How Gloria Diaz got into ‘Insatiable’
Veteran Filipina actress and beauty queen charms the Netflix production
For those unfamiliar with the American sitcom, Insatiable tells the story of Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan) — a teenager who was constantly bullied in school for being overweight. After going on a liquid diet for three months over summer vacation, side by side with recovering from a freak accident, she gets her dream bod seeks revenge on everyone who’s wronged her.
Meanwhile, a disgraced civil lawyer and obsessed beauty pageant coach, Bob Armstrong (Dallas Roberts) notices Patty’s potential and sets out to turn her into a pageant queen.
That said, Gloria Diaz fits perfectly into the plot. Still with everyone wondering how she landed the role for the world’s top streaming platform, she candidly told the story during the show’s press junket in Manila on October 8.
“They just Vibered me and I thought it was a mistake. I thought maybe they weren’t referring to me. And you know I get a lot of texts and Viber [messages]. I didn’t really answer it in the beginning, and then they Vibered again,” the ever straightforward Diaz
“I was thrilled! Kilig na naisip nila ako. It was a good challenge and it was nice to feel nervous [again] kasi sometimes, hindi ka na ninenerbyos eh. I was just overwhelmed with everything. They kept saying, ‘Welcome,’ but I said, ‘The more you welcome me, the more stressed I become. I was thinking, ‘Am I going to be able to deliver?’ So I got more nervous; but everyone was just so nice [on the show],” she shared.
Without giving away too many spoilers, Diaz said she plays the role of a former beauty queen turned fierce pageant coach named Gloria Reyes in this season. As her namesake, her character will have a pivotal role in Patty’s growth and transformation toward her goal.
“Gloria has a gorgeous role, and there are little moments [with her] that end up becoming really huge for Patty,” shared Insatiable’s lead Ryan.
“There’s specifically one moment where we started a conversation — which was the first day we shot together — and that conversation is where Patty learns that queens take control. And once she hears that, it becomes her North Star. So in Season 2, Patty begins to be less responsive about the things around her and gets in the driver’s seat,” the American actress noted.
Just a guest star
First, she was anxious that everyone might assume she would appear in most of the episodes of the series from what she’s been reading on social media.
“I think what’s more difficult is the thought what people would think. Usually I don’t care what people think back here because parang they will think ‘All this hooplah, tapos saglit ka lang pala — extra.’ So how do I explain that to people? Because people don’t realize I was just a guest. But, I truly enjoyed myself. I also had time sitting down to [observe everything] and just be amazed how people were so kind,” Diaz explained.
Despite her short guesting, Ryan and Roberts still had many good things to say about Diaz.
In a roundtable interview, Ryan, a former Disney channel star said, “She’s such a force and so formidable. I think becoming aware of her legacy before she came on, we were aware of her. I think first we were aware that the show was received so beautifully in the Philippines, which was so humbling and so exciting. And, as we studied the culture, [we learned] that Gloria is an undeniable part of pageant culture in your country.”
The shows lead continued, “Learning about her legacy, learning that we were going to have a version of her on our show was very exciting. She plays Gloria Reyes, a different Gloria, but working with her… she’s just so regal and she was so professional. Just because she has this legacy, doesn’t mean that she didn’t come in just like every other actor but she really want to do a good job, and that was inspiring.”
Roberts, on the other hand enthused, “She’s amazing. The show is based around beauty pageants then this diva of beauty pageants comes in and my character Bob is super intimidated by her. And in reality, it’s Gloria Diaz — It’s like you don’t have to act at all that you’re intimidated. She’s beautiful, regal and again she’s amazing.”
More to see
“In this season, you begin to see Patty becoming more self-aware, more self-assured. She definitely starts to look internally and gets to learn more about herself and her relationships — what she wants and how she intends to get it,” Ryan describes her character’s evolution.
Roberts steps in and added, “One of my favorite parts about the show is that you never know what’s coming next. It’s always chaotic and hilarious.”
Finally, the three cast members were asked to define what they believe the show’s tagline and over-arching theme, “Queens Take Control,” means.
Roberts replied, “Having seen and worked with the ladies on the show, queens don’t ask permission for control or they don’t wait for control. They just take control to stay at the top.”
Diaz, citing her pageant experience, chimed in, “To an extent, the winner always has the say. They always talk about the first runner-up, the second runner-up, the fourth runner-up. But there comes a time, after one or two years, nobody remembers the runners-up. It’s the queens that take control.”
As for Ryan, who’s character is the centerpiece of the show, she mused, “Our writer, our showrunner, a majority of our producers, and some of our executives at Netflix are all really cool, strong women. I’ve never been on a set where not only women are at the top, but there are roles in the crew that you don’t typically see with women. They’re holding the lights and building the sets. So there’s so many different types of strength that a woman can exude. It’s just in the DNA of the show. And the thing I’ve noticed, and all of these women — specifically working with Gloria, with her formidable, terrifying energy — respect is not demanded. It’s commanded. I think that is really prevalent to me and all of the powerful women I’m around and look up to.”
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