I’m a certified “My Husband’s Lover” (MHL) fanatic. With the brilliant acting and superb camera work, watching the soap makes me feel like I’m a voyeur in search of that certain kind of thrill that only forbidden love can bring. For other “MHL” diehards out there, here’s good news relayed to me by GMA 7’s top honchos Annette Gozon-Abrogar and Joey Abacan. They will soon release DVDs of the hit teleserye with a bonus feature of scenes which were edited out. They are also toying with the idea of making a movie version of “MHL.” Never too much of a good thing, huh?
The three lead stars—Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo—are making waves. But equal credit should also be given to the supporting actors like Karel Marquez, who portrays Evelyn, the troubled and hard-up sister of Lally (Carla Abellana). Après tout, the main stars won’t shine as much without the help of the rest of the cast. A good recipe won’t work if you don’t have the right mix of ingredients to begin with. They thrive on each other’s energy and passion, which makes the teleserye all the more powerful.
Karel is at her finest on “MHL.” (Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @iamkarelmarquez). Here she bares her heart as an actress, single mom and as a woman in love.
What do you think makes “My Husband’s Lover” such a phenomenal success?
Well, to be honest, making such an uncommon theme for a regular soap opera in the Philippines was a risk for GMA 7 to do. It’s not just concentrated on the “lover’s story” but also about family and how to deal with our everyday lives… and the fact that it happens… [and there are] gay lovers. And since it’s a first for Philippine television, thank God, people accepted it—all genders. I know there are soaps like this in other countries at dahil we’re still known to be a conservative Catholic country, hindi rin siyempre tanggap ng lahat ng tao. We can’t please everybody. But the bashing and the praises are both part of the success of the show. And like any movie about love, drugs, fighting, killing, we are just telling a story… a beautiful one.
In what ways has your role in “MHL” help you improve as an actress?
In “MHL,” people ask, “Why do you cry so easily as if gripo lang? Or, “[Bakit] mukhang totoo ang pagdeliver mo ng mga linya? My answer is: In real life sobrang babaw ng luha ko. I don’t know if it’s already a skill because I can cry anytime. I read a scene and pretend I’m the character. I feel her pain… I break down in tears, say my line with all my heart and soul. For me it’s harder to internalize and play the villain. So it’s refreshing for me to be Evelyn in “MHL”… a typical ate with ups and downs. I try to beat my own self in every project/role that I do and become better. This is my passion. And no one can ever take that away from me.
What has your character’s conflict with your sister in the series taught you about sisterhood/sibling rivalry?
Well I think no matter how tough it gets, at the end of the day, magkapatid pa rin kayo, so you learn to forgive, to understand, and that family will always be there for you… Whether you’re successful or if you failed at some point, it’s important not to turn your back on family. Keep that bond no matter what happens. There will be times when you may disappoint them. But what’s crucial is to go through that disappointment and still stick together after the storm.
Would you fall for a gay man?
I can’t fall for someone who is attracted to the same sex! I mean, why would I? Straight is straight. Bisexual is bisexual. Gay is gay. I have tons of gay friends and I love them! No falling in love lang. Can’t imagine it.
What would you do if you find out your partner is gay?
If we have kids, of course, I would, as much as possible, try to fix it. I would want to know details. But honestly, I don’t think I would handle it very well and continue the relationship.
If Eric, Vincent and Lally were real people, what would be your unsolicited advice to them?
Life is short. Do what makes you happy. But do not cheat for goodness sake. Just go with the one you think makes you happy and make sure it’s mutual. But forget the cheating part.
What’s the best advice your mom (Pinky Marquez) ever gave you?
She just tells me positive things, never to give up. It’s never too late to do what you have to do, and love what you love. And at this point in my life, I work hard for my kids. There’s nothing I won’t do for the love of my kids.
How do you handle being a single mom?
It’s not easy but it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Keiley is 4 and Kyler is 3. I believe even if they are still young, I must discipline them already. But it’s quite hard for me to reprimand them because I’m a naturally sweet person. I have to be both mom and dad. I work double time. I try to love and nurture them the best way I can.
Tell us about your boyfriend, Sean Carlo Fariñas?
We’ve been a couple since December 2012. He’s a bar owner (Dilinger’s, Prohibition Liquor Lounge, Locale Gastrobar) and a gym owner (Ultimate Fitness). He loves my kids to death. He’s like a daddy to them. To think he’s a bachelor and he comes from a prominent family. I’m so touched that he chose to love me and be there for me and my kids.
What’s the most important lesson you learned from your failed relationship with the father of your kids?
Know my worth and know when to say enough when the relationship is no longer working. Stand up for myself and my kids. And just like all women, I deserve to be treated right.