Jennica reveals mom Jean Garcia helped her prepare for her trending sexy dance in “Dirty Linen”

It’s been only two weeks since Dirty Linen premiered, but its intensity has been terrific. The high-caliber cast behind this revenge saga continues to impress. Everyone delivers dazzling performances including Jennica Garcia, who trended during the show’s pilot week, thanks to her daring scene as the former club dancer Lala Millado, and her so-called “mata-mata” acting or expressing emotions through her eyes.

Known for her demure and doting mom image in real life, Jennica’s hypnotic scene was a total shock to the viewers. “Sa totoo lang, hindi ako masyadong maka-relate kay Lala,” she told Kapamilya Chat. She is Lala’s total opposite in that her character is fierce and impulsive, “Sobrang tapang niya. ‘Yung parang hindi mo mawari kung leon ba siya o ahas na biglang susunggab na lang, eh.”

The real Jennica, on the other hand, plans and thinks a million times before she speaks and makes a decision. She’d rather be quiet than prove her point.

But there are seasons in life that force even a timid person to be a little bolder. After her separation from her husband, while nursing a broken heart, Jennica also knew that she can’t afford to waste her time sulking over a failed relationship. She dreamed of a happy married life, so much so she left showbiz to become a stay-at-home mom for seven years. However, her kid’s future is more important than her broken dreams for herself.

“Noong naging single parent ako, ramdam na ramdam ko na pasan ko ‘yung dalawang anak ko. Yes, I can be depressed. Yes, pwede akong umiyak. Pero hindi pwedeng matagal. I-a-accept mo na may pangarap kang hindi natupad… pero pakiramdam ko kasi sa sarili ko, ‘pag tinuloy ko kung ano ‘yung relasyon na natapos, alam ko hindi ako magiging masaya. At ‘pag hindi ako masaya, magra-radiate ‘yan toward my children, and I don’t want my children to live a sad life.”

She continued, “So, pagkatapos kong mag-emote emote, pagkatapos ko namnamin ‘yung pagkatalo ko sa larangan ng pangarap ko na maging asawa, may isa akong gising na sinabi ko sa sarili ko na okay lang. Hindi man ako nasa posisyon na gusto ko ngayon, pero pipilitin ko at sisikapin ko maging isang mabuting ina.”

Desperate for a job, she threw herself out there. Jennica approached Dreamscape Entertainment's Head Deo Endrinal and asked if they can provide her with any supporting role, so she can earn for her two kids.

Receiving more than she asked for, she was handed a major role that is multi-faceted and will truly unleash her acting prowess – Lala, the orphan who worked as a club dancer and turned to vices to make ends meet, and who will exact her vengeance alongside Alexa (Janine Gutierrez), Rolando (Joel Torre), and Max (Christian Bables).

Jennica uses method acting to fully inhabit the character – Lala’s hurt and her being jaded. She starts by listening to a playlist perfectly curated for the vengeful woman. “Everything that I want Lala to be, nilagay ko siya sa kanta.” Lala’s power playlist includes “Unstoppable” and “Playground.”

When she was younger, Jennica was taught from her first and only acting workshop to act from experience. But as time passes, these real-life ‘hugots’ will also become less affecting. “Nagagasgas kasi ‘yun. Kapag lagi mong ginagamit itong tao na ‘to, magugulat ka, ‘pag kailangan mo nang umiyak, hindi ka na naiiyak.”

She had to re-learn her techniques, this time, fully embodying the character as if it is a real person. That also includes committing to Lala’s mind and soul. When Jennica turns her ‘Lala mode’ on, she imagines herself as the most beautiful woman in the world, universe rather, “’Pag umeeksena ako ang iniisip ko talaga, ‘Pia Wurtzbach. I am Miss Universe,’” she laughed, “Kasi ‘yun ang tingin niya sa sarili niya, eh.”

“Sa isip kasi ni Lala, ‘Ako ang pinakamagandang babae sa buong mundo at wala akong hindi makukuha gamit ang aking katawan ko.’ ‘Pag nag-i-internalize ako, ‘yun talaga dapat. Oozing with character and personality siya, eh.”

