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A Doll(y) Moment

By JOANNE RAE M. RAMIREZ, The Philippine STAR Published Jan 17, 2023 5:00 am

She made history by being the first Filipino actress to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Motion Picture) in the Golden Globes. And though she lost to Angela Basset (she thought Jamie Lee Curtis was going to win the award), Dolly de Leon’s moment has come. Her name is going to forever be on the marquee of firsts in the Philippines. For her performance in Triangle of Sadness, she became the first Filipino actress to be nominated for a Golden Globe. 

Triangle of Sadness had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2022, where it received an eight-minute standing ovation and won the Palme d’Or.

At the Golden Globes.

This Nora Aunor fan is “happily separated,” has four children and is a Uniqlo woman. Nope, she is not (yet) an endorser of the brand—she just loves it, and wears it whenever and wherever.

She told PeopleAsia magazine in an exclusive interview (plus more!) coming out in the magazine next month that she still basks in relative anonymity, but has since received an avalanche of Facebook friend requests. Though she prefers to accept “friend” requests only from people she has met personally, she also makes it a point to answer, as much as she can, all messages sent to her.

If there is one thing she is meticulous about, it’s skincare. She applies eight different potions on her skin every night, believing the effort is an investment in her career.

“I have a beauty regimen. I am my own dermatologist. I put like eight things on my face before I sleep. Wala akong derma, ako lang,” she shared with PeopleAsia.

De Leon, who flew from Manila to Los Angeles for the Globes last week, wore a floor-sweeping black leather dress with matching gloves by AZ Factory, a high-end label founded by the late Alber Elbaz. Norman de Vera, AZ Factory’s creative director, is also Filipino.

Soon after the Golden Globes announced its list of nominees, members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association revealed its roster of winners in various categories in late December. De Leon, who won Best Supporting Performance honors alongside actor Ke Huy Quan, shared the limelight with other winners during formal ceremonies in Los Angeles last Jan. 14. 

De Leon also recently earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for the same role in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Will she make it to the Oscars, which has yet to reveal its set of nominees this year? Abangan

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In Triangle of Sadness, a social satire, it isn’t only the luxury yacht and all its furniture that are upended when the yacht capsizes after a storm —the power balance between its passengers and crew goes head over heels, too. They are forced to fend for themselves on an island, and guess who gets the upper hand? The one from the lower deck. Yung may diskarte, ika nga, the cleaner Abigail, the only one with survival skills. 

Dolly’s role as Abigail reflects a worldwide statistic about Filipinos that makes them modern-day heroes to their nation. “I think it’s a reality. Because there are several of us Filipinos who really work below deck. We have several seafarers who do that for a living. I have friends who are working in ships. I have several friends and relatives who are OFWs. That’s part of my life. So I’m very familiar with their world,” Dolly said when asked by PeopleAsia features editor Alex Vergara if she had to interview some seafarers for the role of Abigail.

As cleaner Abigail in Triangle of Sadness.

“Abigail is not patterned after anyone and she’s not patterned after any peg. She’s really from my imagination, based on the script,” she disclosed.

When asked about the hardest part of her role, Dolly’s answer surfaced immediately. 

“It was the swimming, the fishing scene. That was really hard for me because I had to swim back and forth,” said Dolly, who knows how to swim —it was a requirement when she auditioned for the role of Abigail—but found the continuous laps challenging.

But despite the difficulties she meets in her day job (she also gives organizational talks), she believes she will never stop acting.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop acting! I’ll probably act until the day I die,” said Dolly, who looks up to Tony Mabesa and Jose Estrella, a professor in UP of Theater Arts, as her mentors.

She has no dream roles, just dream co-actors!

“It’s not really more of dream roles. It’s more of people I want to work with, filmmakers I want to work with, actors I want to work with. Scripts I want to read, and you know, work around. It’s really more of that. I really don’t have a dream role.”

 So who are the object of her dreams, career wise?

“Evan Peters, Jon Jon Briones, Daniel Day-Lewis…” she replied. When pressed for more answers, she mentioned working with Cate Blanchett and Olivia Colman.

What is her idea of success?

 “Peace of mind is success.”

“If you have peace of mind, then you are successful. That’s what success is to me. Success is not about fame, it’s not about money. It’s peace of mind. And if you find peace of mind in money and fame, then you’re successful,” she chuckled.