Ivana Alawi shares experiences on working on “A Family Affair,” portraying character Cherry Red

Ever since ABS-CBN started kindling our excitement over A Family Affair through the teasers and online contents it released, Kapamilya viewers have been fervently waiting for the forthcoming series to finally premiere! 

And while the date of its official release is yet to be unveiled, its two brilliant directors Jerome Pobocan and Raymund Ocampo and leading lady Ivana Alawi further amplified our anticipation as they revealed more details regarding its production and what the audiences should expect from this teleserye in the bloggers conference held on Tuesday, May 24.

The virtual event commenced by showing the steamy teaser, wherein the promising actress is seen wearing white sexy swimwear as she goes horseback-riding by the seashore.


Ivana on doing “A Family Affair” and portraying Cherry Red

Host VJ AI Dela Cruz asked her how Ivana felt while doing it, to which she retorted by saying how she truly enjoyed filming it and the series itself, as she just felt like having a vacation and doing the usual things she does whenever she’s on a beach trip. Besides, she disclosed that their directors also never pressured her as they, instead, gave her the freedom to be who she really is and do what she feels is right.

She also admires how the cast members, who have become family to her, are willing to help one another, thus their lock-in taping in Masbate made her feel like she’s only having a vacation.

Those who have been following her journey would know that Ivana was actually poised to headline her launching project in 2020, but that didn’t materialize anymore because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also decided to eventually turn it down and refused to push through with it when the company began to implement lock-in tapings later that year, in order to protect her family, particularly her immuno-compromised mom Fatima and younger sister Mona, from the threats of the virus.

“Actually, ever since naman, gustong-gusto ko gumawa ng teleserye with ABS-CBN. So, ‘yong timing lang talaga kasi the last show that I was supposed to do, biglang dumating ‘yong pandemic, ‘yong [COVID-19] and I was keeping my family safe. Pero ngayon kasi, may vaccine na and very strict ang protocols ng ABS-CBN, especially with the tapings, I feel safe naman kaya gustong-gusto ko rin namang gumawa ng teleserye,” the 25-year-old actress stated, adding that ABS-CBN – after all – is her “dream network”.

When asked what made her say "yes" to doA Family Affair,” Ivana told the media people that it's because of its interesting narrative, relatable character, and it just came at the right time.

“I think the story pa lang, because sobrang nakaka-relate ako kay Cherry. So, no’ng nabasa ko siya, sabi ko, it’s perfect, especially for my first lead role na very loving sa family. And bakit sa tingin ko ito ‘yong perfect time? It’s because ito ‘yong binigay sa’tin ni Lord na makapag-taping and makapag-prepare," she said.

The social media superstar also told another interviewer, “I was so excited no’ng pinitch siya sa’kin. Sabi ko nga, story pa lang, ‘oo na, okay na ako d’yan.Ang ganda-ganda ng story and it’s something different kasi it’s not just drama, there’s a lot more. It’s very seductive, steamy, sexy, thrilling, mysterious, ang dami. So, it’s a very exciting show."

Moreover, she's also able to relate with her character's immense love for her family. While this is already innate to her, she finds the crying and dramatic scenes challenging. But the directors always appease her by reminding her to only give what she could, which inspires her to do better next time.

Viewers will also see a whole different Ivana here, according to her, since she and Cherry Red are two different persons. They may have similarities, but her character, who's apparently going to play a significant role in the lives of the Estrella Brothers, is way deeper than her. Besides, the intense and beautiful story has stretched her to exude a plethora of emotions.

With regards to the preparations she did for this new project, Ivana enumerated a few.

Pinag-aralan ko talaga ‘yong script, binabasa ko siya, and ini-imagine ko kung ano ‘yong mga gagawin ni Cherry Red because nga, this is not Ivana,” “So, you really have to get into the character, pag-aralan mo, and you really have to feel. Nanonood ako ng mga teleserye dati ng ABS. Nagre-rewatch ako kasi siyempre, importante na makita mo ‘yong emotions din ng mga ibang artista, baka ma-apply mo rin.”