There’s no small or big scene for Jennica. She believes everything in the script is an important element in the story. So, with or without a line, expect her to be on fire. “Kasehodang ang eksena ko diyan ay may hawak akong tray, dadaan ako pero wala naman akong line, sisiguraduhin ko pa rin na ‘pag dumaan ako, hindi pa rin ako makakalimutan.” She’s scared to sound so full of herself, but that’s exactly how Lala should come off.

Jennica, and the rest of the cast, deliver an impeccable performance deemed by netizens as “mata-mata school of acting” or acting through the eyes, which is no easy task. In this episode, Jennica reveals the secret behind the magical technique. She said it starts with a thought. Though her character has nothing to utter, she must psychologically inhabit Lala’s motivation. In the trending scene where she disguised as an old lady, for instance, the idea was to radiate worry toward Alexa, then, evil satisfaction upon seeing Aidan (Zanjoe Marudo) caught in their trap. 

“Basically, ang una kong na-feel doon is worry, ‘Si Alexa! Okay ba ‘yung kapatid ko?’ Tapos nu’ng nakita ko na okay ‘yung kapatid ko, nagawa ‘yung plano. Sa isip ko after, ‘Huli!’”

Her top-notch performance in Dirty Linen shouldn’t come as a surprise since acting is in her blood. She is the daughter of seasoned actress Jean Garcia. According to Jennica, she rarely receives lectures from her mom apart from typical pieces of advice (such as to be kind and respectful to everyone) until Dirty Linen. “Iba kasi ngayon. Iba ‘yung drive ko ngayon kasi may gusto talaga po akong patunayan. Alam mo kasi, ‘pag nasama ka sa isang teleserye na multi-awarded lahat ng kasama mo, you have to step up.”

Jean must have noticed that her daughter was nervous and driven to prove her worth, which is why she was extra hands-on in helping Jennica in this project, specifically in choreographing her daring scene. 

“’Yung dance, doon namin pinraktis sa bahay ni Mama… Umalis na ‘yung choreographer, tapos si Mama meron siyang, ‘Patingin ng dance.’ Pinanood pa ako ni Mama. Sobrang supportive,” gushed Jennica.   

She played the music and danced in front of her mom, who would polish her moves to make it look more seductive, “Ginawa ko ‘yung dance, and then Mama would, ‘Anak hindi ganyan. Anak, ganito. Anak, hawak sa katawan, kulang sa hawak.’”

“Dancer kasi talaga si Mama… Mama is a very graceful dancer. So, when she told me to dance in front of her, parang mas kinabahan pa ako nu’ng nasa harap ko si Mama kesa nu’ng nandu’n na ako sa set. Kasi siyempre mommy ko ‘yun. Iko-correct niya ako ‘pag may mali. Important pala ‘yung pag-point ng toes, galaw ng ulo, ganyan,” shared Jennica, demonstrating the exact move she learned from her mother which involves flipping the hair as she looks into the camera for a flirtier touch.

She quipped, “So, thank you, Jean Garcia. Maraming salamat nag-trend po tayo Madam Jean sa 45 seconds.” That specific clip has amassed more than 2 million views across social media.

For Jennica, Dirty Linen is an answered prayer. “Pinagpapasalamat ko po talaga ito kasi nga alam ko na si God lang ang gumawa ng paraan. Kasi kung pagbabasehan natin ay ‘yung followers ko sa Twitter, wala pang 500 ‘yun. So, talagang alam ko na si Lord talaga ‘to at ‘yung mga taong naniniwala sa akin.”

She went on to talk about her newfound family on the set. Jennica had endearing stories to share about Joel Torre, their father figure on- and off-cam, calling him thoughtful.

Akin to their characters, she also formed an adorable bond with Christian Bables, which may appear intriguing to some. Even Jennica’s dad asked if she is dating Christian after she penned a sweet birthday greeting for him. But she clarified, “Talagang kapatid ang turing namin sa isa’t isa.”

