ARA MINA: THE MAKING OF
A SEX SIREN
(Reprinted with permission from MIRROR Magazine)
By Ruby V. Asoy
Ara Mina is bold cinema's saucy new flavor-of-the-month.
In fact, the movie press is pitting this aggressive nineteen-year-old nymphet against reigning sex goddess Rosanna Roces.
Her recent movies SAGAD SA INIT and CURACHA, AND BABAING WALANG PAHINGA were box-office successes. Now, Director Carlitos Siguion-Reyna picked up Ara Mina for what promises to be one of her most controversial roles, a woman who falls in love with a lesbian, in the forthcoming love drama TATLO .. MAGKASALO. The film is written by Bibeth Orteza based on the Palanca award winner Daigdig ng mga Taksil by Jun Lana.
What goes into the making of a sex goddess?
Tinseltown has never lacked young aspiring starlets willing to take their clothes off. But according to Direk Carlitos, Ara Mina has a certain innocence and is in a category completely her own.
Of course it helps that she is really sexy and she is willing to titilate readers with candid remarks on her sexuality. Time will tell whether she really has the talent and stamina to turn her present popularity into enduring legend. Meanwhile, this interview reveals a half-child, half-woman excited and eager to give it her best shot.
Having a great body makes me more confident, said Ara Mina during the film's press launch. She described herself as dibdib manok.
"Medyo hiwalay siya (referring to her breasts), so you need to push it, to achieve a cleavage. Sometimes it depends on the dress or bra I'm wearing".
To maintain her 36-24-35 shape, Ara Mina said she works out at a gym twice a week and observes some dietary restrictions. "I have my own dumbbells," she volunteered. She said she has not eaten rice for two months now. Also, soft drinks have not been in her diet for two years.
Back to her new movie TATLO, Ara Mina admitted she felt uncomfortable kissing another girl.
"I was tense, especially with my kissing scene with Ate Rita," she said. "Ingat talaga ako. Mayroong torrid kissing scene pero hindi naman labas ang tongue. Actually, na-tense din siya."
Ara Mina, however, confessed that she has a liberal view of woman-to-woman relationships in real life.
"It's fine with me. In TATLO, you can't blame Elsie (my characer in the film) if she falls in love with another woman (Rita Avila). She's looking for something that she cannot find in her husband (Tonton Gutierrez)."
She recalled how she experienced difficulties doing a love scene with Rita. She called it the "Scandinavian style" ( a pumping scene between lesbian lovers, but she did not explain it in detail).
"We tried to relax..Nakakangawit talaga, pinagpawisan ako," she relates. "Biniro ko pa nga si ate Rita na ituloy na namin sa kuwarto. Sa eksenang yon naisip ko, parehas naman kaming babae. So I decided not to wear any plaster. Pero talagang makikita ang boobs namin doon."
Ara Mina admitted that she can be attracted to members of both sexes.
"I think there's nothing wrong having a relationship with another woman as long as there's no sex involved. I couldnít imagine myself having sex with another woman. I have best friends who are all girls. Sometimes I develop a crush on them. Sometimes, I feel I like a woman, and sometimes I like a man."
But she denied being bisexual.
"Hindi ko masasabi," she says. "Minsan gandang-ganda ako sa babae. Minsan nagsasabi pa ako, 'Ang seksi niya.' Wala naman akong nararamdamang feelings for her. It's like an admiration."
Reflected Ara Mina: A man is completely different from a woman when it comes to expressing affection.
"Ang lalaki siyempre medyo brusko; ang babae tender ang dating . Kaya lang nakaka-ilang kung humahampas ang boobs níyo," she laughed.
In real life, Ara Mina said she has had lesbian suitors.
"I treat them as friends. Natatawa nga ako dahil kapag nanligaw sila, itsura nila babae, tapos inaamin nila na may boyfriend sila, pero may gusto sa akin at nag-I I love you," she related. "They write love love letters, send flowers, chocolates, and stuffed toys. I entertained them kasi kung iniiwasan mo minsan delikado. Grabeng ma-in love ang mga lesbians; they're very posessive, parang nakakatakot."
Now that she gets to portray meaty roles, Ara Mina hopes that she will be noticed for her acting ability and not just her ability to show off those curves.
"Kahit na naghuhubad ako, gusto ko namang mapansin nila ang acting ko lalo na sa mga pelikulang ginagawa ko, para irespeto rin nila ako. Natutuwa naman ako dahil hindi nila sinasabi na bastusin ako, kahit na naghuhubad ako."
She said she's only daring in the movies. But she emphasized that she hasn't experienced doing her onscreen love scenes in real life.
"That's one good thing about me. At first, it was really difficult for me because I used to portray sweet roles. Like the scenes in my previous movie, SAGAD SA INIT na nakipag-laplapan ako sa bubugan at sa kotse. As of now, yong mga wild things na nagawa ko sa movies pa lang."
Ara Mina's life changed when she junked her sweet image. But the transition was not easy. Going the bold route made it possible for her to land her first starring role in MALDITA. But it was in the movie CURACHA, ANG BABAING WALANG PAHINGA that film critics began to pay attention to her. Prior to this, she became a supporting player in such movies as ROLLER BOYS, BUTCH BELGICA STORY and the FLOR CONTEMPLACION STORY. She entered showbiz at the age of 14 via the teenybopper show That's Entertainment.
