Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image | July 14, 2020

Scroll to top


No Comments

A Filipina Actress Proud of Her Heritage: Marife Necesito |

It’s past one in the afternoon and I was tempted to order an appetizer. Any appetizer from the Restaurant of Choice would have done. From the corner of my eye, I saw her, just as I was about to beckon one of the servers. She was dressed in a simple, yet glamorous henna-colored sweatshirt-like dress, boots, and there were white flowers and stripes on her attire. She flashed her lovely smile and sat down.

We exchanged pleasantries and ordered pizza. I noticed that her phone was a Hello Kitty brand. I asked her about it and she said that she left her phone in the cab around a month ago so she decided to use one of her old phones while deciding on an ample replacement. Yes, this lady sells Hello Kitty items. No, this interview will not be about her online business venture. First and foremost, she is an actress. She is not just any actress, she is one of the few who has a legitimate claim for having starred in a Hollywood film.

Caption: Filipina Actress Marife Necesito (Photo provided by Marife Necesito)

Filipina Actress Marife Necesito (Photo provided by Marife Necesito)

Marife Necesito is an accomplished Filipina actress who is proud of her brown skin and it already took her places. Fresh from the success of the Dutch film Lilet (directed by Jacco Groen) which earned her praise for maneuvering the complexities of her role as a veteran prostitute, she remains down to earth. The said film received many accolades abroad. It stars Sandy Talag. Her name first came to my attention when I read about her successful audition for the film Mammoth (directed by Lukas Moodyson). She bested several veteran actresses here; some were theater-trained like herself. How often does one get a co-starring role acting alongside accomplished thespians Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams? In this interview, we will get to know her better, and why we should be proud of Filipinas like her.

How did you get started as an actress?

I started out in theater. My mentors were Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and Angie Ferro in Dulaang Balintataw.

So what’s the first stage play you’ve been involved in?

My first production was Paraisong Parisukat. I was an alternate of Rina Reyes and Joe Gruta was our director then.

How did you get started in working for foreign film outfits?

In theater, word of mouth from my friends got me referred to film productions. I started as an ‘extra’ for films about casinos and boxing ring syndicates. A film by Hiroyuki Sanada, Hongkong ’97, and Going Back (HBO) were the first productions I had worked as an actress.

What’s the difference between working for local and foreign productions?

Talent fees and a wider audience base since the latter caters to an international market. You have more time to study the material because there’s a systematic timeframe in productions of foreign films. Unlike here, ‘take 1’ is nonexistent there. ‘Take 1’ doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good. For example, a director may ask an actress to try different ‘attacks’ on the character which could take up to around 30 takes. In the big screen, you’ll be surprised to see layers of the character that were not obvious from the early scenes.

What Filipina traits have you embodied in your roles?

Maternal love, the act of loving one’s offspring so much. The kind of love that will make a mother do anything for her children. It’s similar to what we see in our Overseas Filipino Workers and their love for their families left in the Philippines. It’s unconditional love.

Do you think there’s still a stereotype imposed among Filipina actresses? Why or why not?

Yes. The women who play mother roles in teleseryes (Philippine TV soap operas) are getting younger and younger. Many Filipina actresses get trapped by stereotypes, even though they have the capacity to reinvent themselves in other roles. Also, mestizas get to be casted as antagonists while morenas (brown-skinned women) get casted as protagonists in every story you see in televisions these days.

What is your favorite role?

As a deaf-blind woman in the film Agonistes, just like Helen Keller.

What is your dream role?

Sally Field’s role in Sybil as Sybil Dorsett because it’s really challenging for an actress to play someone with 13 personalities, some of them were male personas.

What is your advice to a Filipina actress who also wants to get a slice of the international scene?

Study, study, study. Redundant as my answer may seem, it’s a fact since acting is a form that requires rigorous continuous learning process. Your priority should not to make it to film festivals abroad and saunter on red carpets. It should instead be geared towards how to give your best as an actress in every project. You should go for roles that have layers, roles that go deeper as the script progresses.

What is your next project?

Right now, it’s a top secret. I live one day at a time.

How do you think can a Filipina actress use her artistic medium to promote positive change in our country?

You must remember your responsibility to your country. Like doctors, nurses, office workers, etc., we each have our role to play. We mirror the society. We need to be wise in choosing good materials and the characters we want to play. You should be proactive in helping your community even if you’re outside the camera.

Selected Filmography:

Lilet Never Happened (2012, director: Jacco Groen) – as Alice

Graceland (2012, director:  Ron Morales) – as Mrs. Marcy Changho

Ka Oryang (2011, director: Sari Dalena) – as Ka Helena

Mondomanila (2010, director: Khavn Dela Cruz) – as Mother Mariya

Mammoth (2009, director:  Lukas Moodyson) – as Gloria

Tropical Manila (2008, director:  Sang Woo Lee)

Black Market Love (2008, director: Peter Jacksen Choi) – as Momma

Pandanggo (2007, director: Dennis Empalmado) – as Espie

Raptura (2006, director: Ron Bryant)

Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (2004, director: Lav Diaz) – as Hilda


I'm a prokaryotic entity who loves the blue hue and chicken curry.

I believe in the law of attraction, that each of us can shape our own destiny.

I started writing when I was still in my mother's womb. I'm the twin of Joan Jett from another dimension.

We'd love to hear what you have to say. Comment below.

Please login or register to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.