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Move Over, Everybody: Francine Diaz Is Ready to Step Out of the Wings

Tougher than she looks and mature beyond her years, the 18-year-old actress is here to claim her rightful place in the limelight.

by Sam Beltran | Mar 11, 2022

Despite having gained instant stardom after "Kadenang Ginto," Francine remains your down-to-earth and pragmatic 18-year-old who's nothing but excited for the next chapter of her career.

In another universe, Francine Diaz would likely be a doctor. After all, it’s not difficult to imagine the sweet-faced and guileless star tending to those in need: her expression genuine, her words sincere, and her work ethic (she has been working since she was 10 years old!) admirable and mature beyond her years.

That would have been Francine’s other dream, had she not become an actress.

Mind you, it's not that this universe has not been any less kind to Francine. Quite the opposite, in fact. Best known for her hit turn as Cassie Mondragon in Kadenang Ginto, she and peers Andrea Brillantes, Seth Fedelin, and Kyle Echarri have been proclaimed as the next generation of stars who dazzle so bright they’ve been dubbed as the "Gold Squad." Francine’s two-year role as the kind and sweet Cassie catapulted the once-reserved and shy teen into stardom. The Gold Squad earned its own legion of fans, like a cool school clique whose every move was documented. Young followers shipped their love teams and even wanted to be them.

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But while being thrust into stardom is one thing, it’s another to maintain the spotlight on oneself—a feat that the actress has managed to accomplish with little effort, thanks to a mix of innate charm, the right mindset, and the ability to look ahead and showcase foresight. Now 18, Francine can confidently hold her ground solo, earning her laurels with one winsome smile at a time.

Francine has all the qualities of a superstar. A beautiful face? Check. Acting skills? You bet. A genuine and charming persona that fans love? Absolutely. Her refreshing authenticity is palpable, whether in one of her widely viewed vlogs or on the other end of a Zoom call. Here are a few zingers: “Single but rich,” she succinctly describes a vision of herself in five years, which is more than what most teens her age can visualize. Love life? “I want [it] but I don’t need it,” she quips with such confidence that one can almost see the actress perform a hair flip on the other side of the screen. Yet it’s not a sassy act she’s putting on for the clicks; she’s just telling it as it is. As her family's breadwinner, she has her priorities straight.

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Francine Diaz for Preview.ph March 2022

Simply Francine

Watch any of Francine’s YouTube videos and it would be easy to surmise that the actress is simply having the time of her life—from clips of her dreamy and fairytale-like debut celebration in February to walking her first fashion show for famed designer Michael Leyva. Yet make no mistake, the actress is simply reaping the fruits of her labor. Despite her innocent looks, Francine is no stranger to responsibility. Having worked at a tender age, she can now also be deemed the elected role model of the digitally immersed Gen Z with her 5.4 million Instagram followers and 1.4 million YouTube subscribers. She’s a true star of, and for, the post-Millennial crowd; a darling of social media, so to speak, who is unfiltered, down-to-earth, honest, and funny just like how their generation likes it, in comparison to the manicured, picture-perfect image of her predecessors.

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Love life? “I want [it] but I don’t need it,” she quips... As her family's breadwinner, she has her priorities straight.



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Despite the glitz and glamor of her industry, Francine, or Chin as friends and fans know her, remains humble and down to earth. Reels of her elegant debut, featuring studded ballgowns by Leyva and an ethereal setting by Gideon Hermosa, made headlines, yet her actual birthday happened in January. In case you didn't know, the latter was actually a toned-down and more intimate affair from the celebration held in public view.

The actress shares that she wanted to visit a library or a museum for her birthday, but a migraine hindered her plans. A surprise celebration by her family and closest friends quickly turned that around. “Noong mismong birthday ko, sinurprise ako nila Mama and may ibang friends na pumunta para i-surprise ako sa 18th birthday ko, pero masaya naman po.”


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That's just one of the little things that have remained the same about the 18-year-old amidst the several changes that have happened throughout her life. Working as a child actress has kept Francine grounded in reality. It's also taught her to carry herself with a certain self-awareness that belies her youth.

Take her bashers, for example. Francine eats them for breakfast, and yet every encounter is met with kindness, not hate. She shares with us a memory of hers as a child actress working on the set of the legal drama Ipaglaban Mo as a young Jennica Garcia: “Naka-lunch break po kami tapos kumukuha kami ni mama ng water, and then may matanda na lumapit sa’min from our location, dun siya nakatira. Sabi niya, ‘Ang ganda ng anak mo ‘no pero ‘di marunong umarte.’ And I was eight or seven years old tapos ngumiti lang kami.”


