Timely comeback

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda - The Philippine Star

They were two of the biggest stars of the ’80s — and now, they’re making a comeback.

Lilet — the singing sweetheart of her time who became famous for her softdrink commercial shot with an international cast and filmed in Liverpool, England — last appeared in the primetime serye Forevermore (with Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil). She is looking to take advantage of other opportunities coming her way after that successful TV appearance.

Meanwhile, Donita Rose, who made history with her stint for MTV and her Time cover, is also making tracks back into the industry on two fronts: As an actress and a culinary artist. Donita, who is now under new management after nearly 20 years with her last one, has launched her website that features cooking videos and food-related topics (www.donitarose.com), but still takes on TV assignments from time to time.

For her part, Lilet, now 41 years old and a mother of one (a daughter, 8), says she wasn’t really looking to make a comeback when she appeared in Forevermore. “What I really wanted to do, what I was praying for, was to record a gospel album,” she says. She took on a role in an indie film — just for fun, she says — and it was in that film that Lilet was spotted by ABS-CBN. The network tapped her to do a go-see for an upcoming teleserye that turned out to be Forevermore.

While she was working on Forevermore — which ignited her passion for acting — Lilet got inquiries for other projects. Since she felt it would be a waste to pass them up, she got a manager to handle them for her. “Doon nag-start sa Forevermore,” she says. “Nu’ng ginagawa ko, minsan may mga inquiries, eh hindi ko naman alam i-manage ang sarili ko.”

She says she’ll be back onscreen soon enough, “pag may magandang project uli.”

Donita, on the other hand, is currently busy furthering her interest in the culinary arts while continuing to play her domestic role as mother to her now 11-year-old son. It’s rewarding being a mom, but she discovered her passion for the culinary arts and is trying to combine that with her love for acting and TV-film work.

“I think naman I’ve been a pretty good host thus far,” reflects Donita, who doesn’t plan on quitting her showbiz career. In fact, for 2016, she’s looking forward to landing more hosting jobs. “I love to host, and that’s really what pays the bills. But if I can combine these two things that I both love, then it’ll be great.”

Her particular interest in cooking is butchery — she works with meat a lot — and the hot and cold kitchen. She’s been into this for the last five years, and with each passing year, finds more things to add to her repertoire as a chef. “I’ve always loved to cook; my dad taught me,” she reveals.

Donita was also inspired by the animated film Ratatouille, in which there was a chef whose most famous line was, “Anyone can cook!” — and that’s what she’s been busy proving.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that she will no longer act or host. Showbiz will always be there; it will always be a part of her, says Donita, but right now, at this stage of her life, she is also about exploring and trying new things. She did a soap recently, where her role was as a kontrabida, but there were times that she found it too emotionally heavy. “Dapat light romcom (romantic comedy) ‘yun pero naging kontrabida ‘yung role ko, which I found really draining.”

Donita would receive a lot of hate mail, which told her that she was doing well in the show and in fact made her very proud of herself, but eventually it got to a point where she was hankering to do something else.

She found that in cooking. “It was too heavy for me,” she notes. “They say that eventually, you will learn how to switch (your emotions) on and off, but (I was telling myself then), if I can find something else to do, I would. So since then I’ve focused on donitarose.com.”

Both Lilet and Donita are looking forward to 2016 and the new projects and challenges it will bring. Lilet is still looking forward to recording an album; Donita would like to explore the idea of doing a cooking show. Well, whatever it is these two ladies — and ’80s babies — settle on, we just know it’s going to be good.

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