buhay. I mean c’mon, there’s more to them (our audience) that, I think, they can separate real life from my reel character.”

Meanwhile, Yam admitted that she will miss the cast, especially the impressive roster of women — Eula Valdez, Sunshine Cruz, Ruffa Gutierrez and Kim Chiu — she has worked with on the series. “Ito walang bola, walang halong showbiz, I will really miss all our behind the scenes, our bonding moments,” she said.

While she wished to have spent more time getting to know them, the lock-in taping for the last episodes due to the COVID-19 situation definitely brought them closer together.

The STAR had an exclusive e-mail interview with Yam ahead of the series ender this Friday.

Looking back on your Love Thy Woman journey, what have you discovered about yourself as an actress while doing this series?

“I think one of the things I’ve discovered is that I am a lot braver than I thought I was from when I first started. I used to have so much self-doubt and easily get intimidated by big actors and directors. But over the years, I’d like to think that I’ve surpassed all the challenges thrown at me and just going for it! With the motto ‘believe in yourself, you can do it’ in mind (smiley).”

Where can we see you next? Still willing to do a “kontrabida” role right after Love Thy Woman? What other dream roles do you have in mind?

“I now have a YouTube channel, launched just three months ago. I upload one video per week and that’s every Saturday at 6 p.m.! So, subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t, haha!

“Am I willing to do another kontrabida role after Love Thy Woman? Of course why not. I love and enjoy being the kontrabida. It’s so fun! Bida, kontrabida, bida-kontrabida and all those labels/titles... it doesn’t really matter to me. What’s important is I believe in the project, I like the role and see myself portraying that character.

“Good news! I’ll be working on a new teleserye! Still with ABS-CBN Kapamilya Channel!!! That’s exciting. Can’t tell you much about the show yet. I was gonna do that show after Halik. But had to do Love Thy Woman first (smiley). So grateful that it’s still pushing through despite everything.

“Dream roles? Hmm... I have a lot! One of the many is Villanelle (a hired assassin) from Killing Eve. Seems like a role you can have a lot of fun with ‘cause of her many personalities and accents. Love her outfits!!! She’s such a complicated character, sexually and just how she is, generally. She’s so entertainingly creepy!”

How do you find the new normal of shooting series? Can you share with us how you are able to adjust?

“The new normal of shooting is very challenging! Fewer people on the set, space is limited depending on the location, we work only 12 hours max a day, which is good. But it gets tiring also ‘cause we tape every day. One free day per taping week.

“I do my own make-up, hair and retouches which isn’t a big adjustment for me kasi ako naman talaga gumagawa ng make-up ko sa taping ever since. The biggest adjustment for me is not being able to go home after work. ‘Cause now the set-up is we are locked in for two to three weeks. No going home, no visitors, for the safety of everyone. We follow safety guidelines, we get tested (for COVID-19) on pull-out day and before going home. I just get really homesick!!! When I’m locked in, I miss my family and dogs. I’m not used to not seeing them every day. So, I guess that’s the biggest adjustment for me.”

During the quarantine, what’s the main thing you’ve learned about yourself? Other stars have been sharing how they’ve struggled, grown or changed during the lockdown.

“I used to spend the whole day taping and I would just come home to sleep for a few hours and leave immediately for work the next day. So this quarantine, I got to spend so much more time with my family and it made me realize that I shouldn’t take these precious moments for granted. Also I’ve gotten to know myself better now and learned to be more accepting of who I am and who I am not (smiley).”

Lastly, what do you look forward to doing once the quarantine period is over?

“I would love to travel again!!! Watch a concert or something, or go Arctic char fishing in Alaska with Miguel (Cuunjieng), the love of my life, hehe!”

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