Ara Mina: BeforeQuezon City, March 5, 2003 -- Ara Mina's career is on a roll. After winning the Metro Manila Film Festival best actress award for her performance as the rebellious youngest daughter of a rich Chinese family in "Mano Po," she now plays another meaty role as TV host Cory Quirino in Carlo Caparas' "The Cory Quirino Kidnap-NBI Files."

Her two TV shows with GMA-7, "Bubble Gang" and "Kung Mawawala Ka," are both rating very well. Her restaurant along Morato Avenue, Osteria, just celebrated its first anniversary. Now, she has also been chosen by the clothing store known as Maldita to be their image model.

"This year really started right for me and I hope na magtuluy-tuloy," she beams.

Ara Mina: AfterHer launching as Maldita endorser was a grand affair held at the Century Imperial Plaza. Several games were conducted to the delight of the press people who attended it. Ara then came on stage to sing two songs from her album, "Asa Ka Pa" and "Oops Teka Lang."

Her billboard for Maldita is very unconventional. Instead of a glamor pose, she is shown frowning, her lips pouting, and with her arms akimbo like she is sulking.

"Parang batang nagmamaktol," she laughs. "When they first talked to me, I thought they wanted me to project a sexy image. When I was informed about their concept, I got excited because what they had in mind was very eye-catching and it's not the typical me. It shows a fashion alternative. And that's the message that Maldita owners, Eric and Emelda Teng, wanted me to project.

"Before kasi, the connotation of Maldita is negative. Now, it can mean you're naughty, haughty, sexy, rebellious, very individualistic, but with an exquisite fashion sense. Maldita is for women with attitude and strength of character. You can be young or old, fat or slim, corporate or casual, but you can still be a Maldita in your own right. We even have a clothing line for married women called Maldita ng Ina Mo."

Maldita started its operation with a boutique at the Robinson's Galleria in 1999. Now, they have 19 outlets in various malls all over the country. Did the owners have other stars in mind before they chose Ara?

"No, Ara is our only choice," says Mr. Teng. "It's funny because she was launched in a movie called 'Maldita' and I never thought she'd be our image model someday. Our relationship with her started when we sponsored her clothes in the movies, 'Two Timer' and 'Mano Po'."

"I think they got the idea of making me their endorser when they saw me in my backless Chinese gown in 'Mano Po' that scandalized a lot of people because it goes down right to my buttocks," says Ara. "I was also playing a character who was really maldita, so they realize I'm perfect to promote Maldita. Now, I feel I don't even have to be careful with my image. I can be controversial since, anyway, Maldita naman ako, e!" (Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved