The iconic Bella Flores: The standard of all kontrabidas
The ice-cold stare accentuated with a raised eyebrow. The stern and booming voice that makes the slightest remark cut deeper. The shrill and spine-tingling laugh to elicit fear and terror. This sums up the Pinoy kontrabida we now love to hate. An ubiquitous pop culture fixture, we owe the kontrabida archetype to one person – the iconic Primera Kontrabida, Bella Flores.
May 19, 2017 marks the 4th death anniversary of Bella Flores. Though she may not grace our screens anymore, her legacy is deeply ingrained in the blueprint of Philippine entertainment. From her humble beginnings in Sampaguita Pictures during the 50s down to her last full-length film in 2012, the Bella Flores kontrabida is marked and precise: dressed to kill with makeup as warpaint, nonchalantly or boisterously dropping insults to equal effect, and rabidly going in on a sampalan session. Nothing much has changed from the kontrabidas of the 50s to the ones we watch now. Different kontrabidas have come and gone but at the DNA of each performance is the Bella Flores trademark – glamorous, terrifying, and campy.
In her final appearance, Bella Flores starred in the short film “Kontrabida 101: Kontrabida Pa Rin at 84” by the clothing company Bench. The Primera Kontrabida firmly establishes her throne as the queen of kontrabidas and gamely shares her tricks of the trade with her signature evil goodness. From the laugh to the slaps, it was a crash course on what made her an enduring icon of Philippine culture and the standard on which kontrabidas will always be measured. Unintentionally, it became the last showcase of her prowess and a farewell gift cementing her legacy.
Flores ends the short film with the line “…Kaming mga kontrabida, we never fade away.” And that is what we hope. May her influence always live on.
Bella, you’ll always be our Primera Kontrabida.
Want to be a Primera Kontrabida too? Learn from the best – the one and only Bella Flores! Watch Kontrabida 101 videos now:
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