Todays Screen Mean Queens… and Why are they the Best?
By Joseph Peter R. Gonzales
Up to this very day, successful screen projects are not without a villainess for oppressing their favorite screen heroine. The female antagonist serves as the perfect foil for the lead actress. This is a tried-and-tested formula in the ‘biz.
In the Philippine entertainment industry, one main ingredient for a film or soap opera to really catch the viewers’ interest is to have a “contravida” who will make life miserable for the lead star. Most often, it’s the villain who provides the major conflict in the story. As the main star gets oppressed, the audience sympathizes. And this is the complete opposite when the villain gets punished, the viewing public rejoices.
Over the decades, a lot of female screen villains have made their indelible marks in the world of make-believe. Starting with the late Etang Discher, many character actresses forayed into the limelight as top notch ‘contravidas’ like Zeny Zabala, Carol Vargas, Odette Khan, Lilian Laing, Rosemarie Gil, Marissa Delgado and of course, the late Bella Flores who is regarded as local showbiz’s premiere villainess. Other renowned actresses who portrayed classic bad girl roles on screen are: Celia Rodriguez, Melanie Marquez, Armida Siguion-Reyne, Elizabeth Oropesa, Mylene Dizon, Gladys Reyes, Jean Garcia, Princess Punzalan and Cherie Gil.
A scene like slapping, hair-pulling or mere exchange of verbal expletives becomes an instant hit among the viewers. It is imperative therefore that the villainess must be very effective in her portrayal to affect the audience.
At this point, there’s a handful of young female villains who set the screen on fire when they start their assault on the central female character. People hate them for wreaking havoc in the life of their favourite ‘bida.’ This only shows how effective these new crop of screen baddies are. Their acting prowess is in full display and clearly have a bright future as reliable thespians in the years to come.
Alessandra De Rossi
*Unforgettable wicked character -Valentina in GMA-7’s first installation of its epic tele-fantasya Darna.
At the tender age of 16, Alex has already won a FAMAS Best Supporting Actress statuette for her performance in the movie Azucena where she pitted acting skills with seasoned thespians Glydel Mercado and Ricky Davao. It was evident that early that she would take the route of serious acting rather than sporting the cutesy teeny-bopper image.
As one of contemporary time’s prime screen villainesses, she made life hard for the likes of Angel Locsin (Darna), Bea Alonzo (I Love Betty La Fea) and Heart Evangelista (Legacy).
Playing the role of snake queen Valentina in Darna, Alex sizzled on screen, matching Angel’s arresting screen presence as the Pinay superhero. Mixing drama with sarcasm and humour, her Valentina is one modern classic. These days, Alessandra balances her act by also breathing life to nice characters and being a TV host which just proves her versatility. Still, boob tube fanatics will always remember and miss her mean portrayals which catapulted her as one of the leading female screen villains of contemporary ‘biz.
*Unforgettable wicked character-Angelika Santibañez in GMA-7’s Marimar.
Katrina is part of the original StarStruck talent search whose Ultimate Female Survivor was Jennylyn Mercado. With her seductive appeal and curvaceous figure, she instantly landed the pages of leading men’s magazines and figured prominently in surveys of the sexiest female stars.
As a screen villainess, she made waves in the action-fantasy Darna (first as Black Darna in the Angel Locsin original, and Serpina in the Marian Rivera version), Majika (as Juno), Rosalinda (as Fedra), Ang Munting Heredera (as Lynette), Beauty Queen (as Dorcas) and Destiny Rose (as Jasmine). Apart from Angel, other stars who experienced her meanness on screen were Carla Abellana, Camille Prats, Iza Calzado and even Ken Chan in Destiny Rose.
But the classic one is playing the character of Angelika in Marimar where she really made life complicated for Marian. This would always remain to be her most popular antagonist part on TV.
Although Kat was also given projects which she top-billed like the remake of Magdusa Ka and the movie One Night Only, still, the public regards her as one of the most effective female ‘contravidas’ these days.
Glaiza De Castro
*Unforgettable wicked character-Eunice in the Philippine remake of Stairway to Heaven.
Definitely, Glaiza is a wellspring of talent considering her acting and musical gifts. She actually started with the Kapuso but moved to the Kapamilya lot, only to return to her original home in 2006. From there, she was able to establish herself as one of the major screen villainesses of her time.
She made waves as Maxene Magalona’s haughty stepsister in the remake of the Sharon Cuneta classic tearjerker Kung Aagawin Mo ang Lahat sa Akin. In the reboot of the popular Koreanovela Temptation of Wife, she was very good as Marian Rivera’s tormentor.
However, her landmark ‘contravida’ part will always be Eunice in Stairway to Heaven where she made life difficult for Rhian Ramos just to get the love of Dingdong Dantes.
Glaiza also nabbed lead parts in Kaputol ng Isang Awit and Grazilda which also had positive ratings reception. But clearly, the public always expect something new and fresh from her if she’s doing a bad role on screen.
This year, she will breathe life to the role of Pirena in the grand remake of Encantadia. A character originally brought to life by Sunshine Dizon, she is the most feisty among the Sanggres, and at one point will become an antagonist in the story.
*Unforgettable wicked character – Clara in the remake of the ABS-CBN classic tearjerker Mara Clara.
She is definitely one of the most exciting young actresses of this generation because of her versatility. She can be both mean and nice in her on-screen portrayals and appear convincing.
Julia rose to prominence in 2010 when ABS-CBN remade one of its classic soaps Mara Clara originally top-billed by Judy Ann Santos and Gladys Reyes. The Filipino-German star served as the perfect foil to Kathryn Bernardo’s meek Mara character. And she essayed the part with flair and conviction! She possessed the meanness required to make Kathryn pitiful on screen.
In her next projects, the beauteous lass is able to prove that she can be a female lead as well: Walang Hanggan, Muling Buksan ang Puso and Ikaw Lamang in which she bagged a Best Actress trophy from the Gawad Tanglaw Awards.
In the movie scene, she also made vehicles that displayed not only her screen charm but also her acting skills. These are: A Moment in Time, The Strangers, The Reunion, Halik sa Hangin and Way Back Home.
At present, she is delineating twin characters in the hit afternoon soap Doble Kara, one good, the other bad. Because of her effective portrayal, she got her second Best Actress plum from the Gawad Tanglaw Awards, an attestation of her growing acting skills.
*Unforgettable wicked character – Ashley in the phenomenal Kapuso afternoon drama The Half Sisters.
Thea is the female grand prize winner of the GMA-7 reality show Protégé during its second season. Shy at first, the Calamba native gradually overcame said weakness and surprised the judges with her artistic talents. She is actually a singer and composer by heart.
Her first “contravida” role came when the popular ‘90s soap Anna Karenina was remade. She played the role of Angel, who was later found out in the story as the fake Anna Karenina. That early, Thea’s considerable acting capacity was seen by avid TV buffs.
She also headlined her own show, Pyra, ang Babeng Apoy but in 2014, she became one of the leads in one of the longest-running afternoon soaps in contemporary setting, The Half Sisters which widen her range as an actress. In the show, she made life miserable for Barbie Forteza and came up with a performance praised by critics. This established her as one of the most reliable junior screen villainesses these days.