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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.

Dec 5, 2019


BEAUTY QUEENS: with Allen Dizon as producer, Gloria Diaz and Director Joel Lamangan

from left to right: allen dizon, nella dizon. winwyn marquez, maxine medina, direk joel lamangan.  seated are gloria diaz and mariz racal

standing left to right: direk joel, albie casino, allen dizon, shido roxas, jim pebanco, marcus madrigal, producer dennis evangelista.  seated are ross pesigan, winwyn marquez, gloria diaz, maxine medina, mariz racal, nella dizon and marie preizer

JOEL LAMANGAN remains to be our busiest actor-director. He’s finishing the movie, “In Between Goodbyes”, for Viva starring Lovi Poe, Marco Gumabao and Tony Labrusca in what he says is a unique love triangle-ghost story.

He plays the lead actor in Direk Joey Reyes’ mini-series about gay friends, “The Jokla Club”, he'll direct a stage musical on "Rajah Sulayman" and he’s now starting the shoot of his own mini-series for iWant streaming, “Beauty Queens”, the story of a family of beauty queens. This is written by Eric Ramos and totally different from the GMA-7 soap which starred Iza Calzado in 2010.

“Beauty Queens” will run for six episodes and each episode centers on a beauty queen in the family. Gloria Diaz heads the cast as Dahlia, who won as Miss Universe in 1969. She has two daughters played by Maxine Medina as Daisy and Winwyn Marquez as Tingting, and one son, Rico, played by Ross Pesigan who she wants to be the president of the university their family owns.

She’s a very controlling mother and pushes both her daughters to be beauty queens like her.  She wants them to also be a Miss Universe, but Maxine ends up as Miss International and Winwyn becomes Miss World First Princess. In the end, it’s Rico who’ll fulfill her dream when he outs himself from the closet as Rica and wins in the Miss Gay Universe pageant.

“Gloria thinks she’s a very loving mother,” adds Joel. “What she doesn’t know is that her domineering attitude is alienating all her kids at wala siyang kasundo sa kanila. The framework of the narative is a dinner she hosts for the 100th birthday celebration of her own mother named Tarcila Rodriguez, the last Carnival Queen of Manila in 1939, to be played by Mariz Racal in the flashbacks.

Tarcila becomes the trophy wife of a senator, played by Rafa Siguion Reyna, who is abusive to her so she commits suicide when Dahlia was only 8 years old. It’s in her honor that the members of Dahlia’s family will reunite and get to reveal their family’s secrets as the series goes on.”

Maxine as Daisy doesn’t really want to join a beauty pageant but was just forced by Gloria. It turns out she really wants to enter the convent to be a nun. Winwyn as Tingting becomes a beauty queen activist in UP (ala-Nelia Sancho) who later marries another activist, Albie Casino, and they join the rebels in the mountains. Ross as Rico is a closet queen who tries to please her mom, studies in the U.S. and later has an affair with his professor, Marcus Madrigal.

When he outed himself, Gloria threw him out of their house. As you can see, each role is a challenging acting piece. Also in the cast are Lander Vera Perez as Gloria’s husband who dies of cardiac arrest on the 10th year of their marriage, Perla Bautista as Gloria’s cousin who becomes her most trusted mayordoma in her home, Jim Pebanco as the friend of Gloria and VP of their university who knows her family’s darkest secrets,

Marie Preizer as a vlogger who becomes Albie’s second wife, Nella Marie Dizon as the young Gloria, Shido Roxas as a barista who becomes Rico-Rica’s lover and Sue Prado as Gloria’s trusted Girl Friday. The series will start taping on December 12 and they expect to finish all episodes by January 18. Producing it are actor Allen Dizon and Dennis Evangelista.

Gloria Diaz is happy to work with Direk Joel Lamangan again. “We’ve done several movies na and we last worked sa GMA-7 in ‘Pamilya Roces’,” she says. “I like ‘Beauty Queens’ kasi in my role as Dahlia, I won as Miss Universe of 1969, which was really the year when I won the title.”

We tell her people are praising her for her effective portrayal of Bea Alonzo’s annoying mother in law in “Unbreakable” and for her great performance in the Netflix series, “Unsatiable”, as Gloria Reyes, a former Miss Universe who becomes a beauty pageant coach who teaches lead star Debbie Ryan how to become a beauty queen.

“They just vibered me and I thought it’s a prank or they made a mistake and I didn’t reply, but I got lots of other text messages and it turned totoo pala,” she says. “Of course, I got kilig na naisip nila ako. It was nice na ninerbyos uli ako kasi hindi na ako ninenerbyos now. I was overwhelmed with the welcome they gave me when I got to their studios in Atlanta, Georgia.  They really made me feel important.”

So would she appear again? “I’m just a guest star. But if they have another season, I don’t know. Netflix has become so busy and I heard a lot of shows are now being made in Atlanta so, I don’t know. But I truly enjoyed myself there as they were all so kind.”

As for Direk Joel, he is just too happy to be neck-deep with work now because this year has been quite a sad one for him. He won several best director awards for “Rainbow’s Sunset” but his lead actors there, Eddie Garcia and Tony Mabesa, both passed this year, and the lead actress, Gloria Romero, is now indisposed so let’s pray for her full healing and let’s pray 2020 will be a much better year for all of us.