Fresh from her year-long stint playing Gigi Van Tranh in Miss Saigon, Aicelle Santos gave a glimpse of her experience performing in different places in Europe.
She has returned to the Philippines after completing her stint in the U.K. tour of the world-renowned Broadway musical.
One memorable lesson that came to mind, she said, was that wearing a bikini to work proved to be an advantage in terms of her personality development.
"I learned to be more confident in my own skin.
"Kasi nga, with the bikini that she wears every night, mawawala yung takot mo, insecurities mo.
"You just remind yourself that you're on stage. Just give it your all."
Did she feel nervous the very first time she came on stage playing a hardened bar girl?
Aicelle replied, "Nag-rehearse naman kami for one month, so I think naging kumportable na kami sa mga kaeksena namin na GIs, the Englishmen."
The GIs refer to U.S. military soldiers who were portrayed by English actors on Miss Saigon U.K. Tour.
"More like yung reception na lang ng audience ang hindi namin alam, especially for me dahil first time ko. Mukha namang masaya sila."
Compared to performing for a Filipino audience, Aicelle pointed out that foreigners are easier to please in the sense that they are very generous in giving applause at just the right moment.
"Ang Pinoy, very critical kasi tayo... How do I say it? Baka may magalit... Minsan kasi dito sa Pilipinas, patid na litid mo, hirap pa pumalakpak.
"Ganun talaga ang kultura ng Pinoy. Hindi dahil sa hindi tayo marunong mag-appreciate, ganun lang talaga tayo."
As for foreign theatergoers, the 34-year-old Kapuso actress jokingly commented, "Mas ligayang-ligaya lang sila dahil puro nakabikini nakikita! Hahaha!"
If the opportunity arises, the Kapuso actress said she won't have qualms wearing a bikini for a role.
Talking about possible acting offers she'd have here in the Philippines, she said, "Yeah, OK na, nagawa na natin dun, e. Hahaha!
"Siguro mas magda-diet lang dito kasi ang Pinoy mas kritikal, hindi ba?"
Now that she's back in the country, Aicelle is confident that she's armed with an improved set of skills needed for her craft.
"Siguro mas matatag ka lang ngayon because of the eight shows a week that you did.
"Kasi dito sa Pilipinas, normally mag-start lang ang show ng Thursday or Friday, then the weekend. So mas lumakas lang siguro yung stamina mo and you're ready to do more shows here."
As for being more disciplined, she added, "Na-train ka niya. Iba yung time nila dun, very punctual sila. When they say be there at six, impunto six o'clock, or else they'll call you, 'Where are you?' Sa Pilipinas hindi ganun."
Does she plan to audition for another international musical?
Aicelle answered, "I always say I'm open to future international productions. But for now, I'm home, I'll work here, and get married."
This weekend, Aicelle is all set to perform for the Filipino audience via Ballet Philippines’ 2019 restaging of the 1977 pop rock opera ballet, Tales of the Manuvu, which showcases the folk tales of the Manobo tribe in Mindanao.
The shows will be held at the Cultural Center of The Philippines on March 30 and 31.
Then starting this April, Aicelle will be part of GMA-7's weekly musical variety show, Studio 7.