Ayen Laurel’s return to music

Talented as she is, singer and stage actress Ayen Laurel concedes Beautiful Strangers on GMA-7 is the most challenging TV series she’s done so far. 

Describing her scenes on the show as “emotionally tiring,” fans see their idol playing a character named Lourdes de Jesus who is going through a lot of bad things. 

“Ang daming nangyayari sa character ko,” she said. “Nasunugan siya, namatayan, pinagiwanan ng anak ng ate, pinakagat sa aso. May scar ako dito sa mukha and prosthetics takes a lot of time to put on. First taping day pa lang, fire scene na agad ako so talagang lapot-lapot, pawis. ”

Ayen Laurel has proved herself to be an effective character actor but she is returning to her first love -- music

Far from being the snooty antagonist who gets her evil ways in full makeup and regalia, Lourdes is the deglamorized type with whom many viewers actually sympathize.

“Noon kasi ang mga character na ginagawa (ko) ay yung mga glamorized kontrabida,” Ayen mused. “This time talaga, (Lourdes goes) to the ground.”

The role is as exacting as it is a blessing to have top caliber co-stars in the show, said Ayen. There’s Dina Bonnevie, Heart Evangelista, Lovi Poe and especially Christopher de Leon. 

Ayen remembers screaming her lungs out when she learned she was going to work with the multi-awarded actor, which, for her, is dream come true. As for Dina, Ayen likes it that she can switch from being a no-nonsense actress at work, then all funny and cheerful as soon as the director shouts, “Cut!” Heart and Lovi are also held in high regard by Ayen for being actresses in tune with their feelings that show in the work, dedicated to perfection, and are no prima donnas at all.

Then again it’s not as if they’re getting a lesser actress in Ayen. Known for her acting mettle and for being a true professional, she gives her best in Beautiful Strangers even when she sometimes thinks she has just about to reach the limit.

“Sometimes I would think, ‘Wow, pano mo gagawin yan?’ because, it’s really no joke. I have to use everything that I have kasi it (her portrayal) can’t come from just anywhere. Hindi mo pwede i-fake. There were shoots na out of 15, ay more than three quarters of it ay umiiyak ako sa mga scenes. Sobrang nakaka-drain.”

But as always, it’s all in a day’s work for Ayen who still finds time to channel her energies and creativity into other priorities. Aside from being a wife and mother, Ayen has been more active with her music career lately, beginning with several special appearances in other artists’ shows. 

“I’m back to singing,” said she who has hit albums and critically acclaimed concerts to her name. “Na-miss ko din.”

She was part of Jessie Lucas’ CCP special held recently and was a special guest in Dulce’s concert a few days ago. She will perform at APEC in Iloilo on Oct. 5. She is thinking of holding an intimate concert soon and, perhaps, even producing a new album, her third.

“I’m beginning to sing again. Saya! At least hindi ko nakalimutang kumanta. Muntik ko na ngang makalimutan. ‘Ay, kumakanta pala ako...’” she joked.

“Ang sarap pala bumalik sa pagkanta kasi ang tagal ko nang hindi kumakanta. Na-e-enjoy ko na ulit and even working with people I love and admire.”

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