Glenda Garcia: Humble Kontrabida

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Glenda likesentertaining her friends at home. She is, in her word, a "maalagan tao." Andindeed, she goes to the extra mile to make these occasions nice. She stocks upon her friends' favorite wine, cheese, coffee, tea, pasta and canned sauces ofevery imaginable kind. "Gusto ko kasi pag may ni-request sila, nabibigay ko,"says the spoiler. "Pag sinabing, wine tayo, ipeprepare kita nang iba't-ibangklase ng wine with matching chee


Glenda has a busy kitchen. Those many cook books on theshelf? They're not there for display." Ang specialty ko, tuna pasta," she beams.Glenda says her upbringing is to blame—or praise. They where three girls andone boy in the family, and all the girls practically grew up in the kitchen.Eventually, the girls' business ventures had something to do with food. "Datinagkaroon kami ng bakeshop," Glenda recalls. "Nagkaroon din kami ng catering,‘tapos ‘yong pinaka-last, nagtayo kami ng food cart sa mga malls. Meron kami saSM, sa Ever. We were selling different kinds of pasta and pita sandwiches. Perosince masama ang negosyo ngayon, sinarado na namin siya."

GlendaGarcia, younger sister to actress Melissa Mendez, was taking up dentistry atCentro Escolar University when the showbiz bug bit her. Movie writer EugeneAsis, who saw her tagging along with her Ate Melissa, convinced her to giveacting a try. She was only 19 then. She took her chances without dropping outof college.

"I shiftednga lang to mass communication," says the 37 year old. "Because I was alreadyin show business, so feeling ko, mas related na field. I majored in broadcasting.I finished it naman, thank God."

It was thelate Ike Lozada, former TV host, who gave her first TV exposure. Not longafter, Ike recommended her to talent manager Boy C. de Guia, who agreed to giveher a spot in Star Brighters, a TV show he was hosting. In the show was agroup of young talents which included: Ilonah Jean, who used to play supporting roles; Cookoo Gonzales, who remains active inlounge circuit; and Cathy Mora, a sex goddess of that era.

From one TVguesting to another, Glenda soon landed regular roles in popular TV shows."Nag-start ako sa To Sir, With Love. It's a sitcom sa Channel 13," sherecalls. "Kasama ko sina Ricky Davao, Tetchie Agbayani... Then, nag-Anna Lunaako. Drama naman."

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More adeptat drama, Glenda was given the Most Promising Female TV Personality award atthe 1989 Star Awards.

The early‘90s were a good time for drama. Glenda made a killing by accepting allinvitations to guest as such high-rating shows as Ipaglalaban Mo, LovinglyYours, Helen, Mother Studio, Regal Shockers, and Coney Reyes On Camera.

But it was1993, when she landed the role of evil Leona in the daily soap opera Valiente, that she became a household name.

The roleopposite to Tirso Cruz III and Mariz (who is the wife of action star RonnieRicketts)—was to became her passport to heavyweight acting and equallybig-time viewership. In those days, she was one of the most-hated TVvillainesses. "Sobrang-sama ni Leona," she recalls, laughing. "Kaaway niya‘yong kapatid niya. Lahat ng gusto ng kapatid niya, inaagaw niya. Kapatid konoon si Mariz as Myla. Si Tirso Cruz who played Teo, kaaway ko din."

By thistime, even TV veterans began to take notice of Glenda. To this day, shecherishes the words of two people: veteran writer Gina Marissa-Tagasa, then theregular writer for Coney Reyes On Camera, who told her that she was afavorite guest on the show; and veteran actress Gina Alajar, who told her shewas a good at villain roles. "Nakikita daw niya sa akin noon si Carol Varga,"she smiles. "Number one kontrabida daw noong araw ‘yon. Isa daw sapinakamagaling. S'yempre nakakataba ng puso."

Gina wordswere prophetic. Glenda would receive best-actress nominations two years in arow from the Star Awards for Leona role. "Medyo napansin naman," she says,relishing the thought.

During thistime, Glenda was also accepting leading-lady roles opposite to action starsSonny Parson, Jess Lapid Jr., Julio Diaz, and Ronnie Ricketts.

In her 14years in show business, how ever, Glenda did just 20 movies.

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"'Yongfourteen years na ‘yon, may time pa doon na nag-stop ako for two years," sherecounts. "Walang project. Meron, sexy, ayoko naman. Wala naman pumipigil saakin. Kumbaga, self-restriction ko lang. Kumbaga, feeling ko okey naman ako nahindi ako magpa-sexy."

Besides,she says she realized soon enough that she was more TV material than moviematerial. And she didn't mind at all. Just as, these days she doesn't mindperpetually being in a supporting role. "Alam ko naman na doon lang akotalaga," she says meekly. "Never naman ako nag-ilusyon na I'll be a star,superstar, or lead star. As long as alam kong ginagawa ko nang maayos angtrabaho ko, kahit maliit lang siya, okey ako."

But shedoesn't have dreams.

Like allactors, Glenda wants an award. "Gusto ko s'yempreng ipakita na magaling dinnaman akong artista," she smiles.

Anotherdream is to be given the chance to work with the best stars. "I want to workwith sila Christopher de Leon," she enumerates. "With si Vilma Santos, si NoraAunor and Sharon Cuneta. ‘Buti kahit paano I've worked with Maricel Soriano nabefore sa TV and si Aga (Muhlach) din. ‘Yong mga ganoon ba."

She addswith a touching humility. "Sa kagaya ko, malaking bagay ‘yon, na makasama mosila sa trabaho."

Buteven without those others, Glenda is fine. After all, how many can say they'regreat at a job they love?


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