Rufa Mae: The Best, The Worst

- Ricky Lo () - April 4, 2004 - 12:00am
Because she is gifted "up there", many people suspect that Rufa Mae Quinto is beautiful but dumb, the same wrong impression people had of the late Hollywood sexpot Jayne Mansfield (who was decapitated in a terrible car accident).

Rufa Mae, undoubtedly the country’s foremost sexy comedienne, doesn’t have to show proof to the contrary. She is the best proof that she isn’t – a beautiful dumb, that is. Nagtatanga-tangahan is the best way to describe her. Playing dumb, yes, but only in the movies where she has popularized her Booba character, the same one she’s now playing, but renamed Boobita Rose, in her next movie, Viva Films’ Masikip sa Dibdib, directed by her good friend Bb. Joyce Bernal, which Rufa Mae herself is co-producing.

Booba is actually a tricky moniker. It can refer to her, ehem, boobs, or to her (imaginary) state of mind, as in booba.

In the past decade or so, dozens and dozens of sexpots have come and gone, many of them gone to pot, but Rufa Mae has proven to be a great survivor maybe because besides her rich natural resources, highlighted by what she calls "my upper part," she has acting talent. An actress can show every nook and cranny of her anatomy but only up to a certain point. What makes her stay and endure is Talent (with a capital T).

Does Rufa Mae mind the constant reference to her, uh, "upper part"?

"Not at all," said Rufa Mae, "totoo naman, e! I can’t deny it."

The title of her new movie, for instance. Masikip sa Dibdib could, like booba, mean many things. Masikip sa dibdib as in "hard feelings" (due to problems, stress, etc.) or "tight on the chest" (due to a woman’s unusual, you know, "size").

"It’s a crazy story," said Rufa Mae.

Scripted by Mel Mendoza del Rosario, Masikip sa Dibdib is the story of a dysfunctional family, with Rufa Mae/Boobita Rose as the hardworking breadwinner. Imagine having as family members the likes of John Lapus as a drug-addicted womanizer (believe it or not!) who gets the girls pregnant, the sweet Sunshine Dizon as an alcoholic, DZRH’s Tita Swarding as a chain-smoker macho lolo, Gina Pareño as the hypochondriac self-pitying matriarch and Bernard Bonnin as the good-for-nothing patriarch who has abandoned the family. The only "sane" characters, aside from Boobita Rose, are played by Antonio Aquitania as Boobita Rose’s tricycle-driver suitor and Rufa Mae’s real-life boyfriend, basketball star Rudy Hatfield as Rufa Mae’s restaurant-owner boss.

Doing cameo roles are top singers including Martin Nievera, Regine Velasquez and Bituin Escalante who pop up in the most unexpected scenes (watch the trailer and find out for yourselves), an "innovation" never before seen in any local movie.

To "dissect" Rufa Mae thoroughly, Conversations asked her to play the "The Best/The Worst" game. Let’s play along with her.

• Role She Has Ever Done

"Kidding aside, the best is my current role in Masikip sa Dibdib because it requires me to do not only comedy but also drama. It’s the kind of movie that we never thought was possible.

"The worst role? Sa totoo lang, marami – especially my early roles. But I have chosen to forget them so I can’t recall even one."

• About Boobita Rose

"The best thing about Boobita Rose is her being good-natured, just like me. She loves her family and she has a dream, just like me. She wants nothing but a simple but happy family, just like me, and to find a guy who will love her through and through.

"The worst things about Boobita Rose is tanga siya, booba siya, unlike me. I’m not tanga and booba like what some people think. She’s also gullible, just like me. Kapag puyat ako; madaling bolahin."

• Decision She Has Ever Made

"The best is to do this film. As a co-producer, nakita ko kung ano ang paghihirap ng industriya natin ngayon. Maraming artista ang walang trabaho. I’m glad that in my own little way nakatulong ako sa ilan sa kanila. I also saw the problems that a producer goes through.

"The worst? Falling in love with a cheater (name withheld upon request; but here’s a clue: the cheater is a singer-politician)."

• Real-Life Kiss

"The best is, of course, always with Rudy.

"The worst? It happened so long ago that I have forgotten who the guy was. Nagkalat kami. We were very young then, inexperienced."

• Love Scene She Has Ever Done

"The best was with Albert (Martinez) and Jay (Manalo, her former boyfriend) in Gloria, Gloria Labandera. They’re both gentlemen. Hindi nagti-take-advantage.

