Fascinating Women 2023: Jodi Sta. Maria
For this award-winning actress, one of the biggest fulfillments in life is knowing that you are able to serve and fulfill your purpose
Talk about trailblazing women in the entertainment market. Jodi Sta. Maria is one to make waves enough to go beyond the Philippines. As the recent recipient of the Best Actress award at the Asian Academy Creative Awards in 2022, the first Filipina to have ever earned this much-coveted recognition, Jodi has again marked a new milestone. At 40, she is still on her way to greater heights.
Clad in a red dress, she was teeming with emotions so ecstatic she was shaking as she roused from her seat to the stage. “This was so unexpected,” she said in her speech, a tear or two rolling. She began thanking her big bosses, the companies that banked on her prowess, and the great God whom she glorified with praise. “Thank you! This is the highlight of my year.”
Meeting a multitude of talents in Singapore, for sure, was something that Jodi took advantage of. As one of the awardees of the annual awards, she was able to touch base with talented individuals from international television and cinema. “Culture really plays a very important role in terms of how a character is being portrayed,” she told Metro.Style, when asked about her learnings from her fellow luminaries. “I would say na there’s no right way to do it. Parang lahat, valid, e.”
Since her slew of teleseryes and teenage-oriented films in the 90s—Gimik, Jologs, Flames, and Tabing Ilog—Jodi has opened door after door and slid through spaces unfamiliar and territories uncharted. She’s turning heads with her talent, and in rooms of darkness, the light of day radiates as she enters.
Having played the eccentric Maya in Be Careful With My Heart, the revenge-centric Amor in Pangako Sa ’Yo, the dual characters of Mona and Lisa in Sana Dalawa Ang Puso, the resolute mother Fina in Sino Ang Maysala?: Mea Culpa, the friend-turned-foe Marissa in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, and of course, the bold and brazen Dr. Jill Ilustre in The Broken Marriage Vow, for which she was crowned champion at the Asian Academy Creative Awards, Jodi has truly come a long way that wound up to her latest acting achievements.
In January 2023, Jodi copped another primary accolade for her portrayal in Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, snagging Best Drama Actress at the 35th PMPC Star Awards for Television. Last December, Jodi also led the Metro Manila Film Festival entry Labyu With an Accent alongside entertainment bigwig Coco Martin, who attests to Jodi’s dedication and abilities: “Ako talaga, saludo—taas [ang] dalawang kamay ko! Talagang hindi siya namamasyal hangga’t hindi niya tapos ‘yung isang proyekto. Naka-focus lang siya du’n.”
Jodi will also star in the series Unbreak My Heart, the first co-production venture of network giants GMA Network and ABS-CBN Corporation in partnership with streaming platform Viu. Her co-stars in this Dreamscape Entertainment production are Richard Yap, Joshua Garcia, and Gabbi Garcia, and the cast recently filmed in Switzerland.
As a heavily decorated household name in her niche, though, it’s easy to take all the fame and attention to the head instead of heart and get sidetracked by sweet success. The grandeur that comes with being a celebrity sometimes gets in the way, but Jodi is great at stabilizing the balance. When asked what her best takeaway from the business is by far, in fact, she told us: “It’s not always about the self.”
In an exclusive interview with Metro.Style, the actress imparted how life lessons, especially from ABS-CBN COO of broadcast Cory Vidanes, shaped her sense of service and empathy. “There’s a reason why we are here, and there is a purpose to that. I think the biggest fulfillment is knowing that you are able to serve and fulfill that purpose.”
The wellspring of a woman’s power is endless, and Jodi Sta. Maria is proof that strength is a renewable resource. Standing astride her acting career and other commitments—of which motherhood is a must—Jodi continues to catch up with her son Thirdy, albeit schedule-packed. “Para sa’kin, priority ko ’yung family ko. Malaki ’yung pagmamahal at respeto na mayru’n ako para sa pamilya ko,” she shared with us, with a spark of passion emanating from her eyes.
As a strong female figure who had had her fair share of stumbling blocks throughout her bawl with stardom, Jodi, in an attempt to sum up her 2022, said: “I wouldn’t say na naging madali, but then, I guess having a different perspective makes everything worth it. It was just a very wonderful year not only for me, but for my family. Everyone’s healthy. I think isa ’yun sa pinaka-importante—healthy ang pangangatawan, kahit ang pag-iisip.”
As Jodi Sta. Maria’s name is etched in the entertainment orbit forever—as a seasoned actress, a supermom, a fascinating Filipina, and a God-fearing individual who turned into a wise woman of her time—she openly shared with us what survived her all along: “Just to realize how the Lord has been so good to me, hindi na ko makapag-complain, e.”
Lead photos by Cha Lico-Santos from Metro.Style archive