Friday, March 31, 2006

Pampanga-born Vanessa Minnillo Going Places

First posted 11:52pm (Mla time) Mar 30, 2006
By Ruben V. Nepales

LOS ANGELES—“I would love to,” said the Pampanga-born American TV show host and former Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minnillo when I asked if she would like to grace or judge a beauty contest in pageant-crazy Philippines.

Born at Clark Air Force Base in 1980, Vanessa is the daughter of a Filipina, Helen Berecero, and Vince Minnillo. Vanessa’s parents met when he was a USAF aircrew member assigned at Clark. Crowned Miss Teen USA in 1998, this beautiful Filipino-American has been enjoying a winning career streak in entertainment.

The 5’8” tall stunner is the New York correspondent of “Entertainment Tonight,” the world’s top syndicated entertainment newsmagazine. She is a VJ on MTV’s “Total Request Live” and has hosted several MTV specials.

Recently, Vanessa landed the plum assignment as one of the co-hosts of the Academy Awards’ official red carpet arrivals show, “Oscar Countdown 2006.” Vanessa’s lovely Amerasian features and sweet.

Vanessa has hurdled many challenges to get where she is now. According to Self magazine, the exotic-looking Vanessa, upon winning the Miss Teen USA title, was hurt when someone told a friend of hers, “How can she (Vanessa) represent the United States, looking the way she does?”

After her parents separated when she was 6, Vanessa constantly moved around, to such places as Florida and Nevada, with her mother and adopted older brother, Vincent. At one point, Vanessa lived in Turkey and Germany when her mother married another serviceman. Of those peripatetic times, Vanessa looked at the positive side: “I love travel and new experiences. Those were amazing learning experiences for me.”

In high school, Vanessa finally enjoyed a settled life when she and her brother lived with their father (now retired) and stepmother (Donna Minnillo) in Charleston, South Carolina.

Despite stories of their estrangement, Vanessa never fails to point out in interviews the winning qualities that she inherited from her mother, a native of Leyte.

She is also grateful about her beauty contest background which, she believes, opened many doors for her. “With the proper mind-set, a woman can find that beauty contests are very beneficial,” she told me via e-mail. She judged the Miss Teen USA 2003 tilt and covered the backstage action in the 50th Miss USA pageant in 2001. These pageants, plus Miss Universe, are owned by Donald Trump in partnership with NBC.

Vanessa has been linked to New York Yankees baseball player Derek Jeter and actor Orlando Bloom. She appears as a former love interest of Nick Lachey in his new music video, “What’s Left of Me.” In Vogue’s Oscar Awards-themed February issue, Vanessa was photographed as Jennifer Beals’ memorable character in legwarmers and cut-off sweatshirt.

There is an online photo of you wearing your Miss Teen USA sash with some members of the Filipino community of Charleston, South Carolina. How close are you to this community?
My mother was my biggest link with the Filipino community. Once I lived with my father and stepmom, it was hard to keep up with the community, but I always [remember] my roots and how I grew up. My favorite dish is chicken adobo. I made my stepmom learn how to cook it for me. She still does to this day.

You were born at Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga. Have you been back since to the Philippines?
I have not gone back but I look forward to the day when I can. I know it will be emotional for me.

Do you speak the Pampango dialect or understand Tagalog?
I know when a mother is telling her kid to stop or be quiet, or behave. I heard that a lot growing up. Ha- ha!

What qualities or traits do you have that you think came from the Filipino in you?
My spark! And my passion to follow my dream. I have to try a little harder than the next person, but that’s what gives me the drive and desire. Also, my sensuality. I have my mother’s eyes and looks that can say a lot, I think. My dad always says, “Your mother would give that look!”

Reading about you, I notice that your sense of humor and affable personality are always singled out. To whom do you attribute these qualities?
Both my parents. I got my outgoing traits from my mother. I learned humility from my father and inherited his sense of humor.

How challenging was it to get to where you are now, career-wise, especially as an Asian American helping break barriers in mainstream American media?
It is quite challenging. But it made me want it more and try harder. We can all be whatever we want, and I was out to prove that. There are still challenges [but] they make me stronger.

In what way is being a former Miss Teen USA helping?
It was the stepping stone I needed. I gained confidence and found myself. I felt proud to be an Asian American and represent the USA as Miss Teen USA 1998. I felt that I was given an extra responsibility to do something with my title.

And how does being a former beauty queen pose an extra challenge?
As with my ethnicity, I have to prove myself and work harder. But that’s in my personality.

The live coverage of your “Miss Teen USA” triumph was pre-empted by a televised address by then President Clinton on the Lewinsky scandal. Did you wish he had chosen a different night?
Some things are out of my hands. But it was fun because I got to watch myself crowned on TV, with my family and friends. And I was still nervous as I watched, as if I was still competing!

