The Graduating Class Of 2020: Fan Girl’s Charlie Dizon
With the year coming to a close, we’ve started to look back on 2020. We’ve become nostalgic for the normal that once was and got angry for all the destruction it brought but are grateful for all its lessons. The year is indescribable, really, with all its curveballs, pitfalls and surprises. But while the rest of us are eager to breeze through the last few days, there are those of us still grabbing every opportunity to make the most of them.
After all, there are only so many things we can leave behind. Take it from us and our Graduating Class of 2020: we’re better off only shaking ~some~ things off.
Last up and next for 2021: Charlie Dizon.
We first spoke to the 24-year-old actress back in October, when Fan Girl first premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Two months later, the film directed and written by direk Antoinette Jadaone has won eight out of nine awards it was nominated for at the Metro Manila Film Festival’s Gabi ng Parangal. And Charlie? She was awarded Best Actress—we’d say no big deal, but it’s definitely a big deal.
The accolades and attention are well deserved, but it’s not something Charlie was expecting at the start of the year. In a letter she pens to herself, she says, “Gusto kong malaman mo na better days are coming. Sana kumapit ka. (I want you to know that better days are coming. I hope you hold on.)” When we push for a reason, she admits that she felt scared and uncertain when the pandemic first hit. “I felt like all the problems in the world [were] zooming in front of me, and I felt helpless because no one knows when it’s going to be over.”
It’s a little hard to imagine because Charlie, in both times we’ve come across her, has always been so optimistic and so willing to roll with the punches. It’s important to her that those around her are happy and enjoying themselves. And if the Cheerleader persona she chose for our shoot isn’t proof enough, we don’t know what is.
We now know how the year is ending for Charlie, but let’s take a few steps back. Fan Girl is a big part of her 2020, and the project itself was something incredibly worthwhile for the actress. She tells us, “I was really excited because of the fact that I will be working with Direk Tonet and Paulo [Avelino]. For me that’s an achievement already.” Another thing she proudly lets us in on is that she portrayed her character, Jane, by method acting per Direk’s instruction.
It was through method acting, which in principle focuses on internalizing the emotional aspect of the character as opposed to more traditional action-based acting, that Charlie really understood the project, its story and Jane. And while it goes without saying at this point, the new challenge and Charlie’s willingness to see it head-on definitely paid off.
If you still don’t know, Fan Girl is about a young woman who idolizes Paulo Avelino, who plays a fictional version of himself in the film. Through a series of circumstances, she finds herself spending an unforgettable night with Paulo, slowly realizing that the people you idolize are never quite like the persona you spend so much time admiring. The film’s tagline, “They say never meet your heroes,” rings true as the movie unfolds.
We ask Charlie if the story is similar to everyone’s experience of 2020. She answers, “Yes, I believe that like what happened to Jane in the story, wherein her fantasies were shattered when she found out the real side of her idol, is similar to a lot of people who had hopes and dreams [that] were shattered.”
But, as we’re told, there are things to be learned from every heartbreak.
When we ask Charlie about a lesson from Fan Girl that she wants to share with us, she says: “One choice can lead to a lot of changes in [our lives], so we always have to be really careful of our choices…We always have the choice to fight back when we feel like the world we live in is cruel to us.”
It’s that last phrase that sticks out most: Fight back when we feel like the world we live in is cruel to us. Because who among us hasn’t felt personally attacked by the cards that we were dealt this year? Who hasn’t felt beaten and tired and finished for days at a time? Who hasn’t screamed profanities at how unfair things have been, if not for ourselves, for those experiencing far more (or less, depending on how you look at it)? But we continue to fight, because there is an ambition that won’t die with this pandemic and a strength that won’t bend.
With eyes looking forward, Charlie has this to tell us all: “[Do] not lose hope and always continue to work hard to reach [your] dreams.” All she wants to leave behind are mistakes and negativity when the New Year rolls in; all else seems to be fair game. Because this fight we all discovered in us? It’s worth carrying around, no matter how heavy it seems. Remember that it’s taken you this far.
When we started 2020, it felt like the possibilities were endless; that they were ripe for the taking. It wasn’t only a fresh year, it was a new decade—and we were ready for everything it had to offer. There was a lot to start, to get done and to attempt; but it seemed as if the pandemic closed all doors and windows, even the cracks beneath the foundation.
But we got creative. We found ways to not only see the light and feel the breeze, we dug our way to them by using any and all means available. And we continue to take advantage of every opportunity; we create opportunities where there was originally none.
The last of the 2020 days are here. Let this be the time to rest, to recuperate, to reflect and finally, to celebrate. We’ve graduated from the year and we deserve this much. Besides, it’ll soon be time to put lessons learned to the test.
Allow us to rephrase and summarize Charlie’s 2020 lecture notes: keep the faith, always adapt, stay responsible and don’t lose hope. It’s all we’ve got.
Photography Ed Enclona
Art Direction Matthew Fetalver and Alexandra Lara
Art Matthew Fetalver
Interview and Cover Story Adie Pieraz
Fashion Direction and Styling Nicole Blanco Ramos
Beauty Direction Cessi Treñas
Hair and Makeup Slo Lopez
Shot at The Chroma Studio