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It’s an experience that she takes with her to this day. “Syempre po nakaka-affect sa’kin kung minsan pero later on mare-realize ko, ‘Ay, hindi naman pala totoo ung sinasabi sa’kin so bakit ako magw-waste ng time sa mga sinasabi nila sa’kin na hindi totoo?’ Hanggang ngayon pa rin naman po, nginingitian ko lang lahat ng hate sa’kin or hate comments or mga haters kasi I think ayun yung kailangan nila, love and positivity kasi kita naman na walang magandang side sa kanila.”

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Francine knows even a sweetheart like her can’t please everybody, yet thankfully she has more fans than critics as is evident in her vlog. Her sweet-natured features box her in as the demure type, a notion that she's all too happy to debunk, calling her YouTube self “baliw” and “masyadong maraming sugar na nakain.” This is perhaps the aspect of Francine’s job that she enjoys the most, where she doesn’t get to be anyone else but herself.


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Talagang nag-e-enjoy ako kasi kapag nakikita ko ‘yung comments nila na kapag tumatawa ako sa video, tumatawa din sila. So yung ganoong feeling and connection po kasi talaga yung gusto kong ma-achieve noong nag-start akong mag-vlog,” she shares.



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All That Glitters Is Gold

Since Kadenang Ginto was her first major project, Francine had mixed emotions when the series ended. After all, seeing the same set of people, be it the cast or crew, each day for two years was no small deal. Francine shares that the realization came to her during the show’s wrap party. “Doon ko naramdaman na ‘Oh my gosh, masesepanx ako ‘pag talagang hindi ko na sila kasama.’ Nasanay kasi ako na for a year, sila yung every day kong nakikita, sila yung kasama ko. Parang nanibago ako noon na, ‘Paano bukas pag gising ko hindi na ako pupunta ng set namin?


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That said, the actress admitted she was excited to try a new role different from Cassie. “Love ko si Cassie, pero nakakapagod kasi parang parati ka nilang pa-iiyakin,” she says lightheartedly, before adding that she was thrilled she got to experiment on her craft with the character.

Her edgy layouts from this Preview cover shoot are proof that she could easily knock a badass role out of the park.

Francine's dream role? “A secret agent! [Something] action, like Al Pacino,” she gushes. That would be interesting to see in the future—her alter ego is a far cry from the proverbial sweet and innocent leading lady roles. Of course, her edgy layouts from this Preview cover shoot are proof that she could easily knock a badass role out of the park.


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But right now, Francine is happy to take what she can get, sharing that she tries to embody each character beyond what is written in the script. In Francine’s latest project, she ventures out of her comfort zone as she steps into a leading lady role in Bola-Bola, an iWantTFC limited series outside of her love team with partner and fellow Gold Squad member Kyle Echarri, taking the lessons of Kadenang Ginto and all other roles she’s had, big or small, into the next step of her career.

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The Next Act

2022 seems poised to be Francine’s year. She has a lead role, multiple projects, and several endorsements in the pipeline, cementing her status as truly the one to watch in showbiz’s roster of great superstars.

While Francine is grateful for the blessings that have come her way as an actress, there are some items she is keen on ticking off her bucket list as she comes of age. Even with a promising showbiz career ahead of her, the young actress takes her education seriously, choosing to enroll as a senior high school student in the ABM strand at Southville International School. Since saving lives as a doctor requires a full-time commitment, the actress mentions that taking up business and accountancy courses instead made the most sense for her career—yet another glimpse into her grounded and pragmatic point of view.

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As the curtain draws on the newly minted adult, it's clear that she's ready for the next act of her career and the exciting future that awaits her.

Other items on her list? Be kinder to herself and practice more self-care (she says she can be tough on herself) and finally get her driver’s license. She may be an accomplished celebrity, but she’s still a teenager, after all.

Francine is careful, calm yet warm in her answers—endearing yet a little more sure of her place in the world, a disarming quality that only adds to her appeal considering she just turned 18. And as the curtain draws on the newly minted adult, it's clear that she's ready for the next act of her career and the exciting future that awaits her.

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The truth is, Francine Diaz can likely achieve anything she sets her mind to. And all we have to do is quietly wait in the wings.


Producers: Steph SisonMylene Mendoza, and Marj Ramos

Photographer: Renzo Navarro

Art Director: Bacs Arcebal

Beauty Direction: Nicole Arcano

Stylist: Danae Dipon

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Associate Stylist: Justine Benitez

Makeup Artist: Denise Ochoa

Hairstylist: Brent Sales

Set Design: Migs Alcid, Sophia Adrao, and Claudine Verzosa of Studio Tatin

Final Artist: Khalil Alcala

Special thanks to Star Magic

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