You were a backstage correspondent for the 50th Miss USA pageant. Didn’t you want to join the Miss USA, too?
Miss Teen USA and Miss USA get the same opportunities. Having won in 1998, I did not want to try out again and take that chance away from someone else. Instead, I started working and forwarding my career.

What is the best part of living in New York and being a correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight”?
All the wonderful events, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and the people I meet. For example, I had a private piano session with Clive Davis and Barry Manilow. Recently, I walked through an exhibit with Drew Barrymore where she showed me her personal private photos from Africa. I just love my job!

What has been your most memorable experience so far as co-host of MTV’s “Total Request Live” and previous MTV specials?
My favorite so far is covering the “Live 8” concert. Wow, it was touching—1.3 million people in Philadelphia. MTV is always fun and fresh.

Name some celebrities that you are still hoping to meet and why.
Demi Moore, for her career longevity and timeless beauty. Angelina Jolie—I’d love to talk to her in person about her work as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. I have met everyone else I’ve ever wanted to meet. They have all come to MTV’s “Total Request Live” or on “Entertainment Tonight.”

If you could invite several celebrities to a dream dinner, who would you ask?
Jim Carrey, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Kate Hudson and Robert Redford, just to name a few.

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know and they would probably be surprised if they knew?
That I get very nervous before I talk to anyone at work. I become quiet. I try to play the interview out in my head first. Sometimes nervousness makes me sick in the stomach.

A college scholarship came with your Miss Teen USA title. Do you still plan to go to college?
Sure, I’d love to go one day. My father got his college degree at 45, so I can, too!

How did you prepare for your Oscar pre-show hosting stint?
We had two days of rehearsal. We did practice interviews with stand-ins. So, on the day of the Oscars itself, I knew exactly who I would be talking to, and what questions I would be asking. But there were a few last-minute, on-the-spot interviews. I felt very comfortable and prepared.

What were you most nervous about?
I didn’t get to see some of the Oscar-nominated movies and performances. I was nervous that I’d run into some things that I was not familiar with. No one can see every movie.

But overall, I was relaxed. I’ve met most of the celebrities from “Entertainment Tonight” or on MTV, so I wasn’t nervous. It was very structured and organized. They definitely had it together. I was just icing on the cake with the other co-hosts.

What was the most exciting part for you?
Seeing George Clooney again. He’s very charming and his smile is contagious. Also, the opportunity to be in a show that was broadcast globally. In such a big stage or setting, I’m always proud to represent my heritage.

The most fun?
It’s always fun to see what everyone wears. I saw Dolly Parton for the first time. She’s so little!

You have acted on “The Bold and the Beautiful” and have guested in several sitcoms. Is being an actress still one of your goals?
Yes, but acting is a craft that you have to master. You don’t just jump into it.

What are your other dreams and goals, professionally and personally?
I want to do all that I can. Be an entrepreneur. Have a family one day. I can’t wait to have Vanessa mini-mes walking around.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

American Idol, March 21

i was watching idol last night while doing my laundry. and here's what i thought of last night's performance:

mandisa - she was actually great. i was expecting her to perform with bare feet though. just a good way to start the night.

bucky - he was ok last week but so bad last night. the song was boring, he was boring. SO SO GONE tonight. performing right after mandisa made him look like a loser.

paris - whew! you gave me fever! girl, you were damn good last night. this girl is just a total performer. she doesnt just sing, she performs on stage. she's like little 'dynamite'.

chris - i never heard the original version of this johnny cash song ' walk the line'. and last night he made the song his own. i think this guy can sing any song, made it his own and the record will sell. this guy has a style, i even like him better than bo bice.

katherine - 'come rain or come shine' youre my girl! you're just simply awesome. pretty, sexy, funny, natural and good pitch. think it helps a lot that your mom is a voice teacher. i like it when she does pop jazzy style in her rendition.

taylor - hes voice is ok, he's a performer. but honestly i was never a fan. i dunno, maybe if he dye his hair red, brown or black. anyways, i think your white snickers last night was cool.

lisa - i used to like her but i duno what's wrong. since last week this girl doesn't have that charisma she had during the audition. her vocal is good considering that she has some stage musical eperience. she's a strong contender for BYE BYE LAND tonight.

elliot - i know the judges like you. i know you have good vocals. but i cant just get it. LOL... you know what, this guy scares me everytime he sings. i can't seemed to figure out why.

kevin - last night was the best performace ive heard from this chicken little guy. barry manilow did a good job. with his fan base kevin will probably be staying til the top 5. maybe until he looks more like harry potter.

kellie - i never like blonde pickle. i duno why simon like her. she's ok but i think lisa is more talented. she was ok last night. i also think she has a speech problem.

ace - he was good last night but i think he's over rated. just because he's a pretty boy... a potential justin guarini.

