Rica Peralejo was first seen onscreen via the sensational youth comedy show, Ang TV, when she was only eleven.
Eighteen years since, the public has seen Rica transform from a little girl to the woman she is now.
We had the chance to interview her last October 16 for her Pantene sway and bounce transformation with Lindsay Custodio at Studio Fix, Market! Market!
Rica says, her entry into showbiz was not something contrived, “Actually I didn’t expect it, I didn’t really plan to…
“When I joined kasi the industry it was more of, ayun masaya lang, masaya maging ano…not even artista, to perform─ that was what I wanted to do.
“But I was taken on a very different kind of path and then I transformed over and over, and I’m very, very, happy about it, lalo na where I am right now.
“There were decisions along the way that parang, looking back, they were not good decisions, but they’re part of the whole process,” she says.
Rica acknowledges that she made some mistakes along the way.
“Parang now, when I talk to other people parang alam ko na kung ano yung i-aadvise ko or what I learned from the experience, ganun.
“So it allows me to be more purposeful about even the mistakes I did before.”
“I really wouldn’t say that I was excellent at the whole time or I was going to the right path at the whole time.
“Because there were a lot of years that was bad for me parang talagang bad person, I was very unhappy, I was depressed, ganun.”
In 2001, Rica started to take on daring roles in adult films, or so-called skin flicks, such as Balahibong Pusa and Dos Ekis.
Eventually, she changed her sexy image to “Horror Queen” after doing some successful horror films such as Malikmata (2003) and Spirit of the Glass (2004).
Rica shared what she learned from everything she went through.
“But, you know, those things naman in the long run, in the bigger picture of things, when you change, that’s when it becomes okay.
“But when you stay there yun na yung parang, yun na yung parang nakakalungkot na talaga.
“But for me, I think what’s really important is that my family, for one, is always there and supports me.
“I think you really need people that are really outside of your business whatever it may be, kahit na sabihin natin na showbiz industry or kunwari nag-corporate ka lang, office girl ka lang…
“You really need people that are outside the job area, the work area, to keep you sane and sober,” she said.
FAITH. Rica is married to Christian pastor Joe Bonifacio.
She says about her transformation, “And another thing talaga, the biggest help for me is my faith.
“Parang to know Jesus and live a life that is fully for Him, it keeps me on the right track talaga.
“Kasi left to myself I’ll be a wreck, e. I know that I am just like any other human being, I am a failure in many ways, di ba?
“And I cope in many ways too pero usually, I just make it worse for me.
“So by having Jesus and having my faith sobrang nag-iba talaga yung buhay ko, turn around talaga siya.”
Rica considers this a major turning point in her life and she believes that it changed her life for the better.
“ Parang I had to say no to a lot of things that earned me so much money, that generated everything, fame, connections, ganyan.
“And I say ‘no’ to those things that I knew na, ay naku, kumbaga sa business decision na loser yung ginagawa mo, di ba?
“And I really lost a lot, but I knew kasi na, if I honor God with my job, na parang without a doubt, God will provide for me...
“Before, in the beginning, just say no, and then eventually, because I kept on saying ‘no,’ people started offering me other things, ‘O sige, ayaw mo na mag-sexy, puwede ka ba mag-host?’
“Tapos, eventually, host na ‘ko. Parang, oh yun lang naman pala yun eh, you just have to tell them and not them telling you who you are.
“Kasi if you make them decide for you, kung ano yung image mo, then you will never have a say in your life.
“Kasi the public will always want to decide for you, your producers will always want to decide for you, so where does that leave you?” she asks rhetorically.
MISS AND MISS NOT. What are the things she misses about showbiz?
“Naku, overnight to! Hindi, joke lang. Marami akong namimiss, katulad ng performing. Siguro kasi I’m really a creative kind of person.
“I’m always, I’m very expressive, I’m very crafty [sic], ganun. Namimiss ko yung part na yun.
“I also miss being able to connect with different kinds of creative people as well. Yun siguro yung mga namimiss ko,” was her reply.
What about the things she doesn’t miss in showbiz?
“What I don’t miss are tapings na magdamagan, yung workload talaga.
“Kasi this is a business, and the business is yourself. So you are the store and you’re open 24/7. And that kind, that doesn’t appeal to me anymore.
“Maybe when I was younger okay pa yun, kasi you don’t have so much responsibilities pa, ganyan.
“So ngayon parang ayoko na yun. 'Tsaka yung privacy na kailangan mo talagang i-share.
“You don’t naman really have to, but you just have to accept that a certain part of you... you cannot hide it, kumbaga it’s always available when you walk around.
“Ngayon nga ganun pa rin, e. Even if I’m not so active. Parang they look at you, parang ako, ah okay. E, naturally I am a very private person.
“So I get really, after 18 years I’m still not used to it. So I don’t miss that na parang people are parang nagkakagulo na about me, ganun,” she says.
A lot of people miss seeing her on screen. Does she have any plans of going back to full-time acting?
“Alam mo totoo, pag sinasabi ng mga tao, 'tsaka yung ano, I’m not even talking about fanatics ah, people who really love the craft, yung they love to see good actors,
“Sometimes when I do every now and then pag Maalaala Mo Kaya [MMK] ganyan, parang nafi-feel ko talaga, may gift talaga ko, e.
“Parang, sayang naman! Lalo na now that I got older, marami na kong experience, ganyan-ganyan, 'tsaka mas serious na ko sa life.
“I do miss acting and if there’s only a way to make it ano, to contain it to within eight working hours, I would go back to full-time acting. Kaya lang wala eh,” she says with a laugh.
The way her routine goes, Rica says, does not allow her to become a full-time actress again.
“Lalo na sa atin, parang the set-up is, you go there at the six in the morning but you actually never know when you actually when you’re gonna end.
“And when you’re ano na, married… and I’m doing a lot of things also, I write, then I do ministry work with my husband, I travel a lot, parang that kind of doesn’t match,” she said.
NOT CLOSING HER DOOR. Rica recently did an MMK episode with Zanjoe Marudo entitled Cross-stitch (2012).
According to her, she is not completely closing her door to acting, “Hindi naman ako sarado. But there are offers.
“Basta ang ruling ko lang is, if it fits my life now then it’s from God.
“But if I have to move things around to make it fit to my life today then, no.
“Kasi you have to be resolved, e, before you start making decisions eh, if not, everyone will make decisions for you.
“Pipilitin ka nila, o please, tataasan nila yung bayad mo, please ganyan, parang o di pag ganun, hindi ka resolved papayag ka sa gusto ng iba.
“Ako naman I have plans for myself also, ayoko naman siyang i-dedicate na puro showbiz lang,” Rica said.