Everyone knows Susan Africa as someone grossly typecast as the sickly mother in soap operas. But if only her credentials could speak, they would respectfully disagree. Yahoo Philippines sat down with the underrated actress at the pocket interview for “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real,” where she is a cast member and here are some facts we discovered.
1. Her day job includes an executive position in an MBA school and the editorship of a school magazine
Susan is Associate Director of Alumni Relations at Asian Institute of Management (AIM), one of the leading graduate schools in the region. She’s also Associate Editor of AIM’s alumni leadership magazine. Not only that. She’s program manager at the Makati-based MBA school. Before AIM, she was Ballet Philippines’ Corporate Development Director for 16 years.
2. She is runner-up to 1980 Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Chat Silayan
Susan finished first runner-up in the beauty pageant in 1980, the year Maria Rosario "Chat” Silayan won as the Philippines’ Miss Universe bet. To date, the 5’7” ageless beauty still rocks with a very slim figure she said she maintains through diet (She would sound the alarm when she gets heavier than 120 lbs.).
3. She is married to a veteran actor 20 years her senior
Susan and Spanky Manikan (his latest TV project cast him as Coco Martin’s grandpa in “Ikaw Lamang” Book 1) are happily married for 27 years now. They have three children: 2 boys, 1 girl. Susan said she didn’t mind the wide age gap and shared that she fell in love with Spanky’s intelligence and wit. They first met in a 1979 theater production at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The relationship grew while the already-established theater actor mentored the newbie stage actress in Bulwagang Gantimpala's long-running play “Kanser.”
4. She used to host Sesame (eventually renamed Batibot)
Before there was Batibot—a phenomenal long-running children’s show, there was Sesame, whose human characters include Ate Sylvia aka Susan Africa.
5. Her favorite and most challenging role is Charlie, a mama san in “Olongapo the Great American Dream.”
Susan’s first big break earned her a Best Supporting Actress trophy at the 1987 Metro Manila Film Festival.
6. She used to play mataray roles long before she was typecast as a pitiful mother in teleseryes
Before "Mara Clara” where she played Judy Ann Santos’ poor mother for six long years, Susan has been typecast in either “mataray” or “matapobreng donya" characters.
7. 'Susan Africa' is one of the most-viewed parody songs of Shakira's Waka Waka (It’s Time For Africa)
Sung by Sir Rex Kantatero and Pakito Jones, a duo of singing Filipino DJs from iFM, "Susan Africa" is a tribute of sorts to the soap opera actress. The video has been streamed at over 1 million views on YouTube since it was uploaded in December 2010. Waka Waka is the official song of the 2010 World Cup written to celebrate the soccer tourney and its host country, Africa.