Playing a contravida role in the local remake of the Korean series Only You presents a big challenge for actress Iya Villania.
"It's my first time to be contravida in a serye," Iya informed PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview yesterday, June 11, at the Moomba restaurant in Quezon City. Iya and singer-performer Billy Crawford were officially launched as the new endorsers of Unisilver. They join Sam Milby, Jay-R, Gerald Anderson, and Kim Chiu as the brand's celebrity image models.
She added, "That [playing villain] alone is a challenge for me and working with veteran actors and actresses. It's a challenge to be able to...hindi naman level, but try to keep up with them."
Iya couldn't have picked a more worthy role model for her villain character than Cherie Gil—arguably the quintessential kontravida in the history of Philippine Cinema.
"Iba, e," Iya quipped. "Like sa sobrang naniniwala ka, off-screen, when you see her, you get intimidated, you get scared na baka babatukan ba ako nito or she's gonna slap me, like she carries it with her. But when you get to know her, hindi naman ganun. She's really not like the contravida that she portrays."
GOING STRONG WITH DREW. Some say that in the highly-competitive world of show business, it is impossible to mix love and a busy career.
That predicament, however, has not applied to Iya and her boyfriend of five years, Drew Arellano. Belonging to two different, feuding networks, has never been an issue in their relationship, according to the actress-host. Aside from ABS-CBN's Only You, Iya is also part of the musical-variety show ASAP '09; Drew, on the other hand, is a regular co-host in GMA-7's daily morning program Unang Hirit and QTV11's Balikbayan.
"Because even if we we're with the same network, same thing, e. He'll have a different show and he'll have different schedules. So, ganun din, e. And with someone like Drew, it's not difficult to stay with him," Iya explained.
What's the secret of maintaining a relationship despite work conflicts and occasional personal differences?
"We're determined to make it work," Iya replied. "Of course, 'yong pagmamahal, nandun yung understanding, patience, it's all there. We never give up on each other. So even when we do quarrel, we have misunderstandings, we never make it an option to break up."
Five years of togetherness and Iya still sounds every inch a woman in love in describing Drew's lovable qualities.
"He's such a gentleman, he's intelligent, he's family-oriented, he's funny—he's corny actually!" she laughed endearingly. "He's athletic and he's so easy to love and get along with, and I love how he is not materialistic."
Earlier during the presscon proper, Unisilver's Assistant Marketing and Purchasing Manager Jayson Chan told the press the reason they chose Iya and Billy to represent the brand.
"Theirs is a fashion sense that's bold and daring, but chic and funky at the same time. They have the confidence to stand out from the crowd and flaunt their individuality through whatever they're wearing."