Jodi Africano Santa Maria or more known with her screen name “Jodi Sta. Maria” is one of the Philippines most acclaimed, talented and awarded actresses of all time. Jodi is an actress that could be considered as a late bloomer after only receiving widespread acclaim recently. In the past, Jody was almost always given minor or supporting roles but still proved herself to be a very capable artist. And it is her tenacity, perseverance, and strong-will that proved to be the reason why she is now a much celebrated and respected actress in the world.
“The Humble Beginning”
Born June 16, 1982, Jodi is the eldest daughter of three. She graduated from high school at the Southville International School and Colleges and she pursued a course in Medical Biology at the De La Salle University – Dasmarinas.
Jodi almost didn’t become an actress after receiving no offers when she first audition for commercials but a talent scout approached her again and encouraged her to try her luck in Star Magic. Soon she started her showbiz career as a member of the Star Magic Batch 7, eventually starring and appearing in different ABS-CBN shows such as Gimik and Pangako Sa’Yo (2000). But it was in her role as the tomboyish Georgina in Tabing Ilog that viewers started to know and fall in love with Jodi, especially since the popular show ran for four years.
In 2004, Jodi was introduced as host, together with Luis Manzano, of the successful reality-based talent competition, Star Circle Quest, where she later on won Best Talent Search Program Host in the 19th PMPC Star Awards for TV.
Jodi returned to acting and was recognized as an effective antagonist through her roles in primetime shows such as Walang Kapalit and Kampanerang Kuba. Her versatility as an actress was further recognized when she made the move to appear in two independent films Third World Happy, Sisa, and Apparisyon. She has since received Best Supporting and Best Actress awards and two Gawad Urian Awards nominations.
Jodi’s big break came when she top-billed ABS-CBN’s daytime program Be Careful With My Heart as Maya dela Rosa in 2012. Jodi described the teleserye as the major turning point of her life. Her performance, along with Richard Yap as Sir Chief, charmed and delighted countless viewers. The show became a success worldwide, spawning top albums, worldwide tours, and concerts, earning Jodi the moniker “Queen of Primetanghali”. She also earned critical success both locally (1st Paragala Central Luzon Media Awards’ Best Television Actress) and internationally (2014 Face of The Year Awards’ Best Foreign Actress).
In 2015, she was tapped to play the iconic “Amor Powers” in the remake of the popular Philippine romantic drama series, Pangako Sa’Yo. Aside from a new love team that sprung from it (Jodi Sta. Maria and Ian Veneracion or affectionately called as AmorAdo by the soap’s loyal viewers), Pangako Sa’ Yo effectively showcased Jodi’s incredible acting skill, earning her recognitions such as the 1st GIC Innovation Awards for Television’s Most Innovative Actress, 2016 Anak Makabata Award’s Iconic Seal, and 2016 Gawad Tanglaw Awards’ Best Performance by an Actress, and 2016 Golden Dove Award Best Actress).
Jodi’s success continued when she starred in the blockbuster romantic comedy movie My Achy Breaky Heart with Ian and Richard. On its first day, the movie earned a whopping P14 million from more than 170 theaters.
“Motherhood and Devotion”
Apart from being an esteemed actress, Jodi is also a full time mother to Panfilo Lacson III or Thirdy. The mother and son always bond together by going to amazing places or doing their favorite activity, which is baking. They also appear together in various commercials like Biogesic for Kids and Jollibee.
Jodi is a devout Christian after going through difficult times in her life. She was invited by veteran actress Connie Reyes to attend church in 2010 but it was only in 2014 when she really accepted the invitation and met God. Her life then completely changed for the better. She also always shares the teaching of God to her fans and followers.