Actress Janella Salvador has admitted that while her relationship with her mom, singer-actress Jenine Desiderio, is far from perfect, she still considers the latter as her personal hero.
“It’s not a secret that our relationship isn’t perfect, but she is still one of the strongest women I know. She has raised me mostly on her own. I have to give her the biggest credit,” Janella told Inquirer Entertainment at the grand launch of the action-adventure series, “Mars Ravelo’s Darna,” where she plays the main villain, Valentina, and the alterego Regina.
Janella is Jenine’s child with former Rage band frontman Juan Miguel Salvador.
Meanwhile, Jane de Leon, who plays the superheroine Darna, said she also considers her parents her personal heroes, especially her late father, whom she described as “my No. 1 basher and, at the same time, supporter.”
“My dad is already in heaven. I went through a lot with him and my mom. During the time when we were so down financially, they really sacrificed a lot. They’ve been my superheroes ever since, from when I was still starting in show biz seven years ago,” recalled Jane. “My dad was against my decision to pursue an acting career because he said this industry requires me to invest a lot of money on myself, but whenever I would get an acting job, he was the person who was most proud of me.
“Things have changed for me and my family now. Sometimes, I would imagine taking my dad out—treating him to a movie at the cinema or to eat at a restaurant he would have liked,” Jane said.
If given the chance to choose her own superpower, Jane said she would pick the ability of the Marvel Comics character Shadowcat to become completely invisible and unseen in shadows. “I want to be able to go through walls and travel for free in airplanes, as well as be able to watch BTS concerts without having to pay for tickets,” she said, laughing.
As for Janella, she said she wanted “to be able to eat everything and not gain weight.” She also dreams of “being able to breathe underwater because I used to want to be a mermaid.”
“Of course everyone can be a superhero, just like Darna, “ Jane interjected. “She is an inspiration to a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, both actresses shared pleasant experiences since they started working on the set of “Darna” in September 2021, particularly with the series’ main director Chito Roño.
“We each have different experiences while working with Direk Chito. In the beginning, when we were still trying to get to know each other, I was really scared of him. I’ve heard stories of how strict he is. But after several days, I realized that Direk Chito is a totally different person from the one I’ve heard in stories,” she began.
“He is actually kind and malambing. When at work, it’s just natural that he expects everyone to focus on what they’re supposed to do. Direk is actually fun to hang out with because he tries to match our energy. Sometimes, he would visit us in our dressing rooms during break time just to chat with us. We’re lucky to have been able to see this side of Direk Chito that only a few people are aware of,” Jane pointed out.
“At first, I also felt scared of Direk Chito because of the stories that say he is such a terror at work, but I guess he was right when he said he has already learned to mellow down after all these years. On my first day working with him, he was in a good mood. He was all smiles! Direk even recalled the time he worked with my mom,” Janella recalled.“Direk’s aura is very light. He would joke with us during breaks, but when we are working, he is very straightforward. You’ll know if you impressed him or not. You will hear him say, ‘Ang pangit!’” Janella said.
Jane added, laughing: “Sometimes, he would also say, ‘Walang kwenta!’ or ‘Tatanga-tanga!’”
Both Jane and Janella also had to work closely with actor Joshua Garcia, who completes their love triangle. “It will be one of several conflicts in the series,” Jane explained.
“Josh is very professional and he knows his way around people. To be honest, I felt awkward being around him in the beginning because this is our first project together. I appreciated the fact he later made sure I feel comfortable being around him. Now, we’re very good friends,” added Jane.
Jane said achieving the level of comfortability that she now has with Janella and Joshua was definitely an effort. “This was because we’re all introverts. We would sort of take turns being makulit on the set. We really needed to get to know each other, so we also tried to share personal experiences,” she said.
On the other hand, “Darna” wasn’t Janella’s first project with Joshua. The two were onscreen partners in the 2019 series “The Killer Bride.”
“I always say that it’s nice to be working with him again since we’ve already built chemistry in ‘Killer Bride.’ Josh is one of my great friends in the industry. I don’t have a lot because I’m an introvert. I choose my friends—he’s one of them. I was one of the last cast members to join the team. It sort of felt nice to already know someone from the group.”
“Darna” airs on weekdays at 8 p.m. on the Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, Jeepney TV and TV5 and will also be available on Kapamilya Online Live, iWantTFC and The Filipino Channel. INQ