In the annals of local cinema, there are a lot of female stars who at one point in their early careers took the sexy route in order to create buzz or stir the interest of the public. Projecting a bold or sexy image became their passport to fame before they got to showcase their acting skills, apart from their physical allure. It’s just a stepping stone to make a name for themselves and later evolved into excellent thespians.
As early as the 60’s, there were already sex nymphets who brought excitement to the viewers, specially the male populace. More so when the 70’s ushered in. Many sex goddesses popped out. This trend continued in the 80’s and 90’s where a number of female sexy stars really made waves. What’s important to note is that, from the so-called “Bomba” to the “ST (Sex Trip)” down to the “Titillating Films (TF)” era, many of them successfully graduated into competent and critically-acclaimed actresses.
Let’s take a peek on some of the most celebrated female sexy stars of the local entertainment industry whose acting skills eventually got noticed, contributing to their stability and longevity as reliable screen performers even at this point in time.
Elizabeth Oropesa: “La Oro” sizzled in the 70’s as one of the era’s most exciting sex symbols. Who would ever forget her portrayal as Gloria Diaz’s rival in Ang yesterday’s Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa? From then, she became an A-1 leading lady to the biggest male stars and even put up her own film outfit. She has won numerous trophies from the different award-giving bodies over the years and even up to this day, continues to wow audiences with her acting ability, the latest of which was in last year’s Moonlight over Baler. (Notable Screen Performances – Lumapit, Lumayo ang Umaga, Tatsulok and Bulaklak ng Maynila).
Lorna Tolentino: Definitely one of the most prominent sex symbols during the 70’s, LT (as she’s fondly called by her colleagues), alongside Alma Moreno and Rio Locsin, formed a rivalry as to who’s the hottest and has the most box-office hits. LT actually won a FAMAS Best Child Actress for Lumuha Pati mga Anghel in 1971 before she joined the sexy bandwagon years after. Critics started to take notice of her when she appeared in the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Moral where she received multiple nominations. Lorna is one of a few actresses who scored a grand slam in an awards season for Chito Roño’s Narito ang Puso Ko in 1993. (Notable Screen Performances – Maging Akin Ka Lamang, Uod at Rosas, Luksong Tinik, and Abakada Ina).
Vivian Velez: She’s the original “Ms. Body Beautiful.” When she first forayed into the showbiz scene, VV instantly became popular because of her physique. With her height, color and enviable vital statistics, she was one of the hottest sex symbols of her time. A favorite pin-up girl for magazines and calendars, she was every male’s fantasy then. Until she started producing movies through her Amazaldy Films which gradually brought out the actress in her. She proved to all and sundry that there’s more to her than physical attributes. Over the years, she won a number of Best Actress trophies for her sterling portrayals on screen. (Notable Screen Performances – Pieta, Paradise Inn, and Kasalanan Bang Sambahin Ka?)
Chanda Romero: Classy and competent. That’s the best description for this Cebuana talent. Chanda appeared in numerous sexy flicks during the 70’s and that early, established herself as one good actress. When the 80’s ushered in, she became a signature actress of the late Danny Zialcita who at that time was one of the most in-demand directors. This further catapulted Chanda as one sexy actress whose acting skills can never be underestimated. She did lots of films opposite the biggest stars of the industry like Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos and has a number of acting trophies tucked under her belt. With her talent, Chanda is still a renowned fixture in today’s soap operas, most notably as Dennis Trillo’s understanding mom in the ground-breaking My Husband’s Lover a few years ago. (Notable Screen Performances – Karma, Soltero, Bakit Manipis ang Ulap, and Naglalayag).
Jaclyn Jose: Introduced in the all-girl flick “Chikas” in 1984, Jaclyn’s acting talent first gained the critics’ attention when she did critically-acclaimed potboilers helmed by master directors like the late Lino Brocka and Chito Roño. From then on, she gradually became one of the screen’s most reliable performers and like vintage wine, just kept on getting better as years went by. What could be considered as her career’s crowning glory was when she bagged the Best Actress trophy in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2016 for Brillante Mendoza’s Ma Rosa. Jaclyn is still very much around as she gets cast in numerous soaps and even sitcoms especially now that she’s with GMA Network. (Notable Screen Performances – Private Show, Itanong Mo sa Buwan, White Slavery, and The Flor Contemplacion Story).
Rosanna Roces: Osang is definitely the undisputed TF Queen. During this era in the local ‘biz, no other sexy star can approximate her box-office power. A natural actress who can be both dramatic and funny on screen, Osang won the hearts of the viewing public and critics alike. She also became a popular talk show host. At her peak, Osang became a superstar in her own right. Apart from top-billing commercially successful flicks, she also became a sought-after cover subject for various magazines. Rosanna won an URIAN Best Actress award for Chto Roño’s La Vida Rosa. (Notable Screen Performances – Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin, La Vida Rosa, Ang Lalaki sa Buhay ni Selya, and Ang Babae sa Bintana).
Ara Mina: It was in the classic youth-oriented program That’s Entertainment where Ara got her first taste of fame. In the succeeding years, she became one of the silver screen’s hottest sex symbols as she churned in one hit flick after another under Regal Entertainment. Gradually, her acting ability surfaced and in 2002, she won Best Actress in the Metro Manila Film Festival for her portrayal in Mano Po. Since then, the be-dimpled star was able to establish herself as a highly-competent actress, the reason why until now, she is sought-after in soap operas and movie projects. (Notable Screen Performances – Ang Huling Birhen sa Lupa, Minsan Pa, and Mano Po).
Gina Alajar: She started as a child star and appeared in classic potboilers like, Wanted: Perfect Mother and Kaibigan Ko ang Santo Niño during the 70’s. At one point in her acting career, Gina also sported a sexy image and made controversial movies that made a killing at the tills. Some of these are: Kontrobersyal, Playgirl, Diborsyada and Caught in the Act. It didn’t take long before she established herself as one of the industry’s finest actresses. Over the years, her acting skill was already honored by all award-giving bodies. These days, she dabbles as a director for GMA programs apart from acting. (Notable Screen Performances – Salome, Brutal, Mulanay, and Biktima).
Rio Locsin: One of the well-renowned sex goddesses of the 70’s. Rio has done a lot of box-office hit movies during her heydays. Gifted with a lovely face and a sexy figure, she became the object of fantasy of male viewers. Due to her popularity then, her name was even mentioned in one of the Hotdog’s classic ditties, “Langit na Naman.” She also donned the Darna costume. What’s good about Rio is that she evolved into a competent actress after her reign as a top-notch sex symbol. Until now, she can be seen on television doing supporting roles, an attestation to her great love for her craft. (Notable Screen Performances – Ina, Kapatid, Anak, Haplos, and Manila By Night).
Sylvia Sanchez: Her first big break was in the sexy-drama vehicle “Nympha sa Putikan” in the late 80’s. But after this, she didn’t become a front-rank star instantly. Sylvia had to do supporting roles (and even villainess parts) with a touch of sexiness. She won a Best Supporting Actress award from the Metro Manila Film Festival in the early 90’s. In spite of the fact that she sported a sexy image, viewers could see her unquestionable acting skills. That’s why she sizzles on screen until now and is given lead parts. (Notable Screen Performances – The Greatest Love, The Trial, and Takbo, Talon, Tili).