She may be Philippine Entertainment’s revered Diamond Star and undisputed “Taray Queen,” but Maricel Soriano has no qualms about joining an afternoon soap opera even if many believe it is on primetime that her stature and celebrity belong.
The 58-year-old actress — whom IMDB records as “the third most awarded female actor in the Philippines after Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos — in fact, already took the plunge and has episodes ready for airing as the newest cast member of the two-month-old ABS-CBN production “Pira-Pirasong Paraiso.”
At a solo media conference this week, The Manila Times Entertainment dutifully asked showbiz’ most famous “Marya” the question on many minds: How did the Diamond Star react when the offer to do the afternoon soap landed on her lap.
“I was absolutely game. I said, ‘Huh? Really? That’s exciting, I want that!'” she recalled, clearly confirming she had no hesitation to join “Pirapiraso.”
True to her word, this year has certainly been seeing Maricel happy and visibly busy. There’s her highly followed vlog, where she shares snippets about her private life and interviews friends old and new.
Of her very welcome return to the spotlight via different endeavors, Maricel — who for quite some time would only make a movie a year if at all — revealed she prayed for it to happen because once an actress, always an actress, right?
“Biglang hinahanap hanap mo pala ang showbiz [You will find yourself missing the business at some point],” she admitted.
She recalled how, for many years, she’d keep turning down offers from TV and the movies when she decided not to retire but simply slow down. She deserved longer breaks indeed, having worked in the business since age 5.
“I had a stage like that when I just didn’t want to feel [and give in] to the call [of my vocation]. But I promised myself that when the urge finally returns, I’m going to go for it. And here I am now, [living] an answered prayer because I asked the Lord to let me know when it’s time for me to make people laugh and cry again.”
Asked how she found working with a new generation of drama princesses, Maricel said she’s enjoying every minute of it and has even taken to mothering Charlie, Alexa, Ilacad, Loisa and Elisse.
“I’m delighted because I don’t have any daughters, right? I have two sons. So when I see girls, I ask them what they like, how they feel about different things… I basically interview them and talk to them like my babies!”
Maricel didn’t deny the cast and crew were initially intimidated by her presence — or better yet, legend — in the beginning, so much so that the girls had clammy hands and were visibly gripped with nerves.
“They were so shy at the start so I had to tell them, ‘Hey, don’t be like that, I won’t bite!’ I’d say things to make them laugh and really told them, ‘Don’t be intimidated.’ Because if they keep feeling that way, it won’t be good for their acting.”
Now mom, mentor and friend rolled into one for the four young actresses, the Diamond Star feels so blessed to have this very afternoon series coming her way of all the programs on TV today.
The fun she’s having and looks forward to every day, not to mention the sheer experience and satisfaction of acting again, are all proof to this gem of a star that the decision to prioritize happiness over the trappings of fame and what others expect of her celebrity is truly the best one to make.
Catch the award-winning actress play the role of Amanda, the guilt-ridden grandmother of the long-lost Paraiso sisters, in the ongoing series, “Pira-Pirasong Paraiso.” The program airs Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. and every Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, TV5, Kapamilya Online Live, iWantTFC and TFC.
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