She has found a confidante in him. “Naramdaman ko na ligtas akong magsabi na mahina ako at kung ano pa ‘yung iba pa.”  He gives her comfort whenever a scene opens her old wounds. Jennica admitted she’s prone to fainting due to her heart condition. She even blacked out while taping for her previous teleserye. To avoid such incidents, she must have somebody to pacify her strong anxiety, for which she has Christian. 

“Meron akong anxiety and I’m also taking medication for it. Pero laking tulong ni Christian kasi minsan hindi ko na kailangan maggamot kasi alam na niya bilang aktor. He knows, eh. Para siyang acting coach. ‘Yung bigla niya akong igigilid na, ‘Okay, release. You’re safe here.’ May gano’n sa akin si Christian. Imagine mo kung wala,” she said, praising the Lord for giving her a dependable friend on set. In turn, she’s also the actor’s only best friend apart from his siblings.

She has equal amount of closeness with Angel Aquino, whose beauty takes her breath away, “Si Ate Angel ay isang nilalang na ubod ng ganda with makeup but, oh my gosh, you guys should see her without makeup. Talagang sabi ko, ‘Grabe ‘tong taong ‘to. Goals talaga.’” And because they formed a trio with Christian, Jennica can easily approach Angel for beauty hacks. She was told by her Ate Angel to exercise or do yoga, but she can’t due to her delicate heart condition.

Jennica gushed about Janine Gutierrez’s beauty and model-superstar appeal, “Iba ‘yung Janine Gutierrez. Parang pagpasok, pak! Kumikinang sa paligid. Iba talaga entrada ng ate ‘iyo.” She tells Janine about it, and the latter would only tone down the compliments. “Nakakatuwa kasi hindi pala siya untouchable. Kasi ‘pag naramdaman niya na ganu’n ‘yung tingin mo sa kanya, kaya niyang ibaba ‘yung sarili niya para pareho kayo ng lebel. And I really love that about Janine.”

On Tessie Tomas, who plays the Fiero matriarch in the series, Jennica said she was touched to know that Tessie still treasures the bond they formed in a teleserye almost a decade ago.  “Isa siyang patunay na kaya pala siya respetadong aktor ay dahil hindi siya marunong makalimot.” She calls her ‘Nanay Tessie’ before. But since that was a long time ago, she felt shy when they met again for Dirty Linen.

“No’ng nakita ko siya ulit, nandun ‘yung, baka nakalimutan na ako. So, ang tawag ko sa kanya Tita na kasi ayaw kong magmukhang feeling close. Kasi sa last memory ko, close kami. Pero I don’t want to assume na ‘the’ Tessie Tomas knows that we were close then.”

Therefore, she was surprised when, in a casual gathering outside work, Tessie hinted that she still remembers how close they were, “Bigla akong nadulas. Napa-‘Nay Tessie’ ako kasi ‘yung pinag-uusapan namin was very intimate. It was about her life abroad, about my life as well. Sabi ko, ‘Nay.’ ‘Ay, sorry po, sorry po.’ Tapos siya yung nagsabi na, ‘Nanay naman talaga tawag mo sa akin.’ See? She remembers.”

Jennica vows that Epy Quizon is far from his character as Ador. He is the joker of the group. He’s also their source of advice when it comes to business.

On Janice de Belen, she said the veteran actress was the most intimidating to her, “Sa lahat ng cast ng Dirty Linen, kay Ate Janice ako may pinakatakot. ‘Paano ba ako magha-hi?” Now she comfortably talks about it since they already broke the awkwardness between them, thanks to Sir Deo, who loves to organize parties and dinner for the whole cast and production.  From Tita Janice, Jennica now calls her Ate Janice.

As we piece together the details about the Fiero family in the story, more shocking scenes will hook us in the coming nights. Jennica hinted at an intense interaction between her and John Arcilla’s characters, “Eksenang hindi ko makakalimutan. Kasi ako mismo hindi ko kinaya.” She thanked the veteran actor for guiding her in that scene.

Watch out for that and more in Dirty Linen, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.