Former actress Rica Peralejo, shot to fame as a child star in the defunct youth-oriented show Ang TV and as one of the most sought-after daring stars in the early 2000 with a string of sexy films like Dos Ekis, Hibla, Balahibong Pusa, and Tatarin, to name a few, is now taking an entirely different route.
Regarded as a sex symbol of her generation, Rica’s capacity for playing innocent in the face of overwhelming innuendoes gave her an instant spot in every man’s wildest dreams and imagination. But that was before, now, as a celebrity host and motivational blogger, Rica has enjoyed enough life experiences to share some words of wisdom with the rest of us.
“The truth is, ever since I started in show business it was not my intention to be popular. It’s an afterthought that popularity has a prize. I just wanted to act and sing. I wanted to learn how to hone the skills that I have. Apparently, I got into TV then after that I became popular – something I was not prepared for. So even the popularity was shocking to me,” the 35-year-old Rica told The Standard.
We had a smooth stroll down memory lane when we met with the former actress for a casual chat while she was having a photo shoot for GSK, a leading research-based pharmaceutical company she endorses. She talked about her fondest memories with her Ang TV co-stars and how her relationship with them gave her some sense of belongingness. Then, we shifted to her. “All of those years are memorable especially getting to grow up with Jolina (Magdangal), Roselle (Nava), Cheska (Garcia) and Guila (Alvarez). The fun I had was so pure because I was still a kid. It was an adulterated kind of fun,” she recalled.
She still meets with them up until today and finds it amusing that she has this kind of history with the people she worked with when she was still a kid.
“And it’s interesting that now, apart from our childhood stories, we can also share our experiences as mothers.”
Motherhood changes everything
Rica’s personal life has also gone from strength to strength with her tying the knot with Christian pastor Joseph Bonifacio in 2010. Four years later, the couple welcomed their first child together when Rica gave birth to son Nathaniel. Gushing over motherhood, she said, “It has opened up a whole new life for me. It gave a new direction, focus and purpose, if you will.”
That being said, Rica might be narrowing her focus when it comes to work. Although she is not closing her doors on showbiz for good, she now prefers having a private life more.
“When I had the opportunity to be a little more private than my old life, I embraced it so much. Now, the problem that I keep on telling my manager is that I don’t know if I’m ready to be a public figure again,” she said laughing.
Obviously, she is happy living a life out of the spotlight. But her becoming a private person has a much deeper meaning.
“It’s a part of who I am now. I cannot turn back time so people will not know me. I want quality life, which means, making family life my main priority,” Rica asserted.
Her having a child flips the game from “about her and her husband” to “about what she can create in a home” and what her responsibilities are as a parent. And there’s no better way to pattern her being a mother other than the way her own mother nurtured her and her siblings.
She considers her mother as an “Expert Mom,” who is her source of motivation and who constantly reminder of what unconditional love truly means.
As a teenager, Rica revealed that she had gone to a stage when she was extremely hardheaded. She also admitted that she had done a few things in the past that caused disagreements between her and her mother.
“Before there was no acknowledgment of how wrong I was, we just shut it off and forget it,” Rica relating to how she and her mom used to deal with their disagreement. “But now that I am a mom myself, I make it a point to tell to her, just to satisfy her and to communicate with her, that I know I was wrong.”
“I’m okay now, I’m what I am because of her. I always had a home to come home to. I always had someone to receive me even if I did something wrong. And that’s how I’d like to be for my children.”
One of the most important roles that her mom plays in her life is that of teacher and counselor. Like most people her age, her mother is the person she can go to for a good lesson in life. She also is the one person who she feels close enough to tell some of her biggest joys and pains.
A number of Rica’s blog posts talk about how her mother has been through a lot saying that she wants her mother to know that she appreciates every drop of tear that she shed for her. It’s sincere display how she respects the influence that her mother has had on her life.
“The enduring thing about my mom is that she’s always there. It’s her presence. I think that is something that I am able to give to my son and would like to give to all of my [future] children,” she said.
As an “Expert Mom,” she has created a safe space through her blog where women with children can talk about their kids, about themselves and about life in general. She has created a community where she welcomes other people’s suggestions and at the same time give them advices. It’s a well-meaning effort, which obviously stems directly from what she has learned from her own mother.
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