To most of the television viewers in South Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, even before few months, Okairy Alejandra Giner Arredondo, better known as Oka Giner was rather an unknown name. But through popular Netflix series Five Juanas has already made Oka Giner a popular name to millions of Bangla-speaking populations.
Oka Giner gained popularity for her debut role as Bárbara Fuenmayor in the 2013 Mexican television series, Gossip Girl: Acapulco.
Giner was born in Camargo, Chihuahua. As a child, she participated in beauty pageants. When she was 17 years old, she modeled locally, appearing in photo shoot for the online newspaper “El Diario de Chihuahua” in 2010. She also studied Polynesian dances such as Hawaiian and Tahitian for 11 years. Giner showed an interest in performing from an early age, directing and acting in plays with her cousins during family gatherings. Later, she enrolled at Autonomous University of Chihuahua, where she majored in Communication sciences.
Oka Giner studied briefly at university, but soon left and successfully auditioned for the Centro de Educación Artística (CEA), the free drama school run by Televisa. In January 2012, she moved from Camargo to to attend school.
While attending CEA, Giner gained acting experience by performing various in student-run productions. During her first year at CEA, she heard about an audition for producer Pedro Torres’ latest project, Gossip Girl: Acapulco, a Spanish-language remake of the hit American series.
Actress Mariana Van Rankin was originally cast as Bárbara Fuenmayor and filmed a short pilot episode. When she later dropped out, producers recast the role. Oka Giner originally attended the casting call hoping to gain experience for future auditions. Although she had little professional training and no professional acting experience, she was cast in one of two lead roles.
Giner was the last actor to audition and be cast in the series. The entire cast was officially announced in January 2013. Gossip Girl: Acapulco began filming in various locations in Acapulco, Mexico on January 21, 2013 and ended in May of that year. The show premiered exclusively on the subscription service channel, Golden Premier, on August 5, 2013. In spite of the show’s success in Mexico, it was not renewed for a second season and was officially cancelled on January 14, 2014.
Following the completion of filming and promotion for Gossip Girl: Acapulco, Oka Giner returned to CEA to begin her second year of school in July 2013. In March 2014, she auditioned for a lead role in the Televisa telenovela, Hasta el fin del mundo, but did not receive a part. She was instead cast in a recurring role in another series, Señorita Pólvora, in July 2014.
In September 2013, she was announced as a new celebrity spokesmodel for “Always Platinum”, appearing in commercials for the brand in Mexico.
Her short film, M de iMportante, was released on her official Twitter account via Vimeo in July 2014.
Oka Giner then appeared in the Telemundo telenovela Bajo el mismo cielo which began airing on July 28, 2015. Its premiere episode garnered the highest ratings on Telemundo for a telenovela in 3 years. On August 8, 2015, she began filming the Telemundo telenovela drama ¿Quién es quién?, moving to Miami for the show’s production. The telenovela premiered on October 26, 2015 on Gala TV in Mexico.
Oka Giner and Five Juanas
Possibly time has come for Oka Giner and few more Mexican actresses for working in a number of movies and web-series with Bangladesh’s leading production company, Crown Entertainment, which would open the door for them in Bollywood and Tamil film industry in India.
According to media reports, Bangladesh’s leading production company and content provider Crown Entertainment has decided to produce a film titled ‘Mexican Mystery’, which is based on the true story of 43 girl students, who went missing in Mexico in 2014.
Commenting on working with Mexican film and drama production companies, Tajul Islam, Deputy CEO of Crown Entertainment said: “Bangla-speaking market is huge. It is a multi-billion-dollar prospective market for the international OTT platforms. On the other hand, Mexican films, dramas and serials enjoy huge popularity within the OTT viewers in South Asia. We believe, time has come when Crown Entertainment can form joint-venture with Mexican production companies and create bi-lingual or multi-lingual contents, including action movies and dramas. We already are searching for suitable production companies from Mexico for moving ahead with films and contents for OTT platforms.
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