Mixing sports and show business
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - September 9, 2019 - 12:00am

Althea Vega has had an impressive acting career in film and television for over a decade. She started taking bit roles on television in 2008 as a college student, before branching out into film upon graduating. She broke through in “Walang Kawala,” which was directed by Joel Lamangan. Despite the unreasonable demand for light-skinned dramatic actresses, the talented morena has gotten a decent number of memorable roles. Her 2010 film “Metro Manila” is being streamed on Netflix. In 2014, she portrayed a young Nora Aunor in the heavy suspense drama “Dementia,” which was also appreciated by audiences in North America.

But deep down, Althea always dreamt of being a beauty pageant winner. The dusky actress won several contests as a child, but always saw herself – at 5’4” – as being too short for big-time pageants like the Binibining Pilipinas. She also believed that being in entertainment and having previously done intimate scenes was a barrier to joining. Still, she strove to always look and be at her best. This led her on a path toward fitness.

“I had always been going to the gym since my early 20’s,” Vega told The STAR. “In 2015, I started to take it very seriously, and started to compete. It was really my interest. I was not forced into it or anything like that. it was my conscious decision. I’m already in the gym five, six times a week, anyway. Why not work here? I already like what I’m doing.”

That year, Vega won the Slimmer’s World Great Bodies competition, and represented the Philippines in the Fitness Universe in Miami, where she was a newcomer ranged against veteran bodybuilding and fitness athletes. Despite her inexperience, Althea placed sixth in her category. That lit a fire in her to become a personal trainer. The mass communications graduate from the University of Perpetual Help worked for her certification, and started to build a second career. She returned to competition early this year.

“I’m able to help a lot of people,” she says in the vernacular. “It’s so fulfilling when they believe in you. I train businessmen and couples, and help them achieve their fitness goals. They aren’t athletes; they just want to be healthy. I used to focus entirely on my acting. But it’s tiring to just wait for roles to come. The truth about showbiz is that it isn’t regular work. You’re not shooting weekly or even monthly.”

As it is, Vega, a trainer for Gold’s Gym, has a packed schedule six days a week, training clients and convincing more and more people to go to the gym and take their health seriously. She also allots time to train on her own. It also gives her the flexibility to change her look to suit whatever upcoming role she is given.

“You really look heavier on camera,” she explains. “So, if an actress looks normal in person, onscreen she appears a bit heavy. You have to be on the slim side to look like an ordinary person in a movie.”

Vega’s latest role is that of an assassin in the new motion picture “Watch Me Kill” which is slated for release later this week. In this thriller, Vega looks up to fellow hired killer Jean Garcia, the lead character, who is slowly finding her humanity and questioning her choice of profession. Althea’s character has to blend admiration and disillusionment throughout the story. Both actresses received weapons training to help their transformations into ruthless mercenaries. Becoming another person is one of the biggest thrills Vega gets out of each assignment.

Many people dream of being athletes, and perhaps just as many people dream of being in show business. Painfully few manage to achieve both. Althea Vega has shown that a strong, dedicated independent woman can do it, or anything else one sets one’s mind to, for that matter.

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