Remember when Heart Evangelista played a “taong unggoy” in a teleserye? It happened in 2007 when she top-billed the remake of Nanette Medved’s 1992 movie, Hiram na Mukha, an installment under the SineSerye umbrella series.
Heart played the role of Carissa, a woman born with a disfigured face that resembled a monkey. Hence, she was ridiculed in her town as “taong unggoy.” She then met Dr. Hugo (TJ Trinidad), a plastic surgeon who was working on a new surgical procedure. Carissa became a test patient for the doctor's new procedure. Hugo gave Carissa a new face, which molded exactly like that of his dead wife, Alicia (also played by Heart). Now assuming the identity of Alicia, Carissa vowed revenge on the people who humiliated her, especially Mendez (Geoff Eigenmann), who broke her heart.
Heart had to wear prosthetics for the first few weeks for the Carissa role. Here’s how she looked as the “taong unggoy” Carissa:
The series ran for six weeks from April 23 to June 1, 2007, the regular run for a series under SineSerye.
In Heart’s YouTube vlog posted on October 17, 2020, she reacted to her old videos available online.
One was an interview with Geoff Eigenmann during her 2007 pictorial for Hiram na Mukha, where she was wearing her “taong unggoy” prosthetics.
Heart exclaimed, “Grabe, ano ba iyan!”
She then called Hiram na Mukha as “one of [her] worst telenovelas.”
Heart explained, “I couldn’t breathe under that mask. The hole was on top here [pointing to her nose bridge] and these [her nostrils] were covered so I had to breathe through my mouth. We had to film from morning. So, I’d come in like 5 a.m., they'd do na the prosthetics and then after, we finish at 3 a.m. the next day, and I was wearing that mask the whole day. The mask was up to here [pointing to her scalp] so there was no way to breathe.”
Back then, Heart had to see the project through even with all the discomfort because she had no choice. At the time, she was no longer getting financial support from her parents and had to fend for herself.
Heart recalled, “So I would try to calm myself, ‘Bakit ko ito ginagawa?’
“But I remember, at that time, I was trying to become independent from my parents so I needed to earn money. So wala akong choice kung hindi gawin siya!”
She said the crying scenes were, for her, the toughest challenge of the teleserye.
“Puro iyak pa iyong scenes, so iyong sipon would be here [inside the mask] and I have to squeeze it up like that [to the mask’s nostrils], so I’d take it out from the top part, it was so bad. But, yeah, now, ine-enjoy ko na lang iyong mga nangyari!”
Hiram na Mukha was Heart’s comeback series after taking a break from acting at the height of her relationship with Jericho Rosales. Heart said during the 2007 press conference for Hiram na Mukha, "Noong nawala ako... I really forgot why I wanted to become an artista. It's because I love acting. I love it. It's what I always wanted to do ever since I was in my mom's stomach.
“The moment I went out, ako na talaga iyong tipong gusto ko na mag-artista. I'm trying my best to work as hard as I can, so they say that ‘It is worth giving her another chance.' I'm so thankful."
Hiram na Mukha would also be Heart’s last full-length, daily teleserye in ABS-CBN.
After Hiram na Mukha, Heart’s next project was a short guest appearance in Pangarap na Bituin and the weekly series Your Song: Muntik na Kitang Minahal, which had four episodes.
In mid-2008, Heart left ABS-CBN and transferred to GMA-7, her current mother network.
*This story originally appeared on Pep.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.