Challenging roles have become the norm for Therese Malvar, 16

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Therese Malvar. (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

Therese Malvar is creating a name for herself as an actress, and it’s not via the rom-com, horror flick or teleserye route.

The 16-year-old, who won her first acting award in 2013 for her portrayal of a young lesbian in her debut film “Ang Huling Cha-cha ni Anita,” has also earned international recognition for her performance in Ralston Jover’s crime-suspense drama “Hamog.”

In the film, Therese won Best Actress in the Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) and the Screen International Rising Star Asia award at the New York Asian Film Festival for her performance as a street child fighting for survival.

She is also currently in the cast of Joseph Israel Laban’s small town mystery drama, “Baconaua,” an entry in the ongoing Cinemalaya Film Festival. Therese has been getting favorable feedback for her portrayal of a teenage girl who falls in love with her older sister’s former boyfriend. In what is considered her first “mature” role, Therese also did a suggestive love scene with co-star Jess Mendoza.

During the recent press preview of “Hamog,” a film that originally premiered in the 2015 Cinema One Originals film festival and now an entry in the upcoming Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino festival, Therese shared what made her role here different from the other characters she has portrayed, so far.

“True to life po siya. Ibang-iba po siya sa pagkatao ko. Ang tapang po kasi talaga ni Jinky. Hindi naman po ako mahinhin, pero maligalig po ako and she’s really strong and acts older than what she really looks like. Yung mind niya, iba.”

Preparing for the role was an arduous process but she passionately went through it.

“Una po, nung nag-script reading po kami, binuo po muna namin yung characters namin nung time na yun para mas pulido pa kasi medyo mahirap po yung story ko po. Pati yung back story kailangan kong gawin. Lahat ng tingin ko, laghat ng ginagawa ko, may meaning po dapat. So ang ginawa ko ho, talagang ininterview namin yung mga batang hamog, lalo na yung mga babae, kasi po hindi po talaga ako…kasi ibang klase po talaga yung aura nila. Kahit lakad pa lang, alam mong hindi mo dapat lapitan. Tapos bait-baitan pero in the end magiging masama siya. So yun po yung ginawa ko, which I found challenging kasi gusting-gusto kong i-achieve po talaga yung matapang,” she shared.

Therese is aware that her journey as a young actress is eons away from the path that others have taken. She, however, has no qualms about it.

Director Ralston Jover with ‘Cataleya Surio, Hamog’ cast members Zaijan Jaranilla, Bor Lentejas, Sam Quintana, and Therese Malvar, with producer Martin Mayuga and cast member Mike Liwag. (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

“Nung una pa lang po, talagang challenging na yung pagsabak ko sa acting. I was a young lesbian who fell in love with an older woman. So dun po nag-start na na-in love po ako sa pag-research ng mga characters na kakaiba. Tapos parang for some reason, after ‘Cha-cha,’ the roles that were given to me were challenging and then napamahal na po ako sa challenging roles. Kasi pag teleserye po it’ still challenging but in a lighter way, but I still fell in love with it,” she said.

Does she make a conscious effort to accept only unconventional roles? Everything just seems to fall into place for Therese.

“Sakto po yun po yung mga roles na napupunta sa akin and gusto ko rin po and ng management. Ako po, pati yung nanay ko at tatay ko, sakto po may mga projects na talagang they see me in it and I would like to be in it also.”

With commanding performances under her name and prestigious acting awards under her belt, Therese is ever grateful for the unusual opportunities that come her way and pleased with her atypical evolution as an actress.

She explains, “Mas naging okay na nasabak po ako agad sa mahihirap. So talagang gustong-gusto ko po yung mga challenging roles and yes, I can say, and would hear from others, ‘yung mga ginagawa mo hindi usual na ginagawang isang batang artista.’ Which is true naman po, but I like it. It sets me apart from other actresses in my generation. I’m happy with it.”

“Hamog,” starring Zaijan Jaranilla, Therese Malvar, Sam Quintania and Bor Lentejas, and directed by Ralston Jover, is one of 12 films that will be shown in all cinemas nationwide rom August 16 to 22as part of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.