Maika Rivera on playing sexy ‘kontrabida,’ working with veterans in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano

Kapamilya star Maika Rivera is a balance of sexy, sporty, and inspiring and there’s more to her than the sultry visuals on TV and social media. Get to know the empowered woman better as she relates her story of being an actress and athlete in this episode of Kapamilya Chat.

Maika went on to talk about her impressive stint as Cassandra in the beloved teleserye FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, which came with a divine confirmation, “Dumating sa akin ‘yung Ang Probinsyano noong kailangan na kailangan ko siya sa buhay ko. Sobrang thankful po ako.”

You’d be lying if you say you were never affected – either you’ve fallen in love or been annoyed – by her ‘playfulness’ in the action-drama series. Maika is aware of the public’s reception about her portrayal, the positive and negative. She wears both as badges of honor. Because either you hate her or you love her, it boils down to her undeniable thespic gift.

No worries if she gets typecast as a sexy ‘kontrabida’ as long as she knows her core. So even if the hate gets too overwhelming at times, words will never break her self-image.

Maika exudes the same amount of flair on the tennis court. She’s been a tennis player since she was young and in 2019 ranked 160 in the International Tennis Federation. If there’s one thing Maika brings from the court to taping, it would have to be discipline. “Kailangan focus ka sa ginagawa mo. You need to work hard. You need to train your body para sakto sa role,” she said.

Teamwork is just as important. She said nailing it as Cassandra involves creative collaborations with her directors and co-actors. Add to that playing music to set them in the mood a la “50 Shades of Grey.”

This much is seen in the way she throws lines with veteran actress Lorna Tolentino, aka Lily, the main villainess who sent her to war for a big purpose. Maika only had good words for the actress, whom she fondly calls ‘Tita.’ “Sobrang bait! Sobrang galing po niyang actress.” And she’s picking up techniques just by watching her, “Pupunta po ‘yan sa set may dalang script, sinusulatan niya. Nakaka-inspire kasi kahit gaano na siya katagal sa industriya, gano’n pa rin siya mag-work.”

Also in the ‘palace’ gang is Tirso Cruz III, whom she described as “rock star,” their Zumba instructor and TikTok master. “Nakaka-sampung kanta na kami tapos sabi niya, ‘Hindi, nagwa-warm up pa lang tayo,’” she quipped.

Sharing the screen with veterans is both a privilege and a big responsibility. After all, they are people of experience, honor, and respect, thus Maika does her best to keep up. “Ayoko silang pahirapan. Ayokong dumami ‘yung takes dahil sa akin at masira ‘yung flow.” The very fact that she’s able to be on a par with their performances is a testament to how much hard work and talent she puts in the show.

“Ginalingan ko po talaga. Nag-aral po ako. Talagang pinagtrabahuan ko po. Nanood ako ng Probinsyano from how many seasons. Pinag-aralan ko po kung sino ‘yung bawat characters bago ako pumasok,” shared Maika.

Her role as a seductress wouldn’t be that exciting without some female rivalry, birthing the intense Cassandra-Ellen (Ara Mina) match. Behind the scenes, Maika and Ara are like sisters building rapport and helping each other out. Before takes, they would discuss how to etch a scene, especially their catfights. The slaps and hair-pulling, they don’t fake.

Kapamilya Chat asked Maika to describe her co-stars. She said Rowell Santiago is the yoga master; Lorna the happy and generous one; Ara the hard-working, busy, strong, and beautiful; Tirso the father-figure and source of wisdom.

While she hasn’t shared a scene with lead actor Coco Martin, Maika is privileged to be mentored by him as her director. Coco told her, “Naniniwala ako sa’yo. May tiwala ako sa’yo,” to which she assured, “Hindi po kita ipapahiya, Direk CM. Maraming salamat po sa opportunity na binigay ninyo.”

Then, we proceed to her three favorite behind-the-scenes trivia. First, she revealed that Nonong Ballinan once dropped an inside joke during their actual take and she had to control her reaction, “Kinagat ko ‘yung dila ko para hindi matawa talaga.” 

In her first scene, Cassandra almost bumped the red car she was driving. Lastly, she almost tipped off and fell during a recent scene where Ambo (Nonong) and Elizabeth (Whitney Tyson) were sneaking President Oscar (Rowell) out. That’s one incident where the athletic stance came in handy.

That’s the attribute most evident in her: the laudable professionalism that centers on respect – always giving her best shot so as not to cause delay or be called out by her directors.

Maika enticed viewers to watch out for more twists and new characters in Dreamscape Entertainment’s FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.