Still leading man material at 54, Richard Yap challenged to look the part
At 54, Richard Yap is thankful that he hasn’t been boxed in father roles and that he still gets to play leading men on screen.
“It’s something we have to learn because this is our craft,” he told the Inquirer in a recent virtual press conference.
While it can feel flattering, being paired with younger actresses does come with the pressure to be in tip-top shape. “If you get a leading man role, then you have to look the part. Your body should be up to par. There’s also the expectation to look and act as young as other leading men,” he pointed out.
And there lies the challenge, because age, Richard admitted, plays a big factor in maintaining the body. “That’s the hardest part. I have to work doubly hard by dieting and doing my exercises, even if I don’t have the time. You have to squeeze those into your busy schedule,” said the actor, who also runs food and furniture businesses outside entertainment.
Richard, who transferred to GMA 7 earlier this year, is set to begin taping for the upcoming primetime series “I Left My Heart in Sorsogon,” which he will top-bill with Heart Evangelista.
“It’s an honor because my family are big fans of Heart. We’re looking forward to doing this teleserye,” he said. “I’m very excited about my character here, because he has quirks that my previous characters didn’t have.”
Open to possibilities
Richard is still unsure what’s in store for him after that soap. But as always, he’s open to exploring new possibilities. “Whatever role they give me, I will be OK with that … I don’t expect to be a leading man all the time, because I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “And doing supporting roles is also fine with me.”
What’s important, he stressed, is the chance to work with new people. “I’m just lucky to have had good people who guided me through the years. I didn’t have any experience in acting at all before I joined show biz,” said Richard, who became a household name when he starred in the ABS-CBN series “My Binondo Girl” and “Be Careful with My Heart.”
“I’m lucky I was able to work with great actors and directors who were generous with their learnings,” he added.
His family’s support for his acting career is also invaluable, he said. “They understand that what I do are just roles. They’re OK with what I do. It’s really not a big deal for them even if I do romantic scenes, because they know it’s work,” said Richard, who has two children, Dylan and Ashley, with his wife, Melody.
Despite juggling acting and entrepreneurship, Richard always makes time for his family, especially amid the pandemic.
“Time is really something your kids really need—not the stuff you give them or the monetary rewards. That’s why I make sure I spend my days off and weekends with them. Soon, they will grow and lead lives of their own, so I want to make the most out of my time with them,” he said.
Nothing brings him joy like seeing his children grow up into kindhearted and accomplished individuals. “I feel happy when I see them take care of people around them. I feel like I have done something right as a father,” he said.
“My wish is for them to finish their studies. It helps us mature in life. And it’s not just about what they learn in class; it’s also about the people they interact with, as well as the environment they’re in. The combination of those will give you tools to help you do what you want,” he said.
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