Since her appearance in local films as a child actress in the early 1970s, Gina Alajar has raked in several awards that prove she can do just about anything. Gina is also known for kontrabida roles throughout her fruitful career.
This year, however, Gina won’t be returning as an antagonist. Instead, she’s taking on the role of Lola Ligaya “Joy” Sison, the grandmother of Bea Alonzo and Yasmien Kurdi’s characters in the much-awaited GMA series, Start-Up PH.
Lola Joy is the Filipino counterpart of Choi Won-deok. She owns a turon cart, Banana Sa-Wrap, where she sells different kinds of turon in a park.
Start-Up PH is the Filipino adaptation of the hit 2020 South Korean series. It follows the original concept, which delves into the most advanced tech sectors, giving viewers a glimpse of the struggles and challenges when building a successful business from the ground up.
With all her experience in the entertainment industry, one would think that taking on that role would be a breeze for Gina. Yet that’s not the case. According to the veteran actress, moving away from kontrabida roles proved challenging.
“It’s a big step. Totally ibang-iba doon sa kontrabida roles na ginagampanan ko. I must admit nahirapan ako noong una because I saw the K-drama 2020 pa,” Gina said during a solo media conference.
Although it’s been two years, Gina kept from watching the show, even if she remembers most of it. She hoped it wouldn’t change her perspective of her role and stop her from copying the character entirely. But during shooting, the veteran actress wanted to check her emotions and actions for her scenes. In the end, she rewatched the series.
Gina felt nervous and requested to reshoot some of her scenes. She also asked Start-Up PH director Jerry Sineneng while showing him her script.
“Pinakita ko yung script ko kasi pinag-aaralan ko siya. May mga comment ako, ‘pwede na,’ ‘palpak,’ mga gan’on. But Direk Jerry assured me. Sabi niya, ‘Direk Gina, ‘wag ka mag-alala because kung hindi naman tama, ipapaulit ko sa’yo,’” Gina shared.
The reassurance gave Gina confidence, but she realized that maybe she was trapping herself in the character of Mrs. Choi from the original series. Eventually, she encouraged herself to break free from the compelling performance and create her own.
“Alam ko na kailangan maramdaman ni Lola Joy sa eksena. Then, ‘yun ‘yung sundin ko because my intuition will not let me down,” she said.
Her artistic side as an actress always led her down the right path. Gina even shared that before she sleeps at night, she would think if she did the right thing during the shoot. It became a habit for her to check a scene and its previous sequence to determine the emotion and headspace.
Whether starring in a lead or supporting role, Gina will always give it her all, proving why she’s worthy of all the praise and accolades she received.
The series will premiere locally and internationally in September on GMA Network.