JODI STA. MARIA

The millennial mom, her dreams and young leading men

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TESSA MAURICIO-ARRIOLA

Jodi Sta. Maria was the perfect picture of summer as she walked into a frenzy of cameras and smartphones at the grand press conference of her upcoming movie “Dear Other Self.” Her skin almost golden with a sunkissed glow, she showed off toned arms in a nautical sleeveless top, the tiniest waist that gave way to a long navy blue skirt, and a beautifully youthful face framed by soft and swept-up locks.

Had she not been part of the iconic teen drama Tabing Ilog of the late ‘90s—thereafter elevating herself to the level of experienced actresses in successively challenging roles—Jodi could well be mistaken for the so-called crop of millennial actors today.

As she thanked everyone for the barrage of “you-look-so-young” compliments, the 34-year-old celebrity graciously pointed out, “But technically, I am a millennial because I was born in 1982.”

Indeed, that was the very first year the said generation came to be.


She quickly added, however, “But if today’s definition of a millennial is a person who makes impulsive decisions with the ‘Yolo’ [you only live once]mindset, then I’m not a millennial in that sense. I think it comes from being a mom because I have to make decisions based on my son as my priority.”

Jodi, as everyone knows, is separated with a 10-year-old son in her very able care. Her exchange with The T-Zone was hinged on the millennial way of thinking, however, because of her character Becky in Dear Other Self.

Becky is a young woman torn between living a predictable life of responsibility and embarking on a carefree journey of fun and adventure. Movie magic allows her to try out both choices as she encounters two love interests who are polar opposites—adventure-seeker Henry (Xian Lim) and dependable boy-next-door Chris (Joseph Marco)—and in the process, hopefully demonstrate to millennial audiences that with every decision—impulsive or not–comes consequences.

“It’s a light-hearted but very unique movie in that it gets to answer the question of ‘what ifs,’ while sending a message that at the end of the day, we have to be responsible for our choices. Becky is faced with the decision of choosing between her personal happiness and the happiness of people around her.”

Jodi Sta. Maria

Impassioned in tackling a very relevant theme in Dear Other Self, Jodi also shared she enjoyed working with her two younger leading men. Xian is 27 years old, and Marco is 28.

“Lahat tayo dito bata!” the youthful actress declared with a hearty laugh. “But I have to say, working with both Xian and Marco for the first time, that they are both very professional and dedicated actors. They come to the set on time, and well prepared. Masarap sila parehong katrabaho.”

Jodi specifically noted how she admired Xian for his child-like qualities, almost envying how he is able to look at things with a sense of awe, especially when they were shooting part of the movie in Thailand.

As for Joseph on the other hand—who besides his notable acting as of late is famed for his sculpted physique—Jodi, ribbed for a scene where the actor was only wearing towel around his waist, said she admires his determination.

“It takes a lot of determination and dedication to be as fit as he is, di’ba?” she properly remarked.

Finally, in answering what her takeaway is from Becky’s character, Jodi generously shared another part of herself with the public—that of holding on to her dreams of one day becoming a doctor.

“In the movie, Becky also tells herself that she shouldn’t let go of her dreams even if they remain unfulfilled, because when the time is right, they can still come true,” Jodi elaborated.

In her case, the actress happily related how she is going back to her pre-med course this year via home schooling.

“Hopefully in two and a half years matapos ko siya,” Jodi crossed her fingers, as she went on to say she will try her best to pursue Medicine thereafter.

“Partly I am motivated by my being a mother; I really want to put a premium on education because I have a son and I want to be able to set a good example,” she ended.

Dear Other Self opens nationwide on May 17 from Star Cinema.

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