BY MAAN D’ASIS PAMARAN
With a more active career in showbiz and a healthier lifestyle, Aiko Melendez believes she is in a much happier place nowadays.
Melendez is currently getting raves for her performance in the ABS-CBN teleserye Wildflower as Governor Emilia Ardiente-Torillo. As the antagonist to Maja Salvador’s character, her role has made her reconsider getting back into local politics again. She was Quezon City councilor for nine years.
The actress was earlier named as 2017’s Gawad Tanglaw Best Supporting Actress for the indie film Iadya Mo Kami. In 2015, Melendez was proclaimed Best Actress In A Foreign Language Film at the International Filmmakers Festival of World Cinema in London for the movie Asintado.
Looking lighter onscreen and in person, Melendez said she had to change her lifestyle to gain back her confidence. She was 250 pounds at her biggest, a far cry from her Underage Too days when she donned bikini alongside other Regal Babies in the ‘90s.
Consequently, Melendez became the subject of online bashing about her weight.
“Tinatawag na akong aparador. My only thought at the time was, at least magandang aparador ako,” she laughingly related to The Manila Times.
“I got fat when I gave birth. When I had problems with my love life, I got fat. When I fall in love, I get fat. I decided that this cycle has got to stop,” she disclosed.
The 41-year-old actress started working out, and went on a diet. After losing unwanted pounds, however, she felt that it was not enough – the flab and folds were still there.
“Arnell Ignacio is a friend and I was so impressed with his abs. I asked him how he got them, especially at his age. He told me about Dr. Claudine Roura of Contours Advanced Face and Body Sculpting Institute,” Melendez shared.
“Pangarap ko talaga magka-abs. I have had body issues even before, because my legs were always big. I used to be into swimming and was even part of the Philippine team,” she continued.
She had to undergo several treatments within a few months –Vaser 4D Tummy Tuck, followed by a Vaser Lipo of her arms and legs.
“I would work out hardcore, even lifting 300-pound tires as part of my routine. I felt really strong, but my arms were not getting into shape,” the actress recalled. After the procedure, she was able to post photos of her wearing a tube.
By December 2016, she posted a beach photo of her wearing a bikini. “Nag-trending siya. I never thought I would trend again, and I especially never thought that it would be a bikini photo of me that would trend,” she smiled.
Replying on the bashing and comments about why she chose to post a photo like that, “This is my body, this is my Instagram, if you want, you can unfollow me, it’s as simple as that. Posting that picture was not to show off, but to inspire. So, when I read those comments, I chose to ignore them,” she retorted.
She also plans to write a book in the future, to talk about her weight-loss journey.
She spilled what motivates her to keep fit. “I just Google myself and look at my old photos. I also have this picture of me at my biggest in my room and I see it as soon as I wake up. It gets me going,” she laughed. The photo was taken at 210 pounds. She has lost 52 pounds since.
“My promise to myself is that if I ever get into a relationship again —and I have been praying for this for a long time—I will take care of myself more. I owe it to myself,” Melendez happily ended.