Eugene Domingo: The Next Comedy Queen Proves Talent is All You Need
Riot comedy Kimmy Dora star Eugene Domingo tells all about shattering barriers of stereotypical beauty, her dreams of making it to Cannes and her fixation on Piolo Pascual.
Living proof that sheer talent can still take you places in Philippine showbiz, Eugene Domingo's career started in 1992 with a steady stream of cameos and supporting roles in various soap operas, comedy shows and indie films. A Best Supporting Actress Award veteran, she has cinched the acting title for films like Bahay Kubo in 2007, Foster Child and Pisay in 2008 and 100, an entry in last year's Cinemalaya Film Festival.
This year, she takes the lead role as both Kimmy and Dora Go Dong Hae, twins who sit on opposite sides of the personality spectrum. With too-hard-to-ignore, fall-off-your-chair, laugh-a-minute comedy antics, a steamy swimming pool scene with killer lines like, "I'm just a girl floating in front of a boy, asking him to love her," and a gorgeous leading man in Dingdong Dantes, Eugene goes head-to-head with Sacha Baron Cohen when Kimmy Dora opens in cinemas next week the same time as Bruno.
Eugene dazzles us her wit, shares her need for sleep and how she's praying that no typhoon will bar anyone from watching her upcoming comedy film, Kimmy Dora, next week:
When you started acting on stage for Dulaang UP, did you know that you were going to be a comedienne?
All I knew was that I was interested in playing different roles. And that is still what I want to do, to play character roles, not necessarily laging komedyante. Kung tatanungin mo ko, isang malaking karangalan ang magpasaya ng tao. Not all my films were comedy, I did Pisay, Foster Child, and soap operas, hindi naman sila laging nakakatawa.
At what exact moment did you discover you were funny, that you could do comedy?
Di ko talaga sinasadya na magpatawa, mahilig lang talaga 'kong maki-sagutan, nararamdaman ko lang na nakakatawa to, kasi nakikiliti ako. Mahilig akong manggaya, di ko naman alam na nakakatawa na pala yon.
Which local actresses you admire most?
Ai-ai delas Alas is really funny, my God, tumutulo ang luha ko sa kanya. Pokwang is also funny. Veteran comedians like Chichay, Nova Villa, Mitch Valdes, and Nanette Inventor. Lahat sila nakakatawa, iba't-ibang flavors.
Aren't you pressured by your new title, the Next Comedy Queen'?
No, in fact, di ko naman sinasabi na walang kadating-dating sa 'kin yon. Hindi ako nape-pressure sa ganoon. Ang pressure kasi sa 'kin magawa ko yung trabaho ko ng tama.
Who are your crushes?
Si Papa P [Piolo Pascual], ang tingin ko talaga sa kanya kapatid, kaibigan, barkada, producer, artistant sikat, ganoon siya. 'Nung nakita ko naman yung commercial niya ngayon, grabe, nahirapan ako!
Sabi ko sa kanya nung isang araw, 'Ang guwapo mo ngayon. Alam mo guwapo ka di ba?, pero may mga araw na di masyado'. Pero now, 'ang guwapo mo!' Tapos nakita ko pa yung commercial niya ngayon, susmaryosep! Goodluck sa 'kin.
Who do you identify with more, Kimmy or Dora? And who was harder to play?
According to Direk Joyce, mas madali sa 'kin si Kimmy. But I always look forward to playing Dora, kasi parang naalala mo nu'ng bata ka, tapos parang wala siyang ka proble-problema. Ang sarap kahit role lang yon, maramdaman mo yung wala kang problema.
Do you believe that there's a bit of Kimmy and Dora in everyone?
Don't you think so? Today, I think I'm 60% Dora and 40% Kimmy.
Where do you get your confidence about your body? (Eugene's swimsuit scene is a must-watch)
(Laughs) Sa rehearsal, hiyang-hiya ako. Pinagpapawisan ako, sobra! Di naman ako pala-bathing suit, di naman ako pala Boracay or pala-beach, mahilig ako sa malalamig na lugar. Di siya normal na suotin tapos si Dingdong Dantes pa ang kaharap ko. But because he was nice and was a gentleman when I asked him, "Do you find me sexy?," he said, "Very". Wow, so I said, 'Direk, action na!"
What's the one thing you discovered about your leading man, Dingdong Dantes, that not a lot of people know about?
There's more to Dingdong Dantes than the boy-next-door that we always see. Ang dami-dami pa niyang kayang gawin. He's so willing and able to experiment with his facial expressions, napaka kulit, kwela pala siyang tao. Kailangan lang niyang mag loosen up, to be given a chance to portray roles na hindi naka-kahon. Tapos malilimutan mo na saksakan siya ng gwapo. Malilimutan mo na may billboard siyang sexy sa EDSA.
What's the best thing about being the lead star in a movie?
In Kimmy Dora with Spring Films, being their first leading lady for their first film venture, they gave me the freedom to suggest, to choose, to give my inputs. That's the best part, kasi alam mo na, team effort ito.
In real life, would you want to have a twin sister?
No! 'Cause with my personality, parang dalawa na eh, so kung may twin pa ko, apat na yon.
What's a normal day like for Eugene Domingo?
Nowadays, it's always hectic. Yun ang normal day ko, for the past six months. A normal day for me is checking my calendar, fixing my bags, I like compartmentalizing things. I talk to friends, that's how I relax. Once in a while, I sing gospel songs, when I need to de-stress, when you need to turn back to zero.
Wikipedia said you're 49 years old? You look so young for your age.
(laughs) I'm only 38! I was born 1971.
We're so glad that you're an example that talent, more than just fair skin and mestiza looks or a lipo-sculpted body, can actually get you far in this industry.
Oh, thank you! Beauty is only good for five or seven minutes. After that, people are going to look for other things that you can offer. So, in my case, alam ko naman na di ako maganda, di ako sexy. Sapat lang, tama lang sa pangangailangan ko sa araw-araw.
What do you want say to women who are not comfortable in their own skin and feel they are not traditionally 'beautiful'?
First of all, do not believe that you are not beautiful. You may not be beautiful because you do not fix yourself, you have to fix yourself! Acknowledge the fact that you have to fix yourself. Be neat, be pleasant, you need to know how to smile. Just be pleasant and you will be beautiful, believe me.
What's next for Eugene Domingo?
Sleep! But in the next five years, I want to study again, and I hope to have a sitcom where the cast becomes your second family, like John en Marsha or Chicks to Chicks. And that should be enough for my monthly bills. I want to do more films, more indie films. And I still want to experience Cannes, I want to experience Cannes in my lifetime, sana next year.
Images by Datu Angeles. Movie stills from kimmydora.com.