After all the pain and the heartbreak, everyone deserves a better life and move on.
Especially for those who were innocently lured into a savage pit of the callous sex trade. A terrible downspiral that victimizes a lot of young girls, who never stand a chance against lustful beasts who objectify women as a mere sexual object.
This became the predicament Lyka (Jessy Mendiola) had to overcome all with incredible odds, given her being very trusting and vulnerable to those she encounters.
While she had been raised by her strict father Manuel (Christian Vasquez) and amiable mother Lisa (Michelle Ortega) that led to her being very much secure and sheltered, the strikingly gorgeous Lyka was too appealing and attractive for own good. As she stepped into college and surrounded by schoolmates in the dorm with secret lives as bar servers and escort girls, it became pretty much evident that her fall from grace would follow.
After being raped by a boyfriend whom she first met at the bar with her dormmates, Lyka’s downspiral started. And as she worked in the same bar with her dormmates, Lyka then fell prey to her employer and his friends’ sexual advances, her disillusionment was complete.
Lyka then lost interest in studying and dropped out of school. With the influence of Hannah (Kim Molina), Lyka had now treated her traumatic encounters with men as mere “work experience” for a profession she thinks she would be in control and earn a lot from—being an escort girl. As such, she would fathom all the dates, escapades, night-outs and trysts with young and aging politicians, businessmen, and prominent personalities, married or not, stoically as simply as a daily routine.
While she first avoided any connection with her family because of her newfound profession, Lyka learned that her sister Grace (Rona Cheng) had been afflicted with ovarian cancer. As she rushed to her sister side, Manuel confronted her and angrily asked why she had not replied to texts or answered his calls. Lyka then admitted she stopped her schooling and was working as a bar server to the utter disappointment and devastation of Manuel, who walked out. But despite this, Lyka vowed to help supporting her sister in her medical needs.
In a birthday party of her uncle, Lyka met Mike (Carlo Aquino), a police officer, who took her home that night. They had a gregarious, wonderful conversation in Mike’s car that led to more dates. But as they spend more time with each other, Mike slowly discovered Lyka’s despised men and relationships. And, in an argument, Lyka revealed the reason: being raped, losing self-worth, a future destroyed that led to such hatred. She then divulged who she really was—an escort girl, who would now have control over situations involving men, all for a price.
Mike was dumbfounded and even saw Lyka ride and leave on her client’s SUV.
But that didn’t stop Mike from pursuing Lyka. He would then visit Lyka’s home and profess his love, which Lyka hardly believes. But with Mike’s relentless pursuit and seemingly sincere pronouncements, Lyka had been enamored. Especially with Mike’s well-meaning intentions for her, such as turning back from the flesh trade and returning to school.
But that didn’t last long. Hannah told off Lyka about Mike being no different from other guys and that he only thinks of glorifying himself about saving her from being an escort girl. Soon, she said, he would become drawn out and weary of his efforts and eventually leave her.
Lyka believed her and went back to her old ways.
Caught in the act
When Mike tried to contact her to no avail, he went to the bar where she worked and caught her flirting with her regular customer Mark (James Blanco). This enraged Mike and tackled Mark before walking out of the bar. Lyka pleaded to Mike to hear her explanation.
She said she feared that Mike would eventually give up on her and that she would just go back to her old self to avoid the pain. Mike responded by asking Lyka if she thought he was doing it all for himself. He told her he truly loves her and wants the best for her, but if she doesn’t start by loving herself, nothing would happen. Mike then leaves her.
Lyka then had a meaningful conversation with her dying sister. Grace said that unlike her, Lyka had all the time in the world to make that change in her life. She should make the most of it, like following a good person like Mike, and become the best she can be. And after that short conversation in the hospital room, Grace succumbed and died, leaving Lyka in a hysterical fit.
This became a huge call for her to change her ways. Lyka would then become a diligent and dedicated student until she finally finishes her Hotel and Restaurant Management course. And with her father’s blessings, she would then reunite with Mike who was pleased with the change he saw in her.
But the best of all, Lyka has become passionate with achieving more. Apart from a having a stable job at a hotel, Lyka is also pursuing a law degree with the help of a supporting family and a loving boyfriend.
Directed by Dado Lomibao and written by Benson Logronio, MMK’s “Make-Up” is aspirational to many in all fronts—giving hope to the hopeless as they deal with ongoing battles and scourges. It makes us stay strong despite the ordeals and not only hope for better days, but inspire us to work hard in achieving it.
Lead actress Jessy Mendiola is as captivating as she is in her portrayal of Lyka, as she truly presented a well-internalized and riveting performance with effective co-actor engagement and effervescence to viewers. Carlo Aquino further proves all the acclaim he receives through the years in the acting craft and has become a remarkable thespic vehicle to present this important message of resurgence and hope to all.