When Marian Rivera opted out of the proposed lock-in taping for the drama First Yaya so she could continue taking care of her kids Zia and Ziggy, GMA Network executives immediately had a meeting and decided on who would replace the primetime star to take on the important role.
During the meeting, everyone had no other names in mind except for one actress who they believe suited to play the part. In this respect, Sanya Lopez was the first and only choice to tackle the role of Melody, the main character who is the love interest of Gabby Concepcion in the story.
The 24-year-old actress admitted that she was on cloud nine when the network made the official announcement.
“Of course it felt surreal. They pulled me out of Lolong. I was thinking I should feel sad about it but I wasn’t for some reason. Then after telling me that I won’t be in Lolong anymore, they surprised me with the news that they were giving me a different project,” Sanya told Manila Standard Entertainment in a virtual interview.
Sanya was slated to do the action-adventure series Lolong together with Ruru Madrid, as shown in the title card presented in the network's 2020 omnibus plug.
“We already have a taping schedule for the series. Sobrang saya na merong mga bagay na inaalis sa ‘yo pero meron talagang ipapalit na maganda,” she continued.
Sanya first rose to stardom after bagging the role of Sang’gre Danaya in the 2016 hit primetime series Encantadia. She further cemented her name in the entertainment industry after showcasing her acting skills in various programs including Haplos, Cain at Abel, and Dahil Sa Pag-ibig.
Sanya expressed her gratitude to the network and her fans for their unending support for this new milestone in her career.
“It’s my first time to have a primetime show playing the title role that’s why I'm very thankful to my network and to the fans for their support. Kabado rin po na excited kasi alam ko malaki ang ineexpect ninyo sa akin bilang inyong First Yaya,” the actress stated.
“I didn’t go through the audition process. So, yeah, I can say that I was handpicked. Simula pa lang ng Encantadia ay lagi na akong sinosorpresa ng GMA sa projects na binibigay po nila. Ang tiwala po ay laging karapat-dapat na suklian ng sipag, tiyaga at katapatan,” she carried on alluding to the network’s decision to give her the important role.
Sanya shared that she is still in the process of preparing for her character and draws on her past experience of babysitting for her younger cousins.
“With the help of our director and the whole production team ay nasa proseso pa po ako ng pagkilala kay Yaya Melody, para mabigyang buhay at hustisya ko po ang pagkatao niya. ‘Yung buhay ko po noon sa Pulilan, Bulacan ay mayamang source ng inspiration, lalo po at naranasan ko ring mag-alaga ng mga pinsan na mas bata sa akin,” shared Sanya.
First Yaya follows the story of a Vice President (Gabby), who will later become the President of the Philippines, and his first family. The endearing Yaya Melody (Sanya), serves as a nanny to his children. Soon romance blooms between the two but is challenged by the PSG (Presidential Security Group) Head, played by Pancho Magno.
The light, romantic-comedy series will showcase a heart-warming tale about love and how it binds every family together.
Also joining the cast are Cassy Legaspi, Joaquin “JD” Domagoso, and Ms. Pilar Pilapil. First Yaya is directed by LA Madridejos.