by Nickie Wang
Two prominent showbiz names are making a big comeback on television. The first is hailed as the country’s lone superstar, who was out of the country for eight years, and the other is touted as soap opera queen, who took a short break after giving birth to her first child.
Nora Aunor and Judy Ann Santos are two household names the public can’t ignore. Their pleasant and likeable personality and their exceptional acting chops are the main reasons why they are considered big in local show business, practically those are their common denominators.
Ate Guy’s return, which had been postponed several times, was a much anticipated episode most especially to her loyal fans. Even though she was still in the United States, the media followed her life closely from her two year struggle with a drug related case to a botched cosmetic procedure that stole her golden voice.
Judy Ann, on the other hand, is a less controversial and had a quiet hiatus. Indeed, she was even visible during her pregnancy, which of course made her millions richer after several endorsements that complemented her life’s new phase—motherhood.
Judy Ann in the kitchen
The actress’s new assignment is something less expected of her. While almost everybody thought she would have a grand return via a soap opera or a dramatic movie, Judy Ann wears a new hat, a toque to be exact, in her showbiz comeback.
Ryan Agoncillo’s better half intended to return to television after their biological child’s first birthday, but when she received the offer to host Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition, she didn’t think twice and accepted the job right away. The first-time mom said that she is a big fan of the Australian version of the reality kiddie cooking show, which began in the UK in May 2010 as a spinoff of MasterChef television series.
Judy Ann is aware that she will not get the approval of all people who would watch the upcoming program. In fact, as early as now she already prepares herself for the harsh criticism that might be hauled at her once Junior MasterChef starts airing on Aug. 20.
“I have already proven that I can act so now I want to challenge myself to explore other things. I consider this hosting job as the perfect vehicle to make a comeback,” she told the press during the show’s media launch, “ I know some people will be happy for me and at the same time there will be some who might not like what I’m doing.”
The 33-year-old star is no stranger to culinary arts. She took a crash course in International Cuisine in Chiang Mai, Thailand and graduated with distinction from the Center for Asian Culinary Arts Studies. She also passed the exam from TESDA and received a Certificate of Competency. Her interest in cooking also inspired her to open a bar and a restaurant.
According to ABS-CBN Business Unit head Laurenti Dyogi, Juday has already exceeded expectations as she can instantly connect with the kids and the chefs. In the show, the actress plays as mother to 60 kiddie contestants. She is joined by world-renowned Filipino chefs Fernando “Ferns” Aracama, Rolando “Lau” Laudico, and JP “Jayps” Anglo who play as mentors and judges to the young amateur chefs.
New generation Noranians
Much have been written about why Ate Guy is called the country’s only superstar, but young generation are asking why and how come. To put it simply, if, Marian Rivera were born in the ‘50s and decided to enter showbiz she would certainly beat by La Aunor without contest. During the time when the mestizas ruled Philippine entertainment, Nora emerged and singlehandedly defined what a true Filipino showbiz star should be —a genius actor, a brilliant singer and a charismatic personality.
But then again reality bites, Aunor is two years short before everyone starts calling her a sexagenarian. The now young adult dominated industry is a harsh environment to aging stars, more so to someone who is not so visible to the public’s eye.
Nora’s three-month stay in the country will revolve around filming the big budget movie El Presidente, completing the shoot for a four-week political drama tentatively titled Sa Ngalan ng Ina that will air on TV5, filming another movie under Regal Films, and doing some product endorsement on the side.
With ample of publicities for La Aunor, it’s inevitable for the young generation not to take notice of her presence but it’s not a guarantee that this interest would translate into a new breed of fanaticism. They say, her stardom has diminished and she is now considered a poor investment. Can Ate Guy’s new projects help her recover her lost glory? Only time will tell.