Judy Ann Santos:
Interview by Tinna S. Bonifacio
Tagged as local showbiz’s Drama Princess during her early years in showbiz, Judy Ann Santos successfully elevated herself to the status of a queen with her award-winning performances in films like Sabel, Aishte Imasu 1941 and, most recently, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo, which gave her a Best Actress trophy, cementing her reputation as one of the finest young actresses of her generation.
With a career that is now 20 years and counting, Judy Ann has successfully established her place in show business. But that didn’t happen without the help of certain people who guided her, shaped her talent, gave her the breaks and pushed her in the right direction.
Judy Ann looks back on the highs and lows of her career and shares them with JobsDB.com readers:
What would you consider the highlights of your career?
There are so many, like when I did my first movie, Jezebel, in 1989, with Alice Dixon. But my first big break came when I was eight years old and I went to Regal to audition for a role in Kaming Mga Ulila. I’ll never forget that day, because it was my birthday
Another highlight would definitely be Mara Clara, which I did when I was 13 years old. Doon ako talagang nagsimula sa drama.
I also treasure the opportunity to work with industry veterans, like when I did Sa Puso Ko Hahalik ang Mundo opposite Nora Aunor. The movie was directed by Temyong Marquez for Regal Films. The movie Babae, which I also did with Ate Guy and the late Nida Blanca was special, because it was my first time to work with them. Critics hailed the film, saying it featured ‘Three generations of superstars’. Wow! For me to be mentioned as a superstar like Ate Guy and Tita Nida was really something.
And of course, there’s the movie I did with the late Fernando Poe Jr., Isusumbong Kita Sa Tatay Ko. It’s nice to work with veterans like them, because you learn so much.
Doing Star Drama Presents was another highlight, because I was the first young actress to be given the multi-episode treatment. I did four episodes for Star Drama Presents. Naiyak ako; I never expected that. I was only 16 years old then.
How do you feel about being called the ‘Drama Princess’?
Actually, ang mga title na ‘yan, kahit naman sino, puwedeng mag-claim o magbigay ng title. But it’s better when you work for it. Mas masarap ang pakiramdam.
What is the best thing about having a career in showbiz?
I guess it would be that you get to do what you love and get paid for it. Dahil sa trabaho ko, nakilala ako ng tao, at natupad ko ang mga pangarap ko.
What have you learned after 20 years in the business?
I think that for a showbiz personality, hindi talaga puwede yung masyado kang sensitive. Hindi puwedeng lahat ng intriga, mabo-bother ka, dahil parte talaga ‘yan ng industry. In my 20 years in the business, I’ve been called all sorts of names—nandiyan yung binansagan akong siopao, aparador o monay because of my weight. There was a time na inintriga pa nga akong alcoholic daw ako. In the beginning, medyo nakakainis talaga. Muntik na nga akong makapag-demanda ng reporter noon. But I eventually got used to it. Showbiz ka, eh. Talagang ganoon. Kailangang masanay ka.
How did you deal with it?
You just have to teach yourself how to see everything as a learning process. Ke masama ‘yan, ke mabuti, meron kang puwedeng matutunan.
Who have been your career role models, or people who’ve inspired you?
Si Ate Sharon. Since we did Magkakapatid, she’s been like a big sister to me. Actually, maraming mga senior stars ang ina-idolize ko dahil kahit na ang dami na nilang na-achieve, kahit isa sa kanila, walang showbiz.
Who were the people who helped you in your career?
Well, yung manager ko, si Tito Alfie. He taught me how to invest my earnings. Kung hindi ko kailangan, huwag ko nang bilhin. He taught me to take good care of myself and my career. Tinuro niya sa akin ang importance ng pakikisama. At saka siyempre ang Mommy [Carol] ko, sa kanya ko natutunan na importante din ang pamilya, dahil yan ang lagi mong babalikan. Dapat daw hindi ko hayaang maging showbiz ako—at pamilya ang daan ‘dun.