Veteran actress Tessie Tomas admitted that she turned down two TV projects because it required her to play “duster-wearing” characters who are “poor” and “oppressed.”
Tessie said she preferred a role that allowed her to wear fancy clothes, specifically those created by her son Robin, a successful fashion designer based in the United States.
“He said he wanted to see me wearing something glamorous on the small screen for a change,” she told Inquirer Entertainment, noting that she played down-and-out roles in her last three projects with ABS-CBN—“Noah,” “Bangis” and “Agimat: Tonyong Bayawak.” “Our prayers were answered when the character Doña Alicia was offered to me.”
Tessie was referring to the rich widow, Alicia de la Peña, in the latest Kapamilya afternoon drama “Mundo Man ay Magunaw,” directed by Jeffrey Jeturian and Rechie del Carmen and costarring Eula Valdez, Empress Shuck, Ejay Falcon and Nikki Gil.
During a recent media gathering at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater in Quezon City, Tessie, a single parent for 13 years, couldn’t help but talk about how proud she was of Robin.
Tessie described her son, now 24, as a gifted child who started painting at age 7. Robin, who graduated with a degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines, had his first art exhibit at 18.
Shortly after college, Robin was hired by the advertising firm Ace Saatchi & Saatchi as an art director. “He worked as a copywriter, too,” said Tessie. “He has a gift for words, which he probably got from me. Two years later, he asked me, ‘Mom, can I do fashion design?’”
In 2001, Robin took a year-long course at the Parsons the New School of Design in New York. “That’s where Calvin Klein and Donna Karan graduated from,” the proud mom said. “This gave him the opportunity to work in America. He apprenticed with designers Anna Sui and Valentino Garavani and got to work with supermodel Naomi Campbell and other big names in fashion.”
Robin then landed a job as a designer’s personal assistant, Tessie related. “He bought buttons and zippers and lugged his boss’ attaché case, but he got to look at all the sketches,” she said.
His son’s biggest break, according to Tessie, was signing up as an Asian designer for the brands Gap and Old Navy. “Nakikipagsabayan na s’ya
doon ngayon,” the proud mom added.
Another feather in Robin’s cap was being named one of the Top 10 designers at the recent 2011 Philippine Fashion Week.
Recently, Robin signed up as a designer in Bloomingdales New York. “For the first time,” Tessie said, “may Filipino na nakatapak doon.”