Finally, your very own cover! Parabéns!
Yes, that’s right. I’m very honored FHM got me for the cover. I’ve been asked to be on the cover before, but I wasn’t prepared yet at the time. Then I did a shoot for your 10th anniversary issue. Now, cover na ako and I’m very, very happy. It feels good!
Likewise. Before anything else, can you please tell the story about how you ended up on our shores?
I started modeling at 17 and I’ve been to China, Korea, Thailand, Singapore and here because of it. I first went here in 2006 to do a shampoo commercial and Xander [Angeles] was actually my photographer. After that first visit, I would always go back after a stint in another country ended. I met so many friends here kasi. Then I had to return in 2007 for a wedding of a Filipino friend. I’ve never left since. I decided to stay and I was just so lucky to get a regular job [at Eat Bulaga!]. Kasi when you’re modeling, you always have to go to a different place, adjust to different countries and cultures, and that was getting a little bit tiring for me. I know I can’t be a model forever, so I saw it as a big opportunity to become, you know, a celebrity or whatever you would call me.
And you never found this opportunity elsewhere?
Whenever I go to a different country, iniisip ko kung ano kaya ang makikita ko roon, sino kaya magiging friends ko roon and everything. Then I keep the good memories [I had there]. I realized the Philippines was the best country I’ve been to. I left some things here that were worth returning to, things that made me really Pinay by heart.
You became a household name thanks to Eat Bulaga!. What did you know of the show before you joined it?
I actually auditioned for the show because there was a bunch of Brazilian models who wanted to be part of a Filipino TV show. Some of them, kagaya ko, hindi marunong mag-Tagalog. But I think the effort I showed trying to learn your language was what convinced them to pick me. And I’m very, very lucky to still be a part of it after four years.
You were first labeled the “Brazilian Singing Sensation.”
Yes, “Isang Linggong Pag-ibig,” ha ha!
Was it hard for them to get you to sing in Filipino, even though they knew how comical that would be?
At first it was harder for me than for them. Like what you said, it was comical. Alam ko na I would make people laugh and some people would look at me and say, “Ay, ang tanga naman nito.” Alam mo yung ganun? But I took it very professionally. If people are happy about it, why should I feel bad? As long as I’m making people smile, that’s okay with me.
We’re amazed at how quickly you picked up the language. Did anyone teach you?
Actually, at first, hindi ako nag-aral ng Tagalog. I learned Tagalog the hard way. They would give me lyric sheets and teach me the songs right before the show, and then we go live. I don’t blame Eat Bulaga! at all for doing that. I’m actually thankful because kung hindi nila ginawa yun I might not be here now.
So the mispronunciations, the confused adverbs…
That was all me. I didn’t have a prompter or an idiot board. I memorized everything. What’s funny was sometimes I didn’t even know what I was saying. But when I became an actress and I had to work as a leading lady to Vic Sotto, that was when I felt a bit of pressure, so I really had to learn the language. I never went to a workshop. I learned all by myself. And I think it was good for me.
How Pinoy are you now? Have you embraced our habits as well, like do you point directions with your lips or sumisitsit ka na ba?
I got some of the mannerisms. But when I recently went back to Brazil, I still acted the same conservative way I did when I was last there. I’m not saying Brazilians are conservative. The whole world has a different view of Brazilians. In reality, [how we act]depends on how you were raised. I came from a very conservative family. My dad made sure I was at home by 10 p.m. and then bawal na lumabas. So when I came here I saw some similarities, then when I went home I saw that I was kind of like a “Brazilipina,” ha ha! That’s how I call myself. I have the Filipino manners in a Brazilian way. It’s kinda magulo.
FOR DAIANA'S FULL INTERVIEW, GRAB THE OCTOBER 2011 ISSUE OF FHM
INTERVIEW: B.A. BORLEO
STYLING: SIDNEY YAP
MAKEUP: OMAR ERMITA
HAIR: VIANNEY GUESE
SPECIAL THANKS TO MS. MALOU CHOA-FAGAR