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Sanya Lopez: Her Time is Now
by Nikko Tuazon
Aug 5, 2022

Sanya Lopez: "Pangarap ko pong maging Gloria Romero, as in."

Sanya Lopez is one of the busiest stars in the Kapuso stable today.

In January 2022, Sanya was named as one of the "Sparkle 8," the banner stars or "sparkling artists" of Sparkle, GMA-7's newly revamped talent-management arm.

Sanya and fellow Kapuso stars Ysabel Ortega, Gabbi Garcia, Bianca Umali, Ruru Madrid, Derrick Monasterio, Khalil Ramos, and Miguel Tanfelix were dubbed as the "Next Brightest Stars for 2022."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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Dress by Carl Arcusa

In spite of this new milestone, Sanya said she will never be complacent or rest on her laurels. In fact, the Kapuso actress said she takes this as a new challenge to improve on herself.

"I’m very happy, but, at the same time, I feel yung pressure," the 25-year-old actress told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview for her PEP Headliner feature on July 18, 2022.

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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She continued:

"Hindi porke't may binigay at sinabi sila sa iyong ganyan, maging kampante ka, e. Di ba parang mas nadadagdagan yung pressure, mas kailangan mong galingan, mas kailangan mong may mapatunayan sa kanila.

"Kailangan mong ibigay lagi yung best mo. Kung ano na yung best mo, dapat ibigay mo kung ano pa yung pinaka-best mo lagi. So hindi ka dapat maging kampante kapag meron kang ganun."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

For someone whose TV series did well in the ratings and even merited a sequel, Sanya remains unassuming and makes a conscious effort not to let this latest recognition go to her head.

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In her words, "Mas more on dapat mas humble ka pa. Mas dun ko ginagamit yung, ‘Ah, ganito lang ako before…’ Para lang ma-avoid natin yung, ‘Oh, ganito na [ako].’

"Kasi sometimes, hindi mo talaga maiiwasan, may ipapa-feel sa iyo na, ‘Ganito ka, ganito ka… Importante, ganyan…’ Ako yung mismong natatakot doon so mas kino-control ko yung sarili ko.

"Minsan, alam mo yun, binabalikan at binabalikan ko yung mga dati talaga, kung paano ako nag-start."

Read also: Meet the 8 sparkling artists of Sparkle

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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PRIME-TIME'S NEW FIRST LADY

Sanya shot to stardom in 2016, when she starred as Danaya in the GMA-7 re-telling of the hit telefantasya Encantadia.

This led to lead roles in three successive teleseryes: the afternoon dramas Haplos (2017) and Dahil sa Pag-ibig (2019), and the prime-time series Cain at Abel (2018).

Later in 2019, she joined the cast of Beautiful Justice as Agent Thea.

Sanya's second breakthrough happened in 2021. She starred as the leading lady of Senator Bong Revilla in the first season of the weekly fantasy drama series Agimat ng Agila.

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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At the same time, she was tapped to play the titular role in the primetime series First Yaya. Gabby Concepcion played the President, while Sanya took on the role of Yaya Melody Reyes.

It can be recalled that the role was initially offered to Marian Rivera, but the Kapuso Primetime Queen decided to step away from the show due to lock-in taping rules.

As First Yaya emerged victorious in TV ratings, Sanya eventually reprised her role as Melody for the show's book two titled First Lady. The show was even extended for six more weeks because of its good ratings.

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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Aside from the show's success, Sanya is grateful for the long-lasting friendships she was able to build with cast members in both First Yaya and First Lady.

She said, "Lahat ng cast nung First Yaya, even our director, si Direk L.A. [Madridejos], ka-chat ko pa rin hanggang ngayon.

"Si Gabby Concepcion, mga dearest ko, yun nga sina Cassy Legaspi, Cai Cortez, Kakai Bautista, Thia Tomalla, Maxine Medina. Lahat sila ka-chat ko pa rin, kahit sina Thou [Reyes]. Name it, kausap ko pa rin sila.