"I won’t identify the actor with whom I did my worst love scene. He was unhygienic. He didn’t brush his teeth; hindi man lang nag-mouthwash. Balahura! I stopped breathing during the shooting of that love scene. I almost choked to death!"

• Vacation She Has Ever Had

"Last Christmas when Rudy brought me to Michigan to visit his family. It was the first time I saw snow! Rudy’s folks were happy naman. Masaya sila. They love me daw. I made them cry when I gave them bags as pasalubong. Diyan ako magaling. Pagbibigay ng small but meaningful things.

"The worst was last January when I went to Las Vegas alone without Rudy who decided to stay a few more days with his family. I felt lonely all the while."

• Investment

"My house (in Acropolis, Libis, Quezon City). Uy, that’s not a gift to me by somebody, huh! I spent my hard-earned money in building that house. All my savings went into the construction of that house.

"The worst? My cars. Cars depreciate, so they are not good investments."

• Part Of Her Body

"The best is my ‘upper.’ You know what I mean? (Obvious ba? – RFL)

"The worst naman is my buttocks. Nabibigatan ako sa balakang ko. One of these days, patatapyasan ko yan."

• About Rudy Hatfield

"The best thing is his having a good heart.

"And the worst? May temper siya. But he’s not violent. Mild temper lang; mine is even worse. There’s also one thing ‘worst’ about Rudy. He’s fond of chocolates."

• Part Of Rudy’s Body

"His best part is my worst part – the butt. Maganda ang butt niya, di ba?

"The worst? None. Every part of him is the best."

• Time Of The Day

"The best is pack-up time. Yihee!! Uwian na! Ang saya-saya ko! I get a sudden charge of energy.

"The worst? When I have to wake up early in the morning to go to the set, especially if I sleep late the night before."

• Movie She Has Ever Seen

"The best so far is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I saw it in Michigan. And also, Notting Hill and Titanic. I could identify with the character of Hugh Grant, not with the character of Julia Roberts. Kasi, iba ‘yung family ni Hugh Grant – may pilay, may kung anu-ano, may parang prong-prong. Type ko ‘yung family niya. Titanic naman, nakakaiyak.

"The worst? I choose to forget ‘worst’ movies."

• Write-Up About Her

"The best so far was the one about me and Rudy in The STAR (March 26, 2004 issue, written by STAR Assistant Entertainment Editor Maridol Rañoa-Bismark).

"The worst? Marami. I also choose to forget them, especially those linking me to this guy and that guy, lalo na ‘yung tumatanggap daw ako ng gifts – cars, you know. Sa totoo lang, hindi ako tumatanggap ng gifts – cash na lang!" (Proceeds to laugh) "Para walang ebidensya, ano!"

• Song She Has Ever Heard

"No kidding, but the theme song of Masikip sa Dibdib. I sang it with Regine Velasquez. Walang biro. Saan ka makakakita na si Regine nagba-back-up – sa akin lang! Oh, the best ‘yon, di ba? At gawa pa ni Ogie (Alcasid) ‘yung song.

"The worst? Anything na hard metal. Please!!!"

• Best Comment About Her

"The best – that I have a good heart for small people.

"The worst – well, ‘yung mga negative issues about me. But nobody can say anything bad about my character. Wala akong kaaway. Hindi ako nagtatanim ng galit. I’m a positive person. I look at the bright side of life."

• Dream She Has Ever Had

"The best? That I have a lot of money!

"The worst? That I died. I saw it happen in my dream."

• Book She Has Ever Read

"The best is The Purpose Driven Life. I learned a lot from that book.

"The worst? None. I’m not a bookworm so I ask people around what’s a good book and that’s what I read."

• Meal She Has Ever Had

"The best meal I ever had was last night – just tuna and rice. I didn’t eat the whole day because I was very busy and towards midnight, doon lang ako kumain. Sarap na sarap ako doon sa ulam kong tuna. I ate a lot!

"The worst? It happens all the time because palagi akong tense."

• About Showbiz

"Aside from the money? The best is being popular and famous.

"The worst? Well, you know: Kapag wala kang kita, walang-wala talaga. When you’re down and out."

• About Being Rufa Mae Quinto

"The best thing is my being transparent. What you see is what you get. And, as I’ve said, my being a positive person.

"The worst about me? ‘Yung pagka-syonga-syonga ko pagdating sa pera. I’m a sucker for sob stories, you know!"

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph)

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