Nerisa is a dream role for Cindy Miranda

Charmie Joy Pagulong - The Philippine Star
Nerisa is a dream role for Cindy Miranda
Cindy on her acting career: This is really my dream (to be in showbiz). I feel na ito talaga ang gusto kong mangyari sa buhay ko. And of course, after that, I’ll have my family. Gusto ko po muna ibigay lahat dito. And I’ll see, kung saan po ako mapupunta, at least I gave my best.
Photos from Cindy Miranda’s Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — Playing the title role in the upcoming sexy drama Nerisa is a dream come true for Cindy Miranda.

“Sobrang pressure po yun actually. Alam mo po ‘yung dream come true na ang bigat. It’s a make it or break it,” said the 27-year-old Viva artist in an exclusive virtual interview with The STAR.

In the film, she plays the enigmatic Nerisa, who was saved by Obet (Aljur Abrenica) when he found her floating in the sea. Strange things and misfortunes started to surface in the island following the incident. The blame was thrown at her by the folks living on the island and she was even suspected to be a mermaid because of her unique beauty and mystery.

As the synopsis put it, Nerisa was “lusted by men and envied by women.”

When her husband, Obet, went missing in a sea accident, “she committed herself to do and give everything — including her body — to find him.”

Dangerous stunts

During the interview, Cindy recalled the experiences she went through while filming. “Natapat po tayo sa pandemic. Lock-in taping sa isla (in Alabat Island, Quezon). Wala po kaming air-con dun. Napakainit tapos biglang babagyo. Tent po namin, open. It was very different sa normal tapings.”

She even did the difficult stunts by herself and wounded her face by accident. “Andami ko pong sugat at pasa. Ganun po ka-grabe ang journey ni Nerisa? I had a cut on my face. Eh meron po akong scene ‘nung gabi. Medyo malalim po, dumudugo siya. Pumasok sa eksena (with wounded nose).”

She did everything for the first time, “Underwater (scenes). Pagtalon dito. Pagtakbo diyan. Whatever kahit delikado po.” Relating her fearless attitude in real life to Nerisa, she continued, “I think nakatulong po yun sa pagbilis ng movie. Kasi pag nag-inarte po ako, kawawa kami.” They had to finish the movie as soon as possible, citing bad weather and limited time and resources as reasons.

“You need to help everyone, yourself. Even if you’re already scared, you won’t show it. You just have to do it? And then, kung magkakasugat ka, sabi ko, mag-he-heal din yan.”

So, what made her say yes to the dangerous and daring role? “Minsan ka lang bigyan ng pagkakataon. I’ve waited a long time to get a lead role and it’s a title role pa po,” said Cindy. “Of course, Ricky Lee wrote it and Lawrence Fajardo is director, who am I to turn it down? When you read the script, you’ll definitely won’t think twice. I had to do it, without any reservation.”

More than just a sexy movie

Some cinema aficionados would compare Nerisa to Celso Ad. Castillo’s Isla and Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa, but Cindy refuted, “We are offering a new one. We want na kahit may sexy, it’s the character. It’s the story.”

“Napakahirap po ng role ni Nerisa. Akala po nila sexy lang si Nerisa dito. Actually, it’s really not. It’s not even half of the character of Nerisa. She can be sexy maybe through her eyes. But not ‘yung magpakita ng katawan,” she encouraged the viewers to watch the film to see the difference.

Cindy also lauded direk Law’s guidance while on set. “Napakabait po. Siya yung direktor na hindi ka matatakot na gawin kung ano yung gusto mong gawin. He respects you — as an actress.”

She thanked the award-winning director for the trust he had given her. “Very open (on suggestions)? He will let you act first, and then, kung meron man siyang gustong idagdag, sasabihin niya. But most of the time, wala. Anggulo lang yung next namin. He’s okay with that. He feels that you know what’s really happening.

“He trusted me… At feeling ko, nag-jibe po kami sa gusto naming mangyari sa movie. And that’s very important in the actor-director relationship,” she added.

Chemistry with Aljur

When asked about how she and her leading man Aljur developed the chemistry, especially in the love scenes, Cindy said they both trusted each other.