"I’m happy lang na yung connect namin is ganun pa rin. Dito sa taping ng First Lady / First Yaya, hindi ko na-feel na, ‘O, taping friend lang tayo,’ ganun."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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Top by JustBonita

Sanya admitted that she did experience separation anxiety after they finished filming the series.

The Kapuso actress revealed:

"As in yung relationship namin dun, parang bukod sa pagiging magkakaibigan, isa kaming pamilya. Talagang kapag may nalaman kami, ‘O ganito…’ Parang apektado kami lahat. Ganun na yung level namin. It’s more than friends. Yun talaga siya."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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"Actually, nase-sepanx kami nang malala nung nawala itong… nung natapos kami mag-taping ng First Yaya / First Lady, grabe yung separation anxiety namin lahat.

"Nagcha-chat kami na, ‘Umiiyak ako, umiiyak siya…’ Ganun kalala. And pero, ang maganda dun, yung connection namin hindi nawawala.

"And we will make sure talaga na dapat walang mahiwalay sa atin, sa pamilya na ito. Walang maiiwan sa pamilya na ito, ganun."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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With all the success she achieved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, for Sanya, it was a bittersweet moment.

She explained: "I’m happy talaga na nagkaroon ako ng trabaho [pero] partly rin, nalulungkot ako sa mga nawalan ng trabaho. Sa mga katrabaho ko din na mababalitaan mo na wala silang work sa ngayon. Naka-stand by sila sa bahay nila, waiting sila na bigyan sila ng job."

Sanya made sure to give her best in all the projects she did over the past two years, as a way of showing her gratitude to the network for trusting her with such huge projects.

Sanya continued, "That’s why nung ino-offeran ako kahit pandemic, alam mo yung bukod sa lakas ng loob sa sarili mo, ‘Bahala na, Lord. Kayo na ang bahala sa akin.’

"Pero at the same time, very happy talaga ako na meron akong trabaho nung mga panahon na yun. So yung work ko naman na yun, as much as I can na makatulong sa iba, ginagawa ko talaga."

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PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

HANDLING FAME WITH GRACE AND HUMILITY

Even with all the success she has achieved so far, Sanya said she refuses to have that "artista na ako" attitude.

But it's hard to reconcile that with her new title as the Kapuso network's "First Lady" of Prime Time.

She said, "Hanggang ngayon, hindi ko alam, hindi ko maintindihan. Hindi ko talaga nafi-feel yung sarili kong yung ganito na yung level ng pagiging artista ko.

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"Alam ko na pinasok ko yung pagiging artista because of my [passion]. I love this na, this job. Parang naging part na ng life ko.

"Pero hindi ko tinuturing yung sarili ko na, ‘O, artista na ako.’ Basta yung hindi magandang [effect] ng pagiging artista, tinatanggal ko yun."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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Sanya added that there are times her close friends even have to remind her of her celebrity status.

"Minsan nga pinipigilan ako ni Ate Kakai [Bautista] kasi inaaya ko siyang kumain sa labas, yung ganito lang. Siya yung nagsasabi sa akin, ‘Hindi mo puwedeng gawin iyan, kailangan ganito…’ So may nagba-balance din sa akin minsan, ganun."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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The Kapuso actress said that the people around her are the ones that remind her, "Ganito ka na kaya! Alam mo ba, ito na kaya ikaw!

"Hindi ka na puwedeng basta-basta diyan ka lang mag-mall or dito ka na pumunta, umalis ka, kumain ka lang diyan sa labas.

"Hindi ka na puwedeng basta-basta ka lang nakikita, diyan-diyan na lang."

Sanya acknowledged, "Pero may moment na kailangan mo siya, ‘Okay, artista ako for today.’ Pag may trabaho, ‘Artista tayo dito.’

"Pero may moment din na normal lang ako, normal na tao lang ako."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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LESSONS LEARNED

Looking back, Sanya credits her 10-year showbiz experience for having this kind of mindset when it comes to handling fame.

She told PEP.ph, "I think ang naka-help talaga sa akin is hindi ko siya nakuha nang mabilisan.

"Yun din yung isa sa mga thankful din ako na kung hindi pinaranas sa akin yung mga bagay na mahihirap noon, kung madali ko lang siya nakuha baka ganun lang din yung nangyari sa akin."