Now, aside from a number of film projects waiting in the wings, she's also co-host on Sang Linggo nAPO Sila (Thursdays and Saturdays) and the gag show Goin' Bayabas. She is also embarking on a singing career. She said that more than five recording companies have offered her a recording contract.
Her singing career will be handled by no less than Boy Abunda. "He wants to package me as Tina Arena or Sharon Cuneta," she said. On the other hand, she is now being managed by Dondon Monteverde, son of Regal Films matriarch Lily Monteverde.
Looking back, Ara Mina said she couldn't imagine herself portraying bold roles, or posing nude for pictorials. She was really conservative then, she said. She recalled how she would react negatively to the bold pictures she saw in the newspapers.
"Now, pagbukas ko ng dyaryo, ang sinasabi ko, Okay lang naman as long as ang mga shots mo na hubad ay artistic ang pagkakakuha," she smiles.
Because of the attention she's getting at the moment, she vowed never let success get into her head. She said she is especially thankful to her parents for understanding her when she decided to go bold without their permission.
"Dahil sila ang higit na nakakaintindi. Natural lang na sumama ang loob nila noon dahil talagang nakakagulat, kasi hindi ako nagpaalam sa kanila na magbo-bold ako," she related. "My dad was shocked when he saw my bold photos appear on tabloids. It was painful on the part of my parents. Itong ginagawa ko para rin naman sa kanila. Tumutulong na rin naman ako sa family ko." Being pitted against Rosanna Roces as the next sex goddess, Ara Mina feels the pressure and challenge.
"Si Ate Osang nandiyan na yan. Kung ako ang tatanungin gusto kong mag-create ng sarili kong pangalan, ng sarili kong titulo," said Ara Mina. "A yaw ko namang sabihin nila na nanggagaya ako."
In the near future, she hopes to bag an acting award, "Para masabi ko na rin na may narating yong paghuhubad ko," she said.
Ara Mina is Hazel Reyes in real life. Her mom combined the names of her two sisters Ara Christine and Mina Princess to come up with the name Ara Mina.
The eldest in a brood of six (two boys and four girls), Ara Mina is a product of a broken family. She was only seven years old when her parents separated. However, she was not disheartened by what happened to her parents. Although both have their own individual families, they maintain open communications. "They are on good terms now," she notes.
Ara Mina is a high school graduate of Morning Dew Montessori. If her schedule permits, she said she plans to take up Interior Design or Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines (UP).
Off camera, Ara Mina is a sweet, simple person. She doesn't talk much during interviews.
"Hindi ako palaaway," she relates, "gusto ko lahat ng tao kasundo ko. Tapos sweet pa rin, nando'n pa rin 'yong pagiging childish ko. Sa set nga, nagugulat ang iba dahil parang ang lakas kong maghubad sa eksena. Then after the scene para akong bata. They are confused. That's who I am. Trabaho lang."
She was the model recently of a group of painters. She considered the nude stint part of the promotions of her successful movie Sagad Sa Init but adds that she has always wanted a nude painting of herself.
"Kahit noong pa-sweet roles pa ako, gusto ko talagang magpa-paint ng nude pero para sa sarili ko lang," she says. "Sa room ko lang idi-display. I wasn't expecting that there will be offers like that." She noted with some pride that the highest priced painting in the exhibit was around P167,000.00 (the paintings are all made of charcoal.)
With her busy movie career, she admits she doesn't have much of a love life at present.
"I'm in love with my career and I'm very busy," she quips.
Her type of a man is someone who resembles actor Matthew Mendoza. "Parang hindi siya makabasag pinggan, tipong hindi ka lolokohin. And he's a gentleman, baby face talaga, she notes. "Yong guy dapat mabango ang hininga, malinis sa katawan, sweet, and understanding."
Although she admits she has had two boyfriends before, one from showbiz, and one non-showbiz. During her free time, she prefers to stay at home and shuns the night life.
"I don't like going to discos, instead I sleep early," she says. However, if time permits, she tries to catch the bands playing at Strumms Greenbelt andConway's Bar at Shangri-La Makati. Her favorite bands include Side A and Mulatto.
Ara Mina feels that her job is quite fulfilling at present. In her five-year stay in the business, she has been able to buy a condominium unit, a car and jewelry. The other earnings go to her savings (time deposit) and to her family. She rewards herself by shopping for signature clothes and accessories.
"Nakakatuwa dahil at my age, nakakabili na ako ng mga ganitong bagay sa sarili kong kita. . . kung baga sarili kong pagod."
Older men go for her. As a matter of fact, Ara Mina reveals that she has received around five 'indecent proposals' from different men.
"May nag-alok pa nga sa akin ng house and lot with matching brand new car and allowance. Siyempre ang kapalit no'n iiwanan ko ang career ko," she revealed. "Yong tipong ibabahay ka. Hindi ko pinapatulan ang mga offers nila kasi kaya ko namang kitain sa sarili ko. Besides, I don't want to experience what my parents had experienced in the past."
She said some of them are in high government positions, and mostly married men.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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