So the March 2006 issue of MANUAL magazine is out -- an almost-naked Isabel Roces, holding a chicken, is on the cover -- and it features my interview with singer/dancer/actress Vina Morales. Here's the first couple of paragraphs:
I think I was around 10 years old the first time I saw Vina Morales in person. Every year around Christmas time, a small and rather makeshift carnival would spring up near our village; while it had the usual attractions like a Ferris wheel and a shooting gallery, it was limited and ill-maintained, no bigger or cleaner than your average school fairground. For a preteen boy and his family, however, it was exciting enough, especially in those days, and our excitement was heightened a notch that year because of the celebrity supposedly in our midst. "It's Vina Morales," people around us whispered -- and there, standing less than twenty feet away from us was a young, petite, extremely cute girl wearing what my mind recalls as a red jacket of some shiny material, going around, oblivious to the attention she was drawing, looking at what the booths had to offer.
In the end, it may or may not have actually been Vina Morales, but what strikes me about the memory is that at the time, even though she was already undeniably a household name, it was completely plausible that she might pop up in some dinky neighborhood carnival near FTI in Parañaque, without fanfare or entourage. Despite her popularity as a singer and actress and the considerable talents that have marked her as anything but ordinary, she always had that accessible, 'you could bump into her on the street' quality, which is just one element of her seemingly universal appeal. Elderly aunts like her because she comes off as sweet and unassuming, younger cousins like her because she's, well, hot, and in all likelihood she's a hit among newborn babies as well, not that they can tell us.
More Vina pix, taken with my ancient Canon digicam, here and here. (Just to clarify, the stylist was going for a sort of Flashdance/"Hung Up" Madonna look here; Vina Morales doesn't dress like this in real life. Also, the actual photos for the magazine spreads were taken by a real photographer -- Pat Dy -- and are much nicer.)