Comedy Queen Ai-Ai de las Alas was very emotional at the victory party of her latest Regal Entertainment blockbuster, “Our Mighty Yaya” on Thursday afternoon.
Shortly after basking in congratulatory messages from her cast mates and well wishers [the movie grossed P35 million on its first week alone], Ai-Ai couldn’t help but get emotional, recalling how she got to this point of her career all over again.
Unable to hold back tears, the actress opened up, “Mga three to four years ago, talagang naging mahirap ang pinagdaanan ko. Namatay ang nanay ko, naging flop ang movie namin [Kung Fu Divas, 2013], nahiwalay ako sa asawa ko…” she trailed off.
“Nung nagdadasal ako, gusto ko na ngang tanungin si Lord kung anong nagawa kong masama at talagang hindi ako makabangon. Pero di ba, masama namang kuwestyinin si Lord?
Then to everyone’s surprise, she revealed, “Dapat hindi na ako mag-aartista noon. Bumili ako ng bahay sa America kasi plano ko, sasama na ako sa mga anak ko.”
But thanks to her long-time manager and trusted friend Boy Abunda, a spark of hope lit up for Ai-Ai’s struggling career.
“Nakipagusap si Boy sa APT Entertainment [producers of “Eat Bulaga” among others], and GMA Network, tapos nagka-“Sunday Pinasaya” ako [on TV].
“Tinanong ko si Boy, ‘Ama, bakit mo ginagawa ito para sa akin?’ Sabi niya, ‘Kasi ayoko munang huminto ka na mag-artista; alam ko marami ka pang magagawa.”
True enough Ai-Ai was able turn her career around slowly but surely, until she landed two goldmines, one after the other. The first, the indie movie “Area,” which has turned her into an internationally awarded actress this past year; and now the box office comedy, Our Mighty Yaya, going strong into its second week.
“Napakalaking pasasalamat ko na kahit nawalan na ako ng kompiyansa sa sarili ko bilang artista, pinaniwalaan pa rin ako ni Boy, at ni Mother Lily at Sister Roselle [Monteverde, producers of Regal] na marami pa rin akong magagawa at bilang artista.”
Ai-Ai later told The T-Zone that she is grateful for her successful return to the comedy genre, following the heavy drama that was Area, because it meant she was able to make countless people happy.
“Kaya gustong gusto ko pa rin gumawa ng comedy kasi simple man sabihin, kailangan talaga natin sa buhay ang tumawa. Ito talaga yung kakayanan na binigay sa akin ni Lord kaya ko gustong patuloy na magpasaya sa tao.”
Ai-Ai also acknowledged that while her role in Our Mighty Yaya might seem like a formulaic kind of comedy with her prosthetic laden and uglified character Yaya Virgie, she was able to merge her innate comedic skills with her aptitude for drama in a very challenging role.
After all, she did say after winning a slew of international awards for Area [the latest of which is Asean International Film Festival’s Best Actress plum early this month]that she will be—and rightly so—more careful in choosing her roles.
“Na challenge ako dito sa Our Mighty Yaya and I had to use different styles of acting, inspiration from other actors, as well as mga eksena na nangyayari nalang talaga during shooting. Masaya ako na nagustuhan nila ang pelikula namin,” Ai-Ai enthused.
Asked what she learned through her life’s most recent ordeal, she wholly pointed to her faith. That “in God’s perfect time, everything will fall into place.”
“Pinanghawakan ko lang talaga yung sinabi Niya na, ‘Anak, maghintay ka lang at ibabalik ko sa iyo ang lahat sa tamang panahon.’ At eto na nga yon, salamat kay Lord.”