How Janella Salvador Represented the WLW Community in Mainstream Media

How Janella Salvador Represented the WLW Community in Mainstream Media

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An ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, Janella Salvador has represented the women-loving-women community in more ways than one

The biggest victories for social justice throughout history happened through solidarity. With the continuous fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, celebrities such as Janella Salvador have been instrumental in advancing the movement. Beyond her vocal prowess, Janella Salvador speaks up to counter prejudice and amplify queer stories through her platform, most especially of the WLW (women-loving-women) community. Undeniably, her support makes a tangible difference. From her remarks here are all the times she represented the community in an act of passion and solidarity.

Janella writes, "Queer love deserves to be celebrated."
Janella’s public support for the queer community in writing during the Pride event last Saturday

RELATED: Jane De Leon and Janella Salvador Usher In a New Era For Women on TV

Hey, You—with Darna co-star Jane De Leon

Gay women have always been on the hunt for sapphic stories in mainstream media—or in an MLM (man-loving-man)-leaning queer landscape. There is a lack of access in music, films, literature, and media that is distinctly sapphic, unapologetically gay. Sometimes, those that do undermine queer struggles and are still catering to the “straight” mindset of the audience.

The singer gives the WLW community a win with “Hey, You” her most recent release just last Saturday. The song is love-filled, a chronicle of budding innocent yet powerful feelings between two women in high school. The release of the track during Pride month is a significant turning point in Philippine music. With this valentine track, Janella takes it a step further for Filipina WLW representation—she also released an accompanying music video starring former Darna co-star Jane De Leon as her love interest.

Due to their unexpected chemistry on-screen and subsequently offscreen, the pair drew a loyal fanbase in support of Darlentina and JaneNella. In television, where there are subcultures steeped in conventional gender roles and heteronormativity, this love team highlights the much-needed representation of sapphic media as a key dimension to queer visibility. As the ship is widely loved, Janella and Jane themselves have also acknowledged it—they endearingly call supporters of their love team as Vadengs

Janella Salvador Jane De Leon JaneNella MEGA Entertainment love queer Hey You
Jane De Leon and Janella Salvador appear in MEGA Entertainment’s March 2023 cover

The answer to the clamor for a follow-up project featuring their undeniable chemistry is Janella’s latest song. Sapphic Filipinas, and even their fans, rejoiced; not only is it a heartwarming story, but the visibility of gay women in a romantic context allows members of the WLW community to feel seen. The music video is a space for all the tenderness, intimacy, and magic of a woman’s love—careful, playful, and sweet. “Hey, You” is a story that is true and perfectly shaped, and puts its hands around your heart and squeezes. For Janella, this was a proclamation of love to a community that somehow does not receive enough of it.

Performing at Pride—in Lesbian Flag Colors

Across the globe, June is chock full of rainbow flags, parades, and celebrations of queer joy. Philippines was no different last Saturday during the Love Laban 2 Everyone Pride March. Janella, among the public figures present at the event, raised the rainbow flag of the lesbian women with the colors on her eyes and her bows as she performed old favorite “Mahal Kita, Pero” and her new single, “Hey You.” 

Janella's lesbian colors in her makeup and bows represent the WLW community.
Janella captioned this: “This barbie supports LGBTQ+ rights.”

She continued to say, “You inspired my vision to give a gift for the community. I hope you enjoy my gift.” 

Her performance at Pride while wearing the lesbian colors is another demonstration of Janella’s continuous advocacy for the rights of the WLW community. 

This was the actress’s first Pride event. On Instagram, she said, “It was nice to see everyone in high spirits just celebrating, openly showing each other affection and actively protesting for equal rights. I’m glad I was able to share this moment with you all before the rain poured but I really hope you all kept safe out there!”

Janella performs at her first ever Pride event 2024
Janella performs at her first ever Pride event

Requesting for GL Projects

After her performance, Janella also stressed that the almost-kiss in the music video could be done in a GL (girls’ love) project, which both girls have repeatedly said in interviews they would be happy and most willing to do. “Bigyan n’yo muna kami ng GL,” she said. “Napagod na kasi ako kakaantay kaya ako nalang gumawa ng paraan.” 

Last February, she revealed that there was already a GL project pitched to her and Jane, but ultimately fell through. With her sapphic single, the actress remains hopeful that the release will lead to more opportunities for her and Jane to portray sapphic stories on screen. 

Janella Salvador Jane De Leon JaneNella MEGA Entertainment love queer Hey You
‘JaneNella’ are hopeful for a GL movie together

Despite an uptick in queer representation in Philippine film, there’s still a must-needed gap to fill when it comes to WLW movies. Janella is ready to give the community that. “I really feel happy to represent the LGBTQ community. Kaya nila kami kinapitan kasi hindi sila na-represent nang maayos in terms of women’s love. I’m glad they did because I want to be the voice of people who aren’t represented, and I love the community,” she said in an interview last February.

Publicly Championing LGBTQIA+ Causes

No one draws attention quite like a celebrity. That said, Janella constantly proves—genuine and heartfelt ways—her support to the queer community, doing what she can to help love win.

In February last year, she tweeted about Spain’s parliament passing a historic bill for LGBTQ+ rights. She responded: “Philippines, when?”

In a mall show last year as well, she also raised the Pride flag in front of hundreds of people while performing. While she’s always been public about being a staunch advocate, grabbing the flag and waving it was a moment in itself.

Another show of public support is the rainbows in her ensembles. Janella has always been intentional when it comes to her sartorial choices; she leans into the colorful in both her accessories and beauty looks.

Janella continues to show support for the queer community wearing a rainbow bandana.
Despite being out of the country for Pride last year; she said, “Wishing you tons of peace, love & #pride all the way from Hong Kong.”
Janella incorporates rainbow art on her nails

Further feeding into the JaneNella love team, she and Jane also celebrated Halloween as Daphne and Vilma—two characters fans of Scooby-Doo have shipped as well, and even had their own canon GL moment.

Jane and Janella celebrated Halloween 2022 as a pair as Vilma and Daphne.
JaneNella gave fans much kilig as they celebrated Halloween in 2022 as a pair

In this cis-heteronormative world, as long as queer and trans people are targeted by legislative and societal violence, publicly voicing out support as an ally will remain an act of bravery and solidarity.


Photos and Featured Image: MEGA ARCHIVES, JANELLA SALVADOR, CARISSA CIELO MEDVED (via Instagram)

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