The directors on making the series, working with the cast

Meanwhile, Direk Jerome considers it special because aside from it being shot amidst a pandemic, “A Family Affair  is also one of the most scenic and well-shot teleseryes of ABS-CBN that we will ever see. It's actually not only being filmed in Masbate, but in Batangas and Laguna, too, since its milieu is dairy and cattle-farming.

"This one, I’m very happy because ang kaibahan nito, unang-una, may bago tayong artistang nila-launch, which is Ivana. Ivana is a social media star more than an actress. And she’s being groomed to be the next dramatic actress of [ABS-CBN]. So, I’m happy na magkasama kami ni Direk Raymund na grino-groom isa sa mga ang bagong stars ng [ABS-CBN]," Direk Jerome imparted.

When asked if they ever see another actress who's suitable to play Cherry Red, Direk Raymund confessed that he couldn't actually think of anyone because the role is so perfect for her. They were able to witness the transformation of Ivana and get astonished and delighted by what she has already showcased.

Direk Jerome seconded this by heaping praises onto her, saying that for a newcomer, she's able to give more than what she's asked to give. He also regarded her as "a revelation" in this particular teleserye "kasi kanya 'to".

With regards to her four leading men in the show – Sam Milby, Gerald Anderson, Jake Ejercito, and Jameson Blake – Ivana revealed that they may have different personalities, yet they all equally took good care of her. As he looks “young and innocent,” she regards Jameson as “baby boy,” while she considers the funny and easygoing Jake as her “best friend” in the group as she really enjoys their biruan and conversations. 

On the other hand, despite working with them for quite some time already, she admitted that she actually still gets intimidated by both Gerald and Sam, as she grew up watching their movies and series through the years. However, she's also very much excited to be able to work alongside them.

Nonetheless, she admires how very professional Gerald is, as he always internalizes and comes to the set very in character, as well as how caring he actually is. The same goes to Sam, to whom she used to have a huge crush on, and, at the same time, fright to work with knowing how a seasoned actor he is. But that instantly changed on their first meeting as she noticed how he actually loves to joke around in pursuit of making everyone comfortable. Besides, he also willingly helps her out every time she finds it difficult to do what is required in certain scenes.

It has also been easy for her to build a chemistry with her four leading men because they're all easy to work and get along with, so they didn't have to force everything.

Direk Raymund echoed that by implying that the rapport, as well as the ‘harutan’ moments of the five lead cast, actually helps them in executing the scenes that are not that serious, considering that they have to hasten their shoots since the taping time is really limited. Besides, it's also better for the actors to be too comfortable with one another, than having no connection or chemistry at all.

As one of the media people asked Direk Jerome what makes Ivana different, he said  that it’s going to be her personality and attitude – more than her enthralling splendor.

Si Ivana, is known for her sensual image sa mga post niya. But when I met her, sabi ko, it’s her plain persona. Kumbaga in real life, she’s simple, hindi siya maarte. What you see is what you get, and I love that about her. Not only that, magalang, maasikaso sa mga tao, at saka hindi siyamakikita ‘yan sa pagtrato maski sa mga production assistant, sa mga utility, sa mga tao sa set – maayos siyang makitungo sa mga tao,” he related.

He continued, “Kung teasing ang tinatanong ninyo, I think dito sa show na ‘to, makikita natin na we used her sensuality for her character. But her character, buong-buo si Cherry Red. Hindi siya nangte-tease for the sake of teasing; sexy siya in and out, within and without.”

Aside from serious questions regarding the series and her career, Ivana also gamely responded to playful questions sent in by some media people about her four leading men, namely, what viand reminds her of them, who’s the hottest among them, the sexiest part of their bodies, and whose character she finds “boyfriend material”.

Watch this bloggers conference to know more about the upcoming series A Family Affair