Her career is undoubtedly on the fast lane. With three movies out this month, a new lifestyle show and a primetime soap opera in the works, Angel Aquino is one of the most sought-after figures in the entertainment industry.
WHAT IT’S LIKE catches up with the busy actress-host-model at The Spa in Rockwell, where she gets some much-deserved pampering with her ultimate stress-buster, the Oriental Foot Therapy.
State your name, age and profession.
I’m Angel Aquino, 39 years old and I’m a professional actress, model and host.
In your new movie, Biktima, you play a broadcast journalist who was sent on a dangerous assignment. You’re a Journalism graduate from UP Baguio. Did this role give you a chance to live out your original career of choice?
Well, sort of. I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. I wanted to be on TV, like sina Korina Sanchez. That was my dream, aside from being a flight attendant. So when I got this role, I sort of fulfilled my dream. Although the lines that I was saying in the movie were from a script, but still, speaking infront of the camera and talking about things happening live, or atleast simulating that, medyo felt nerve-racking to me. So I can just imagine how real journalists feel.
So would that be the career you’re most likely to pursue if you’re not doing what you’re doing now?
Yes, yes, yes.
Even if it scares you?
I remember when I was little, I was timid and shy. But I knew I had something in me that just wanted to go out there and take risks. I know I would’ve enjoyed the rush, the thrill and just the danger of the profession.
How do you maintain your looks?
(Laughs) I go to the salon. Ofcourse there’s The Spa to help me de-stress and relax when I need to. And I drink a lot of water. I try to eat healthy… I try. For me, it’s really common sense. Get all the rest that you can. Nourish yourself with fiber. Always hydrate yourself. There’s no such thing as drinking too much water, or maybe there is. I think someone died of that (laughs).
What is the one thing you don’t like about yourself physically?
I used to have thicker hair. I wish I had longer legs.
Longer legs? (She stands at 5’6’’)
It’s true, what you have is never enough. So you always wish for more. But I can say I’m very happy about everything. But maybe perkier breasts? That won’t hurt. Not to have any stretch marks… and be younger…
You’re considered as one of Manila’s Best Dressed Women. Who are your favorite designers?
Joey Samson. James Reyes. Patrice Ramos. Cary Santiago.
What are your favorite brands?
Aldo Shoes, because they’re very comfortable and stylish. They’re quite affordable also. I go a lot to Zara and Top Shop, because of my kids and I can wear them, too. (She has two daughters, Iana, 19, Thea, 17)
So you share? You have the same size as your daughters?
How does it feel to be on the cover of a magazine?
It’s very glamorous, of course. It puts you out there. It adds to your credibility because the publishers probably thought that people would buy the issue because you’re on the cover. It’s a feel-good thing, it boosts your ego.
What qualities do you like in a man?
Honesty. Sincerity. And kindness.
What qualities do you like in a woman?
The same. And both should be fun.
Happiness is a chocolate bar (laughs) No, I’m so mababaw. Really, I am. I feel happy at the sound of rain. Or watching a movie with my kids. Or being given a greeting card. I think everyone should find happiness in the mundane. Kasi if you look too hard for it, ang hirap hanapin ‘nun eh. It’s nicer if little things make you happy.
What’s your favorite book?
I like the books of Neil Sedaris – Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day. He’s funny.
What’s the last movie you saw and liked?
The Dark Knight Rises. I love kasi these Nolan series. I love how he humanized Batman or Bruce Wayne. And even the setting is so real, you know, it can happen in our world, unlike before. I’m also a big fan of Christian Bale—that man can do no wrong. Bourne (Legacy) kasi… I like the third installment better.
You once said everything that you would forsake the rest of your career to pursue acting.
Well, because acting is a different experience. It’s like crawling out of your comfort zone and you explore different parts of yourself that you’ve never known before. It’s nice kasi you get to know yourself better. And if you don’t have that confidence in the beginning, it helps to give you that, if you think you’ve done a good job. I really like the experience of acting. It’s always a challenge for me. I don’t know how I’ll fare everytime I‘m given a project or a character.
What’s your dream role?
I don’t have a dream role eh. I just take each role as they come. When I find a role very interesting, I try to find ways to make it more interesting. The last interesting and really challenging role I did was for an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya. I played the role of this really bad mother. I was so afraid to do it but I knew it was going to be a good ride for me so I did. People hated me after that.
Is it fun playing the bad girl?
Yes, yes. More fun. I like her to be bad, but it’s not too obvious that she is.
Bad but still human? Not the archetype?
Yeah. Not a caricature.
Name a director you’d like to work with.
I’d like to work again with Direk Jeff Jeturian (who discovered her in a mall), and Joey Reyes.
How about an actor?
You wear a lot of hats—actress, host, model, and mom. How do you balance everything?
I don’t (laughs). I’m glad I’ve come to a point where I can choose my own schedule. So I can say no when I think my schedule’s too full already and I don’t have time to be with the family. I’m grateful that I’ve come to that point.
This month you are headlining three films. You’ve also won awards, been on the cover of magazines, you’re a successful host. What else haven’t you done?
In everything that I’ve done I’ve been given instructions and directions when doing them. Like posing for magazines – they style you, they ask you to pose a certain way. In movies you base everything on a script, you’re told what to do by the director. I want to be able to make or create something, not on my own, but in a collaboration with other people. I want to challenge myself by making something from scratch. (She’s looking into producing films in the future)
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I feel I’ve been wise naman when it comes to my decision-making in terms of career. Other aspects of my life I could’ve been wiser. But if we’re talking about career and the path she would choose to get here, I’d tell her, “Just trust yourself. Trust your instincts. Have faith in yourself.” Because that’s how I did it. I just always tell myself that I’ll get through. Like when I got into modeling, sans the background. Wala akong training, but then I pulled through. And then I got into acting. Mumbaki was my first movie. Sabi ko pa nun kay Direk Jeff (Jeffrey Jeturian), “Baka pauwiin nila ako kasi hindi nila gusto yung performance ko.” Baka from Banaue, pauwiin nila ako sa Manila. Thank God I was with great actors who helped me out. (The late) Rolando Tinio (National Artist for Theater and Literature who had a cameo in the film) read lines with me over and over. And I pulled through again. Pati sa pagho-host, wala akong kaalam-alam sa hosting. But then I went to an audition and got F!. Yun din, you just learn along the way. And then you get better along the way.
At this point in your life, do you feel that you’ve made it?
I’m very happy with where I am now, with how people regard me. I know I can do more. Or if I can sustain this, for a much longer time, then I’d be very very happy.
What keeps you grounded?
My family keeps me grounded. My kids, my sisters, and especially my nanay. Everything kasi outside of work is normal in my life.
Your life is nothing short of a Cinderella story. Do you ever pinch yourself and ask if it’s all real?
Kasi my story isn’t an overnight success. It happened to me little by little so somehow, it felt real. Now this feels real. I still go to a home that keeps everything real. My nanay, just last night, pinagalitan niya ako, yung mga ganun. I would still wash dishes and maybe sleep on the floor if I have to.
Why is it good to be Angel Aquino right now?
Because I’ve worked hard for everything that I have right now in my life, in my career. It’s not like it was given to me on a silver platter. You reap what you sow. You sow goodness and you reap goodness.