If you’ve seen the Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 entry Die Beautiful topbilled by Paolo Ballesteros as transwoman Trisha Echavarria, it would be hard to miss his character’s best friend, Barbs. Portraying Barbs, the supportive and endearing BFF, is showbiz newbie Christian Bables.  The supporting actor suddenly gained more attention after receiving rave reviews from industry practitioners and netizens for his performance in the film. He was indeed a revelation.

Barbs (Christian Bables) and Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros)

Christian, who previously appeared in an afternoon Kapamilya teleserye and films (including Enchong Dee and Kiray Celis’ I Love You to Death), is very thankful for his big break in award-winning Die Beautiful.* This and other interesting personal tidbits he shared with Random Republika, Pelikula Mania, and The Big Beez Buzz via an online interview.

*Die Beautiful has earned recognition from international film festivals Tokyo, Japan and Kerala, India. 

Christian epitomizes #bestfriendgoals as Barbs in Die Beautiful

Get to know the up-and-coming star Christian Bables through his answers in our quick Q&A. 

  • Born on December 6, 1992, Christian just turned 24 this month.
  • He has three hometowns. He still goes back to Tayabas, Quezon and Escalante, Negros Occidental but shared that he grew up in Bacoor, Cavite.
  • Christian is a Mass Communication graduate from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas.

  • On preparing for the role of Barbs in Die Beautiful

with his best friend in the film and lead star, Paolo Ballesteros

Christian shared that he’s been studying acting since 2011 through Star Magic Workshops under Director Rahyan Carlos. Emotionally, he said, he thinks he has always been prepared and that for every character, he manages to make the characters’ pains parallel to his. In terms of characterization for “Barbs” in Die Beautiful, Christian said that he has done research, went through immersion, and conducted interviews. He said, “Nag-research, nag-interview ng mga kaibigan natin from the LGBT community about their common pain, common denominator, kung ano yung vulnerability nila, kung saan sila malakas, ano ‘yung strength nila.”

  • Most difficult scene he has done in the movie

“‘Yung naka-panty ako. ‘Yung scene na bago kami magpalagay ng boobs ni Trisha, mahirap ‘yun sakin. Well, physicality-wise, dahil…kung mapapanood niyo, naka-bikini lang kami. Medyo nag-he-hello world si “Jun-jun” nang konting galaw, so, ayun, medyo nahirapan ako. ‘Yun lang.”

The “panty” scene from Die Beautiful

  • How was the working experience doing the movie?

Sobrang saya simply because, naku-quench niya ‘yung thirst ko dun sa acting kasi sobrang challenging nung role so talagang every scene, pinag-aaralan ko kung papaano ko aatakihin. Every scene, pinaglalaanan ko ng enough time to prepare. So ayun ‘yung working experience ko as Barbs, sobrang saya and sobrang fulfilling. Sa set naman, never a dull moment kasi working with Paolo Ballesteros, grabe, ‘yung taong ‘yun, now I know why he’s blessed, kasi sobrang buti niyang tao. So sa set namin, never a dull moment, lahat masaya lang kaya rin siguro maganda yung kinalabasan ng film kasi lahat ay okay, lahat ay masaya.”

Meet Christian Bables aka BARBS, ang trending na BFF ni Trisha sa #DIEBEAUTIFUL. People are saying he is the surprise discovery of the MMFF. This is how we came to be Barbs: We were looking for a best friend for Kiray in Regal Films’ I LOVE YOU TO DEATH. Ruby Ruby recommended this guy who just finished a soap in ABS-CBN. He auditioned but we werent so convinced, so he left. But for some reason Direk Miko Livelo, Direk Manny Valera, Direk Jun Lana, Roselle Monteverde and I had a change of heart and we quickly called him back. Pasakay na siya ng taxi. Second time’s a charm and he got the role. And when we saw the finished film, we were so impressed that Jun and I decided he should be cast in another film somehow. In DIE BEAUTIFUL, he was not supposed to be Barbs at first. But one thing led to another and we wound up without a definite Barbs until we were doing our line readings. That is when Direk Jun saw how good Christian was in the role. He was the perfect foil to Paolo Ballesteros because he was so natural and instinctive. He knew when to throw his lines and how to ride along with Paolo’s ad lib. Even his body language complimented Paolo. You felt the friendship was real. And now, people see the magic onscreen and love him so much that he is even trending on Twitter. We are so happy for Christian. It has been quite a journey and he has worked so hard for this. This is his big break! Excited to see what the future holds for him!

A photo posted by Perci Intalan (@percinotpercy) on

  • Anu-ano ang mga natutunan mo sa character ni Barbs?

