First Yaya: Sanyaâs 1st title role
Sanya Lopez: I’m very thankful that GMA trusts me. What I can only promise is to work hard.
First Yaya: Sanya’s 1st title role
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sanya Lopez has been tapped to play the title role of the upcoming Kapuso original drama First Yaya. She is replacing Marian Rivera, the first choice for the role. The latter begged off from headlining the primetime series due to the lock-in taping that will prevent her from fulfilling mommy duties.

“It’s a first that I have been given a GMA primetime show wherein I’m in the title role,” replied Sanya when inquired if First Yaya is her biggest career break to date in a recent virtual media presscon, “I’m very thankful that (my network) trusts me. What I can only promise is to work hard and perform. Ang na-fi-feel ko ngayon, kabado at excited ako dahil alam ko na malaki ang i-ne-expect nila kay Yaya Melody.”

That is Sanya’s character, who is not that far different from the First Yaya the show’s team created for Marian.

“The core of the character hasn’t changed (it remains the same),” said First Yaya director LA Madridejos, “(like) Yaya Melody being the happy one, palaban at malapit sa bata (having a happy disposition in life, being a survivor and being close to kids).”

To become the small screen’s First Yaya, Sanya will use her life experiences, which, according to her, are her “rich source of inspiration.” When she lived in Pulilan, Bulacan, Sanya had the opportunity to take care of her grandmother, and when she was in Nagcarlan, Laguna, she looked after her younger cousins. “Nasubukan kong mag-timpla ng gatas, paliguan sila, magpatulog (I had my share of preparing milk drinks for kids, bathed them and put them to sleep).” Her efforts and caring nature are being appreciated by these kids who are all grown-ups now. Whatever blessings she receives from showbiz, Sanya shares them with loved ones.

“Hangga’t kaya kung tumulong, tutulong ako (If I have the means to help, I will),” she said, “hangga’t meron ako, meron sila, hindi lang sila, buong pamilya, kung sino yung may kailangan (I will extend it not just to my cousins, but also to my family or whoever is in need).”

At this point of the production, Sanya said, “I’m in the process of getting to know Yaya Melody with the help of director LA and the production team. So I will be able to give life and justice to it.” She will be given activities through Zoom to further understand what it is like to be in a nanny’s shoes.

Did Sanya audition for the role? People behind First Yaya said that she was their unanimous choice. They have seen her work in series like Haplos, Cain at Abel and Encantadia and her progress in handling acting challenges. They are convinced that Sanya fits the role and audiences can relate to her.

“Nakakakilig knowing that they trust me that much,” said Sanya, “na hindi sila nagdalawang isip (they never had second thoughts of handpicking me). Ang sarap lang na maraming tao na nagtitiwala sa’yo (It feels good that a lot of people trust and believe in me), I’m very happy.”

Prior to this project, Sanya was assigned to star in the action-adventure series Lolong with Ruru Madrid. Looking forward to start working on set, she did some preliminary prep for it. Then, one day, she got a call about her exclusion from Lolong that made her a bit sad. But at the end of it, she was also informed about her playing the First Yaya that made her day extra special.

Sanya will work with Gabby Concepcion, the VP-turned-president of the Philippines in the story. Her character is the nanny of his children. Viewers will be given a creative interpretation about a Presidential Yaya’s life. The show had consultants before the script was developed. Part of the research were a tour at the Malacañang and interviews with personalities, who have access to this world of Melody. There will be someone who sits through every taping day to see if the characters’ clothes and actions are close to reality.

Also in the cast are Pancho Magno, Pilar Pilapil, Cassy Legaspi and Joaquin “JD” Domagoso.

Cameras will begin to roll soon for the light, romantic comedy series.

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