After accepting a Rising Star Award in New York, Therese Malvar is making her way to the top especially now that she's realized what her true passion is.
She said, "Na-in love po ako sa pag-arte, parang naging passion ko na po yun. So very thankful po ako na at a very young age, na-discover ko na po one of my passions which is acting. Kasi sobrang na-in love po ako sa pag-arte na ibang tao po, and being behind the camera, it's nice to see the director, the editing, the color grading, ganun po."
She further stressed, "There's plenty going on behind the camera so doon po ako na-in love kasi parang iba po yung nasa camera ngayon, 'pag 'action!' na po parang ibang tao na po ako. Parang nagustuhan ko na po yung feeling na yun."
The 15-year-old actress originally wanted to become a nun, since she was named after one, St. Therese Martin.
The actress formerly known as Teri Malvar narrated, "Unexpected po yung pagiging actress ko po kasi from Prep to Grade 6, ang dream po ko is to become a nun, madre.
"Kasi po pinangalan po ako sa Patron Saint of the Millenium, St. Therese Martin. So na-in love po ako sa story niya and sa lifestyle niya kaya gustong-gusto ko po maging madre nun. Kaya unexpected po sa kanila na bigla pong naging actress ako, umaarte po ako."
Prior to this, Therese didn't really have any acting experience. For this reason, her winning the Best Actress trophy for Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita is a commendable feat, made even more historic when she was able to beat Nora Aunor and other veteran stars.
Therese told the press, "Nung sa ang Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita po, the director mismo, si Direk Sigrid [Bernardo] siya po ang nag-workshop sa akin pero not acting but yung role ko mismo which is a young lesbian. So yun yung naging first workshop ko po pero yung actual formal workshop ko po is through GMA Artist Center."
Her mom, Cherry Malvar, a theater actress for the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and former Teatro Tomasino member, inspired her to pursue acting.
Therese recalled, "Kasi yung mom ko po, siya yung nagti-theater, theater actress po siya. Tapos bored po ako nun, summer, and nag-o-audition po yung mom ko sa mga film festivals, yung mga panel tapos gusto ko pong sumama para may magawa po, ganun po.
"Before po nun nagde-declamation po ako sa school and everything so na-inspire po ako sa mom ko mag-acting. Tapos yun po, nung nagpunta po kami sa auditions panel, magkasunod lang po kami ni mommy, nasa isang linya lang po kami."
ANG HULING CHA-CHA NI ANITA. During her auditions for Ang Huling Cha-Cha Ni Anita, Therese was briefed by the director herself about the character she's applying for. Therese played the role of Anita, whose sexual awakening was triggered by a new woman in their town which she shares the same name. The actress who played the older Anita is Angel Aquino.
Therese recalled, "Sabi ni [Direk Sigrid], 'Butch or lesbian yung role. Are you willing to do it?' Sabi ko yes, tapos yung sumunod na tanong 'Are you willing to kiss a girl?'
"Kasi sa pelikula po, hinalikan ko po si Tita Angel Aquino. Tapos sabi ko po, 'Which body part?' Tapos nagtawanan po yung mga tao."
One of the hardest scenes she had to do for this film is her kissing scene with Angel. Therese admitted to crying before the actual shoot for the scene but Sigrid and her co-star Angel managed to calm her down and gave her advice on how to do the sensitive scene.
Therese detailed, "Before the take po, umiyak po ako kasi ayaw ko pong gawin. Pero sabi ni Tita Angel, 'Hayaan mo pagkatapos ng eksena bibilhan kita ng dalawang containers ng Cookies and Cream na ice cream.'
"Kaya sabi niya parang motherly kiss lang naman kaya i-try ko. So ayun po, because of that ginawa ko po and talagang binilhan niya po ako ng ice cream."
With this kind of serious story lines portrayed in the film, Therese consults a psychologist in case she needed to fully understand the situation.
She told PEP, "Sa Anita po yung mom ni Direk Sigrid is a psychologist so just in case na may hindi po ako maintindihan, itatanong ko po sa kanya. Pero so far naiintindihan ko naman po yung mga nangyayari."
Therese's portrayal of a lesbian character didn't come without consequences. At the time, she was studying at a Catholic school which later found out about her controversial character. After hearing about the news of her win, Therese was told that the school won't be allowing her to enroll the next school year.
She recounted, "Yung dati ko pong school Catholic private school po. Nung pinalabas po tapos nung nanalo po akong Best Actress, nagalit po yung principal sa akin. E, madre po yun, nagalit po sa akin, sinigawan po ako. Sabi sa akin, next year hindi na raw po ako tanggap ng school."
FUTURE PLANS. After her indie film success, Therese plans to renew her contract with GMA Artist Center which will expire this August. The young actress will also star in a new teleserye later this year.
One of her previous acting jobs for the Kapuso network is an episode for Karelasyon with Nora Aunor. Therese admitted that she got starstruck while working with the Superstar.
She admitted, "Sobrang na-starstruck po ako sa kanya kasi 'The Nora Aunor.' Yung mom ko po kasi theater po siya, may book po siya nung script ng Himala."
Therese also was a regular cast member of Gabbi Garcia-Ruru Madrid-starrer Let the Love Begin and appeared in an episode of Barbie Forteza and Andre Paras' primetime series That's My Amboy.
The GMA Artist Center talent hopes that she gets to work again with Barbie Forteza in the future. She said, "Naka-trabaho ko po siya sa That's My Amboy pero guest lang po ako dun, e, pero gusto ko po ng parang matagalan."
Aside from Barbie, Therese also dreams of working with other Best Actress winners including Marian Rivera, LJ Reyes, and Jaclyn Jose. Therese also wishes to work with John Lloyd Cruz and be paired with Kapamilya singer/actor Khalil Ramos.
The press also asked if she would like to try acting for theater aside from film and TV. However, Therese feels that she isn't ready doing acting for a live audience but keeps her doors open to the opportunity.
She explained, "Ang dami pong nag-recommend and nag-suggest even si mommy pero natatakot po ako sa theater kasi live 'tapos one take 'tapos ang daming tao po, e, nate-tense po ako."
She continued, "Pero sabi niya [mom], 'Marami kang matututunan sa theater kasi ibang-iba yung theater sa indie acting, sa no acting-acting.' Kasi sobrang parang big acting yun, baka hindi kop o kayanin. Maybe in a few years baka magka-interest po ako. Kasi yung iba po they want me to audition rin sa theater."
When asked about her dream character, Therese answered, "Gusto ko po yung mahirap na gawin, yung challenging roles. I don't really know, yung mga unique na story. Hindi ko po alam, basta parang yung macha-challenge po ako. Gusto ko po yung feeling na nacha-challenge ako sa role."
As for her dream project, Therese wants to host her own food and travel show, "Kasi gusto ko po kumain ng kumain!"