June 20, 2008
Hazel Reyes-Mathay, who is better known by her screen name Ara Mina (born May 9, 1979 in Manila, Philippines), is a Filipina actress, model and singer. She is a grand daughter of former Quezon City mayor Ishmael Mathay, Jr. She won the Golden Screen Award in 2004 for Best Actress in a drama in the Philippines. Since 1998, Mina has been a regular cast member of Bubble Gang, a sketch comedy television show in the Philippines.
She is the daughter of Chuck Mathay, a former Philippine congressman from Quezon City. Her sister Cristine Reyes is also an actress with GMA Network. She had to leave GMA and her show Bubble Gang due to ABS-CBN’s exclusive contract and having her show Prinsesa ng Banyera as Angelika de la Cruz’ replacement for her role.
Ara Mina is a mixture of everything nice and not. You can see her answer with straightforwardness all the intrigues thrown upon her, yet her sweetness reflects by her princess-style bedroom in her lucky house, which, unfortunately, is up for sale as of press time. But what makes Ara totally unique from all other sexy actresses and starlets emerging today?
Ever since, Ara Mina wanted to become part of the entertainment industry, perhaps inspired by her mother. At an early age of 7, she was already joining pageants sponsored by her school, where her usual talents will either be singing or acting. However, it was only in her stint in That’s Entertainment, hosted by German “Kuya Germs” Moreno, that she got the first taste of show business. She was 13 years old then.
Like any other alumna of the youth-oriented show, she was trained in numerous artistic crafts, like singing, acting, dancing, and hosting. Yet despite her exposure, her career never took full flight.
Then sexy roles started pouring in. Hardly thin but very voluptuous, Ara Mina was considered very appealing and sensual by a variety of directors. She also decided to keep her present name, which was derived from the names of her other two sisters.
Ara Mina started appearing in numerous X-rated movies, such as Init Sa Tag-ulan, Sagad Sa Init, Pahiram Kahit Sandali, Tatlo Magkasalo, Banatan, Phone Sex, and Maldita. She was also a famous covergirl for a number of men’s magazines in the Philippines such as FHM.
But Ara Mina is known to be a very patient and determined woman. Her luck turned positive when she was offered the role of a Chinese woman named Richelle Go who was in love with a Filipino man (played by Richard Gomez ) in Mano Po. She was able to bag a Best Actress Award for her subtle yet very strong performance. This was followed by her portrayal as a woman who’s lost faith in religion in Ang Huling Birhen Sa Lupa, which shares a similar plot with Himala of Ishmael Bernal.
Ara Mina is also a regular cast of Bubble Gang, GMA 7’s comedy show, which is on its way of celebrating its 10th year anniversary. She was able to showcase her comic side, which could be far-fetched from the roles she currently plays in other TV shows and in the movies. She’s also a singer too, whose first single Ay Ay Ay Pag-ibig became an instant hit among the masses with its catchy lyrics and tune. Meanwhile, she considers her second album, Moving On, as her way of going past all the intrigues that may be surrounding her private life, including a public spat with Aiko Melendez, the erstwhile wife of her then beau Jomari Yllana. Her third album will be released soon.
Entrepreneurship is also one of Ara Mina’s expertise. If she’s not taping any shows or movies, or if she’s not abroad doing concerts, she keeps her hands full in her number of businesses. She owns Osteria 88, an Italian restaurant, and is a co-owner of Bubble Gang Toppings, whose other managers include the rest of her show’s co-stars. She is also managing Posh, a talent agency, for over a year.
Ara Mina is also an avid collector of things. She has toy cars, angel figurines, and more than 200 bottles of perfume.
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