Who doesn’t love Cinderella stories? Francine Diaz has a similar tale – rising above poverty to become one of her generation’s hottest artists. We are reminded of how she took on baby steps to stardom as she looks back at her past roles in this edition of Kapamilya React.
Francine exudes captivating charm. She’s both sweet and spirited, making her the perfect choice as young Pinang (Erich Gonzales) in the 2016 daytime drama Be My Lady. On a scene where she asked her father’s permission to sell goods, Francine noticed her ‘singsongy’ intonation which she’s often scolded for.
But, she has learned to overcome the speech issue overtime, apart from the acting lessons she picked up through experience such as getting into character, “Hindi na ako nagsi-singsong. Alam ko na kung anong dapat kong gawin sa eksena at kung paano dapat magsalita at kumilos ang character ko.”
Francine was reunited with Erich in the 2018 primetime series The Blood Sisters” where she played Ginny, the daughter of a syndicate underboss. She was a bad girl at first but she eventually turned kind-hearted towards Ericka (Erich Gonzales.) On a hospital scene shared with the lead star, she owned up to feeling scared. Intimidated and trying to be on a par with Erich, she fused her performance with voice acting.
“Nu’ng time na to, vino-voice acting ko ‘yung iyak ko para kunwari madala ako sa eksena pero wala, eh. Tapos ‘yung mata ko, pinikit ko pa para tumulo ‘yung luha ko. No, no, no! Hindi siya maganda. Pero okay lang kasi hindi naman talaga ako nu’n magaling umarte, hindi ako marunong. At least ngayon, natututo na ako,” she confessed.
In 2019, the sweetheart tried her hand at action by playing young Rhian (Angel Locsin) in The General’s Daughter. She then was starting to learn the ins and outs of drama. Apart from the honor of being Angel’s counterpart, Francine is also proud to have shared the screen with veteran actor Tirso Cruz III.
“Sobrang saya ko po na naka-eksena ko ang isang Mr. Tirso Cruz, si Tito Pip. Sa screen, sobrang effective niyang kontrabida pero in real life, sobrang saya po niyang katrabaho ang gaan-gaan lang.”
On a fight scene with the other rebel trainees, Francine revealed she was thrown real punches, “Habang ginagawa namin ‘yang eksenang suntukan, nasapak talaga ako nang totoo. Sabog pa ako, lutang ‘yung utak ko so hindi ko nakita ‘yung kamao ng ka-eksena ko. Hindi ako naka-ilag so tumama sa akin.”
Francine’s breakthrough role is Cassie Mondragon from the hit afternoon drama Kadenang Ginto which ran from 2018 to 2020. She was the sweet obedient Mondragon heiress, a stark contrast to Marga (Andrea Brillante)’s bratty attitude.
With a theme anchored on rivalry, the show required intense confrontations and female brawls. Francine reviewed a slapping and hair-pulling scene with Andrea, saying they apologized to each other even before the take. They also became BFFs because of such encounters.
“Bago namin i-take ‘yun, nag-sorry kami sa isa’t-isa kasi naisip ko first time ko rin ‘to gagawin, eh so baka ma-carried away ako sa eksena o kung siya man. After ng eksena, nag-sorry din kami. Pero masaya kasi experience din at nakasama ko si Blythe at ganu’n pa ‘yung eksena namin.”
The most challenging part of playing Cassie was making sure the character appears innocent at all times, “Kapag galit, kailangan kitang galit si Cassie pero dapat mabait pa rin siya.”
The best part is receiving positive response from the public, “Pinakamasayang part siguro ay ‘yung tumatak talaga sa mga tao si Cassie. ‘Pag may nakakakita sa akin, hindi nila alam ‘yung totoong pangalan ko tawag nila sa akin Cassie. Nakakatawa pero nakakatuwa kasi parang ang laki ng impact ni Cassie sa kanila.”
Francine is set to mesmerize us with her acting chops all over again in the inspirational drama Huwag Kang Mangamba starting March 22 on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and iWantTFC.