This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With a 52nd birthday on the horizon, Ms. Vilma Santos is hotter than ever. The ICON, whose sophisticated-chic- style inspired the many Filipinas around the world. Any way you consider it, Mayor Vi looks simply great. And not just in that cliché’s left-handed-compliment way of “great—for her age.” For most us, the fountain of youth is a kind of holy water. And Ate Vi, the best example of a woman who is fabulous at any age. For Mayor Vi, happiness means kinetics of both body and mind. No amount of living and learning has closed off her youthful curiosity or positive outlook. “I’m so blessed and I can’t ask for more and I’m a very happy person,” she admits. “But that’s because I choose to be happy. You know, we get down, but then we get right back up. And marami tayong pinagdaan ganyan.” Ate Vi, who turns 52 this November, continues. “They say getting old isn’t for the weak of heart, and it’s true. It’s tough. You have to deal with it, You have to live your life as if each day is the greatest day. I put things in perspective. Where is a bad mood or depressed going to get you? It will slow you down, make you miserable and less attractive, way less attractive. I’m so busy with work as Mayor, a mother and an actress. Believe me it’s no joke, I don’t know how I juggle my time but I give credit to all the people behind me. I cannot do it alone and I’m so lucky to have them. Heaven ang feeling ko dahil I know they do their best so they can be proud of me.” Ate Vi added. Sure, she exercise and do Tae-bo — but if she’s too busy, “I won’t obsess, There’s a difference between paying attention and paying too much attention,” she says. “Just think what you eat and what’s going on inside, but don’t obsess.” Unlike many other celebrities. Ate Vi doesn’t considered plastic surgery to be the first age-defying option. Woman can have all the facelifts they want, but the reality is their inside is still what their insides are. “I’m just so scared that something will not be done right when I do cosmetic surgery. People telling me to do this, sabi ko, no- not yet the time. I’m still happy and confident of myself. Believe me, the other reason why I don’t consider it is – mamaya pagtapos ng operation “kirat” na ang isang mata ko…ayyy!” And then she giggles. She confesses her lifestyle has changed a lot since she became mayor in 1998.

Aside from having to travel frequently to Lipa, Batangas, from her home in Green Meadows, Quezon City, every weekend, Vilma says she had to have a complete wardrobe makeover. “I now wear more formal clothes,” she says. “I’m the mayor of this city, I have to look like one. “As an actress, I was used to wearing jeans, shirts and jackets,” says Vilma. She now has several dozens of barong Tagalog and corporate suits, but most of them are at the Recto home in Manila. I wear size 6 for shoes and it must be very comfortable for I’m always on the go. I love Prada and Ferragamo bags, I collect them all. I collect perfume bottles and sunglasses. I love wearing shades. I experiment with different frames and styles . What did not change, she says, is her penchant for handkerchiefs and scarves, a Vilma Santos trademark. “I never leave home without them,” she admits. “Kaya nga ako nabansagang si Panyo. I don’t feel complete without a hankie or a scarf.” Vilma has always carried herself with and individual sense of style that reflects her outlook on life and lets her personality come through. Her look is not dictated by fashion or trends. She’s hip, she’s alive, and she loves glamour and clothes. Her youthfulness, her body language, and infectious sweet smile – she’s ageless.

Written by Alan Trambulo Published in V magazine Issue no. 2, 2005 (Vilma Santos Retro-folio: Beauty, Fashion, and Movie ICON)