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Bea Alonzo Is Not Ready to Settle Down, But She's Ready for Everything Else

After 15 years of playing by the rules, she's taking the reins and coming into her own.

by Fiel Estrella | May 17, 2018

Now in her 30s, the Kasal actress is all about taking control and caring less about what other people think.

Bea Alonzo is the kind of actress who maps out her career in terms of roles—characters, to be precise. Most actors would say that they were on that show, or in that movie, but Bea starts her sentences with “When I was Basha,” or “When I played Bobbie.” Years later, she still knows and understands these now-iconic names like the back of her hand.

She has, after all, built a lasting body of work out of playing independent, complex, and fully realized young women, able to stand on their own and carry themselves even when flanked with a romantic co-lead (often one John Lloyd Cruz) or surrounded by a strong ensemble cast. In Bea's breakout role as Basha in One More Chance, she is on a quest to assert herself and find her worth—even if it means walking away from a relationship that just isn’t right for the time being. She can play starry-eyed and a little goofy, as seen on I Love Betty La Fea and last year’s A Love to Last opposite Ian Veneracion; she can be cold and seemingly unsympathetic until you break through her surface, which she showed us in The Mistress

What ties Bea's characters together is a certain image of wholesomeness and grace. She does, however, claim that Bobbie from Four Sisters and a Wedding is the closest she's come to playing a kontrabida role. And as we watch her channel a dark, mysterious bride for a Preview fashion editorial, it suddenly becomes very apparent: There is so much more to Bea Alonzo than meets the eye.


 

Dress, price unavailable, VERA WANG, 8 Rockwell.

In her latest movie, Kasal, Bea plays Lia, who has to choose between the man she thought she wanted to marry and the ex who just walked back into her life. “When it was offered to me last year, I immediately said yes,” she says, adding that she has always wanted to work with director Ruel S. Bayani. “The story really appealed to me right away kasi it’s not your usual affair movie, contrary to what everybody thinks. [It has] a bit of an edge.”

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She says of her character, “The way she loves, she really gives it her all. And I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I’m like that.” Kasal is expected to change the viewer’s views on love, and Bea’s own perceptions of relationships and romance have been affected in a lot of ways. Through Lia, she learned that “sometimes, your deal-breakers can be broken because of love.”


It’s also worth noting that Bea uses the term “create” to describe her involvement with her characters, admitting that she’s very hands-on and takes her roles seriously, something she takes pride in. “I had fun working with direk Ruel,” she shares. “I didn’t know that he’s that collaborative as a director. He really asks us kung ano ‘yung suggestions namin, so that way I can really own the character.” She sees every role as a personal and professional journey, a chance to learn and evolve. “I always say that there’s a part of Bea that stays with the character forever, and there’s a part of every character that Bea plays that stays with her forever.”


Bea, like the roles she takes on, never hesitates to defend what she believes in—while her characters almost always fight for love, she fights for integrity. “I can’t do a scene that I don’t understand, or I don’t relate to,” she explains. “I need to feel it; I need to at least understand it, kahit hindi pa nangyayari sakin. I need to approximate how it feels.”

Case in point: One character she truly fought for was Adie (The Love Affair), who strikes up a romance with an older man (Richard Gomez), their similar cases of heartbreak serving as a source of connection and comfort. “There was this one scene na hindi ko talaga naiintindihan,” she recalls. “Parang naghahabol ako, tapos parang I was losing my mind kasi I wanted [Richard’s character] back in my life kahit na married siya. I understood the desperation, but I just didn’t understand kung bakit. Why would she run after the guy that bad?”

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She went to writer Vanessa Valdez, who had also written One More Chance. “Sabi ko [sa kanya], ‘No! Hindi mo ako binibigyan ng dignity. Walang babae na ganyan. Sabi ko, ‘Hindi ganyan si Adie. That’s not how I created her.’ Adie would never run after a guy.”

The sun was coming up, and they couldn’t finish the scene. Production packed up for the day, and Bea was told to think it over carefully. “Hindi ko alam kung saan ko siya hahanapin, hindi ko naiintindihan. So hinanap ko siya, hinanap ko siya,” she says. Eventually, she came to her senses. Reality, she adds, was a slap in the face.

“I was actually that girl,” she declares. “At that time, I literally begged someone to stay in my life. And I was just in denial...May mga bagay na hindi ko ina-acknowledge sa buhay ko na, sometimes, ‘yung character makes me acknowledge it. Na-enlighten ako dun sa reality.”


Dress, price unavailable, ROSA CLARA, The Residences at Greenbelt. Headdress, P3500, BONSAI FOJAS, instagram.com/bonnehandmade.

