CAN dolls take the place of children? As far as Rita Avila is concerned, her penchant for dolls started way before she gave birth to her daughter by TV director Erick Reyes.

The actress had to explain in the interview by vlogger Ogie Diaz that there's nothing psychologically aberrant with having to "raise" two dolls and treat them like her own kids.

Rita recounted how her dolls Popoy and Mimay came into her life. Once at a department store with her husband to buy a present, Rita fancied the two huggables.

This is to correct the public impression that she diverted her attention to the dolls after her baby daughter's death.

Referring to Jesu (pronounced Ye-su), she lost this bundle of joy sometime in November 2004. Jesu died of a heart problem.

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Rita admited to still feeling the pain, but finds comfort in knowing that their daughter is watching over them. She recalled having felt "paramdam" from Jesu initially in the form of a housefly and later a butterfly.

Now for the doll part, Rita traced her love for it to her elementary days. She owes it to the fact that she's admittedly a child at heart.

"Kaya nga nasasaktan ako pag sinasabi ng iba na nababaliw na ako. Some people misjudge me right away, saying that I've gone lunatic. Eh, lahat naman tayo, may sariling kabaliwan sa buhay. People go crazy over luxury cars, expensive shoes, etc. So what makes me different from them?"

Rita lamented how some people can utter hurtful words without even thinking about its consequences.

But gone are the days when she gets emotionally pricked. Thanks to her loving, supportive husband who she describes as a Godsend.

The petite actress fondly remembers how their love story began. Erick was her director in ABS-CBN's "Marinella."

A female co-star teased her what if their director wooed her, would she say yes?

Casually, Rita replied yes although she's not the type of a woman who'd go for guys younger than her.

In no time did Rita and Erick end up as a couple.

But Erick would jokingly confront her, "Akala ko ba, hindi ka pumapatol sa mga bata?"

More than the age criterion she has set, Rita is an example of a certified sapiosexual.

"Na-attract ako sa katalinuhan niya, ang dami kong natututunan," Rita says of Erick.

Also not to ignore is the fact that not only is Rita a recognized actress, she is also a prolific author of children's books.

She says that she had developed her talent in writing during her early school years, "I would write poems."

On being a book author, Rita has utilized the characters of Popoy and Mimay to impart time-honored values in kids.

Proudly, Rita's "doll life" is not a dull one.

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GUESS who? Gone are the glory days of a popular comedienne (PC). Whence before she used to have two regular weekly shows, now she only has one to contend with.

Far from her major and definitely high-paying exposures, the PC is presently cast along with many other program talents, making her star shine less brightly.

Network insiders are quick to offer reasons behind the PC's TV career status.

"Hay naku, kung alam n'yo lang kung gaano siya kahirap katrabaho. In one of her shows where she hosted, napakasungit niya sa studio audience. Bawal mag-ingay or else she'd get you out of the studio herself!" a network staffer says of PC.