What Summer MMFF win means for Kaladkaren


Posted at Apr 13 2023 11:54 AM

MANILA — After making a "herstory" on Tuesday for winning the Best Actress in a Supporting Role recognition at the Summer MMFF awards night, Jervi Li, popularly known as KaladKaren, is opening up about how she really feels about this accolade.

In an interview with ANC’s “Headstart” on Thursday, Kaladkaren admitted winning the award was something she did not expect.

“I was really shocked because with the reviews and the predictions, it was Maris Racal. Laging sinasabing Maris will win the best supporting actress award. And then number two, of course I was doubtful. Are they gonna give that to a transgender woman? Or am I gonna be nominated in that category? Are we ready for that?” she said.

“Ang daming tumatakbo sa isip ko so noong lumabas yung nominations, I was so happy that they have put me in the best supporting actress category. Yun pa lang, sinabi ko na na that is already a huge victory for me as an actress, and for the whole LGBTQIA+ community. They respect my gender identity. Gender recognition is very important,” she added.

Speaking more about her winning characterization in the movie “Here Comes the Groom,” Kaladkaren said it was very difficult for her to act like a man since her and Enchong Dee’s roles had a “soul swap.”

“It was very difficult for me. As a transgender woman, being a man is something that I already turned my back to. Ayaw ko ngang maging lalaki eh. Alam ko sa puso ko, sa kaluluwa ko na babae ako. Tapos ngayon gagawin niyo akong lalaki. It was really very challenging.”

When asked how she dealt with it, she said: “Wearing man’s clothes again, it’s quite dysmorphic. Sabi ko bakit ganun ang itsura ko? Para akong tito, lalaki. Sabi ko, ‘My God, I just have to do this, focus and be in the role.’ This is not Jervi Li anymore.”

Now that she is now being taken seriously for her craft, she said she’d like more people to know that she can do a lot more than just impersonating.

“I don’t want to be boxed as your impersonator only,” she told journalist Karen Davila. 

“I want people to realize that I can do something else. I can act. I dance. I can produce… As an artist, you have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to think outside the box.”

Following her feat, Kaladkaren teased that she has more acting projects in the near future.

“I have a lot of projects coming, more than one. I hope with this recognition, mabigyan ako ng mas maraming opportunities and mabigyan ako ng iba’t ibang roles.”