Maui Taylor’s Change of Heart

April 15, 2008







Eleven years in the business is already a long time to get stuck in sexy roles. This much, Maui Taylor admits. In the same breath, the Viva artist concedes showing your body on screen to please male moviegoers no end is getting to be tiring. You can almost hear her say, “It sucks.”“Sexy roles were only my stepping stones (towards more serious acting),” relates Maui, looking back at those skin flicks she made as early as age 15.

To top it all, sexy films are on the way out, what with the Internet and other marvels of technology offering sexy pictures galore at the click of a mouse button.

Good thing Viva is seeing the handwriting on the wall well enough. Thus, it is casting its prized talent in two films — one a kissing and intimate scene so tame it makes Maui rejoice, and another a heavy drama marking the filmmaking comeback of Eddie Romero no less.

The first, director Maryo J. delos Reyes’ digital film Torotot, casts Maui as Baron Geisler’s unfaithful wife. Even if she’s used to kissing and love scenes, Maui admits she felt awkward getting intimate with Baron on screen. The soon-to-be-shown Torotot, after all, is only their first team-up.

Thus, Maui admits direk Maryo had to push the envelop a bit.

Not so with Maui’s Romero film, Teach Me How to Love. Here, we see Maui in a new light. She’s a barrio lass of a teacher who falls in love with a married man (Tonton Gutierrez) even if she already has a boyfriend (Nathan Lopez). Look ma, no flesh-baring!

The revelation comes when Tonton breaks Maui’s heart, telling her he wants to return to his wife. Now Maui may loathe going back to the sad moments in her life. They’re too painful she’d rather forget and move on.

But direk Eddie asked Maui to do the unthinkable for her breakdown scenes (yes, they are more than one). So Maui, dutiful soldier that she is, did. She recalled her heart-wrenching breakup with her nonshowbiz boyfriend. The relationship, she relates, was short, but intense. And when she revised it, Maui found herself drenched in her own tears. Much to her surprise and direk Eddie’s delight, a new Maui — intense, convincingly dramatic — emerged.

“I call it a second wind in my career,” she declares.

Maui can’t ask for anything more, even in her personal life. She has news for fans who have been wondering whatever happened to her in the three years she hasn’t been doing movies (her last film was Joel Lamangan’s critically-acclaimed Ang Huling Birhen sa Lupa in 2005).

“I finished a Business Management course at I-Ame. Now, I’m applying what I learned in a cargo and money padala business I put up in partnership with friends,” Maui announces.

Business is doing fine, thank you. It took Maui around the world several times last year. And it’s taking her to Dubai this year, where she’s also going for a show.

Why not a more feminine business akin to Joyce Jimenez’s lingerie concern or Pops Fernandez’s fashion line?

“The opportunity presented itself,” Maui replies. And she’s proving she made the wise decision.

After the usual initial setbacks, business is booming, even expanding after two years of operations. It has offices in the Philippines and the US (where it’s known as Legalas Forwarders) and in Dubai, Italy and Germany (where it’s called Sea Forwarders).

Maui says her friend Antoinette Taus takes care of business in the US while another colleague, Jeffrey Santos will soon oversee operations in Canada.

Maui’s business has not only taken her to foreign shores. Just as importantly, it has brought her to places she never imagined she’ll step foot in, like Port Area. This dusty, traffic-choked area in Manila may be too harsh for someone as fragile-looking as Maui. But she didn’t mind visiting it one day to buy a TV set.

Maui, seeing me stare in disbelief, says, “Oh, I sported a disguise (dark shades, wide-brimmed hat, she didn’t say). So no one had the chance to gather around me.”

Perhaps, Maui was even hanging on to the arms of her nonshowbiz boyfriend, an architect whom she describes looks like a younger version of Albert Martinez.

The guy, who is half-Chinese, half-Spanish, knows all about Maui’s past sexy roles and takes her for who she is. He never meddles in her career and allows her to grow. No wonder Maui acts like an excited bride-to-be when she talks of him.

Marriage, however, is not yet part of her plans.

“At 26, I’m still too young to get married,” she explains.

Besides, when a new dimension of your career beckons, matched only by a business that shows all signs of moving up, why apply the brakes?

Maui is not about to throw all these wonderful things away just yet. And she shouldn’t. Good thing she realizes this and her boyfriend understands — perfectly.

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