PH drama 'Destiny Rose' shines spotlight on transgender relationships
MANILA, Philippines – Following the success of My Husband's Lover and The Rich Man's Daughter, which explored gay and lesbian relationships, GMA 7 has launched another show – this time about the story of a transgender woman's struggles in society.
Called Destiny Rose, the afternoon drama launches newcomer Ken Chan in the role of Joey Flores, who struggles with his identity. After his father (played by Joko Diaz) shuts him away from the family, Joey goes through many struggles and obstacles along the way of fulfilling the dream to becoming a writer, and becoming Destiny Rose. Destiny Rose will also meet Gabriele Antonioni played by Fabio Ide, who becomes her true love.
For Ken, playing the role of a transgender woman and playing the leading role in a series is his biggest break to date. The member of the Saturday late night show Walang Tulugan was visibly emotional during the show's press conference.
"Sobra po akong maasayang-masaya na binigyan po ako ng GMA ng ganitong teleserye. Sobrang nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga bosing." Ken said.
(I am very happy that GMA gave me this type of teleserye. Thank you so much to the bosses.)
In an interview with reporters after the press conference, Ken talked more about his role:
"Marami ako natutunan sa kanila [transgender community], lalo na sa mga buhay-buhay. And physically, marami din akong natutunan sa kanila. Naging mas ano ako mas maarte sa katawan na parang lalo na sa pagda-diet ko. I eat healthy foods...dahil si Destiny Rose dapat maging payat, maging babae," Ken said.
(I've learned so much from them [transgender community] especially when it comes to the day-to-day. I've learned more about them too in terms of physicality. I became more conscious of my body especially with my diet. I eat only healthy foods...because the character of Destiny Rose should be slim, be a woman.)
Ken admitted that prior to doing the show he only knew the differences in LGBT terminology superficially, but now enjoys a deeper understanding gleaned from studying the role.
Ken said he is grateful for the guidance of the show's director Don Michael Perez, and that now is the time for viewers to see this kind of show.
"Yes, most of the viewers, alam ko ready na and excited sila dahil nakikita ko sa mga comments sa Facebook, sa Twitter, sa Instagram na they are all excited for Destiny Rose na talagang kakaibang konsepto..." Ken said.
(Yes, most of the viewers, I know they are ready [for this type of show], because based from the comments on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they are all excited for Destiny Rose, which is a very unique concept..)
Before Ken was chosen to play the role, other actors auditioned including Jeric Gonzales, who is part of the show as Vince, Joey's first love.
No transgender actress?
During the press conference, GMA executives, director Don Michael Perez and the writers of the show told the media that before doing Destiny Rose, they consulted with the members of the LGBT community on the approach for the show.
GMA 7 Vice President for Drama Redgie Magno said: "Habang kino-conceptualize pa lang ito, sinabi na namin sa mga writers na i-research ninyo nang maigi. Hindi naman magpre-present ng concept na hindi kumpleto ang research so para pag may mga tanong masagot nang maayos.
(While the show was being conceptualized, we already told the writers to research this very well. They will not present the concept if the research is not complete. So if there are questions, we can answer it properly.)
"When they do the week's scripts, regularly may sessions sila with the group of members of the LGBT," she added.
(What they [the writers] do the week's scripts, they have regular session with the group of members of the LGBT community.)
The people behind the show also took the opportunity to clarify why there is no transgender person in the cast for now, saying that there are also plans for more characters on the show.
"Mahaba pa po yung itatakbo nung soap so pina-plot pa namin nang maayos,"said director Don Michael Perez.
(The show still has a long way to go, so we are plotting it carefully.)
"We tend to be honest as possible sa depiction po namin sa portrayal ni Ken sa role ni Destiny Rose," he added. "You’ll always have a character of the ideal, yung aspiration, yung minimithi nung tao. Yung tao, yung character ni Destiny Rose dadaan sa madaming heartaches, hindi ibig sabihin na may character ni Fabio Ide, na magkakatuluyan sila. We would like to be as realistic as possible but at the same time aspirational din naman." (READ: Fabio Ide on daughter Danielle, girlfriend Bianca Manalo and role in 'Destiny Rose')
(We tend to be honest as possible in the depiction of Ken's portrayal in the role of Destiny Rose. You'll always have a character of the ideal, that's aspired to, what the person wants. The character of Destiny Rose will go through many heartaches. Just because there's a character of Fabio Ide, doesn't necessarily mean they'll live happily ever after. We would like to be as realistic as possible but at the same time, aspirational also.)
Veteran actor Michael de Mesa, who plays the role of Rosauro Armani Vitto in the show, and who's portrayed gay roles in the past, said the show will give viewers the chance to see the struggles of transgender people.
"I think basically it will give the audience a clearer picture, maybe it will give audience more room to understand what people go through, especially in our society; there's still a lot of people that really look down on gay people," he said, noting the different nuances when it comes to the LGBT terminology.
In the show, Destiny Rose and Gabriele meet by exchanging of letters after Gabriele's family sends a donation to victims of a catastrophe, including Destiny's family. But Destiny's cousin Jasmine, played by Katrina Halili, makes trouble when she pretends to be Destiny Rose to get close to Gabriele.
Model Fabio Ide plays Ken's half-Filipino, half-Italian love interest. Fabio said he was very happy to take on the role, which also gave him a chance to show his range
"I haven't had an opportunity like this before in my life and this part of me being a straight guy – I really find the story very nice, very unique. And when they gave me the role, I thought to myself na bibigay ko yung best ko dito sa show na ito. (I will do my best for this show), kasi this is really a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. People can now see a different kind of Fabio, a Fabio na more on drama," he said.
Destiny Rose also stars Manilyn Reynes, Joko Diaz, Jackie Lou Blanco, Sheen Halili, Jeric Gonzales, JC Tiuseco, Jeric Gonzales Irma Adlawan and Ken Alfonso. The show premieres on September 14. – Rappler.com