In a quiet neighborhood in Pasig, where residents can takeleisurely walks and teenage girls are free to roam in scooters, actress AliceDixson has found a home. The two-bedroom condominium unit with an attic for a livingroom will be her base now that she's picking up her acting career again.
In August 2000, Alice migrated to Canada with husband RonnieMiranda, the entrepreneur behind Storm Visualization & Imaging Inc. LastDecember 2001, when Alice came back to spend Christmas with her parents in Taytay,Rizal, she was offered TV and film projects. "When I got home," she relates"sunud-sunod na ang mga offers ko. I told my husband, ‘Hon, it looks like I'mgonna be here a bit longer than I expected.'"
Ronnie, a former teacher at Ateneo de Manila High School,understood. Alice recalls what he told her: "Sige lang, okey lang. In a coupleof years hindi mo na rin mababalikan yung career na iniwan mo. Sige, habangbata ka pa, sige, balikan mo. When you have a family, hindi mo magagawa 'yun.Enjoy it while it lasts."
"Mabait naman siya," is how Alice describes Ronnie in a tonethat shows just how much she thinks of him these days when they're apart.
Her husband is not the only one she misses. She also yearnsfor the uncomplicated life she was leading in Vancouver. "Nami-miss ko na nga,"she admits. "Because simple lang ang buhay ko doon. I'm just an ordinaryperson. I could go to the grocery, spend hours going through the aisles,picking out items to cook. Just to relate to people on a non-showbiz level."
There, Alice is a member of a choir, a part-time employee ata boutique, and an acting student. There, she found people she could relate to."Parang nag-uumpisa pa lang ako magkaroon ng mga friends."
Then, with a hushed voice and a faraway look in her eyes,she says, "Iba ang buhay ko doon. Simple lang."
She might as well be describing her self and the kind oflife she wants to lead. Her condominium unit is furnished with no more than theessential sofas, dining set, beds, refrigerator, and stove. There is no décorsave for a few colored throw pillows and a crystal desk clock. And instead ofhaving photos of her and Ronnie framed, Alice opts to stick them to the side ofher dresser mirror where she can look at them each time she gets herself readyto go out.
Our stylist noticed the absence of make-up items on herdresser table and commented: "Mas marami pa akong abubot kaysa sa kanya!"
"Hindi talaga siya maarte," says her personal make-up artistJean Castor. "Simple lang at conservative."
Road manager Vanessa Marcelo of Arnold Vegafria's ALVProductions has been egging her to take on an entirely different image. "Wewant to repackage her, reinvent her in a sexier mold," says Vanessa.
Alice, who admits that being a star is "difficult,"confesses that she got into the business out of a desire to be noticed.
With great honesty, she says: "When I was younger, myparents were both working. So I never really had a playmate. My parents weren'talways there for me to talk to. So basically I grew up by myself. And Irealized through self-examination, the reason why naging artista ako, parangfeeling ko siguro kulang ako sa pansin. I wanted to get attention."
Alice has been in show business since she was 17, or forover 15 years now. Her foray into acting has not only given her work and anacting award (1998 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress for Sambahin AngNgalan Mo), but also a creative outlet. She puts it this way, "I look at it asa profession. At the same time, it's my way to express my art, my craft."
Havingbeen out of the entertainment scene for over two years, Alice is stilladjusting. She admits: "I was talking to [The Philippine Star columnist] RickyLo one time and he said, ‘Mas mahirap talagang mag-comeback.' Sabi ko, ‘Oonga.' Sometimes out of sight, out of mind ka. So you have to rebuild again. Letpeople know you're back and you wanna act!"