“Wala po kaming workshop ever,” shared the newbie actress. “So imagine ‘yung first scene namin, we didn’t know each other. We were strangers. But then napakabait po ni Aljur. Very madaldal siya. Makuwento. At ease ka palagi. Very open siya sa lahat. I don’t think siya yung tao na ma-ju-judge ka to whatever. Nagtiwala din po siya sa akin agad. So pinagkatiwalaan ko din po siya.”

It was Cindy’s first time to do a love scene with a male actor as her last film was Adan, an erotic thriller that paired her with Rhen Escaño. “Siyempre nandun pa rin ‘yung takot. Siyempre, Aljur as lalaki, gina-guide niya ako. He made me feel na ‘You’re safe with me. Don’t worry.’”

Cindy was earlier tagged in Aljur’s “break-up” with wife Kylie Padilla. Some netizens linked her to the issue after Robin Padilla confirmed in a virtual interview that his daughter and Aljur had called it quits due to an alleged “third party.” She was quick to dismiss the rumor that she was the “third party” and the issue has since died down.

Transition from beauty queen to actress

Before becoming an actress, Cindy was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Tourism in 2013 with Jonas Gaffud as her manager. She also won Miss Teen Philippines Region 1 and Miss Philippines Earth Baguio titles.

She struggled to find acting gigs because she is a beauty queen, Cindy revealed, until ABS-CBN tapped her in the horror-fantasy series La Luna Sangre in 2017 and in some Maalaala Mo Kaya episodes. She played a lesbian role in 2019’s Adan.

Now, she gets to star in the title role in Nerisa. “Nakakatuwa po. Nabigyan po ako ng chance na mag-lead. Mahirap pa rin po,” said Cindy. “Lahat naman dumadaan sa prosesong mahirap. Until now. But then, as I’ve said, this is what I want. I’m willing to go through that difficult process because it’s really necessary.”

Nevertheless, she was thankful for her roles in the ABS-CBN teleserye and in other series she was part of because people started to notice her.

The former beauty queen was also grateful for her stint in the world of pageantry as it helped her “loosen up” to be an actress. “Hindi ko po talaga pinlano (to be a beauty queen) Ang kagandahan po talaga is nag-loosen up ako sa pagiging artista. Ang hirap po ng transition kasi siyempre nasanay ka na maganda ka palagi. Prim and proper. And now, lahat ginagawa mo, umiyak, magwala, maging lesbian (as an artist).”

She even gained a lot of lesbian fans after starring in Adan. “You don’t expect that from a beauty queen but I’m proud.?Very thankful po ako na na-appreciate nila ako. I feel na tumayo ako for them, for that moment.”

‘Single blessedness’

The self-confessed introvert beauty queen-turned-actress admitted she has been single for a “very long time” to the point that others would think that she is a lesbian. Her focus right now is on her showbiz career which has been her “ultimate dream.”

“I feel na ang focus ko po ay career talaga kasi siyempre hindi naman sa lahat ng pagkakataon bibigyan ka ng break. I hope ito ‘yung time na mabigyan ng break na makilala talaga,” said Cindy.

“Because this is really my dream (to be in showbiz). I feel na ito talaga ang gusto kong mangyari sa buhay ko. And of course, after that, I’ll have my family. Gusto ko po muna ibigay lahat dito. And I’ll see where this goes, at least I gave my best,” adding that her dream guy would be someone like her, who is “very ambitious.” She also hopes to win a Best Actress award someday.

Cindy was born and raised in Nueva Ecija. Kathryn Bernardo was her schoolmate in elementary. She spent her high school days in Baguio City and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management.

Originally, Cindy’s dad wanted her to be a doctor but she pursued her passion for acting. Her dad passed on two years ago.

She lives with her two dogs, a kasambahay and mom, who is in Dubai. She has four siblings.

Nerisa also stars veteran actors Elizabeth Oropesa and Bembol Roco, Sheree Bautista, AJ Raval and Sean de Guzman.

(Discover the truth behind the mystery of Nerisa on its global premiere on July 30 on ktx.ph, iWantTFC, TFC IPTV and Vivamax.)

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