Liza Soberano is no stranger to star-studded red carpets and glamorous film premieres. As one of the most sought-after actors in the Philippines, it’s par for the course. But Hollywood? That’s new territory for the 26-year-old, and she’s ready to make a great first impression.
Soberano’s stateside debut has been, by all accounts, exceptional, starting with her performance in this month’s horror-tinged rom-com Lisa Frankenstein. The splendid film, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Zelda Williams, is a dark coming-of-age story starring Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse as a misunderstood teen and a reanimated corpse who embark on a murderous journey to find love and happiness. From the near-neon set design to the ’80s costuming and nostalgic soundtrack, the world of Lisa Frankenstein is pure, unabashed fun.
Soberano is a standout as Taffy, Lisa’s peppy stepsister who is utterly lovable yet slightly oblivious. I couldn’t take my eyes off her during an early screening of the film and immediately had to Google her afterward. I quickly learned the breakout star is already a household name in the Philippines with over 18 million Instagram followers. Soberano’s star power is magnetic, so it’s not surprising to learn Williams practically cast her on the spot during a casual dinner meeting. The two were first introduced in 2022 by Soberano’s manager, who thought Williams would be a good friend and connection to have in Los Angeles. Serendipitously, during that dinner, Williams got the call that her first feature film, Lisa Frankenstein, had been green-lit. She returned to the table and proceeded to immediately tell Soberano about a major character in the movie that still hadn’t been cast yet and asked if she would be interested in filming a self-tape for it. A few months later, Soberano submitted the tape and got the role. She was officially Hollywood bound.
Fast-forward two years, Lisa Frankenstein is finally hitting theaters. On the afternoon of the film’s Los Angeles premiere, I jump on a call with Soberano before she gets into glam. The event, held at the Hollywood Athletic Club, serves as yet another introductory moment for the actor. It’s her U.S. red carpet debut, and she and stylist Maeve Reilly plan to turn heads with her look. “I’m wearing this beautiful dress without sleeves,” Soberano starts to tell me. “It has a bit of the Lisa Frankenstein colors in it—blue, black, and a little bit of green—and it’s designed by Olivier Theyskens.” Soberano selected the number because of its Frankenstein vibe, but it also reminded her of the character Sally from one of her favorite films, The Nightmare Before Christmas. “The silhouette is very simple, but the main event of the dress is in the small details,” she adds. She paired the intricate, lace-paneled look with an of-the-moment black rosette choker, jewelry by A.Jaffe, and Jimmy Choo heels.
The final look was equal parts statement-making and comfortable, making it a perfect choice for Soberano, but there were some other strong contenders in the running. “Picking the final look for the premiere was actually so hard,” Reilly tells me via email. “We had three really incredible options, all within the vibe I was looking to achieve but all very different. … Her silhouette is just perfection in this dress, and I couldn’t be happier with what we chose.”
While Reilly and Soberano had only just met a few months prior to Lisa Frankenstein, the two immediately hit it off. “What I liked about her as I was reviewing her portfolio and Instagram was [that] you can definitely get a sense of Maeve’s taste and style. You can see that in everyone she styles, but everybody still has their own individuality and their own character,” Soberano tells me. For Reilly, it was an exciting opportunity to work with a client who is already very established in another country but expand on that and build their brand here in the U.S. “She is the sweetest and most lovely girl to work with,” Reilly shares. “I am so excited about her future and all the opportunities she has coming her way.”
When it comes to personal style, Soberano typically gravitates toward understated, sophisticated, and simpler looks. (Note: Her favorite outfit of Taffy’s in Lisa Frankenstein was a classic white button-down shirt paired with denim jeans inspired by a Cindy Crawford look from the ’80s.) “I told [Reilly] I’m a ‘less is more’ type girl,” she laughs. “I don’t like going for bold colors or trendy silhouettes.” Sticking to her core was important, but this being the first time Soberano was presenting herself to Hollywood, Reilly wanted to make sure there were also elements that really popped. “For the press tour, I wanted to keep her chic and elevated with unique twists with the pieces we chose. I also really wanted to play into the theme of the movie and keep her premiere look a bit moody, edgy, and dark,” Reilly tells me. Soberano adds, “It’s a look that people have seen me in before in the Philippines, but it had a twist to it, so that was really great.”
For glam, Soberano enlisted the help of her go-to team from Manila—hairstylist Renz Pangilinan and makeup artist Mickey See. Kylie Jenner was the inspiration for hair, with the actor referencing a recent look Jenner wore to the Schiaparelli show during Haute Couture Week. “There was a moment where her hair was done, and it was these beautiful, luscious curls, but then there were also moments where she would pin it up in a very elegant but not-too-fixed way, so that’s what I want to do for tonight,” she says. Soberano told Pangilinan she wanted a look that could easily be worn down or styled up on the go with no fuss. For makeup, she originally envisioned a darker eye look to lean into the film’s horror aspect but was ultimately convinced by See to embrace her signature look in the Philippines, which focuses more on the eyebrows and eyelashes. The end result was fresh and effortless.
Surrounded by the people who make her feel most comfortable and relaxed and with her new favorite artist Tate McRae playing in the background, Soberano soaked up the moment in front of her. “I’m excited for everyone to finally get to see [Lisa Frankenstein],” she says. “I genuinely was so happy making it, and I want everybody to experience that happiness that we all felt while we were filming.”
As far as first impressions go, Soberano proved she’s not just one to watch on-screen, but on the red carpet too.
Don’t miss Lisa Frankenstein, in theaters February 9.
Photographer: Emily Malan
Stylist : Maeve Reilly at The Only Agency
Stylist Assistant: Rachel Bode
Hairstylist: Renz Pangilinan
Makeup Artist: Mickey See