LOS ANGELES, California — It’s hard to meet Teresa Herrera without feeling like a major underachiever. Having graced countless magazines and ads all over Asia as a professional model, become an accomplished actor in Los Angeles, and in recent years, teacher of a unique brand of yoga (one that lets you dance!) and hosting the local franchise of the television hit Project Runway for two seasons, it makes me question: What’s her beef with free time?
When she does have some time off, though, she doesn’t laze around watching DVDs like the rest of us. This girl lives it up by traveling to the most exotic locales counting Croatia and the Caribbean as her favorite spots last year.
After living in Manila for two years, Teresa however has recently packed her yoga mat to relocate to her first home, the City of Angels: LA, where she signed on with a brand new management to explore hosting opportunities and maybe enter the world of producing. That’s not saying, though, that she won’t be back upon our shores. With the right project (a third season of everyone’s guilty pleasure, perhaps?), she’ll be on the next flight over to resume her commitments.
She drives around the big city in an eco-friendly Prius and picks me up to check out artist haven Venice Beach and nearby Abbot Kinney Road where she talks about hooker heels, cake decorating and why she cried yesterday.
THE DIALOGUE: Your image has launched countless products in Asia and beyond. If you could change one physical feature, what would it be?
TERESA HERRERA: My ears. I was a naughty kid growing up and my dad always pinched my ears whenever I was in trouble. (Laughs)
The downward dog got everyone’s imagination going. For you, which yoga pose still makes you say “Ouch!”
Koundinyasana: one leg twisting, arm balance.
What’s a random skill or habit that most people don’t know you possess?
Cake decorating! I grew up in a bakery and can decorate a five-tier stacked fondant wedding cake with my eyes closed!
What would be one thing you won’t be caught wearing?
Hooker heels. You know, the Lucite, clear plastic ones that scream you need to find the nearest pole.
Do you agree with the saying “First love never dies”?
Absolutely! It will always be that pure ideal that you compare most relationships to. “We were young and innocent then…”
What advice would you give yourself, 10 years ago?
Have more fun! I was very focused and serious about pursuing a career so that I opted out of most of the fun going on around me.
Honestly, how do you feel about Heidi Klum’s voice?
I like her! She’s so cute and bubbly.
What mantra do you live by?
Keep it real. Keep it simple.
Last year you were aboard a yacht in Croatia and swam under the Caribbean sun. Where is your next exotic destination?
Maldives, summer 2010!
So many girls nowadays labels themselves as “models.” In your opinion, who has what it takes among the new crop of emerging girls?
Internationally, I would have to say Chat Almarvez of Ford Models in New York. She is at the right place, at the right time, delivering the right goods! Plus, she’s Pinay!
Which film made an impact on your life?
The Godfather, Part 2. It taught me a lot about business, dealing with people, and how to always protect yourself.
Who do you follow on Twitter?
All the fashion magazines: Vogue, Elle UK, French Vogue and Status. Also, the news: CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Seantourage.
They say it’s the most important meal of the day. What did you have for breakfast?
Egg sandwich! I’m a big breakfast person.
You always seem composed and poised. When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday! I was watching the documentary, The Cove. I was really saddened by how people choose to be ignorant when it comes to depleting the world’s natural resources (dolphins in this case). It makes me really angry and I feel for the animals. I’ve been a diver for over 14 years and I’ve swum with these amazing creatures and it was magical.
You board planes more than the average Jane. What’s a staple in your suitcase?
Most of the time, I travel with the basics: jeans, T-shirts, cocktail dresses, awesome shoes and, of course, a bikini. You never know which beach or boat you’ll end up on.
It’s time to use the “f” word. Who are you a fan of?
In film and television: Anne Curtis because she’s such a good actress! I’m really impressed with her. I also love Oprah, Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett. In fashion: Alexander McQueen, Nicolas Ghesquière, Jerome Salaya Ang. In music: Jay Z, Die Antwoord, Bass Nectar, The XX. In art: Francesco Clemente, Barry Mcgee, Shepard Fairy.
What do you indulge in during your “cheat days”?
Dark chocolate, Sprinkles cupcakes, good red wine, Pinkberry frozen yogurt, Krispy Kreme, pizza… I keep all these goodies on rotation.
What’s the worst thing a guy can do on a first date?
Talk about crazy ex-girlfriends. Major turnoff! It makes me think, “Hmmm , what did you do to make her crazy?”
What do you love about LA that we don’t have in Manila; and what do you love about Manila that you don’t have in LA?
In LA: I really love my lifestyle here. I love that I can go hiking in the morning, do my meetings and shoots during the day, have dinner then attend an event all in one day. I have a wide range of interests and I like a lot of space.
In Manila: I love that my friends and family are just a text away! And I can take off to go diving for the weekend!
How is the dating scene different in both cities?
I’m not a “dater.” I know what I like — when I see it, I go after it.
You’re a Hollywood-trained actress. What do you like most about hosting?
Hosting is more like improvisation, it’s very spontaneous and in the moment. Acting, however, requires a little more prep time.
Who has the sexiest brain for you?
A man who can sustain my interest.
Who do you think have nice bodies?
Rodrigo Santoro and Monica Belluci.
You’re a California girl at heart and grew up in LA. What is the most Filipino thing about you?
I’m a family girl! I love, love, love hanging out with my family and miss them very much when I’m away.
WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY: RAYMOND GUTIERREZ