EXCLUSIVE: "Man And Wife" Star Jodi Sta. Maria On Maintaining A Relationship And Being The Best Mom She Can Be
When you see actress Jodi Sta. Maria in the flesh, it’s not hard to be enamored by her effervescent aura. Perhaps it’s the perpetual sparkle in her eyes or her unmistakable youthful glow—Jodi’s charm captures you in the way it always did ever since she graced our television screens two decades ago in iconic shows such as Gimik and Tabing Ilog. The only difference is that her appeal has multiplied tenfold as she developed a sense of confidence and wisdom that came with longevity in showbiz, motherhood, and her constant pursuit of personal growth and happiness.
Aside from the teen roles that catapulted her to early 2000s fame, Jodi’s most notable characters are arguably Maya in the noontime hit Be Careful With My Heart and Amor Powers in the KathNiel remake of Pangako Sa'Yo, both of which she took on after she hit her 30s. This proves that age doesn’t simply look good on her—it enlivens and motivates her to do more and be more with each passing year. At 36, she’s in her last semester as a BS Psychology major student, and it's worth mentioning that she's a top student in her class, too!
On Jodi: Foiled brocade pantsuit by Dauson Bermtay and Mollusca bracelets from @theeshopmnl
Career-wise, Jodi currently leads the cast of Sino Ang May Sala, her primetime TV comeback that’s pegged to hit the chords with How to Get Away With Murder fans. The show’s got a whole gang of six fresh law grads—including Bela Padilla and Tony Labrusca—who got entwined in a case of murder. Jodi, however, is no Annalise Keating; her character Fina is a mother who lost her newborn and hunts down the mysterious group who happened to be in town on the night her baby was taken away from her.
Proving that 2019 is only getting better for her, Jodi is also starring in the film Man and Wife under Cineko Productions, which is now showing in cinemas nationwide. She plays the character of Luisa, a wife who’s “torn between her relationship with her mother-in-law and her relationship with her husband.” The said husband is none other than actor Gabby Concepcion; Jodi feels blessed to have worked with the seasoned actor in this big screen project. “Of course, he is Gabby Concepcion, and never in my wildest dreams have I ever imagined that I’d be working with him,” she gushes.
Jodi describes Gabby as “humble” and “professional,” qualities that don't come as a surprise from an actor of his caliber. But one thing that Jodi admires most about her co-star is his skill at making her comfortable on set. She recalls doing an intimate scene with Gabby on the first day of shooting, which also happened to be the first time she had met him in person. “We didn’t have that rapport yet, so I was feeling uncomfortable,” she admits. But it didn’t take long before Jodi felt at ease. She adds, “Ang galing lang because he was a true gentleman, and I never felt that he was taking advantage of anything.”
The film's plot revolves around the dynamics of Luisa’s relationship with her husband Carding, which is shaken up when her mother-in-law enters the picture. Add her dilemmas with her own immediate family into the mix, and we’ve got a woman who gets tested to her limits.
On Jodi: Pearl leather moto jacket by YCMNG by Yves Camingue and Molluska choker from @theeshopmnl
One thing that can be said about Jodi’s character, Luisa, is that she’s enduring yet assertive. And if we’re talking about marital problems that involve your partner’s parent, these are qualities that will get you through that crazy tug of war. But at the end of the day, Jodi says, it all boils down to your relationship with your husband. To weather any storm, she suggests, “It is important that we keep communication lines open. We have to be mindful of our partner because sometimes they just feel unheard or neglected.” For her, being able to adjust in any situation and learning how to compromise for the greater good is key to making a marriage last.
Like Luisa, Jodi's resilience and strength are also inspiring. In real life, she has also overcome challenges and emerged from them stronger and more passionate and driven than ever. A doting mom to 13-year-old Thirdy, it's amazing how this actress even finds time to pursue her personal passions and interests (hey, in case you didn't know, this jetsetter also happens to be an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist!) while fulfilling her duties as a mom.
But when it comes to her time with her son, Jodi makes sure that she favors Thirdy’s preferred ways of bonding. “If he wants to do something, as much as possible talaga I give into his requests,” she shares. “If he wants to cook, if he wants to paint, if he wants to just stay at home and make kwentuhan, then that’s what we do.”
On Jodi: Black tux dress by Chris Nick, nude dress by Semplice, and monogram pendant necklace from @theeshopmnl
It’s evident that Jodi has an impressive way of raising Thirdy given the circumstances that they’re in, and it reflects on the kind of person her son is growing up to be. According to Jodi, Thirdy’s best quality is being “malambing.” She proudly shares, “I know that he’s a teenager and there are things na hindi na talaga namin magagawa together. Pero ang hindi nawala kay Thirdy is his being malambing. He would always hug me, and kiss me, and tell me that he loves me. Hindi niya nakakalimutan talaga to tell me every single day. Walang patid.” Thirdy also consistently waits for her to come home from work as long as he can even on school nights, which she highly appreciates.
With a stellar career that stood and continuously stands the test of time, it's no wonder why Jodi is one of the most revered actresses in local showbiz. She may be an accomplished celebrity and a soon-to-be Psychology graduate, but, ultimately, her most prized achievement is being a mother. “I think it’s being able to take care of another human being. It’s having that complete responsibility over another life,” she says as she counts the rewards of being Thirdy’s mom. “It’s a blessing that God has entrusted this wonderful boy to me. He gave Thirdy to me to support, guide, and experience life with.”
Man and Wife is now showing in cinemas nationwide. Don't miss it!
Photography by Seven Barretto
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Makeup by Denise Go-Ochoa
Hairstyling by Jay Wee
Styling by Patricia Coronado
Sittings editor: Judy Arias
Liaison editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Video producer: Joan Ko
Videographer: Pat Buenaobra