Once, they were stars who had their shining moments at the different ceremonies of the Filipino Academy of Movies, Arts, and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards upon bagging the prestigious trophy for Best Actress in a Leading Role. It was in April 2019 when she joined them as a fellow nominee for the same category in the 67th edition of the awards show at the Meralco Theatre.
Little did Nadine Lustre know that moments later, as presenter Agot Isidro opened the envelope containing the winner, she would join the abovementioned veteran actresses in the ranks as this year’s Best Actress for her performance as Joanne Candelaria in the romantic-drama film Never Not Love You.
After her win during FAMAS, she also bagged Best Actress trophies from the Gawad Urian Awards and the Young Critics Circle for the same performance.
It was, however, no easy feat for the award-winning actress. During her acceptance speech, Nadine spoke of a huge hurdle she felt a few months before shooting the Antoinette Jadaone flick.
“October 2017 po kasi, may malaking bagyo na dumaan sa buhay ko, and sobrang malaking damage ’yong ginawa nito sa akin.” she narrated onstage. “A few months before namin umpisahan ’yong Never Not Love You, palagi ko pong iniisip kung itutuloy ko kasi nararamdaman ko na baka ma-disappoint ko lang sina Direk Tonet [Jadaone] at Boss Vic [del Rosario, Jr.]. Ilang beses ko rin pong gustong umatras.”
Yet, despite being at the lowest point in her life, she was able to push the movie through, which became one of her proudest moments. The actress would continue to bask in success after that crowning glory by starring in two more movies this year, namely Ulan alongside Carlo Aquino and Indak with Sam Concepcion.
“Just keep fighting for it and keep reaching for your dream kasi it’s all about timing din,” she tells pikapika.ph. “Hindi naman p’wedeng gustuhin mo ngayon, makukuha mo kaagad. You really have to work for it.”
“Merong times na dina-doubt ko [sarili ko]. What if stop ko na lang [and] do something else. Pero kasi si Jen kasi, kahit na hindi siya comfortable, talagang pinush niya ’yong sarili niya para ma-achieve niya ’yong dreams niya. So, gano’n din ako, ang natutunan ko naman kay Jen, just never stop working, never stop believing in yourself.” --- on her character in Indak
LACING UP HER DANCING SHOES
For Nadine, her award-winning moment served as a reminder for people to keep going forth for their dreams, and never surrender despite the many hurdles coming their way.
“It’s one of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned recently,” she explains. “I just wanted to share [it] with everyone, para sa mga tao na naiisipan nang umatras na, talikuran ’yong mga dreams nila.”
That is why after taking home her prestigious awards, Nadine got back to work. She began filming for the dance musical film Indak which centers around Jen, an island girl who attempts to fulfill her dream of dancing on the world stage after being convinced by Vin (Concepcion) to join his dance crew.
“Si Jen, very passionate siya sa pag-sayaw niya,” she goes on describing her character. “Mahilig siyang sumayaw ever since noong bata pa siya. Kaya lang noong bata siya, meron nangyari sa kanya kaya, ever since, na-traumatize na siya at nahiya na siyang sumayaw sa harap ng maraming tao.”
Becoming Jen was pretty intense for Nadine because she had to undergo intensive dance training. She admits that she had a bit of rust when it comes to dancing because she has not practiced for quite some time.
“Pinaka-crucial is ’yong sa sayaw,” she says. “I had a lot of training with G-Force kasi [...] importante na maging mas fluid pa ’yong mga movements ko. I do have problems kasi ’pag medyo matagal na akong hindi sumasayaw, parang nagiging matigas ’yong movements ko so I had to [do] warmups, maraming session na for fluidity lang, para ’yong mga movements soft, ganyan.”
However, Nadine went on. She continued to dance every day until her body became one with the music, her movements growing soft as time passes by. She never gave up, that is why she relates to her character Jen who fulfilled her dreams despite different hurdles.
“Merong times na dina-doubt ko [sarili ko]. What if stop ko na lang [and] do something else.” she recounts. “Pero kasi si Jen, kahit na hindi siya comfortable, talagang pinush niya ’yong sarili niya para ma-achieve niya ’yong dreams niya. So, gano’n din ako, ang natutunan ko naman kay Jen, just never stop working, never stop believing in yourself.”
“Hindi naman ako na-pe-pressure. I guess I’m more inspired on working in more projects in the future kasi, at least, ito na-prove ko na kaya ko. ’Pag nilagyan mo na yan [kasi] ng pressure, ’yong ginagawa mo parang mas lalo ka lang nahihirapan. So, as much as possible, mas gusto ko ’yong ini-enjoy ko lang. Mas mahirap kasi ’pag stressed ka, lalo ’pag iisipin mo palagi kung ano ’yong iisipin ng mga tao, ’yong nagkakaroon ka na ng doubt sa sarili mo.” --- on added pressure after FAMAS, Urian, and Young Critics Circle awards
PUSHING HERSELF TO THE LIMIT
With Indak coming to theaters nationwide on August 7, netizens have been speculating whether there is added pressure for Nadine to do better than her FAMAS Award-winning performance in Never Not Love You. For the actress, however, it is quite the opposite.
“Hindi naman ako na-pe-pressure. I guess I’m more inspired on working in more projects in the future kasi, at least, ito na-prove ko na kaya ko.” she points out. ’Pag nilagyan mo na yan [kasi] ng pressure, ’yong ginagawa mo parang mas lalo ka lang nahihirapan. So, as much as possible, mas gusto ko ’yong ini-enjoy ko lang. Mas mahirap kasi ’pag stressed ka, lalo ’pag iisipin mo palagi kung ano ’yong iisipin ng mga tao, ’yong nagkakaroon ka na ng doubt sa sarili mo.”
In fact, the role of Jen has been a dream come true for the Never Not Love You actress, who shares because of how it rekindled her love for dancing and how it gave her the opportunity to meet new people.
“Parang law of attraction nga na hinihingi ko na gusto kong makapag-sayaw ulit, gusto kong makapag-training and then binigay sa akin all the more.” she says. “Madami din akong bagong nakilalang kaibigan na nakasama namin dito. Sobrang saya.”
Nadine could not be happier from the support she receives in doing the film. The moral support she receives from fans and from her real-and-reel life partner James Reid perks her up to do better as the hopeful island girl from Cebu.
“Pagka-solo flight [kasi] ako, merong time na nagda-doubt ako sa sarili ko, [kung] nagawa ko ba nang tama o tama ba itong ginagawa ko?” Nadine admits. “James is always there to support me and to assure me na, ‘You’re doing right things, wag mong i-doubt ’yong sarili mo.’ ’Yon talaga ’yong biggest support niya sa akin.”
As Indak nears local cinemas, Nadine believes that moviegoers should watch the film because it leaves a very important message: to always push yourself to the limit and trust yourself despite all doubts.
“I believe dito sa Indak ’pag napanood ninyo, mai-inspire kayo to push yourself and do your very best para maabot ninyo ’yong dreams ninyo,” she believes, her eyes shining. “It’s very inspiring talaga kasi ako kahit ako kung ako mismo na-inspire ni James, what more kayo ni Jen? What more kayo kahit na may trauma ka from the past? Basta just trust yourself, do your very best na maabot mo ’yong mga parangap mo.”
TEXT: Adam Laurena
INTERVIEWS: Phoemela Barranda from Anong Ganap? and Anna Pingol
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Melo Balingit and VIVA Films
ART DIRECTION: Stephen Jan Cruz