Kate Valdez: From villain to protagonist role a test of her mettle as an actress

Kate Valdez

Because of her keen facial features, Kate Valdez found herself being associated with maldita-type characters. She played them well. And so she continued getting such roles.

But while she has learned to appreciate and enjoy being a contravida over time, the GMA 7 talent still hoped to play the familiar meek and distressed protagonist. It would be a challenge, she thought—a test of her mettle as an actress.

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In her new soap opera, “Unica Hija,” Kate finally got her wish. “In the past shows I did, I was the villain—ako ‘yung nang-aapi, nananakit at nagtataray. But now I’m the one being tormented. That’s the big adjustment I have to make,” she said at a recent Zoom conference for the said drama, which airs weekdays, 3:25 p.m., starting Nov. 7.

As in most afternoon melodramas, the show has the requisite confrontations scenes—the slapping, the hair-pulling. Now Kate realizes that being on the receiving end can be physically and emotionally draining. Such sequences are often shot at a tight and a wide angle. That’s a minimum of two takes. And if they make mistakes, they would have to do more.

“Sometimes, it can take me a while before I’m able to let go of the [scene and emotions],” she said. “It’s no joke.”

Luckily, her tormentor, played by Maricar de Mesa, is a thoughtful coactor who makes sure that Kate knows what to expect in their scenes together. She would even urge Kate to do some neck and shoulder stretches to minimize the risk of a whiplash.

“She’s very caring and kind. Before our physical interactions, she would guide me, or talk me through what’s going to happen,” related the 22-year-old actress, who previously appeared in the shows “Anak ni Waray vs. Anak ni Biday,” “Onanay,” “Sherlock Jr.” and “Destiny Rose.”

“Unica Hija” is a family drama that incorporates some elements of science fiction. Kate plays Bianca, a girl who dies after being accidentally pushed off a cliff by a jealous friend during a hiking trip.

Clone

Shattered, desperate and thinking that he’s to blame for the tragic incident, Bianca’s father, Dr. Sebastian (Alfred Vargas)—who’s neck-deep in a genetic engineering project—does the unthinkable and tries to clone her daughter. Much to his shock, the procedure ends up being a success. However, his assistant, Lucas (Bernard Palanca), steals the cloned baby, thinking it will bring him fortune.

Instead, the baby ends up in the hands of an abusive adoptive mother, Lorna (Maricar), who gives her the name Hope.

“It’s challenging because the two characters are different: Bianca was a sheltered girl and lived a privileged life; Hope grew up poor with no idea about her true identity. But they also share similarities—they both want love and acceptance from their families,” Kate said.

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While cloning is one of the driving forces of the story, its core is the emotional quandary it sparks among Hope and the people around her: Will Hope be able to have a normal life? Will her parents be able to wrap their heads around the idea of loving and caring for a human clone? The show also tackles the importance of identity, and ponders on what it really takes to be human.