Young actress and sexy star AJ Raval is not totally unknown to the public when she eventually decided to tread the same path her dad, action star Jeric Raval (Ricardo Buensuceso), has taken. Elizabeth Buensuceso in real life, AJ is determined to carve her own niche in showbiz, make a name for herself and pursue her dream.
Although she is using the screen name of her dad (Raval), 25-year-old AJ, the daughter of erstwhile sexy star Alyssa Alvarez, who made films in the ‘90s, did not initially have the blessing of her father when she expressed her desire to go the sexy route.
To start with, AJ immediately embarked on a sexy image and went daring in the film, Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar, a comedy-drama megged by Jowable director Darryl Yap.
“At first, entirely against ang dad ko sa pagiging sexy ko,” AJ discloses. “But natatanggap na niya pakonti-konti. Artista din naman siya at nai-intindihan naman niya ginagawa ko.”
AJ heeded what actress Rosanna Roces earlier told her when they worked together last year in Paglaki Ko, Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar.
“Sabi ni Mama Osang, ‘Bago ka pumasok ng pagpapa-sexy, kailangan buong-buo ang loob mo. Kailangan wala kang paki-alam sa sasabihin ng ibang tao.’ Lagi kong tinatandaan ‘yun,” AJ says.
“Ang feeling ko ang pagiging sexy ng babae, ‘yun ang nag-empower sa kanila. At the same time, hindi naman ako perfect. Hindi ganu’ng kaganda ang skin ko at katawan ko. At least, na-boost ko ang loob ng ibang girls. Malakas ang loob ko na magpakita ng skin.”
AJ is not too confident about baring her body in front of the camera, although she is not insecure about her height, skin color or even her breasts.
“Nasa stage ako na na-i-insecure pa rin ako sa sarili ko,” AJ admits. “Ina-aral ko paano mahalin ang sarili. Ang insecurity ko ang skin ko. Nung bata kasi ako, palagi akong nadadapa, nahuhulog, nasusugat. Nagkaroon ako ng maraming marks sa katawan.”
AJ assured she’s ready to show some skin in the psychedelic erotic film, Taya, directed by Roman Perez Jr., who gave the public the controversial film, Adan, that starred Cindy Miranda and Rhen Escaño.
From the start, direk Roman asked his cast in Taya what they could give to their respective roles and what they could not do. “Nagtitiwala naman kami kay direk,” AJ grants. “Alam namin hindi niya kami pababayaan.”
She agreed to upper frontal nudity, but definitely not all out. “There are certain parts na ipapakita at pinag-usapan na namin ng manager ko,” AJ says.
That is no longer new for AJ. In Yam Laranas’ Death of A Girlfriend, shown early this year, she also agreed to do upper frontal nudity.
Taya, which means “bet,” also stars Sean de Guzman, who was launched in director Joel Lamangan’s Anak ng Macho Dancer, shown early this year. Starring with AJ and Sean in Taya are newcomers Jela Cuenca and Angeli Khang.
AJ made her big screen debut in Paul Alexei Basinillo’s Indak (2019) that starred Nadine Lustre and Sam Concepcion. That same year, AJ was also seen in Dado Lumibao’s S.O.N.S. (Sons of Nanay Sabel).
She was compelled to give her best in her acting. She admitted she is ready with the inevitable scrutiny of other people that is often expected in any young career.
“Sobrang open ako when it comes to acting,” AJ allows. “Magtatanong ako at marunong akong makinig para mag-improve ako. Mga hindi ko lang siguro gagawin. ‘yung sobrang all out sa pagpapa-sexy.
“Alam ko na may sasabihing hindi maganda ang ibang tao. Pero kasi, pag nagpa-apekto ka sa kanila, ikaw pa rin ang talo. Tandaan mo, mayroon pa ring mga tao na gusto ka.”
AJ, who is also in the cast of Law Fajardo’s Nerisa, insisted she is old enough to make her own decisions. Doing the wet look and giving her nod to sexy scenes are her own call. “Nasa edad na rin ako. Mayroon na po akong sariling decision,” she says.
The script of Taya, was completed while its writer, John Carlo “JC” Pacala, was undergoing quarantine during his bout with COVID-19. A 2015 Palanca awardee for his short story, Ang Reynang Espada at mga Pusa, JC was one of the scriptwriters of Arjo Atayde’s award-winning action-drama series, Bagman (2019) and Carlo Catu’s dramatic film, Kung Paano Hinihintay ang Dapithapon (2018).
Finished back in 2019, the storyline of Taya was updated to make the narrative more Gen Z, online and digital. “Mas bata ang pakiramdam ng pelikula,” offers direk Roman. “Lahat nilatag namin sa artista. No inhibitions na kaming lahat.”
Taya will be shown starting Aug. 27 on Vivamax.
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