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Judy Ann Santos shines as one of the most enduring, popular, and empathetic character actresses of her generation. With a star of her caliber starring in and producing independent films, she has helped bring attention to the wealth of talent in this underrepresented segment of filmmaking, as well as encourage other actors to expand the depth of their acting. Judy Ann considers producing Ploning, the story of an enigmatic island village lass, as one of her greatest achievements. “I’ve been wanting to produce a movie that’s critically and internationally acclaimed,” she says.
Judy Ann has also touched the lives of the marginalized in society through her Touch A Heart Foundation. For the past five years, her foundation has helped a community of Aetas in Bataan and provided supplies for the local hospital in Cuyo, Palawan where she filmed Ploning. In the works is a project to help struggling veteran actors. With so many people needing help in these times of economic hardship, Judy Ann believes the country faces the challenge of leadership. “It boils down to improper governance of our leaders and not having a sense of unity. Even if we have leaders with good intentions, ang dami namang kumokontra,” she says.
Having given 22 years of her life to showbiz with no signs of stopping, Judy Ann has declared she’s ready for challenges no less important—that of raising a family and becoming a chef someday. For this woman of the world, life is too short, and the best is yet to come.
(First published in Marie Claire, November 2008; Photo by Mark Nicdao)