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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 21, 2019

Martin Del Rosario Reveals Sacrifices He Did For His Role As Barbs In 'Born Beautiful'

MARTIN DEL ROSARIO got a lot of congratulatory remarks for his performance as Barbs right after the special screening of “Born Beautiful” at the UP Film Center last Friday night. Everyone enjoyed his flamboyant performance as a pretty drag queen torn between two lovers, Kiko Matos, a tricycle driver, and Akihiro Blanco, a taxi driver. Didn’t he have any qualms doing his numerous kissing scenes and sizzling sex scenes with them?

“No, when I accepted the role, alam kong may ganung scenes na kailangang gagawin. I’ve done gay roles before in ‘Magpakailanman’, ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Karelasyon’, but walang gay love scenes. Dito, I talked muna to both Kiko and Aki, at pareho naman silang game. Actually, mas marami pa kaming ginawang kissing scenes kaysa sa what was shown in the movie. Remember, we did a TV series of 12 episodes. What was shown in the movie are just scenes from the first five episodes lang. So tip of the iceberg lang ang naipakita. Doon sa episodes 6 to 12 ng TV series, mas intense pa ang mga eksena namin.”

What did he realize after seeing himself as Barbs? “I realized na kung babae pala ako, maganda talaga ako. Ha ha ha!”

He describes the past year as a good one. “Aside from ‘Born Beautiful’, I also did ‘Urban Legends’ with Nora Aunor, which is completed na, and ‘My Stepmother’s Lover’ with Sunshine Cruz na may one shooting day pa, both directed by Adolf Alix. Then I had a teleserye, ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, on GMA-7 with Yasmien Kurdi. So it’s a very productive year for me.”

Before shooting, he had to lose weight to be convincing as a slender transwoman. “Dapat magkasya ako sa body-hugging outfits they’ve prepared for me. Hindi puede yung bato-batong arms so I have to look slim talaga. Aside from the looks, I have to get into the heart and mind of a transgender. Nagpaturo rin ako ng feminine movements kay Wilma Doesnt, including how to walk in heels kasi hirap na hirap ako. Also, I had to wax all the hair off my body, arms, legs, armpits. Ang sakit pala. Dumudugo. We shot the series for about 6 months so noong next time, nagse-shave na lang ako kasi ang sakit ng waxing.”

How did his parents react to the movie? “They’re very supportive. My dad accompanied me to the shooting at inaayos pa niya ang wig ko. Sabi niya, gandahan mo ha.”

Isn't he worried his effective portrayal of Barbs might revive rumors that question his masculinity? "Ang tagal na ng mga tsismis na yan, and it's really not true. Other actors, even in Hollywood, have portrayed gays effectively but hindi naman naapektuhan ang careers nila, so okay lang. Basta I'm happy na kahit second choice lang ako after Christian Bables backed out, I was the one who did the role. I think, kapag napanood niya, somehow, manghihinayang siya kasi aside from being a movie, TV series pa siya and now there's talk na baka magkaroon pa ng another season aside from the one we've already finished shooting."

Martin won the PMPC best new movie actor award for the horror movie, “Dagim”, in 2010 then the Urian best supporting actor award for “Dagitab” in 2014. Now, some folks are saying he might win the best actor award for “Born Beautiful”.

“I don’t want to expect anything, but I really gave this movie my very best at kung magkakatotoo, e di thanks very much,” he says. “But doing Barbs is really exciting and satisfying for me as I’ve done gay roles before but this time, I play the main character, lead role, so it’s a big break and a big challenge for me. I’d like to thank Direk Perci Intalan for helping me get to interpret the role right.”

“Born Beautiful” opens this Wednesday in theaters nationwide. There will be two versions, the R-16 version than can be seen in SM Cinemas, and the uncut R-18 version available in other cinemas.