Barbie Forteza says pandemic hastened her 'adulting'
For Barbie Forteza, 2020 turned out to be a year of “adulting.”
While she’s the type to live in the present and take things one day at a time, the COVID-19 pandemic compelled Barbie to ponder her future.
“What happened made me stronger and more responsible as an adult. I didn’t really think too far ahead. But now that there’s a pandemic, I thought, ‘So, this can really happen.’ I thought these things—the world shutting down—only happened in the movies,” she said at a recent virtual conference for her primetime series “Anak ni Waray vs Anak ni Biday.”
“I was fortunate to have been ready for what happened. But what about the future?” she added. “So I tried planning my future and made goals I hope to accomplish this year. I also learned how to save and be more mindful of my expenses and income.”
The 23-year-old actress also realized how fragile life can be. “My parents’ health is something I used to take for granted. I would be like, ‘Ah, andiyan lang naman sila,’” she said. “But now I really believe that health is wealth. I’m more mindful of my family’s and my own health.”
For the entirety of her career, Barbie’s parents or handler would always accompany her to taping or other work commitments. But because only a limited number of people are allowed to join locked-in tapings, she had to go alone. She enjoyed the experience.
“I was excited to go taping without my parents or a plus one. Fewer people are allowed, so only the makeup artist is there. But I was proud because I felt like I could be independent at work,” she pointed out.
Prior to the resumption of production, Barbie focused on her social media presence to connect with her fans.
“I just wanted to share with my supporters what I have been busy with during the quarantine, since we all couldn’t go out. Maybe they would be able to relate to what I’m doing. It’s a way to relieve stress,” she said. “Doing TikTok wouldn’t hurt; it’s better than staying in the room and sulking there all day.”
“I learned how to cook. I was forced to work out because I no longer had an excuse. But it was nice because, in a way, we ended up having similar quarantine routines,” she added.
Through her vlogs, the Kapuso star hopes to show a side of her that people don’t usually see on television.
“The reason I started this is because I wanted them to know the real Barbie, not just Barbie, the actress. I’m a little bit deeper than [how I seem] in all fairness to me!” she quipped. “I want to show that I’m a regular person when I’m not working or taping: I’m a daughter, a sibling, a girlfriend. That’s something they can relate with.”
Barbie sees herself continuing her efforts in the digital space, because she believes that’s where show biz is headed. “I think it’s now part of our job, because, slowly, everything is going digital. Look, even our press conference now is digital. The Metro Manila Film Festival was held via streaming,” she pointed out.
And it doesn’t hurt to have extra income amid the lack of projects and side gigs. “It’s another plus, a win-win situation—you get to stay relevant and update the supporters, and it also helps financially,” she said.
Barbie couldn’t be more excited to be back at work and doing what she does best. “I entered show biz for one reason—to act. It’s my motivation. And the pandemic took that away from me for quite some time. I re-watched some of my favorite films by Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Viola Davis, and that really made me miss acting,” she said. “That’s why I gave my 100 percent even in YouTube or online experiments.”
A television adaptation of the 1984 movie of the same title, “Anak ni Waray,” which resumed airing last Jan. 18, has Barbie playing Ginalyn, the daughter of Amy (Snooky Serna), who has been warring with her best friend-turned-enemy, Sussie (Dina Bonnevie), because of a man.
Ginalyn crosses paths with Sussie’s daughter, Caitlyn, and become good friends. Unbeknown to them, they’re actually half-sisters who were switched at birth.
“Locked-in taping was challenging for us. Prior to the actual taping, we did a lot of script-reading, which helped me condition myself and my emotions. The flow of the story was clear because we did a lot of prep work,” she said. “I took it one day at a time. I adjusted to the changes as they happened, so I don’t get overwhelmed.”