FUNFARE w/ Ricky Lo
She looks like Gloria Diaz and she sounds like Gloria Diaz. In fact, when she talks, her lips curl a bit like those of Gloria Diaz. And yet, she’s not Gloria Diaz but a chip off the “glorious” block. She’s Isabelle Daza, one of Gloria’s two daughters by ex-husband Bong Daza.
On Sunday, April 17, Isabelle will be formally welcomed as the newest Kapuso, the network with which she recently signed an exclusive three-year contract, on Party Pilipinas. She will be launched in a game show with Manny Pacquiao, her partner in the Red Horse commercial, starting end of May after Pacquiao’s fight with Shane Mosley in Las Vegas on May 7.
Beauty-contest material like Gloria (the country’s first Miss Universe, 1969), Isabelle was named for the island girl Gloria played in Celso Ad. Castillo’s 1974 sizzler Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa which started the “wet look” trend in local movies.
Asked why she joined showbiz instead of competing in a beauty contest and duplicating her mom’s feat, Isabelle told Funfare, “I don’t want to follow exactly in my mom’s footsteps. It’s hard. Mahirap to live up to people’s expectations. I think showbiz is more welcoming. Competition in beauty contests is very cutthroat. There are so many beautiful women out there who deserve the crown. If I win, they will say na nanalo lang ako because of…; if I lose naman, they will say natalo ako because of…To be a beauty queen is not my biggest dream, although I respect my mom and I’m very proud of what she has accomplished.”
Besides her looks, voice, mannerisms and everything else about her, how is Isabelle similar to her mom?
“I think we are the same in the sense that we love to share with other people. What makes us happy is making other people around us happy, especially our family. Also, we like to save money. My mom would keep on reminding me the moment my room gets cold, ‘Turn off the air-con.’ Ganoon siya. And we like to travel.”
Gloria, who celebrated her 60th birthday last April 5, has become more “grounded.”
“She’s afraid of doing adventure stuff. When she was younger, she loved horseback-riding and all kinds of sport. I got my knack for horseback-riding from her. But she’s health-conscious, like me, and she still works out three hours every day. Ganoon din ako.”
What she got from her dad is her love for food, understandably because the Dazas, led by the clan matriarch Nora Daza, are fine-dining specialists. “I love drinking good wine and eating good meat. My dad is also nakakatawa, and I like to think of myself as funny like him. Hahahahaha!”
The first one to offer Isabelle showbiz on a silver platter was Willie Revillame who wanted her to be his co-host in his defunct ABS-CBN show Wowowee. Busy with school then, Isabelle went only as far as starring with Willie in his music video which showed them astride a horse.
“I was concentrating on my studies then. I finished B.S. Education and a year and a half of pre-Medicine (Human Biology),” said Isabelle who’s fond of children. “But I doubt if I can go on to Medicine proper because it might be hard to budget time, so I want to concentrate on showbiz muna.”
Same thing happened to Charlene Gonzalez whose medical studies were rudely interrupted by showbiz — but no regrets, though, according to Charlene. But Nonoy Zuñiga successfully combined showbiz and studies, and managed to tuck up a degree in medicine.
“I want to take one step at a time,” added Isabelle. “I don’t want to overwhelm myself and preempt everything.”
She’s happy with a game show as her debut project because it’s right down her alley.
“Mahilig ako d’un kasi nagpapasaya ng tao. We’re helping the ones who need money and who want to have just a good time. Manny is a hard worker, like me. I enjoyed his company during the shoot of our commercial. Yes, I’m going to watch his fight.
“He related to me the hardships that he had gone through, kung paano siya naghirap, how he started his career by shadow-boxing, and his plan to enroll his children in a British school para daw maging fluent sila sa English. I’ve also met Manny’s wife Jinkee, at makuwento din siya.”
Incidentally, how does Isabelle differ from her mom in choice of men?
“I like siempre handsome men at ‘yung nakakatawa,” revealed Isabelle whose boyfriend is a French executive — handsome and funny siempre!
Any pieces of advice from her dad where men are concerned?
“None. For him, it’s for me to learn. Whatever my heart desires he supports me.”
And from her mom (on showbiz do’s and don’t’s)? Gloria was an acting greenhorn when she joined showbiz, learning the ABC’s on the job, and harvesting acting awards along the way, proving that beauty queens (some of them, anyway) are deeper than skin-deep.
“Everything! She reminded me to always be nice, to always be on time, to always smile and have a good time, and never to be naiinis on the set kasi hindi lang naman ikaw ang nagtratrabaho. Make friends. You’re here not just to work but also to learn and to live with other people.”
If TV comes, can movies be far behind?
“Hmmmmmm…in time,” said Isabelle who’s taking acting workshops. (There’s talk that had Heart Evangelista dropped out of Temptation Island, the Regal Films remake of the Joey Gosiengfiao campy classic, Isabelle would have replaced her.)
And if ever Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa is again remade (the first remake starred Ruffa Gutierrez), will Isabelle agree to reprise her namesake role that catapulted her mom to stardom?
Well, as she said, she doesn’t want to exactly follow in her mom’s footsteps.