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'The Sandman' actress Lourdes Faberes on Asian representation: 'Things are improving'

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Aug 19, 2022 11:21 am

It's always worth celebrating whenever Filipinos get to show off their talent and be recognized in international television. Lourdes Faberes did just that when she showcased her acting skills in the Netflix adaptation of The Sandman, a comic book by acclaimed author Neil Gaiman.

The London-based Filipina actress first caught the attention of Pinoys when she responded in Tagalog to a Twitter post by pop culture blogger Jerald Uy, who praised the episode she starred in.

PhilSTAR L!fe recently delved into the films and TV shows that Faberes worked on and how she moved into the United Kingdom, but in a one-on-one interview with her through Zoom, we got to know more about her as an actress and her work in The Sandman.

Starring in 'The Sandman'

In response to Filipinos praising her, Faberes said that she is very grateful for the love and support she received.

"I'm happy with anybody being happy with me in a show. Of course, it's just wonderful to see that. I know Neil loves the Philippines as well because there's a lot of talent especially in terms of the graphic novel world, so of course, it makes me very happy," she said.

"I don't feel the weight of representing the Philippines as such. I think it's a bigger sense that I'm representing Southeast Asia, but at the end of the day, I'm just an actress who loves her job. But yeah, I'm very grateful and I'm so happy that it's doing well over that," she added.

The Sandman is currently claiming the third spot in Netflix Philippine's most popular television shows and Faberes hopes it'll reach number one soon like in Brazil, where the show had dominated the charts.

In landing a role in the fantasy show, Faberes said that she was first offered by Gaiman to star in an episode. 

"I auditioned for it. It's also because Neil came to me, I've worked with Neil before in Good Omens, then we had been talking about The Sandman for a bit and various conversations, and at one point he just said 'Okay, would you like to be a woman of the world or a supernatural creature?' and so I said 'Oh, woman of the world, please'," she said.

She continued, "I still had to read for it and then because it's not just up to Neil, it's up to a few other people, the network as well and the showrunners."

The Southeast Asian actress starred in the fifth episode of the show, titled "24/7". Without spoiling too much, she plays as Kate Fletcher, a diner customer who suffers a terrible fate as a result of a man abusing the Sandman's powers.

The episode is considered a memorable one for its dark tone and horrific story, and Faberes seems to agree to that as she shared how she loved everything about it because it was "such a pure experience of everyone working on it."

"It was a beautiful script. It was a dream working on it and it was one of the best experiences of my work life" she said.

In explaining why people should watch The Sandman, Faberes highlighted that "there's nothing like it out there right now. It doesn't look anything out there."

"There is so much that is philosophical about it and visually, it is stunning. But more than that, I think it stays with you and it explores the things that we are afraid of facing in ourselves, not so much in the world, but the things that we can't accept in ourselves. But it's also because there is a lot of hope in it," she said.

"People should see it because it will stretch their idea of who they can be and what the truth is." she added.

Being a Southeast Asian actress in the UK

While representation of various races could be seen in foreign films and TV shows, there is still much ground to cover when it comes to fully letting such actors thrive in the industry.

Being a Southeast Asian actress in Britain and Europe, Faberes said that things are slowly but surely improving when it comes to being a part of stories shown on international media.

"People don't have to find circumstances that are very Asian for us to be seen in the story. It used to be my dream to be Sandra Oh in Grey's Anatomy. I first saw that years ago and I was like 'Wow, she's just a doctor, she's just flawed in making mistakes and she doesn't have to be in Vietnam or whatever'," Faberes said.

"So it's just a sense of belonging that we're all after, it's being seen and that sense of possibility that we can be part of many, many strories, not just certain things that used to be where we fit in," she added.

She hopes that there comes a time where Asian actors don't have to talk about how rare it is to see themselves in foreign works.

Faberes first moved to London to finish her graduate degree in performace at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. After she graduated, she got an agent and started her acting career from there, working as a stage actress before taking on roles in short films and TV shows.