'I had a change of heart'

IT WASN'T very long ago when former Miss International Lara Quigaman gave up her co-hosting job on ABS-CBN's daily noontime show Wowowee, saying she didn't feel she fit in.

By Aprylle Liabres (Contributor)

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Published: Tue 15 Apr 2008, 11:12 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:43 PM

It was an observation with which a lot of viewers agreed. They felt that Lara was too poised for a show like Wowowee, and that she would be better off hosting a talk show, or a magazine programme instead.

But last year, Lara surprised everyone with her decision to rejoin Wowowee. Now, she is a regular co-host of the programme alongside main host Willie Revillame and co-hosts Mariel Rodriguez, Valerie Concepcion and Pokwang. "I had a change of heart," is how Lara explains it. "That time, I was still the reigning Miss International, and as a beauty queen, I felt I had an image to protect and that it wasn't fitting for me to be doing the kind of things we were doing on the show. I didn't feel comfortable about being there."

After her reign ended, Lara received an offer to be a regular on Aga Muhlach's sitcom That's My Doc. More than a year of doing comedy taught Lara how to relax. But it didn't come easy. "The first few months, they (the other cast members) were calling me 'autistic' because I was so stiff and would only read whatever was in the script. Worst of all, I didn't know how to ad-lib, which is so important in comedy."

Eventually-and from hanging around and working with topnotch comedians like Roderick Paulate and Pokwang-Lara learned how to relax. She started to feel more at ease in front of the camera and learned how to trade jokes and punchlines with her co-stars.

One day, Lara was surprised to receive a call from Wowowee director Edgar 'Bobot' Mortiz. They wanted to know if she would consider coming back to the show. It so happened that at the time, Lara had just broken off with her boyfriend and needed an outlet. The offer came at just the right time. "I needed to be busy," she says.

The experience she had gained doing That's My Doc helped. Thus, it was a different Lara who rejoined Wowowee. The show was also very different from the first time she was on it because now, she had a new set of co-hosts. Former co-hosts Kat Alano and Janelle Jamer had quit the show in favor of Valerie Concepcion, who transferred from GMA-7 to ABS-CBN. "Valerie is super-friendly and makulit and so easy to get along with," says Lara. "Pokwang, who's my co-star in That's My Doc, was also on the show, so that helped make me feel more at home."

Now, people have noticed that Lara is more relaxed on the show, to the point that she no longer gets uncomfortable when Willie teases her.

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