While no one else has earned the title of “Philippine Movie’s Miss Body Beautiful” since it was first coined and bestowed on come-backing actress Vivian Velez in the 1970s, she confessed to The Manila Times this week that nowadays, she finds herself cringing when called as such.
“I already have two sons!” she shrieked. “And I even help them get gifts for their girlfriends already,” she added laughing.
While she sweetly gets her way around keeping her age a secret, Vivian, however, is still a knockout since starring in her first movie Black Mamba in 1974. Perhaps several pounds heavier, pre-babies, her curves are still very much where they should be, with her most famous physical assets as defined as ever.
“It’s really hard to live up to being called Miss Body Beautiful,” she continued. “But after many years away from show business, when I got this offer to become part of TV5’s newest teleserye, I was very happy kasi I said to myself, ‘Wow! Kinukuha ako dahil sa acting ko at hindi kasi lang ako si Miss Body Beautiful’,” she exclaimed.
Certainly, Vivian was being very humble with her remark, especially since she has numerous Best Actress nominations and awards to her name. She has been nominated in the Gawad Urian, the Famas and Film Academy of the Philippines awards, for such movies as Kasalanan Bang Sambahin Ka? (1990); and Ang Babaing Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang (1981); and was named Best Actress for Paradise Inn (1985, Famas); and Pieta: Ikalawang Aklat (1984, FAP).
Talking about her return to the small screen (her last foray into TV was via ABS-CBN’s Immortal in 2010 following a decade-long hiatus from show business), she is excited over playing a contravida role for TV5’s Misibis Bay.
“The role was something new, mas masarap palang nanampal kaysa sinasampal!” she laughed again, as she talked about her role as Christopher de Leon’s sister in the series, the pair of siblings who fictionally own the top tourist destination in Bicolandia, Misibis Bay.
“I play Miranda, Boyet’s [Christopher] older sister. He takes on a young wife [Ritz Azul] and talagang nilublob ko siya sa tubig!” she added, squealing.
She is happy to be working with old time friends Christopher de Leon, as well as Boots Anson-Roa in the mini-series, but marvels today at how young actors like Ritz carry themselves on set.
“Napaka-disciplined nila!” she gushed. “I guess it’s because of the network system now where they are really given workshops and trained in acting. Noon, kami mismo ang nag-put up ng Actor’s workshops. Nakaka-bilib sila.”
Nevertheless, Vivian is content where she is at the moment, showbiz-wise since she is able to pace herself and simply pick projects she really wants to do. Occupied with her impressive business venture of selling aircrafts from different countries to private individuals and flying schools in the Philippines, acting is now a hobby for her rather than a source of income.
“It’s nice to be in a position where you no longer have to think about your future in showbiz anymore, and be able to work just because I love to act,” she mused. “But in saying that, once you become part of showbiz, you never completely leave it, which is why I’m back here every so often.”
With nothing left to prove to herself or the industry, Vivian revealed that there is another goal left on her showbiz bucket list and that is to direct a series or a movie.
“I was lucky enough to be part of (the late) Direk Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s last batch of students for directing,” she proudly related. “The best thing I learned from her is that when it comes to directing in this age of technology, the heart of moviemaking never changes. It’s not about what camera you use but where to position your camera.”
There is more to come indeed from Vivian Velez in the days to come.
Misibis Bay premieres in July from TV5.