Gabbi Garcia stands by her 'mean' TV character

Gabbi Garcia stands by her ‘mean’ TV character

/ 12:20 AM October 18, 2023
Scene from “Unbreak My Heart”—ABS-CBN ENTERTAINMENT
Scene from “Unbreak My Heart”—ABS-CBN ENTERTAINMENT

I don’t approve of what she’s doing,” said Gabbi Garcia, who added that if she had her way with Xandra Zhang, her character in the drama series “Unbreak My Heart,” the latter wouldn’t have come out so rude and unforgiving.

“It’s true that audiences have opposing opinions about her. Sometimes, people approach me in malls and say, ‘You’re so mean’ or ‘You have an attitude!’ While it’s a different story if you place Gabbi in the same situation, I try not to judge my character. If I start forming an opinion about her, then portraying her would not be believable. Those are her own decisions. In order for the character to work, I have to really believe in her,” said Gabbi during a recent media gathering to promote the program’s final five weeks of airing.

Gabbi plays Rose, the estranged daughter of Jodi Sta. Maria. Xandra grows up feeling angry toward the mom she never knew. When they meet, secrets and sins emerge, threatening to break hearts that have already started to heal.


For Gabbi, what happened to Xandra in the finale “is justified in a way, but I feel that there should have been more,” she said. “That’s what viewers have to watch out for.”


Gabbi has been getting rave reviews for playing Jodi’s daughter and leading lady to Joshua Garcia, who plays Renz. “Aside from hard work, it also requires discipline,” she pointed out. “I’ve learned a lot from doing the series, especially from my directors (Emmanuel Palo and Dolly Dolu). It’s a project that I really wanted to do. It was intentional. I wanted to grow as an actor. Even I was surprised with myself. I realized that I just had to trust the people I work with, take the risk, and then jump.”

A different connection

“Unbreak My Heart” is a groundbreaking project between GMA Network and ABS-CBN. It was partly filmed in Europe and is currently seen in 15 territories outside of the Philippines via the video-streaming service Viu.

Gabbi said working with Jodi in “Unbreak My Heart” drew them close. “I never expected that she would end up as my big sister. We both think that connection we created was different. Even off-cam, we jive,” the actress said. “After the show, I was still able to visit Ate Jodi in her home. Ours isn’t just a ‘taping relationship.’ It went beyond that. It’s rare for me to find that kind of relationship in this industry, so I really treasure and value it.”

Gabbi said she knew Joshua prior to working with him in the series, but it was on the set that they were able to have “deep conversations.”

She explained: “He’s always been very open. But since it’s usually the two of us who are together on the set, our relationship grew closer. When it came to deep conversations, these really helped because we trusted each other even more.”

Jodi is known to share words of wisdom with her younger coactors so Gabbi was asked to recall those she heard from Jodi that struck her the most. “She told me, ‘You’re not a robot. It’s okay to make mistakes or feel tired.’ I appreciated the gesture. Ate Jodi also told people that she enjoyed working with me because I take my craft very seriously. It’s because of those compliments that I feel more inspired, that I now have a stronger drive to work.”


‘I’m only human’

However, Gabbi clarified that there was never a point when she felt burned out or that she wanted to quit being an actress. “Ate Jodi just had to remind me that I’m not a robot because I had worked on ‘Urduja,’ which is a prime-time series on GMA 7, before flying to Europe to shoot for ‘Unbreak.’ I had no breaks at all,” she explained. “When I got back to Manila, I did ‘Urduja’ again and then did ‘Unbreak’ immediately after. Exhaustion was really a big factor. I’m only human, it’s normal to feel tired,” she said.

Gabbi said she enjoyed her long chats with Jodi the most. “We can talk for four hours straight. With the two of us, the flow of topics seems endless. We didn’t just talk about show biz. I would seek her advice on something, while, sometimes, I would just rant to her. On some occasions, she would open up to me. We’re always updated with what’s happening to each other,” Gabbi declared.

“She also suggested that we bond while she’s cooking dinner, since her house is just close to mine. We’re both from the South. I’ve already met her whole family—her mom, as well as her famous cat, Naia. I love pets in general. And like me, Ate Jodi also has a senior dog,” she said.

In this interview with Inquirer Entertainment, Gabbi revealed that she would be doing a film by the end of the year, but isn’t allowed to share specifics about it just yet. She also admitted that the project she was supposed to do with Jericho Rosales got canceled. “I was just told that there’s no more chance for that one to happen. Of course, I felt sad, especially because I’ve already read the script and liked it. I just feel that there’s a reason for everything. I believe in perfect timing. I’m sure we will cross paths again soon,” she stressed.

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The event, held on Friday night (Oct. 13) at the ABS-CBN Compound in Quezon City, was also attended by GMA 7 senior vice president for programming Annette Gozon-Valdes and Viu Philippines deputy country manager Vinchi Sy-Quia, as well as cast members Maey Bautista, Will Ashley, Bianca de Vera, Nikki Valdez and Sunshine Cruz.

TAGS: Gabbi Garcia, Unbreak My Heart

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