When I ask about how she feels about consecutively getting parts in some of the biggest films of the year, she’s honest with me in saying that even though she knows she’s worked hard to get where she is (she auditioned for all the roles she’s gotten thus far), there are times when she wonders why it’s all happening to her.
“It’s crazy. I realized how lucky I am. Because I know so many talented actors. There are times when I’m like, what makes me so deserving of these opportunities?” says Gabby humbly. “I always make a conscious effort to look back and think about all the people who helped me get here. I think when you find that you’re in a place where you have achieved certain goals or you find that you’re in a place that you’ve prayed for or like declared to the universe, I think it makes you even more grateful for the people who brought you here in the first place,” she adds.
“We need to re-examine what we’ve normalized for so long things that we think aren’t a problem, actually is just the syndrome of all the sexism. We’ve normalized everything so it was just best to question everything, to re-examine everything, because we have so much to unlearn.”
Out of all the characters she’s portrayed, Gabby credits her first leading film role to be one that changed the way she looks at acting. She pushes our conversation in the direction of feminism and gender politics — something that she learned a lot about from Billie & Emma director Sam Lee.
In the film, Gabby plays Emma, a pregnant teen girl who falls in love with the new girl in school. She auditioned for the role because of how it tackles different issues, of LGBTQ+ acceptance, and of teenage pregnancy. After doing the film, she says that she realized a lot about herself, especially given the privilege she had as a sheltered young adult.
“And I see how so many young adults have to go through so much. Especially the LGBTQ+ community, like it’s hard enough to figure out who you are without having to hide your sexuality and be ashamed of it,” she says.
Gabby then goes on to tell me about how it’s a societal problem, that Sam taught her that we need “to re-examine what we’ve normalized for so long things that we think aren’t a problem, actually is just the syndrome of all the sexism. We’ve normalized everything so it was just best to question everything, to re-examine everything, because we have so much to unlearn.”
“You appreciate when actors and writers are able to write women in a way that’s real. Empowering and real and just honest,” she continues. It’s this answer alone that makes me think her FAMAS Best Actress nomination alongside industry giants like Angelica Panganiban, Judy Ann Santos, and Glaiza de Castro well-deserved.