Judy Ann Santos’ meteoric rise from being a child star to becoming one of the country’s top dramatic has all the plot elements that would fit into a heartwarming and inspiring movie. Her dreams were pure and simple – enjoy work as much as she could, and save up money for school. Yet it seemed like to road to stardom had already been paved for her – thanks to the support of her family and the folks she met on the set.
Missing her father whom she rarely had time to spend time with, and her mother, who was in Canada, Judy Ann found good company in the co-stars she worked with and the supportive staff and crew who made her feel at home all the time.
“I was never close with my dad. I never had the chance to see him growing up. So, I look forward to the day na may taping kasi yung mga cameramen, crew lahat ng staff and engineers, sobrang close ako. Sa kanila ako nakakakuha ng kalinga at saka may mga bata rin akong kasama sa set,” said Judy Ann during an interview with Senator Joel Villanueva of “AksyonTime,” which aired on A2Z Channel 11 over the weekend.
While Judy Ann totally enjoyed being a young performer, she never really imagined doing acting for more than three decades.
“Kung bata ka kasi, hinahanap mo lang naman kung ano yung nakapapagpasaya sa iyo at that time. Yung ang feeling ko, masaya ako sa ginagawa ko. Kumikita ako kahit paano. And gusto ko yung ginagawa ko that’s why medyo magagawa ko ito (acting) ng medyo mas mahaba-haba pa,” shared Judy Ann known to fans as “Juday.”
With her innate talent and commitment to her craft, Juday was blessed with more projects. Then a teen star she had to decide whether to continue school or pursue acting as a profession.
“I have to decide kung ipu-pursue ko ba ang pagka-college ko, or tatapusin ko lang yung pagiging high school ko and move forward to acting. ‘Cause at that time wala rin kaming pera for enrolment and marami naming projects na pumapasok so I asked my mom, nasa Canada sya nun, kung pwedeng mag-college na lang ako kapag alam ko na yung kurso kong kukunin,” said Judy Ann a skilled chef who took and passed the exam for TESDA National Certification in 2009.
With one teleserye hit after another, Judy Ann was dubbed “Queen of Pinoy Soap Opera”. Soon she forayed into movies with equal success. In 1999 she was named “Box Office Queen” by the Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation. A consummate actress Juday bagged the Best Actress award at the 41st Cairo International Film Festival for Brillante Mendoza’s “Mindanao” in 2019.
“Habang nagkaka-edad ka parang you are looking for more challenging roles. Bilang artista noong mga time na yung gusto ko nang mag-move forward, not (really) daring roles, pero mas may sustansyang projects. Okay lang gumawa ng rom-com films pero yung puso mo mas naghahanap na ng may kabuluhan. Mas malalim na acting,” she said.
With the passion to grow as an actress, Judy Ann is not wary about fitting into any role. She revealed that there was never a point in her career where her decision to take on a project was based on how her followers would react.
“Siguro yun yung wala ako (kaba). Para sa akin kung hindi ko gusto yung project hindi sya tatawid onscreen. Kasi andun ako sa paniniwala na kung susuportahan ako ng mga tao kung mahal talaga nila ako, susuportahan nila kung ano man ang proyektong ilabas ko.”
AksyonTime marks the return of Villanueva on television, after years of hiatus in hosting a public affairs show. The senator previously produced and hosted the multi-awarded public affairs program “Adyenda,” which tackled current issues and concerns.
AksyonTime airs every Saturday night at 10:15 pm on A2Z Channel 11.