Like many actresses before her, Sanya had her fair share of terrible experiences as a bit player. But instead of burying these unpleasant memories in the past, she uses them to be a reminder not to let success get to her head.

Without a hint of bitterness, she recounted, "Nag-extra ako before sa mga shows ng GMA. Dati, as in, dadaan lang talaga ako. Walang lines. Minsan nade-delete pa yung eksena, di ba?

"Yung kunyare meron ka minsan na binigyan ka ng, ‘O ikaw, magsasalita nito na, 'Uy, kamusta?’ ‘Kamusta’ lang naman yun pero hindi ako ano… na-delete pa yung scenes."

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PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

There was a time she was already being managed by the late German Moreno, whom she fondly calls Kuya Germs or Tatay, but she was still treated as a nobody on set.

Sanya further recalled, "Na-experience ko na pinalabas ako sa tent kasi hindi ako artista. Pero kay Kuya Germs na ako that time, pero nung time na yun, hindi pa naman ako Artist Center, so considered as parang extra-extra lang din naman ako doon.

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"‘Tapos nung time na yun, na-experience ko rin murahin ako ng direktor, yung pinalabas ako nang ganun, ‘Sinetch?’ ‘Tapos biglang titignan lang ako.

"Na-experience ko rin yung ang init-init. Nandun lang kami sa tent, as in yung tent na ganun lang, ‘tapos yung bangko mo yung kahoy, ganun lang."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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While others would have given up on their dream, Sanya did not feel discouraged. Instead, she used this to fuel her motivation in becoming an actress.

She said, "Happy ako that time. Hindi ko na-feel na, ‘Ah, kawawa ako.’ Hindi. Mas na-feel ko yung, 'I’m thankful kasi may trabaho ako.'

"I’m thankful na isa ako sa mga binibigyan ng chance nung panahon na yun. And until now, I’m very grateful sa lahat ng nangyayari sa akin, sa lahat ng blessings na natatanggap ko."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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Another important lesson Kuya Germs taught her was to never forget her roots.

"Biggest lesson na iniwan sa akin ni Tatay ay lagi kang tumingin sa mga ano mo, sa mga taong tumulong sa iyo.

"Hindi porke't nandito ko na sa taas, e, nandun ka lang lagi. So kailangan mong tignan yung mga taong nung walang wala ka, sila yung tumulong sa iyo.

"Kasi merong mga taong darating lang sa iyo kapag andiyan ka na. So tignan mo yung mga taong tumulong sa iyo nung walang wala ka pa."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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ON TO THE NEXT PROJECT

Sanya is now gearing up for her next projects in the Kapuso network. She did mention in a previous interview that her new leading man is "not a Kapuso."

Sanya's fans, called Sanya Warriors, are clamoring for the Kapuso actress to reprise her role as Danaya in the upcoming Encantadia spin-off series titled Sang'gre.

Sanya feels proud that many still want her to play the iconic heroine.

She said, "Kapag nakikita ako ng tao, either Melody or Danaya lang yung tinatawag sa akin. So yung Danaya, andiyan na talaga iya,n e.

"Si Sang’gre Danaya, Sang’gre Danaya na talaga iyan. Yung Encantadia, Encantadia na talaga iyan.

"Yung mga baby nga raw ngayon na ipinanganak nung unang Encantadia namin na pinalabas, kasi twice kami pinalabas, e.

"Yung pangalawa, nung pandemic, di ba? Malaki na yung mga baby, so yun na yung naabutan nila nung pandemic na Encantadia."

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Sanya added, "I’m happy na talagang yung suporta nila, ganun pa rin kainit hanggang ngayon. Sa Twitter, lagi mo pa rin nababasa si Danaya so hindi talaga siya nawawala. So happy ako doon."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

Top by Steph Tan Couture

What can Encatadia fans expect from the spin-off?

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Without spoiling anything, Sanya answered, "Sa upcoming [spin-off], it’s about Sang’gre, it’s about Encantadia. Siyempre alam na natin, nandiyan yung apat na brilyante.