BEST PERFORMANCES - chris, katherine & paris.
BOTTOM 3 - bucky, lisa & kellie
BYE BYE - bucky

SIDE LIGHTS - good to see constantine in the audience but i was wondering why is ryan cabrera there. jasmine trias looks great, but i think will look better if she gets rid of that flower.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Take The Lead

i can't wait to see this movie... great job for dante basco (the guy in the poster) who's playing ramos in the movie. another reason is.. it was made in toronto.

Inspired by a true story, Antonio Banderas stars as internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulane in the family drama "Take the Lead". The film revolves around a professional dancer who volunteers to teach in the New York City public school system. But when his classic methods clash with his students' hip hop instincts, he teams up with them to create a new style of dance and becomes their mentor in the process. "Take the Lead" co-stars Alfre Woodard and marks the feature directing debut of veteran music video helmer Liz Friedlander (U2, Blink 182, Simple Plan).

Also stars Alfre Woodard, Dante Basco, Rob Brown & Elijah Kelly. Check the official website : Take The Lead Site

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Miller The Cat

my friend got miller 2 weeks ago from toronto humane society. miller is an affectionate 2 year old male cat... meow!

Chasing Idols

You've probably heard about Diana DeGarmo's many roles in Broadway shows lately, and here's just a reminder to go see her as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray. The show runs every night Tuesday through Saturday until May 14 at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York.

Bo Bice, runner-up of Season 4, will be performing at the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines on March 14. Tickets are only $12; the show's at 7:30PM.

Season 3's Jasmine Trias is finally back in the States and getting back on the road. On March 17, she'll be headlining the Rage Night Club in Los Angeles, then on the 24th, the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, CA. The next day (March 25), she'll also headline at the Stockton Civic Center in Stockton, CA.

On March 25, Kimberly Caldwell and Ruben Studdard are going to be playing The Aladdin Theatre in Las Vegas at 8PM.

Also on March 25, you can meet Kimberley Locke at the Lane Bryant at The Summit Sierra in Reno, from 12PM-2PM. The first 100 in line will get an autographed copy of her new single, “Supawoman”.

While Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood has just landed 41 new tour dates and many appearances with huge country artists such as Keith Urban, Phil Vassar, and Montgomery Gentry, the place you'll be seeing her this month is on TV. Hopefully, you caught her singing her single, "Jesus Take the Wheel", on the results show of American Idol last week. On March 13, Carrie will appear on the "Late Show with David Letterman" at 11:35PM ET/PT, and on March 14, she'll be on "Live with Regis and Kelly" at 9AM ET/PT. During these shows, she'll be singing her new single, "Don't Forget to Remember Me". Carrie will also headline a live performance with Lee Ann Womack and Loretta Lynn on a special episode of "Grand Ole Opry Live", called "Women of Country" on March 18.

I know you've all been waiting for that Reality TV Celebrity edition of Fear Factor, and it's finally here. Competing is the American Idol pair Anthony Fedorov and Carmen Rasmusen of Season 4 and Season 2, respectively. The show will air on March 21, 28, and April 4. According to Carmen's website, Carmen wrote a song about her experience on the show called "You Scare Me to Death". Sounds like a hit.

Please don't forget to watch "Idol Chat" on TV Guide Channel every'll get to see Season 2's Kimberly Caldwell discuss Idol matters with fellow correspondent Rosanna Tavarez and interview former Idols such as AJ Gil, who visited this past week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Fitness Myths

as i mentioned earlier im back and enrolled in a gym (bally's fitness centre). according to the american council of exercise. below are some popular fitness myths: (IM GUILTY OF #5)

Top Six Fitness Myths

With so much health and fitness information coming from so many different sources, it's no wonder people are confused.

What does it take to get fit? Will crunches get rid of my spare tire? What’s the best way to lose weight? These are the types of questions ACE-certified Fitness Professionals hear on a daily basis.

More than 1,500 ACE-certified Professionals responded to our request for the most pervasive myths and misconceptions about exercise.

Here are their top six responses.

1. Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles.
2. Spot reducing is possible.
3. No pain, no gain.
4. Exercise requires a hefty time commitment.
5. If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.
6. There’s a magic bullet (quick fix) out there somewhere.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


located at liberty avenue, king street west, toronto.

their soup is heavenly... try 'mushroom with wild rice'. kinda pricey but worth it.

this banana is worth $0.55 each.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Spring Is In The Air

regular walk during lunch break along king street west to tim horton's coffee...a nice day +11 but a bit windy

outside the tim horton's coffee

king of the road.. toronto street car

Ontario College Teacher Strike

a usually busy library at seneca york is empty last night as full time students are not in school because of the strike. as for part timers like me.. classes are regular as usual. i had my 2nd test for the term last night for my Drug legislation class.