From beauty queens to contravidas

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    Maxine Medina is a contravida in “First Yaya,” while Ariela Arida play Jinggoy Estrada’s mistress in the MMFF entry, “Coming Home.”

    MAXINE Medina, Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2016, is now a Kapuso actress. She plays Lorraine, a contravida to Sanya Lopez, and they will compete for the attention of Gabby Concepcion in GMA-7’s romantic-drama series, “First Yaya.”

    Maxine was part of the show’s lock in taping that just ended last week. After her stint as Miss Universe, Maxine first did some movies like “Beauty in a Bottle” and “Kusina Kings” for Star Cinema, and “Spirit of the Glass 2” for OctoArts Films.

    On TV, she did a lot of shows for ABS-CBN, like “Hanggang Saan” with Arjo Atayde, “Ipaglaban Mo,” and “Los Bastardos.” Her last project with ABS-CBN was “Beauty Queen” for iWant streaming channel, shown last July yet.

    “Wala naman akong contract sa ABS-CBN so I am free to do shows kahit saang channel,” she says.

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    Alfred Vargas is now the congressman of the fifth district of Quezon City, but his first love is acting, so he returns to making films every now and then. He just produced and starred in “Tagpuan,” an official Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry. It’s a romantic drama written by Ricky Lee and directed by MacArthur Alejandre, filmed on location in New York and Hong Kong. Alfred plays the central character in the story, Allan, a man who is separated from his wife Agnes, played by Iza Calzado, and finds new romance in a carefree young woman in Hongkong, Tanya, played by Shaina Magdayao.

    Then he meets Iza again in New York and his feelings for her are ignited once again, making him face a very serious dilemma. “A lot of people can relate with Allan,” says Alfred. “As a businessman, he’s very successful. But emotionally, he’s conflicted, he’s confused. People like him are always very busy, but they are in search of meaning in the relationships they have.”

    He’s lucky to have love scenes with both Iza and Shaina. “It’s a must to show the sexual interactions among the characters because the film is all about Allan trying to find himself.

    In order for him to do that, it’s not enough that he knows what his heart and mind want, he has to know how his body reacts, too. Magkaiba ang treatment ng love scenes to the two actresses I interact with. The one I had with Shaina as Tanya is more liberating. It serves as a means of catharsis for my character. It was all about being free and uninhibited. ‘Yung kay Iza as Agnes, my estranged wife, was more like reconciliation for them. It was like Allan finds himself again after being lost for a long time and it felt like nothing has changed between them after all the years of their being apart.”

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    Director Lore Reyes wants to emphasize that he and the late Peque Gallaga are not directors of the MMFF entry, “Magikland,” but executive producers. They conceptualized everything but decided to get a younger director who will be fit for the material that is mainly for kids. Their choice is TV commercial director Christian Acuña, who used to be a student of Peque in filmmaking.

    They’re very pleased be with Direk Christian’s superlative work in the movie. “There were times when Peque and I, nalilimutan naming siya nga pala ang director at nakikialam kami.

    So we would check ourselves and say sorry to him. Ang P200 million budget nito, siguro, katumbas na ng anim na pelikula.””

    At the movie’s press con, Lore was asked what can he say about Robin Padilla’s rant against the current entries because his own entry, “Memoirs of a Rebel,” did not make it as an official entry. He said the screening committee’s way of choosing entries remain to be in the “old normal” when we’re now in the “new normal.”

    And this is Direk Lore’s statement: “Ang reaction ko lang diyan, sana kung nanggagaling ‘yan sa bunganga ng isang taong nakagawa ng matinong pelikula, maniniwala ako. Not from Robin Padilla, excuse me!”

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    Ariella Arida won the Bb. Pilipinas Universe title in 2013 and represented our country in the Miss Universe pageant held that year in Moscow. She was third runner-up, the only Asian to make it among the top finalists. She has now made her first movie, “Coming Home,” where she plays an OFW in Qatar who becomes the other woman of Jinggoy Estrada, whose legal wife, Sylvia Sanchez, is in Manila with their children.

    In the movie’s Zoom press con, Ariella says her joining the movies wasn’t planned. “It’s my manager, Arnold Vegafria, na nagsali sa akin sa project,” she said. “Sabagay, kahit ‘yung pagiging beauty queen ko, hindi rin planned, nangyari na lang. Things just happen kung talagang para sa iyo. But being a beauty titlist helped in opening a lot of opportunities for me. Una ‘yung hosting and now, acting.”