She had a similar experience of epiphany and self-discovery while working on Kasal. Like her character, she had grown up with a broken family, or a family that deviates from what is seen as the norm. “All I wanted before was to conform,” says Bea. “I strived so hard to have a normal life...It’s just that I wanted to be ordinary. ‘Yun yung character journey ni Lia; that’s also my self-discovery, na sometimes, you just have to embrace your reality, not your ideals.”

Lagi nilang sinasabi sa akin to go out of the box. But for me, I’m all about enlarging my box.”

After her 15 years in the industry, Bea Alonzo’s filmography boasts an illustrious range of heavy and light dramas as well as romantic comedies—nothing too out-there or offbeat. She admits that she is well aware that some people think the roles she gets are, in essence, all the same. But the way she sees it, it’s more of a challenge than a tedious routine. “How do you differentiate your characters from each other kung almost the same sila?” She explains, “They’re all empowered, they’re all victims of love, you know? Para sa 'kin, easier way out kasi kung magiging sobrang offbeat nung character ko.” If she were to play a serial killer, perhaps, or someone grappling with addiction, it would be too easy to tell the difference. “Lagi nilang sinasabi sa akin to go out of the box. But for me, I’m all about enlarging my box.”

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Lace cape worn as veil, price unavailable, ROSA CLARA, The Residences at Greenbelt.

Bea is not really about playing it safe, nor is the selective scope of her work by design. Often, it is simply that her contract and schedule would prevent her from taking certain projects. “I cannot say that I am a victim of branding,” she says. “It’s just that I really wanted that for myself. I’m a fan of love stories, [so] these are movies that I want to watch also.”

These days, however, she’s growing more and more used to putting herself out of her comfort zone. “Sabi ko, ’pag 30 na ako, I will start to do independent movies and mas magiging brave ako sa pagtanggap ng projects na nakakatakot, at least box office-wise," she reveals. "Kasi syempre, may expectations sayo ‘yung mga tao, ‘di ba?

Making room for a bigger box, to Bea, now means branching out to different genres and roles, not just in front of the camera, but behind it as well. This year, she’s got a horror movie coming out—her first, and it’s an independent feature—from Birdshot director Mikhail Red, in which she co-stars with Charo Santos. In Eerie, she plays “a very melancholic character.” With a laugh, she adds, “Lahat ng acting sa menu ko, na-order ni Mik Red.”


She’s also looking forward to being more involved in the creative process of filmmaking, particularly producing. “It’s always been my dream to produce, and I’m slowly doing that. I have a lot of concepts na nakalagay sa archives ko. I have scripts that I want to do.” For now, though, Bea sees herself as an actress, and wants to focus on that craft. 

Para sa 'kin ngayon, parang gusto kong unti-untiin,” she says. “Regardless kung anong genre, regardless kung sino producer or director, kapag nakikita ko ‘yung sarili ko na ginagawa ‘yun at kapag nakikita ko ‘yung sarili ko watching that, I will do it.”

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"I guess I am braver at 30. I care less about what other people think of me. I am more comfortable in my own skin."

Kasal is the first movie Bea has starred in since turning 30, and it ushers in a slew of edgier roles that may introduce audiences to a new side of her. She’s less unsure when it comes to expressing herself, whether she’s talking about love or her career. “I guess I am braver at 30,” she says. “I care less about what other people think of me. I am more comfortable in my own skin.”


It comes as no surprise, then, that Bea is in no hurry to settle down, even if some might say the clock is ticking. “People are starting to pressure me,” she laughs. “But I always say na, may kanya-kanya tayong timeline, and I don’t feel like, sa timeline ko, now is the right time.”

May ibang mga babae na nandun na sila, pero ako, wala pa ako dun,” she adds. “And as much as possible, I don’t want to pressure myself. Kung mangyayari sakin, mangyayari sakin. But I’m not going to do it just because people are pressuring me.”

Asked where her priorities currently lie, she sits back in her chair and looks ahead. “Honestly? Going with the flow.” As she continues to talk about the future, we finally see Bea looking most satisfied: “Since I’ve always played by the rules, right now, I’m so excited for the unknown that I don’t want to be certain all the time.” Smiling, she concludes, “I’m enjoying the uncertainty.”

Produced and Styled by Marj Ramos

Photographed by Charisma Lico

Creative Direction by Vince Uy and Mark Buenaobra

Makeup by Ting Duque

Hair by Brent Sales

Nails by Luz Fortuno of Triple Luck Brow & Nail Salon

Special Thanks to Joshua Roque of Star Cinema

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