The Midnight In A Perfect World actress shares her thoughts on making space for yourself
Jasmine Curtis-Smith has a lot going on in 2021. After spending five months holed up at home in quarantine, she is starring in a new film, Midnight In A Perfect World, alongside Glaiza de Castro and Dino Pastrano. In an exclusive one-on-one, she shares, “My name is Mimi in the film. She’s basically the pinaka-trying to be sensible out of all the friends…She’s that type of friend in your group na some may find annoying kasi laging trying to be on the right path, but she’s the friend you need.”
With a primetime mini-series with Alden Richards on the way, an upcoming feature alongside Piolo Pascual, there’s much to look forward to. We caught up with the Wonder cover star as she shares her thoughts on getting a fresh restart, making space for yourself and finding her safe place.
Wonder: Do you believe that a new year offers a reset, a restart? What makes you hopeful about 2021 after such a trainwreck of a year?
Jasmine Curtis-Smith: I think, personally, resets or restarts can be done at any point in time that you decide. But, as human beings, we’re all programmed to think of a start and an ending. [A new year] is a great way for your mindset to feel like there is an ending to something horrible like the year 2020.
If you really want to use the new year to really reset the mind, really restart your life and make the changes necessary…you want to implement in your life, then go ahead. What a wonderful way to start your year! Sabi nga nila ‘di ba, how you start your year determines the rest of your year. Kung ganun, then make sure you have the right mindset. (They say how you start your year determines the rest of your year. If that’s the case, make sure you have the right mindset.)
W: This is so cliché, but do you have any practical resolutions for the new year?
J: Well, definitely still the fitness resolution that I actually made halfway through 2020. I was working out every now and then simula nung pandemic (at the start of the pandemic), but to really be consistent with it, medyo [I’m] still struggling. Within a month, I have a quota of at least, like, 10 workouts, but if I can do better with that this year, it would be wonderful to improve on that fitness goal. Consistency is key.
And also, just being able to give myself enough patience and time every time I wake up, just so I can start my day properly.
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W: Midnight In A Perfect World is giving me Black Mirror-meets-Stranger Things-meets-The Purge energy. Can you tell us more about the film and the character you play?
J: Well, I like your references, [they're] very on point. The film kasi is about four friends who go out at night, before midnight. Once they’re out and about, [they try] to find a “safe house” para hindi sila maabutan ng (so they won’t reach) midnight. Once the clock strikes midnight, you don’t know what you will encounter in the streets—what creatures or beings.
In the real world, you know, there are things we and our citizens encounter in the streets that we don’t know about in the dark and during random “blackouts.” Even worse, you have media blackouts. It’s kinda similar in the film, may ganun siyang (there is that kind of) referencing. And even when they get back to their safe house, it’s also a question of, are they really safe inside or is there something lurking within their own safety nest?
W: This is a horror-somewhat-science fiction feature. Do you believe in the supernatural?
J: I like to believe in the supernatural because I don’t think we’re the only ones alive on this earth. I feel like, you know, there are souls or spirits and energies that are existing amongst us. And also, I’ve always been a fan of watching supernatural shows, especially the show [called] Supernatural.
In our culture, it’s a big part to believe in supernatural things. Ang dami nating mga (we have a lot of) myths or folklore that we tell and pass on [from] generation to generation. It’s just a big part of storytelling here.
I embrace [the supernatural], and I like to even think that I have a bantay (guardian), an energy following me around making sure I’m good, I’m safe and parang I can make the right decisions—parang the feeling in your gut.
W: What makes this film stand out from your previous works?
J: I think, definitely, the production team mounted everything. Every project is different; it’s like saying every subject in school is different. But with this one kasi, I was able to really see and experience through my acting the different techniques that they use through lighting, camera, movement…Those were really the things I enjoyed doing. I feel that’s what makes it distinct from the other films that I’ve done. I think the technicalities were much more intriguing to me.
A lot of the films and themes I involve myself in, in terms of the work that I do, always have something deeper to speak about, an issue that it tackles. This one isn’t any different but this one makes it more poetic [in] the way it tackles it. It relies on heavy symbolism and, if you were really to take that symbol, relate it to something happening in our society.
W: In a sense, the film feels politically fueled. I watched the trailer and the “beta version ng martial law” won’t leave my mind. Is this commentary on the state of the nation?
J: I can’t speak for Direk Dodo in terms of what he really wrote this about or what it speaks of, but from my understanding, when I read it, it does reflect on the state of our nation, not just now, but from years ago or more actually. It’s also showing us kasi that we know these things yet there are things that still can’t change. Ako, ‘yun ‘yung naging realization ko (for me, this is the realization I had) upon reading the script, upon doing the film and watching it again, three years after filming it.
When I watched it and consumed the story again, I looked at my boyfriend and said, “Oh, I totally forgot how political this film was!” I was so hyped on the technicalities, on getting the character right. Not that I forgot; it just took a backseat because I was looking forward to the final product, on how everything will look on screen.
It’s really a very powerful way of translating [the material] into something like this. I’m just glad it came out at the right time, which is now—this moment when we have one year and [a couple more] months to go till we can make a change again.
W: Do you have a metaphorical “safe house” in your life right now, a place of refuge for uncertain times, especially in the time of a pandemic?
J: I think what my safe house, my refuge is, is that time in the morning when I’m able to set aside the time and really honor it for myself and really be aware that I need this time because this is the only 30 minutes that I can commit to myself. In those 30 minutes, I do my stretching, my breathing, the affirmations or whatever I want to manifest throughout the day, and whatever plans I have.
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Interested to see more? Catch Jasmine Curtis-Smith on Midnight In A Perfect World streaming only on UPSTREAM via GMovies.
Photo credit Shaira Luna
Art Alexandra Lara