“Giannina loves theatre.” If you want to take away something from this quick write-up about her, that’s it. In an age where the term work-life balance seems like an oxymoron, there’s just something so refreshing about working with someone who just genuinely loves what they do—it’s infectious.
“I had just quit my corporate job before that so it was really about doing something out of the box and doing things that I knew I loved but never had the chance to do. It just so happened that I got bitten by the theater bug and that it had bitten me hard," Giannina explains.
Ever since Giannina finished her adult acting workshop with Repertory Philippines, she’s been taking up roles left and right and has made quite a name for herself in the musical comedy scene. “I started late [in theatre]. I’ve only been acting for about six years. I have so much left to learn and want to try out,” she exclaims. In those six years, she has taken up primarily comedic roles in plays like Repertory Philippines’s Leading Ladies and Boeing Boeing.
She confessed that it doesn’t take much to make her laugh. This was pretty obvious during our shoot where she’d suddenly laugh whenever the atmosphere would get a bit too serious. “I laugh very easily and I’d like to think that I'm pretty good at making other people laugh. I can easily find the humor in a character I'm portraying and in the situations the characters are put in. Rightly or wrongly, that's maybe the first thing I notice in the characters I play or the scripts I read,” she says.
Giannina’s main concern when acting is that she should be able to convey the feelings of her character in a genuine way, which makes her want to try participating in more straight plays and dramas. “It’s hard to fully empathize with the feelings of your characters in comedies sometimes since their emotions change abruptly as each scene dictates. The dramatic scenes can only last so long until you need some humor to lighten up the atmosphere. Out of all the plays I’ve been in, Red Turnip’s Time Stands Still really affected me the most. It was so beautifully written and I empathized with my character so much.”
Watching her slip in and out of the characters we wanted her to portray during the shoot to her “normal” bubbly self to comment on how much she liked how the clothes and pictures made her look like a character she’s always wanted to play just made us so, for the lack of a better term, kilig.
Kilig at the fact that she was kilig. One of the many talents of Giannina is making her audience feel things she was feeling, “Theater is a two-way relationship between the actors and the audience. The energy that the actors get from the audience is so palpable, it's like drugs. I've never done drugs but everything they say about it, the 'high,' that's what I get from the theater.” And it felt like we were watching her show.
No matter how much people say that Giannina is just a naturally good actress, she believes that acting is just “like any [other] skill, the more you practice, the more you do your research, the more you observe and understand the character and situation, the better you become. I think you kill the comedy if you try to be funny. The comedians are the ones who are so comfortable at laughing at themselves. You have to find humor in everyday life, in everything.”
So how close is the actual Giannina to the characters she has played? “I find situations and emotions that the character feels which I’ve felt; that way, I feel the truth of portraying that in the character is based on something that is genuine, which I think is a very important part of the storytelling we’re doing. I think that’s the part of Giannina that’s in all of my characters.”
Everyone has a chance to touch people in ways that could make them think and act differently. Giannina is an actress, but she doesn’t need a stage to make people feel her passion, and as cheesy as it sounds, neither do you. Every day we get the chance to show other people different perspectives of the world by putting enough of ourselves in things we are passionate about. “I'm just so blessed that I'm able to do what I love. How many people can say that about their profession?” Too few, Giannina. Too few.
Photography Artu Nepomuceno Stylist Meg Manzano Makeup Janina Dizon Hair Georm Imperial
This story originally appeared in the August issue of FHM Philippines. Minor edits were made by the FHM.com.ph editors.