If this generation has Kathryn Bernardo, Nadine Lustre, and Liza Soberano, our generation had Ruffa Gutierrez, Aiko Melendez and Carmina Villaroel. (Yeah, I also belong to the era of the
They were called Regal Babies, and if I remember correctly they were introduced via the movie Underage Too. Ruffa was the sexy one, Carmina was the charming cutie, while Aiko was the Hot One–and my “crush.”
So, I must admit that I cringed when they all got married and had children–Ruffa got voluptous and gained that “Miss World” appeal, Carmina, looked the same if not even more charming, while Aiko gained more than just curves through the years.
Although she didn’t lose her appeal, and her acting talent remained, Aiko’s weight was distracting to say the least.
It was a good thing that she was able to turn it around, and her fitness story is definitely one of the most inspiring.
“It was hard in the beginning and one of the hardest to give up was kare kare.Yun kase yng specialty ko iluto tapos yng sweets ang hirap din nung una.
To lose all those pounds, Aiko has stopped eating rice for the last 3 years and pork for 2 years. “Balak ko na din tanggalin yng ibang meat so chicken and fish na lang ako, pero ang hirap lalo na kapag lagi kang puyat.”
“Si Gelli de Belen and Carmina. Si Gelli kse has always been fit and works out regularly. She was the one who told me how to exercise kahit nasa bahay. So dun muna ako nagstart. But gusto ko din talaga I-push ang limits ko ayun naging regular na ko sa gym.”
“Funny thing is nung may mga nakakita sa videos while training, biglang may nagdi-direct message sa akin na gusto ako kunin trainer or coach-meron din angsasabi that I should write a book or be a personal coach–so baka may career na ko besides showbiz.
Because of her amazing journey Aiko was recently launched as the newest brand ambassador of Contours as her new figure is the result of the Vaser 4D Tummy Tuck procedure.
The Villain who Prays
But for now, Aiko is enjoying a resurgence of her career as she is getting a lot of recognition for her role in the tv series Wildflower, where she plays the evil Gov. Emilia Ardiente-Torillo .
But did you know that Aiko prays before and after facing the camera?
Aiko who is a mother of two beautiful kids, Andrei and Marthena says, she snaps out of her character the moment the director shouts “cut.”
“I am Christian, so I always pray, ‘Lord, role lang po ito. Make me effective without sacrificing my real being and attitude,” she says.
Aiko prays that her character, the politically powerful Emilia Ardiente-Torillo, who doesn’t mind committing bloody murder to protect the family reputation, stays on the set.
She also knows that Maja Salvador’s (the lead female protagonist/antagonist Lily Cruz) fans are cursing her on Twitter. “As the villain, I’m expecting the worst,” she laughs. And she loves getting meaner by the day.
“Physically draining nga lang yung role kase minsan darating ka sa set ng masayang masaya tapos yng eksena mo is dapat magmamaldita ka bigla..So nagreresearch talaga ako and nagtatanong sa mga direktor kung paano ko dapat gawin.”
Aiko is all praises for her co-actors. “I love my Wildflower team.” She admires how Maja attacks her role and her dedication to her job.
“Working with her makes me so excited. She’s the best in her generation. Maja delivers, and her acting nuances are great!” gushes Aiko.
“Maja really loves what she does, and it shows in her attitude. She is serious about improving her craft and becoming a better actress and unlike some, she is not doing it just for the money. And I really appreciate that, when we have a scene, pinaguusapan talaga namin how we could make it work and she is very open to suggestions, shares Aiko.
“Masaya silang katrabaho, kung pwede nga lang paabutin ng 5 years yng show, diba?”
So what’s next for Aiko?
“Ever since, it’s been my dream to direct and I am going to study it this year and hopefully, by God’s grace, I’d be able to start on something for directing.”
According to Aiko, it was during a meeting of artists belonging to the Asian Artists Agency, Inc. (AAAI) when Tito Boy Abunda, told her that she’s going to venture not only into acting but also into directing.
“Lalo ako naging interested when Ogie Diaz and I started handling acting workshops. I am one of the coaches of Ogie’s students and I already handled three classes then Tito Boy suggested that since I am already into coaching for acting why not try directing also. It’s really my dream to direct because I was looking at Jodi Foster’s career path. She’s an award-winning actress and then she ventured into directing.”