KaladKaren makes history as first transwoman to win MMFF best supporting actress award
Celebrity impersonator KaladKaren was named best supporting actress at the first-ever Summer Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), making her the first transgender woman to be nominated and to win the acting honor.
KaladKaren, born Jervi Li, was not able to hold her tears back as she accepted the award for her performance in “Here Comes the Groom,” as seen in a clip from the Gabi ng Parangal which she shared on her Instagram page.
“Itong parangal na ito ay hindi lamang recognition ng aking trabaho kundi pati na rin po ng aking pagkatao,” she said during her speech. (This award is not just a recognition of my work but also of my identity.)
“When I entered show business, I never thought na makakakuha po ako ng award kasi (that I would receive an award because) as transgender woman, I thought I will never be enough,” she continued.
KaladKaren dedicated her win to her fellow transgender people, drag artists and members of the LGBTQIA+ community “whose lives and existence are being threatened in the world right now,” reminding them that they are “more than enough.”
She then thanked the Summer MMFF board of jurors, headed by actress Dolly de Leon as chairman, for the recognition which she said is a testament to the “diversity, inclusion and equity in Philippine cinema.” She also credited her co-stars and the production team in the film, as well as its director Chris Martinez for being a huge part of her win.
“Thank you rin po sa mga role models ko sa (to my role models in the) industry—ma’am Karen Davila, if not because of your support I don’t think KaladKaren would fly,” she stated. “And to meme Vice Ganda, thank you for opening so many doors for us so we can enter. You’re one of the reasons why I’m here tonight.”
“Sa mga LGBTQIA+ na kids, ‘wag kayong matakot maging kayo at ‘wag kayong matakot mangarap because one day, hindi niyo alam, kayo rin ang nandirito,” she continued. “At sana ‘wag din nating kalimutan ang mensahe ng aming pelikula: Hindi po ang itsura at kasarian niyo ang mahalaga kundi ang inyong puso at kaluluwa.”
(To the LGBTQIA+ kids, do not be afraid to be yourselves and to dream because one day, who knows, you would also be the one standing here. And I hope we also remember the message of our film: What’s important is not your appearance or your gender, but your heart and soul.)
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Fans and fellow celebrities cheered for KaladKaren as they flooded the comments section with congratulatory greetings.
KaladKaren bested Ana Abad Santos and Maris Racal at the awards night held at the New Frontier Theater on Tuesday, April 11. /ra