Mars Ravelo’s Darna star Janella Salvador indeed ended August with a bang as she astonished us with her sexy and fiery looks on the digital cover of the September issue of Metro Magazine that absolutely embodies her character – the iconic supervillainess Valentina.
And two weeks after the digital covers and cover story were published, the renowned fashion publication released on Wednesday, September 14, a video that featured their interview with Janella regarding her current teleserye stint, as well as a peek on the behind-the-scenes during the photoshoot.
Being the archnemesis of the Pinay superheroine Darna, Valentina certainly shares similar stature as she is. Thus, it’s impossible for us Filipinos not to recognize nor know at least a little bit about her. When she was offered the role, Janella recounted that she did a little bit of research on the different Valentinas, allowing her to figure out that the version she’s portraying “is actually different from the past ones”.
According to her, she found out that the original Valentina is as actually like Narda’s childhood friend and they grew up together. Meanwhile, her Valentina, as we all know, has an alter ego named Regina, a young lawyer-slash-vlogger and philanthropist known for her being straightforward and palaban, yet with a heart of gold.
Auditioning for the role
With regards to auditioning for the coveted role, she confessed that when she was offered to read for it before she finally got it, she actually had second thoughts if she should do it or not. It was basically because she wasn’t sure yet that time where she wanted to go or what path she wants to take.
“At first, I thought I would say no to reading for Valentina. But something inside me said that, ‘this is it.’ Like, I have to take this opportunity and I just went with my gut feeling,” she imparted.
So, she went with the script reading, which happened via Zoom and in the presence of Director Chito S. Roño. Surprisingly, she found herself falling in love with what she had read and with the character as a whole, regarding Valentina as “different” and “a kontrabida with a heart.” Thus, during the auditions, she fervently wished that she would snag the role.
When it comes to the things that she loves about her character, the 24-year-old actress implied that it’s the intense challenge brought to her of portraying Valentina, as she had to do a lot of changes in her physical appearance and her voice. On the other hand, she loves Regina as “she’s so fun to portray because she is such a character. She’s larger-than-life, she’s very assertive, she’s very smart, she’s a lawyer-slash-vlogger, and she loves fashion.”
Her preparations for the role
As she mentioned the physical changes that she has to do for this project, she admitted that she was initially nervous since she wasn’t at her best shape yet when they started filming. Thus, she really worked hard and did her best by working out every day in order for her to attain the look that she was eyeing for, since she believes that she has to be sexy to be Valentina. Aside from achieving and maintaining a fit physique, she also obviously put on a super different look along with highlights on her hair to exhibit that she’s indeed the “bad guy” now.
With regards to her emotional preparations for the role, she revealed that Valentina is actually a very complex character to play because aside from her unique traits, she also holds a lot of emotions in her, too. Thus, she really had to study the role, which she hopes that the viewers will see and appreciate.
On playing Valentina and Regina
Just like in the characters that she played, portraying Valentina has its own share of challenges and sense of fulfillment for her. For the fulfilling part, Janella conveyed, “Obviously, it’s an iconic character. Many people, I’m sure, want to portray her. So, it’s such an honor.”
Meanwhile, for the challenging part, she related, “Maybe, the difficulty is ‘yon nga, it’s big shoes to fill. Magagaling din ‘yong mga previous Valentinas obviously, so I want to add my own flavor, my own spice to her character.”
As her alter ego Regina also hustles as a vlogger, which is something that a lot of people are doing nowadays, Janella shared her thoughts on responsible vlogging. She started off by commending how Regina is doing a great job in expressing her views on politics, especially her opposition on corrupt officials.
“I guess, when you’re a vlogger, you just have to be aware that you influence a lot of people and you can literally change people’s minds on certain subjects and things. So, you have to keep that in mind lang siguro, that you have a big responsibility,” she stated.
Those who have followed her showbiz career would know that it’s her first time to take on a villain role in her 10 years in the industry. And amid the influx of supervillain movies that are being released in the recent years, this motivated her more when she found out that she’s portraying Valentina.
“I got inspired to show this side na villains become villains for a reason. Madami silang pinagdaanan, they must have had a dark past. So, maiintindihan mo rin somehow kung saan sila nanggaling. So, just like the Joker, Maleficent, Cruella, all those movies, parang I want to show the side of supervillains na pwede mo rin silang mahalin. I think, people are gonna love Regina pa rin,” she stated.
With regards to what the viewers could take away from her role, she expressed, “Siguro from my character, I think you have to make peace with your past and huwag magpapadala masyado sa emotions mo. Because at the end of the day, we all have good in us.”
Working with Direk Chito Roño and Jane De Leon
Being one of the premier filmmakers in the industry, she inevitably heard a lot of things about Direk Chito, such as he might be scary. But much to her surprise, he’s actually a sweetheart, and is calm and nice. She also appreciates his work so much.
Meanwhile, when it comes to Jane de Leon, who portrays the titular character, Janella divulged that they didn’t have a lot of scenes together in the first cycle of Mars Ravelo’s Darna, and they only started in the second cycle.
“Funny thing is (is it really funny, though?), we’re both introverts, ako at saka si Jane. So, hindi kami agad-agad naging close when we started working with each other. But we really made an effort na makipag-bonding sa isa’t isa. Like, when there’s time, she would try to get to know me, and I would also try to get to know her. We’d watch movies, gano’n, and eventually, naging comfortable din kami sa isa’t isa,” she related.
Looking back on her 10 years in the industry
As she marks her 10th year in showbiz this 2022, which also coincides with the 10th anniversary of Be Careful With My Heart wherein she first rose to popularity as Nikki Grace Lim, Janella revealed that she’s been actually doing a lot of reminiscing recently. And looking back, she could say that she’s really proud of herself, since she started out as a teenager who didn’t know what she was doing yet and didn’t really have any plan on acting.
“Just being where I am right now, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be here. So, having the opportunity to play this iconic role is such a big opportunity and it means a lot. So, I really want to do it well. That’s it,” she conveyed.
Catch Janella in Mars Ravelo’s Darna, weeknights on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and iWantTFC.