Gwen Zamora is not exactly a neophyte when it comes to acting.
As early as 14, she had been joining stage plays in Singapore and Thailand.
She also became part of several theater productions, like The Crucible, Commedia dell'arte, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello, where she was also the writer and the director.
She was studying theater in Australia when her dad encouraged her to try acting in the Philippines.
At that time, her French-Italian father and Filipino-Vietnamese mother have already migrated here.
The 21-year-old Kapuso recalled, "I came here on a holiday and my dad asked me, 'Why don't you just act here. Kasi, what will you do in Australia after?'
"Sabi ko, 'Sige, I'll just try it out first.' Kasi, I wasn't sure what really my goal was.
"I want to be a director, and I was studying film and theater in Australia.
"So, my dad said, 'Just try it out. If you like it, you can study here.'
"I tried it out and I loved it and it never stopped!"
When The Witness star made the decision to stay in the country, she took filmmaking at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
However, she said, "Because I never stop, I didn't have time to study directing."
When Gwen gets the time, shestar plans to continue her studies or take a short course.
She is also interested in joining a local theater company.
"Actually, my acting coach asked me if I want to join in their company. But I think it's time-consuming. And I don't want to say yes and not be fully there kasi I find that very disrespectful. If I have time," the young actress said.
ADJUSTMENTS. Although some actors consider theater as a good training ground for honing their acting skill, the Australian-born Filipina actress said she underwent a major adjustment when she entered local showbiz.
"Hindi rin [madali], e, kasi on stage, everything is so big," she explained. "Your eyes go so big, your mouth go so big. So, I had to really tame everything down.
"Until now, if you really focus on what I do, nakikita pa rin ang pagka-stage [actress] ko, like, the way I move my head, it's not very TV-appreciated.
"But I'm really doing an effort."
Gwen also compared the differences between pplaying her character in theater and in a television series or a movie.
"Unlike here [TV series] kasi, it's unti-unti. Pag cut, 'Okay, I'm who I am now.' It's harder to go in and out...
"Kasi on stage, you have a mask on.
"Unlike sa TV, when it's cut, it's you and me, and I'm such a shy person.
"I'm super shy so mga first tapings, they're like, 'Ang taray naman ni Gwen, hindi nagsasalita.' Kasi I'm super shy. I don't know how to approach people.
"Doon na ako nahirapan at first. But I have to let go of that."
DIFFERENT STYLE. Meanwhile, to be good at her craft, Gwen always asks tips from her colleagues and directors.
"I like to talk to the director lalo na when it's like the first few tapings," said Gwen.
"I sit with the director while he's setting up and I ask him what he wants from me.
"At least, once I start na, I know what the director wants.
"I don't need to be lost because you act better, obviously, when you know what to do.
"On the script, it's not enough kasi the one controlling everything is the director. So, it's nice to have his point of view."
Gwen currently plays the role of Iris in GMA-7 primetime series titled Biritera.
Here, she's supposed to play rival to Mikaela (Glaiza de Castro) in getting the attention of Andrei (played by Dennis Trillo).
But instead of being an outright mean girl, Gwen thought of playing the character differently.
She remembered, "Actually, at first it was a trouble because I didn't know how to attack her character.
"So, I spoke to the acting coach on the set, who also helped me in Grazilda before.
"She said, play with it. That's what I'm doing, playing with her.
"I'm making her funny kasi I feel more comfortable doing that as of now."
And of course, she also considers the reaction she might get from the audience.
She told PEP, "My character is medyo mean, possessive, pero I did not let her to be that way so ginawa kong medyo comic, parang funny.
"Kasi natatakot ako na baka people will hate me.
"Siguro kasi, I started as a good girl. So, I don't want to merge into that right yet.
"So, I'm doing her in a way that people will love but hate her. She's so like kikay na jologs, hindi mo maintindihan."
Does this mean she's not open to doing a kontrabida role in her future projects?
"I would depend it really on how I see the character," she replied.
Gwen was also quick to clarify that she's open to portraying any role.
Her parting shot: "Okay lang sa akin depending on the way I see her character. If I see her talaga as a mataray person, I will attack her that way. If not, I'll find an alternative."