“Medyo malalim ‘yung mga natutunan ko. Nag-reresearch, nag-iimersion pa lang po ako, dami nang learnings about the transgernder – LGBT community pero ang pinakanatutunan ko, dapat silang mahalin. Kasi ‘yung heart nila is very big, capable of loving people, kahit na sinasaktan na sila.”

“Barbs” as Miss Haiti in a Die Beautiful scene

  • Anong feeling mo ngayon na pinag-uusapan ka na ng mga tao because of your portrayal of Barbs?

“Honestly, nung una, nung December 25, na unang mapanood ng mga tao, ang dami agad [messages].  In the span of one day, ang dami agad mga tao from the industry and mga ordinary people na ‘di ko kilala na nag-memessage sa’kin to congratulate, to commend me. At first, sobrang nakaka-overwhelm pero hindi ko hinayaan ang sarili kong ma-overwhelm nang sobra so I prayed. I prayed for guidance kasi medyo overwhelming nga siya and I don’t want that kind of feeling. So ngayon, ang nararamdaman ko, thankful ako. Thankful ako sa mga taong nakaka-appreciate ng nagawa ko. Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga taong naka-appreciate ng movie namin. Hindi lang ako as Barbs kundi yung kabuuan ng pelikula. Sobrang thankful ko dahil nabigyan ako ng chance na ganito.

  • Why did you enter showbusiness?

“Kasi passion ko ‘yung acting – acting for film and TV. Okay din ako [with] acting for theater pero mas preferred ko ‘yung acting for film and TV. That’s the reason why I entered showbusiness kasi kumbaga parang food for my soul ang pag-arte.”

  • What is your acting background? 

Nagsimula akong mag-aral umarte since 2011 up until now, nag-aaral pa rin ako. Continuous learning. And I guess never na’kong titigil sa pag-aaral umarte kasi nadadagdagan at nadadagdagan kasi ‘yung knowledge habang tumatagal and it’s unending. Ayun, nag-aaral ako sa Star Magic Workshops under Direk Rahyan Carlos, mastering the Ivana Chubbuck technique. Nasa Masterclass ako for 5 years.”

  • Do you have any relatives in showbiz?

Wala po.

  • Sinong mga gusto mong makatrabaho in your next project?

Kung pagbibigyan po ni God, gusto ko pong makatrabaho si Ms. Maricel Soriano. Natupad na yung isa kong wish, si Tito Joel Torre, na sobrang thankful ako’t nakatrabaho ko. Sino pa bang gusto ko makatrabaho? Eddie Garcia. Jericho Rosales. Si Ms. Eugene Domingo, natupad na rin yung gusto ko (na makatrabaho siya). Ms. Gina Pareño and Alessandra De Rossi. [He added later in the interview that his wish to work with Glady Reyes has already come true (via Die Beautiful) and he still wishes to work with Gladys’ Mara Clara counterpart co-star Judy Ann Santos and Claudine Barretto)

Gladys Reyes is Christian’s co-star in Die Beautiful

with Eugene Domingo in Die Beautiful

Christian with his favorite actor Joel Torre in a scene from Die Beautiful

  • Who are your favorite local and foreign artists?

“Local, sa lalaki, si Jericho Rosales and Tito Joel Torre. Sa babae, si Ms. Maricel Soriano, Ms. Eugene Domingo, and si Alessandra Rossi. (giggles) Pinaalala sa’kin ni Mommy. (Christian later added Albert Martinez to his wishlist. He said that he would have loved to work with the late actors Mario O’Hara and Dolphy.)

Favorite foreign artists — Michael Sheen, very good actor. Meryl Streep, si Viola Davis, Hugh Jackman, Emma Thompson, ‘yung nasa Fences din kasama ni Viola Davis, I forgot the name, and Jared Leto na estudyante rin ni Ivana Chubbuck.”

  • What’s your favorite movie?

Marami eh. Local movie, sobrang favorite ko ang Oro Plata Mata. Dahil andun si Joel Torre! Ano pang favorite movie ko? [he asks himself as he tries to recall :)] Insiang! (he exclaims as he remembered) Magaling, magaling ang Insiang. ‘Yung mga movie ko, I Love You to Death ‘tsaka Die Beautiful. (laughs)

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN

Photo courtesy of FDCP

  • Any dream role?

“I’ve always wanted to be a suicide bomber. ‘Yun ang dream role ko, kagaya nung kay Michael Sheen. I forgot the title of the movie but if bibigyan ako ng chance, gusto kong ganun ang next role ko.

Screenshots courtesy of Regal Films 

Die Beautiful’s full trailer:

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