"If it's gonna be too much pressure to win, it will show in you performance."
This quote came from Zsa Zsa Padilla, who did a remarkable job in assimilating the character of Olive Uy in Mano Po 6: A Mother's Love.
But even if most people anticipated rave reviews for her portrayal, she told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that an acting award is never her motivation to be an effective actress.
The Divine Diva added, "Kung talagang gusto mo magka-award, don't think about it. Example, foreigner ito, ha. Hindi naman nakakaiyak yung situation sa TV pero parang nakikiiyak siya sa lahat ng eksena. Paano gusto niya magka-Emmy [a TV production award in the U.S.]...Pero hindi siya nano-nominate, kasi it was too obvious. She tried so hard, so it showed."
So if you ask her how she prepared for her bitchy role in this Regal Films movie, she said with a laugh: "I just read the script."
PLAYING CONTRAVIDA. In Mano Po 2: My Home, she played the Chinese mistress of Christopher de Leon.
In Mano Po 4: Ako Legal Wife, which gave her Best Actress trophies, she was the Chinoy wife of a wealthy Chinese, who had two mistresses.
In Mano Po 6, she's the bitch in the life of Melinda Uy (Sharon Cuneta), her Chinoy sister in law.
Talking about her role, "I was a teenager when my brother [Christopher de Leon] fell in love with Sharon. Alam niyang hindi papayag ang parents namin, so nagtanan sila. My whole life, this is a character na alam niya kung ano ang kinamumuhian ng magulang niya, so, loyal siya sa family niya. Kaya, galit din siya kay Melinda.
"And siyempre may discrimination pa. Brinand pa namin siya na malas..."
And true to her role, she made Sharon's life a living hell.
She explained the reason why she's a bad girl in the movie, "Ang pagka-bad niya, it's out of her loyalty to her family and the family belief. Kung baga sinabi ng magulang niya, malas 'yan, yun...Lumaki ka sa environment na ganun, malas siya, kahit na, little things na gagawin ay pinahihirapan namin siya. Talagang we didn't treat her well—ginawang parang katulong, sobrang pang-aapi—lahat ng puwedeng gawin, ginawa namin sa kanya."
How would she compare the previous Mano Po with the present installment?
"The last one was fun, the line so funny. Direk [Joel Lamangan] made it funnier. The execution was perfect. Recently, you know, it's heavier material.
"You know my first day? I didn't have dialogue. Beauty shot lang ako dun...Sabi ko, 'Oh my god, ako ba yan? Ang galing-galing naman ng cinematographer.' Na-shock ako sa beauty ko doon...Pero masarap yung character ko talaga, e.
"You know why? I love acting and being like another person even for just a day..."
There are times, however, when she feels that she's the antithesis of her role.
"My gosh, you'd wish it to end na, lalo na kapag soap pa," she admitted. "If you don't like what you're doing...Dati kasi, dating sistema—mabilisan. Ibibigay sa 'yo yung script, the next day na ang taping. Hindi mo naaral, 'tapos ang feeling mo, hindi mo naman character yun..."
MANO PO WARDROBE. Her sense of fashion in the movie is "very conservative," but she actually doesn't mind if it's for the role.
"I'll be wearing shoes and clothes I don't wear in real life," she said. Good thing, "wala na akong pinagawa kasi may mga suits ako na sana ay for soap opera na hindi ako natuloy sa casting. That's another topic..."
She continued, "Gustung-gusto ko kasi yung ano, e, yung hindi mo makikita si Divine Diva sa third person. I like to get into character. Change the look, the hair, the way I dress, ganun...Even this, it's not me, I do not dress this way...."
She seems to be one of the favorites of Mother Lily Monteverde, the matriarch of Regal Films.
She smiled sweetly, and said: "I'm so thankful."