KaladKaren made herstory at the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) summer ceremony when she won best supporting actress for her role in “Here Comes The Groom,” beating out Ana Abad Santos and co-star Maris Racal.
This makes the actress, host, and “Drag Race Philippines” judge the first trans woman to win the MMFF acting award. This historic feat is not limited to that single festival either: She’s the second trans woman to win an acting award in the country and the first to win best supporting actress, period.
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The first was Iyah Mina who won best actress at the Cinema Originals in 2018 for her role in “Mamu; And A Mother Too,” directed by our latest cover girl and Women of Power recipient Rodina Singh. Mina is another co-star on “Here Comes The Groom” as well.
Prior to winning, KaladKaren noted that her nomination alone was already a big win for the LGBTQIA+ community. “This nomination is already a victory for the whole LGBTQIA+ community, that people like me are nominated in the gender identity that they belong to,” she said. “Isang patunay din na art has no gender so maraming-maraming salamat po sa MMFF sa paniniwala po sa kakayahan ng mga taong katulad [ko].”
An emotional KaladKaren noted in her acceptance speech that “ang parangal na ito ay hindi lang recognition ng aking trabaho kundi para na din ng aking pagkatao.”
She added that she never thought she’d ever accept any awards when she got into show business. “As a transgender woman, I thought that I will never be enough.”
“I want to share this with all transgender people, drag artists, members of the LGBTQIA+ community whose lives and existence are being threatened in the world right now. Para sa inyo pong lahat ito,” she emphatically stated. “I want to remind all of you that we are more than enough.”
“Here Comes The Groom” is a body-swapping story that features a gay beauty pageant, conservative Christians seeing the error of their ways, and multiple trans characters played by actual trans actors. In it, KaledKaren’s character is being taken care of by Mina’s character—now echoing real life. It makes the win even more significant as a queer win.
“Wag natin kalimutan ang mensahe ng aming pelikula,” she closed her acceptance speech. “Hindi po ang iyong itsura at kasarian ang mahalaga, kundi ang iyong puso at kaluluwa.”
Photo from KaladKaren’s Instagram
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