For the past seven months, actress Janice de Belen has been in La Vida Lena, playing the role of Ramona, Erich Gonzales’s close friend and ally in the successful drama series. When she was first offered the role, Janice said she considered it a big blessing.
“It was my first lock-in experience, first show during the pandemic. Siyempre nung una nakaka-nerbiyos kasi how will we do it? But then when we were there, in one way or another we all bonded, we got to know our co-stars more which is very rare pagka nagkatrabaho kayo during normal conditions. Kasi minsan hi hello lang. Pag hindi naman kayo magka-eksena hindi kayo magkakausap. Pero dito para kayong isang pamilya na nasa isang bahay. They are the first people you see in the morning, they are the last people you see before you sleep. So they see you at your most vulnerable moments. Naka-pajama, naka-duster na lang, magku-kuwentuhan sandali. It was fun. Apart from doing the show, ang bumuo sa amin was more being in an area na kayo kayo lang ang magkakasama. It was the bubble,” she shared during the La Vida Lena finale media conference last January 31.
Even with more than four decades of acting under her belt, Janice admitted working during a pandemic was a very different kind of experience.
“I think ang tumatak sa amin lahat, not just the project itself but experiencing all this and being able to work under these conditions. When you know na work was so scarce for everybody and yet you have a job. So you feel the gratitude even more. And natuwa ako kasi sila JC (De Vera) and si Kit (Thompson), probably under normal conditions hanggang hi hello ang masasabi mo diyan kasi wala naman kayong eksena. Pero dito nakausap ko si JC, nakausap ko si Kit. So you get to know the people you’re working with which makes working together so much easier,” she recalled.
With all the dramatic confrontation scenes with Agot Isidro which helped catapult the series as the most watched show on iWantTFC, Janice said they both actually enjoyed hating on each other when the cameras were rolling and considered it the most memorable scenes in the project.
“Yung first tarayan naman. Yun yung lalabas na ako as one of the owners of yung soap business ni Lena. So it was fun because habang nag-re-rehearse kami, nagbabatuhan kami ng linya. Kung anu ano pa yung kini-create namin na additional lines because we were having so much fun. Kasi it’s so much fun to do scenes like this with people you’re comfortable with. Yung hindi ka mag-wo-worry that they might take it the wrong way if mapalakas yung pagbato mo ng wine or kung may sampalan man at mapalakas yung sampal mo. Alam mong working with actors like this, you’ll feel comfortable doing these things kasi alam mong they won’t take it personally. This is really part of our job, this is what we’re supposed to do, so we’ll do it how people want us to do it. After nun wala kaming ginagawa kungi magtawanan ng magtawanan,” she explained.
During the finale mediacon, the La Vida Lena actress was asked to share advice for women with physical imperfections just like lead actress Erich Gonzales’s character Lena on the show. During this time, the veteran actress revealed her own struggle with having physical insecurities.
“I’ve always believed that a woman’s best kept beauty secret is her disposition. Because your attitude, the way your look at life and things emanates from within. So it makes you beautiful the way you look at things and the way you see life. Yun ang dapat nakikita ng mga tao. For a long time I’ve had a lot of insecurities with my body kasi hindi naman ako kasing sexy ni Erich (Gonzales), hindi rin ako kasing sexy ni Agot (Isidro). I’m not even tall. So para sa akin, so what? You have to be yourself. At some point in your life you’ve got to accept that this is you. Ayaw niyo eh di huwag niyo. I do my job. This is who I am. I am true to myself at yun ang pinapkita ko sa inyo at yun ang pinaka importante di ba? It’s not always about your body shape or body height or how much makeup you have on or how tulis our nose is. It’s not about that. It’s about who you are. And you should be proud of that,” she said.
Catch La Vida Lena: The Final Rampa, weeknights at 10 pm on Kapamilya Channel and Jeepney TV on Cable, Kapamilya Online Live on Facebook and YouTube, A2Z Channel 11, TV5 on Free TV and Digital TFC for Kapamilyas abroad.