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She is the lead character and main villain of the Philippine soap opera "Kaya Kong Abutin Ang Langit" (translated as: I Can Reach The Heavens) based on the classic Philippine movie with the same title. She is a beautiful and charming but overly ambitious woman from the slums who wants to be rich and powerful in society at whatever cost. She is greedy, selfish, manipulative and cold.
Clarissa Rosales was a woman who was born in destitution. Ever since she was a little girl, she experienced hardships and oppression because of her social status. She is jealous of the good life other people have and wants to find a way to leave poverty behind and she wants to do it fast.
While she was growing up, she became more and more attached to her rich godparents, Monina and Ralph Gardamonte. The rich couple were the former employers of Clarissa's parents. Clarissa's father was killed when he saved Monina from thieves. Because of this, Monina is eternally grateful to the family and became the godparents of the then newly born Clarissa. Because of this relationship, Clarissa gets a taste of life in pure luxury during Christmas and her birthday, but as she grew up, she wanted to become a part of high society and became more and more obssessed with power and money.
Her closeness with her godparents made made her only godsister, Therese, jealous of all the attention Clarissa is getting. Monina's brother, Nick, also sees Clarissa as an opportunist. Meanwhile, Clarissa does not realize that she is beginning to alienate her mother, Naty, and her elder sister, Nancy. Clarissa continues to use her charm and beauty to fool her neighbors, school mates and suitors that she is an innocent young lady, but unknown to them she is using them for her money making schemes.
Clarissa has a childhood sweetheart, James. She knows he likes her very much and she truly loves him too but she also has another reason for having a relationship with him. He is a business student at the local college and sees him as her ticket to a better life, but when he stops his education because of financial problems, she dumps him even though her decision hurted herself.
Clarissa starts to notice Therese's boyfriend, Daryll. She noticed him because he has many connections at high society and views him as her passport to meeting influential people. Monina disapproves the relationship of Daryll and Therese because Daryll has a negative reputation. Clarissa told Monina that the two are still seeing each other so Monina broke the two up. Therese is furious with Clarissa until it triggered her godsister's heart ailment. The family decided to go to the States for treatment but Clarissa also insists of going with them because she will lose her connections to the rich lifestyle. One night, Clarissa and Therese had a private encounter. They had a heated argument which triggered Therese's heart disease. Instead of helping, Clarissa just watched her drown in the pool.
While Monina and Ralph are still mourning, Clarissa sucked up even more to them until they wanted her to become their own daughter. They insisted that Naty let them legally adopt Clarissa. Naty thought that this would be for the better so, with a heavy heart, she agreed. Clarissa changed her name to Clarisse Gardamonte and became the heiress to the Gardamonte fortune. She completely abandoned her family and lived in the Gardamonte mansion. Meanwhile, her mother got sick because of working in the Gardamonte factory but instead of helping her mother with the lawsuit, she sided with the Gardamontes. Her mother longed for her but she did not come. Her mother died quicker becuase of depression. This made Nancy despise her sister.
Meanwhile, Nancy always had a crush on James but he never noticed her and this frustrated her but because Clarissa was gone, they found solace in each other and they ended up together. Monina and Ralph, through a private investigator saw the video of how Therese died. Clarissa was immediately disowned and kicked out of the mansion. Since she knew that she is still the heiress in the last will of the couple, she immedately staged an accident during the couple's trip to their lawyer by taking off their car's brakes and making their gas tank leak so the car would explode. She immediately became the legal owner of the whole Gardamonte fortune. She used Daryll into meeting more influencial people to cement her status in society. She also manipulated the stocks of Nick so from being a company board member, he became a mere employee. She then blackmails him so he would run her company for her.
Because of her relentless spending, she incurred debts. Also, her oppressive attitude made her workers leave the factory. Her business is now starting to dwindle. She used her knowledge of high society to meet rich guys. She met Jerome Recto, heir to a banking empire. She flirted with him until they got engaged. Jerome's ex-girlfriend, Victoria and Jerome's mother, Doña Lucia, sees Clarissa's true colors. They plan to expose her but Clarissa got Victoria fired and made Jerome have a feud with his own mother so he would side with her. Meanwhile, Daryll now lost his connections and became completely broke. Clarissa seeing no use to him decided to tell him that she never loved him and only used him for his connections. In a severe state of depression, Daryll threatened Clarissa that he will kill himself, but instead of stopping him, she dared him to actually do it.
Unknown to Clarissa, Nick is staging a corporate coup against her. He helped Doña Lucia and Victoria to expose Clarissa to Jerome and in return, they helped get back all the money Clarissa stole from him. On the day of the wedding, Jerome did not come. Clarissa became a laughing stock of the society pages. Nick also manipulated all of Clarissa'a stocks and got all of Clarissa's remaining employees to side with him so he would get the company back legally under his name and salvage the dwindling company of his late sister.
Clarissa is starting to lose everything but she found salvation when she found out that James finished college and now has a booming business. She decided to come back to him but was surprised that he is getting married with her sister, Nancy. She knows James still loves her so she keeps on seducing him and keep messing up his mind. James almost eloped with her but he still realized that he loves Nancy more and found out from Nick a recording of Clarissa's true intentions of marrying him, which is to salvage her little fortune.
All of Clarissa's properties were taken from her. All people either hate her or mock her. She realized that money can't buy happiness and that there are more important things than money but she realized it too late. Still she is too proud to admit defeat and planned to ruin her sister's wedding. She took a cab to the church ceremony but on the way there, ironically, the cab lost its breaks and fell to the river below, drowning her inside.