(assymentrical gown in slivered tweed with hand-sewn lace collage by ARCY GAYATIN, fashion accessories by SM DEPARTMENT STORE)
Show business, with its mass-based appeal, has the power to elevate its denizens to incredible heights, cloaking them with a degree of self-importance and even inaccessibility.
Some thrive with this awareness; some bask in it shamelessly. But there are a few who, somehow, manage to remain untouched and unaffected by the attention and you can count Iya Villania as one of them.
The bright-eyed, Australia-born, pure Filipina (as she likes to stress since she always gets mistaken as a “half-breed” beauty) will be the first to issue a disclaimer about her “popularity.”
(Dress in dotted chiffon and crochet bodice with yellow underlining by ARCY GAYATIN; snake skin clutch with coral and turquoise detail by MIA ARCENAS; shoes by SHANDAR; fashion accessories by SM DEPARTMENT STORE; Abalone minaudiere by REME JEWELRY)
But to say the 25-year-old Iya (Raelene Elaine Ebaler Villania in real life) is “not popular”—her words, not mine—is an understatement. Popularity is not just measured by the crowds that gather at your every public appearance nor by the number of endorsement deals you strike and seal; it is gauged by how in-demand you and your talents are in the ever evolving and highly volatile industry that is show business.
The youngest of three girls, Iya—whose parents hail from Pampanga and Bicol—was discovered in Sydney after doing a front act for visiting Filipino artists in 2004. To break into mainstream Philippine entertainment, however, was beyond her imagination. Iya says with a laugh: “This is what my mother has always wanted for me. I think I’m living her dream.”
Seven years after, Iya can very well stake a claim as one of the busiest “Kapamilya” ladies from ABS-CBN to date, as she successfully juggles her time among her five current projects. She is a veejay on the MYX music channel and does hosting duties on Studio 23’s lifestyle/fashion show Us Girls, ABS-CBN’s daily morning program Umagang Kay Ganda, and Sunday variety show ASAP Rocks, plus the newly launched, first-ever “reality serye” on Philippine TV entitled I Dare You. She also scored acting projects and released a studio album in 2008.
Asked to tick off other career highlights, she recalls, “When I got my first job (a texting game show on IBC 13); when I first got into theater, doing Footloose and The Wedding Singer; when I discovered my love for dancing (via the reality dance show U Can Dance)…”
Nevertheless, it isn’t hard to notice that her charm certainly lies in her being a host. And her charm as a host lies in her ability not to take herself seriously. Even the “controversies” thrown at her, she dismisses them all with effortless humor. Not that her career is brimming with controversies; in fact, she’s one of the few who has reached her stature with nary an issue.
She’s oft described as wholesome without even trying. “I don’t know why,” she says, “because I wear short-shorts, etc., but perhaps it’s the attitude.”
Well, with her curves and toned figure, she could easily stir the pot by say, posing for men’s magazines.
“Actually, I already did for Uno,” she admits. “But I won’t pose for the other men’s mags because of their content. They have pictures which you know what their purposes are for, and I don’t want to be part of that.”
Even her love life (her boyfriend of seven years is Drew Arellano, a host for the competing network GMA)— usually the tabloid fodder for many a celebrity—is running smoothly and issue-free.
(Black body-con dress and degrained tweed coat embellished with lace by ARCY GAYATIN, fashion accessories by SM DEPARTMENT STORE)
Iya concedes that issues and controversies come with the territory. Take for example, in one showbiz-oriented talk show, she was queried if she was feeling any “insecurity” over being “left behind” by her contemporaries like dramatic actresses Bea Alonzo and Anne Curtis, and she jokingly addressed the question on TV.
But away from the cameras, and at the Manila Peninsula where this interview is unfolding, she puts on a serious tone and shares, “I’m very, very happy with my career. It’s funny that I was asked that but I really have no reason to feel insecure because I’m lucky to have work that keeps me busy. Popularity comes with my work and I’m glad that there are people who appreciate me. I’ve always known that I’m not going to be an Anne Curtis, Bea Alonzo, or Angel Locsin and I don’t want that because I’m not an actress. I love hosting, dancing, and singing. So, there’s no reason for me to ever feel that way.”
She adds that hosting does give her a sense of stability, which is true since acting in soaps have longer breaks in between. “Some of my shows have lasted for three years. I hope my other shows now will also last long.”
There’s also another remarkable thing that Iya has accomplished while pursuing her showbiz career, and that’s finishing her Psychology degree at De La Salle University almost graduating with honors; truly a girl with brains and beauty.
“A lot of people doubted if I could do it,” she says, “and I wanted to prove them wrong. But I really believe in education—that with knowledge, you can deal with the world and get by. It can empower your decisions in life and in your career.”
One thing is certain: she has had no regrets entering the business and she is happily in it for the long haul.
“The pressure here can get very crazy, but it’s not something that you cannot cope with. It’s the industry where your craft is and if it bothers you much, you find something else and let go of the thing you love. But for me, I’m really grateful and really enjoying where I’m at.”
by Nathalie Tomada sittings editor Katsy Borromeo creative direction Mikey Sanchez fashion assistant Karla Ynzon hair and make-up Roman Gravador and Ken Pagaspas photographer Jan Gonzales locale Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Manila
LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.
Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic. People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu. More and more are joining the ride. Many are quite serious about cycling. I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.
How did you get into serious cycling? What was your motivation?
Blinky de Leon. Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer
“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”
“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”
Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant
“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”
“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”
Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative
“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”
Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…
Netflix Original Releases We’re Excited for This August 2021. Part 3
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf
Coming to Netflix: August 23
Netflix’s The Witcher series gets an anime prequel film focusing on the origin story of Geralt’s mentor and fellow witcher Vesemir. While we’re still waiting for the second season of the series, we’re sure this film will be more than enough to tide us over.
He’s All That
Coming to Netflix: August 27
From the director of Mean Girls comes another teen comedy starring TikTok star Addison Rae. He’s All That is a remake of the 1999 film She’s All That, proving Taylor Swift right in her theory of the 90’s coming back stronger than ever.
Coming to Netflix: August 31
We all remember when Marie Kondo helped us declutter our houses and better our lives with her hit show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. This August, she’s back with another show called Sparking Joy which follows her helping people struggling to balance work and home life.
Netflix Original Releases We’re Excited for This August 2021. Part 2
Coming to Netflix: August 20
This is another Netflix action thriller film we’re excited for. This film stars Jason Momoa as a devastated husband determined to avenge his wife’s death while protecting his daughter and is sure to put us on the edges of our seats the whole way through.
Coming to Netflix: August 20
Sandra Oh stars in this upcoming comedy-drama miniseries as the new chair of the English department at a major university, struggling to meet the demands and expectations of her new position. We’re sure this is another great binge-watch from Netflix.
The Loud House Movie
Coming to Netflix: August 20
The popular Nickelodeon animated series gets a film which features the characters of the series on a holiday trip to Scotland. This film is perfect if you’re a fan of the series or you’ve got kids who are.
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