Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CYNTHIA UGALDE SPEAKS OUT (The Weekly Nation, September 17, 1965)

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By Joyce Abella Cuento

IS CYNTHIA UGALDE really suffering from mental illness?  Is this the reason why she suddenly quit the movies and kept herself in seclusion?

     This is the rumor that has been circulating around since her sudden disappearance from the movies nine months ago.  Her absence was a mystery.  She never told anyone that she was abandoning the movies.  And nobody had any inkling why she had kept herself away from the klieg lights.

     It is precisely to unfold this mystery that I went to her house in Quezon City to interview this former beauty queen.

     “Me, mentally ill?” Cynthia laughed when I popped the question to her.  She leaned forward on the sofa where she was seated.

     Cynthia was not surprised to hear the question for the rumor had reached her.  She certainly did not look like one who is or had been suffering from mental illness.  She lost a few pounds but was looking prettier and healthier than ever.  She was wearing a printed shirt and figure-hugging blue jeans, and had just come home from a beauty shop when we interviewed her.

     The former Miss Philippines denied that she had been keeping herself from public view because she was mentally ill.  And she maintained that she has never abandoned the movies.  Two reasons had made her go into semi-retirement:  the expiration of her contract and her studies.

     After Cynthia’s last film, Bathing Beauties, which she made for Sampaguita, her two-year contract with the studio expired last November.  She was not the type to ask for a renewal of her contract nor to approach other movie companies for assignments.  As a holder of a national beauty title, she felt she had to keep her prestige.

     She had received several movie offers but had rejected them.  The offers called for her to display her curves and Cynthia decided that if she should continue her movie career, it should be because she has talent, not only glamour.

     Besides, Cynthia was bent on finishing her home economics course.  Combining her studies with acting had given her a difficult time.  Since she was already free from her movie contract, she wanted to devote her full time to her studies.

     How did the rumor of her being mentally ill start?

     Probably it all started when I was confined for a few days at the UE Hospital last February due to physical fatigue and anemia,” Cynthia explained.

     Cynthia lost her health due to the hectic schedules she had been keeping.  After making three pictures in a row, she had to go to some provinces to crown a local belle or for personal appearances.  While coming home from a midnight coronation in Batangas, she contracted a high fever.  Upon reaching home, she collapsed at the doorway.  She regained consciousness at the hospital.  Upon the doctor’s order, she was confined in a room with a “No visitors allowed” sign on the door.

     When she left the hospital she motored to Baguio for a much needed rest.  After a few weeks she came back to the city to resume her studies.  However, following her doctor’s advice she went to bed early and avoided crowds.  Her mother or sister had to receive her visitors and she had to reject invitations to parties.

     If Cynthia was not in school she stayed at home and spent her leisure time baking or cooking, taking private piano lessons, listening to her favorite music pieces on the stereo set, or completing her scrapbook.

     According to Cynthia, it must have been those people who failed to see her when she was sick that spread the rumors.

     Now, having regained her health and finished her home economics course, she attends to parties and goes out with friends.

     What are Cynthia’s plans for the future?

     “During my two years in the movies I discovered being an actress, one is a public property and does not live her own life.  She is subject to rumors.  Let’s take my having been frequently linked romantically with such and such actors and my being mentally ill.  These rumors have hurt me,” Cynthia explained.

     “But of course, I’d like to be in movies again despite all those heartaches.  Acting has come into my system.  But I want to be a real actress and get only the right roles.  I want to do a musical-comedy role…”

     “Will you marry soon now that you have turned twenty-one?”

     To this question, Cynthia blushed and smiled.  “I prefer to keep mum on the subject…”

Source:  The Weekly Nation, September 17, 1965

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