Here’s Why Jane De Leon Deserves To Be The New Darna

Started from the bottom and now she's here.

Despite what the haters may say, Jane De Leon put in the work despite her struggles, which eventually led her to taking on the role of Darna.

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For viewers who tuned in to the August 19 episode of the new Darna TV series, they were in for a special treat. Not only was it the final episode of Darna’s pilot week, but it also saw the event that many who watched Darna in the first place wanted to see, Jane De Leon’s character transforming into the titular superhero.

The scene in question saw Narda barely survive an earthquake. She sees her mother through a vision before she finally accepts her destiny as the new Darna. The white stone then comes to her, swallows it, and transforms, sporting a modernized take on Darna’s classic look. Then, she takes her first flight as she saves the people caught in the earthquakes destruction.

Needless to say, Jane’s much-awaited reveal in the Darna costume was a moment. Looking so good in it, her embodiment of the superhero satisfied many netizens. People are now seeing Jane De Leon’s worth as the new Darna. And her status as a breakout star feels like the perfect come-up story considering how Jane went from hell and back to be where she is today. Because of all the challenges she faced, it makes Jane’s new role as Darna feel that much more worth it.

ROUGH CHILDHOOD

Jane De Leon did not grow up with a silver spoon in her mouth. In fact, she came from hardship as her family struggled to make ends meet. According to Jane, her family’s hardships began when her dad entered a bad business deal, which led him to depression. Their lack of finances almost led Jane and his brother to be pulled out of school entirely. (A struggle Narda similarly goes through for Ding.) They had to sell their car for money and were at many points eating scraps for dinner. “Alam ko po yung pakiramdam ng walang makain,” Jane told Karen Davilla in an interview. Her family’s struggles were made even worse when Jane’s dad passed away in 2016, a moment the self-described daddy’s girl admits wasn’t easy.

Simula po nung nawala si papa, parang nawindang po ‘yung buhay namin. Hindi po naming alam kung paano po kami magsisimula.” But despite her heartbreak, Jane felt that she needed to be strong for her family. “Kailangan ko maging malakas para sa family ko kasi kung lahat po kami mahina, di ko po alam kung saan po kami pupulutin.”

Jane’s foray into acting and modeling wasn’t also the golden ticket she needed initially. Traveling from their home in Laguna to Manila wasn’t cheap, and there were days where Jane and her mom had to split 100 pesos to pay for all their expenses. Jane and her mom would even sleep at homes of people they just met if they couldn’t afford to go home. In 2016, Jane was introduced as a member of the dance group GirlTrends, but shuttling from Laguna to Quezon City ate into their money.

To save on transportation costs, Jane has said she would just sleep in ABS-CBN’s dressing rooms. “Dumating sa point na every day ‘yung GirlTrends dati, [from] Laguna kami […] ang layo. Magkano lang po ‘yung TF (talent fee) ko nung panahon na ‘yun,” the actress revealed to Ogie Diaz. “Para po makapasok ako sa trabaho kinabukasan, doon po kami natutulog sa dressing room.”

PUTTING IN THE WORK TO BE THE NEW DARNA

For most of her career, Jane De Leon wasn’t that big of a household name as compared to her fellow stars. But slowly and surely, she worked her way up until Darna came around. When Liza Soberano dropped out of the project, there was a wide search to find the next Darna. Over 200 women auditioned to be the next actress to take on the iconic role, and that included Jane De Leon. She auditioned and put in the work, something that the bosses at ABS-CBN saw and appreciated.

Even with her initial meeting in 2019, Jane was already willing to give it her all if she was given the role of Darna. “100 percent po talaga. I can surrender all for her, for that character. ‘Yung desire pati ‘yung heart ko po talaga nandoon po talaga kay Darna.” In the end, Jane was one of the seven shortlisted for the role with the bosses unanimously picking her as the next Darna. Her first shout of Darna during this meeting was proof that she was ready to take on the role.

What happened next was years of training, as well as uncertainty, as Jane prepared to embody Darna with all her hard work coming to fruition with the show’s premiere on August 15. Many did come for and try to drag Jane saying that she wasn’t deserving of being Darna. But she put in the work to give the role justice. “I just want to let them know na lahat ng ito, pinaghirapan ko talaga,” Jane shared in an interview with ABS-CBN. “It’s a process. Before ko makuha ang isang opportunity, marami akong pinagdaanan. Maraming mga tinanggal sa’kin si Lord, marami akong iniyak.”

Now that the new Darna has taken flight, Jane De Leon is so far delivering, new costume and all. Her life story is one of rags to riches as the lessons she learned from her hardships molded her into the woman and young star that she is today. Whatever life has thrown at them, Jane, like Darna, is ready to tackle and slay them head on. Both women have been up against extraordinary odds, but they remain standing proudly to this day.

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