EXCLUSIVE: Bianca Umali on Winning an International Award and Working With Nora Aunor

EXCLUSIVE: Bianca Umali on Winning an International Award and Working With Nora Aunor


One look at Bianca Umali and you know that she is all about Pinoy pride. From flaunting her morena skin to donning Filipino-made pieces, she does not shy away from representing her race and culture. Of course, you can also count on her own craft as part of Filipino excellence. At 2024 Jinseo International Film Festival in Nagoya Japan, the Kapuso star took the honor of the Best Dramatic Performance award for the film Mananambal. In an exclusive interview with MEGA Entertainment, Bianca gives us a lookback on her movie experience, her Awards Night outfit, and her bright future with her next project, Sang’gre

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Bianca Umali Jinseo Arigato Festival Best Actress Mananambal
Bianca Umali at the Jinseo Arigato International Film Festival

A Shared Victory

“It was an overwhelming feeling of mixed emotions. As an actor, this means the world to me,” the actress begins. “While filming, I just dedicated myself to give more than good justice to my role and make the most out of the working experience with Ms. Nora. Bonus na lang na may makapansin at pumuri sa efforts ko.” 

Bianca Umali Jinseo Arigato Festival Best Actress Mananambal Nora Aunor
Bianca with National Artist and veteran actress Nora Aunor for Mananambal

Even in her Gen Z status, the actress is already hoping that her win will inspire the next generations who would like to pursue the same craft as hers. “I dedicate this award to the younger generation of actors as well, especially to the aspiring ones who may face obstacles along the way. I want them to know that their dreams are valid, and with passion, perseverance and the right amount of love and respect for yourself and what you do, anything and everything is possible,” she offers. 

Napakasarap sa puso dahil ito ang totoong pinaghirapan namin lahat. Literal na dugo at pawis ang ibinuhos para dito.

– Bianca Umali

A Role of a Lifetime

Perhaps it is Bianca’s consistent and persistent willingness to refine her craft that takes her to greater heights, with recognition just a prefix to her grit. For Mananambal in particular, the actress not only had to play the part but actually look and be it. 

Sharing her process, she recounts, “I prepared for it mentally by doing my research about what the life and ways of a true mananambal is. Emotionally, I did personal workshops to build the character and study my scenes. Of course, physically, by growing my hair longer and enhancing my morena skin more for the look of the role.” 

Bianca Umali Jinseo Arigato Festival Best Actress Mananambal
Stylist John Paul Dizon worked with Bianca for her looks

During the festival, the actress also exerted her effort for her looks. She reveals to MEGA that throughout their Japan trip, it was only her and her stylist, John Paul Dizon, who collaborated with her ensembles. “He was in charge of my clothing and I was in charge of my hair and make-up,” she shares. “In all the years that JP and I have been working together, what we value the most in our team up is collaboration.” 

The Next Bianca on Camera

After the Jinseo Arigato International Film Festival, Mananambal has yet to make its Filipino cinema debut. “Iniikot pa sa iba’t ibang film festivals internationally. Pero definitely ay magkakaroon kami ng theatrical release dito sa Pilipinas. Hopefully, by the end of this year,” the Kapuso star says. 

Sang'gre Encantadia
The actress plays the daughter of Danaya, known as Terra, in the upcoming series, Sang’gre

Hopping from one project to the next, Bianca is also top billing the next Encantadia series Sang’gre. With fans of the past and today surely on their toes for the series, the actress shares the excitement of the audience. “We have been in the process of creation and taping since November last year. It is a project na pinaglalaanan namin ng napakaraming oras at paghahanda para mapaganda. Hindi na rin ako makapaghintay na makita ng mga tao ito.

Photos and Featured Image: BIANCA UMALI (via Instagram)

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