"Nandiyan yung brilyante ng apoy, lupa, hangin, at tubig, so abangan niyo. Yung kay Pao Pao, yung brilyante ng Diwa. Andiyan pa si Ice Queen, di ba?"

As for a Sang'gre reunion with Kylie Padilla, Gabbi Garcia, and Glaiza de Castro, Sanya remained tight-lipped and said, "Malay natin? Siyempre, yun nga, Encantadia ito, kaya malalaman natin kung ano bang meron. Malalaman natin sa Lireo."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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HER GREATEST DREAM

Sanya's greatest wish for her career is to have the same longevity in showbiz as Gloria Romero, whose acting career has spanned over 70 years.

Sanya said:

"Pangarap ko pong maging Gloria Romero, as in. Parang kasi itong trabaho ko, napag-usapan nga namin ng ibang mga artista na itong trabaho natin, minahal na namin."

"Parang ang hirap na alisin sa buhay namin ito kasi mahal na namin siya, e. Ano na siya, passion na siya, ganun."

Aside from this, Sanya is also hoping to pursue a career in Hollywood.

Sanya explained, "Sinasabi ko na parang, ‘Ano kayang pakiramdam?' Mas curious ako e, ‘Ano kayang pakiramdam na makatrabaho yung ganito kagagaling na actors, actresses sa Hollywood?’

"Kasi grabe yung dedication nila. Kapag kailangan na mataba ka sa ano o kailangan na payat ka, talagang payat. So grabe sila.

"Gusto ko ma-experience yung ganung klase ng preparation, yun ganun kagaling yung paghahanda nila bawat pelikula."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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Sanya does see herself doing physically challenging action movies, such as those that Gal Gadot and Angeline Jolie would do.

"Merong isang araw na ito lang yung ginagawa niyo, yung mga pasabog, yung mga lumilipad sa helicopter, sa chopper, sa plane, ayun.

"‘Tapos yung sa chroma nila, grabe, ‘tapos yung may mga baha, grabe. Yung mga ganung klase ng pelikula, ganun yung gusto ko ma-experience."

At the moment, Sanya said her local showbiz career comes first. But the Kapuso star is keeping her fingers crossed that she might meet someone who'll make her Hollywood dream come true.

She said, "I’m trying my best na sana magkaroon ng ganun. Pero sa ngayon kasi, mahal tayo ng, of course, ng mga Pinoy.

"At siyempre, kung nasaan tayo, dun muna tayo. Malay natin, hindi rin natin masasabi, merong makilala sa atin ‘tapos dun i-push. Actually, meron e, may mga part na ganun pero kailangan ko pang galingan."

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PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

For now, Sanya continues to manifest her dreams. But while she waits for them to come true, she expressed her gratitude to her home network, her managers, family, friends, and supporters who have joined her in her 10-year Kapuso journey.

Sanya said, "Thankful ako sa GMA Network, sa trust na binibigay nila sa akin. Thankful ako sa mga taong nakapaligid sa akin, yung talagang sila din yung tumutulong sa akin para maabot ko itong pangarap ko.

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"Of course, sa aking mga managers, handlers, ayan, sa lahat. Sa mga kaibigan, supporters, Sanya Warrios, thankful ako sa kanila. Thankful ako sa mga shows na binibigay sa akin. Thankful ako kay Lord."

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

PRODUCTION CREDITS:

SHOOT PRODUCER/WRITER: Nikko Tuazon

CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Igi Talao

PHOTOGRAPHER: Stephen Capuchino

STYLIST: Eldsz Mejia

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STYLIST'S ASSISTANT: Carl Alberto

MAKE-UP: Gery Penaso

HAIRSTYLIST: Mark Anthony Rosales

HAIRSTYLIST'S ASSISTANT: Kristine Camba

VIDEO PRODUCERS: Rommel Llanes, Antonio Payomo III, Jino del Mundo, Raphael Torres, and Patricia Geminiano

TIKTOK PRODUCER: Nikko Tuazon

Special thanks to Accu-Chek Medical & Laboratory Services of Anna Michayla Sumpio for the on-site antigen COVID-19 test

PEP Headliner, Sanya Lopez

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