After ‘Miss Saigon’ stint, Aicelle now in thick of wedding prep
Aicelle Santos had just been engaged to her boyfriend, Mark Zambrano, when she flew to the United Kingdom last year for a touring production of “Miss Saigon.”
The first couple of weeks were emotionally challenging, she admitted. But thankfully, technology has helped alleviate some of the homesickness she was feeling, and allowed her to maintain constant communication with her fiancé.
“We’re very lucky we live in this age of internet or social media. We made sure to make time and talk to each other every day using apps like FaceTime,” she told reporters at a recent media gathering welcoming her back home, after her successful “Miss Saigon” stint wrapped up in March.
“We always asked each other, ‘How’s your day?’” she added. “Of course, the physical connection isn’t there, but that can wait.”
The 34-year-old singer-actress surmised that had this happened when she was a lot younger, she probably would have had a more difficult time juggling the relationship and her work.
“Being in a long-distance relationship requires sacrifice. But now we really know what we want in our lives … We’re confident in each other … secure,” pointed out Aicelle, who dated Mark, 41, for more than a year prior to their engagement.
“Now that she’s back in the country, she and her husband-to-be are making up for lost time, and have begun preparations for their wedding later this year.
“The proposal happened about two weeks before I did ‘Saigon,’ so we never really got to spend time as an engaged couple. I feel so calm that we’re finally doing things together again,” said Aicelle, who prefers to have an intimate wedding, either on a beach or in a garden.
“I had already been in touch with a wedding planner when I was in the UK, but I wanted to be here before making any decision regarding food, etc.,” she related. “I have already met with some suppliers, and the wedding team is finally taking shape. I don’t have specifics yet regarding the venue, because we’re still doing ocular visits.”
Meanwhile, the couple had their prenup photo shoot in Zurich, Switzerland.
What’s their next goal after they get married? “Having our own house,” she said. “And give it a few more years, a baby.”
As she looked back on her experience portraying the hardened bar girl, Gigi, during “Saigon’s” yearlong UK-Ireland tour, the words “holistic” and “spiritual” came to mind.
“I have grown more confident in my own skin because I had to wear a bikini every day and night; the fear and insecurities went away. You have to tell yourself that you have to give your best onstage” she said. “I have also become more disciplined.”
She added, “It’s spiritual because living alone strengthens your faith. Homesickness gets to you, eventually. And you can’t just talk to your coactors about it because they’re also going through similar things,” the GMA 7 star added. “You just have to remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place.”
While she’s not closing her doors on doing more musicals abroad in the future, Aicelle is currently focused on being part of the Kapuso network’s weekly variety show “Studio 7.”
“I’m open for other productions. But for now, I’m working at home,” she said.
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