Known as the “Kilabot ng mga Kolehiyala” back in the ‘90s, Ariel Rivera’s career soars to new heights once again, as he takes on the role of Santiago Del Olmo in ABS-CBN’s remake of Maria Mercedes.
The 47-year-old actor is simply perfect for the role.
In the original Mexicanovela, Santiago is the older man who marries Maria Mercedes, played by 21-year-old Jessy Mendiola.
Of playing husband to a younger actress, Ariel says, “It’s uncomfortable. It’s not unpleasant.
"I mean, she’s extremely pleasant to look at, but it’s uncomfortable.
“It’s not something you’re comfortable with—she’s 21 and I’m more than half her age.
"But we’re called actors for a reason, so I have to act.
“I felt awkward, but I’m sure she’s twice as uncomfortable as me… Kasi naman, di ba?”
But seeing how physically fit he is and nearly wrinkle-free for his age, Ariel doesn’t seem to be an awkward choice for the character.
“Talaga?” he asked PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and members of the media in an interview on October 11, when the actor was formally introduced as the latest endorser of For Men, a division of Facial Care Center and Marie France that caters to male clients.
“You know, I always say that iyong makeshift ng skin mo is genetics.
"But when you get to a certain age, you really have to… you need help,” he noted.
ARIEL’S FIRST STEP TO SKIN CARE. To help ease the awkwardness of being Jessy Mendiola's husband in their teleserye, Ariel has now adapted a skin-care regimen that would help keep him looking young.
Prior to taping Maria Mercedes, he had been religiously getting a number of skin treatments, such as facials.
Still, Ariel refuses to take credit for his renewed good looks.
In fact, he even describes himself as reckless when it comes to skin care.
“I’m not vain at all,” he says.
“I think age is faster on me because I get a lot of sun. Madalas kasi akong mag-golf.”
He says it was his wife of 17 years, Gelli de Belen, who pointed out the importance of being more conscious of his skin.
“Nakikita niya, ‘Honey, may wrinkles ka na dito. Dapat magpa-ano ka na, magpa-facial.’
“And because nga I play golf often, she told me, ‘You have to wear sunblock. You’re at that age and magkakaroon ka ng leathery skin.’
“I was fine with it, but then she was like, “Okay, wag mo na isipin yun. Isipin mo na lang na baka magkaroon ka ng skin cancer.’ Doon, she got my attention there.”
At first, Gelli encouraged Ariel to do simple home treatments, like rehydrating face masks.
“She’s trying to put masks on me before sa bahay. ‘Can you try this mask?’
“E, ayaw kong nagma-mask, iyong mask na natutuyo ta’s ipi-peel mo, iyong manipis na manipis? And it was cold, malamig, hindi ko type.”
With Gelli’s help, and some more from their good friend Dawn Zulueta, who is an endorser for Marie France, Ariel was introduced to the world of professional skin treatments.
“I was never a facial kind of guy. Hindi ako sanay sa facial, so the first time I went to For Men, that was my first facial.
“I’ve always been O.C. [obsessive compulsive] about things in my face, that’s why I don’t wear makeup sa shoots or sa mga TV shows.
"So it was a big change for me when I started doing facials.
“Now, I think I have gone to about six treatments. It’s not a lot, but I can feel my face, I’m more comfortable with my face. I think my pores have gotten smaller.
“And I feel… well, more people have said, and I’ve never been conscious of it, but more people have said, ‘Maganda iyong skin mo ngayon.’
“So, yeah, it’s helped me quite a bit.”