Isabel Rivas has become well-known for playing kontrabida roles.
Starting her career in the late ‘70s in the world of movies, Isabel crossed over into television in 1995 to portray one of the main kontrabidas in the GMA-VIVA prime-time series Villa Quintana.
This was followed by a string of kontrabida roles in the teleseryes Saan Ka Man Naroroon (1999) and Recuerdo de Amor (2001).
Until now, Isabel continues to portray villain roles. She currently plays the kontrabida in GMA-7’s afternoon drama series, Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit, as the mother of Zoren Legaspi.
But, totoo ba, Isabel actually did not want to become a kontrabida?
She told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in February 2020 during the press conference for Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit, “Noong araw, siyempre tao lang, ayaw ko magkontrabida."
But she had one trait that seemed to lend credibility to kontrabida roles.
She revealed, “Parati akong kontrabida dahil daw sa boses ko. E, di lalo na ngayon mas mababa pa boses ko dahil naninigarilyo ako. Ngayon, I don’t have all those vices anymore.
“So, naano na ako sa kontrabida.”
Her role in the drama series Recuerdo de Amor stood out, as Isabel described it as “sobrang ginawa kong kontrabida.”
She even recalled arguing with director Eric “FM” Reyes over a scene that had to be taped in the wee hours of the morning.
“Nag-aaway kami ni Direk Eric Reyes doon dahil ayoko!
“Ayokong bumaril, pinababaril pa sa akin nang madaling araw iyong mga poon!
“Alas singko na, alas sais na, hulas ka na dahil alas sais ka pa kahapon nasa set ‘tapos ang eksena mo, ganoon kabibigat na magwawala ka ‘tapos babarilin mo iyong mga poon!”
But now, Isabel can proudly say that she has embraced doing kontrabida roles in her shows.
She said, “Nae-enjoy ko na. Parang you just feel like, ‘Okay, so doon ninyo ako gustong dalhin, e-enjoyin ko iyong puwesto na iyon.'
“I will enjoy that and I will explore that to the best of my capacity.”
But it actually took a “long while” before Isabel was able to appreciate the roles given to her.
She explained, “Kasi hindi talaga ako artista, e. Napasok lang naman ako sa pag-aartista sa pangangailangan, e.
“Kaya hindi ako mag-iipokrita, wala naman ako pinag-aralan na about that. Nilagay ka lang diyan at kailangan mo lang, at the end of the day, na may pera ka at kikita ka.
“Pero siyempre, na-enjoy ko na iyon, I owe it to my craft now, ginalingan ko rin naman.”
In her role as Dona Martina Santos in Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit, Isabel makes life a living hell for Nora Aunor's character.
Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit, which first aired in February 2020, took an airing break in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It resumed airing in December 2020 with a recap.
On January 5, 2021, the Kapuso teleserye started airing fresh episodes.