SHE IS GEARING UP FOR BROADWAY
It’s been 25 years since a 17-year old Puerto Rican became Miss Universe. That young woman, Dayanara Torres, became a star almost immediately. She lived in the Filipines, and the U.S., forging a career in conduction and acting, on T.V. and movies. After she became a mom, Dayanara decided to step away from showbusiness to raise her two sons, now teenagers. She is back. She just conquered the most recent season of “Mira Quién Baila” (Look who’s dancing) and she is now getting ready for Broadway.
Dancing and singing
After being elected as Miss Universe in 1993, Dayanara Torres made a career on T.V., theater and film. She has also been a singer, model, and author of a very successful book called “Married to Me.” Dayanara has shown what it means to be a wholesome artist. On the most recent season of the Univision show “Mira Quién Baila”, she became the absolute winner. By perfecting her dancing skills, she is now getting ready for musical theater on Broadway.
What is the best memory you have from the show “Mira quién baila”?
Dayanara Torres: There are many beautiful memories. I was able to bring a big check to the San Jorge Hospital Children’s Foundation, that needed it so much. I brought happiness to my island, that is going through one of the hardest times in history. And I felt great satisfaction to see the emotion and pride on my children’s faces when they saw me succeed doing what I like.
Which rhythm was the hardest to learn?
DT: I think one of the hardest was Jive. It was too fast and required extreme precision… and I had never danced it before. It was a great challenge for me.
Which rhythm do you dance the best?
DT: Salsa, merengue… I feel I have them in my blood.
Before dancing, you sang and even recorded an album. Are there any plans to go back to music?
DT: At the moment, I don’t have any plans for music; but I am considering returning to theater. That way, I could act, sing and dance, all at the same time. Going to Broadway would be a big dream come true for me.
Being a mom
After her divorce from Marc Anthony in 2004, the former Miss Universe rebuilt her life on two strong pillars, her sons. Christian Anthony and Ryan Anthony were born from her marriage to the Puerto Rican singer. She took a break from showbusiness to live a more private life that would allow her to raise her children. 17-year-old Christian and 14-year-old Ryan are now teenagers and the biggest promoters of their mother’s talent.
What was your biggest challenge as a mother?
DT: I think the biggest challenge was to raise them on my own. And by that, I mean that, like any other mother, we don’t have a manual of instructions on how to do it. I learn every day. My children teach me to be a better mom. I hope I’m doing a good job as a mother, which is the most important role of my life.
What kind of mother are you?
DT: I am a fun mom. I guarantee you there is no one day in our lives that we are not laughing; we all have the same sense of humor. We like the same things. We are a family of nerds.
What do you want your children to remember about you?
DT: I want them to remember that I was always there for them. I put my career aside to be with them. I was there when they needed me the most. Sometimes I have been tough with them, but they know I am dedicated to them.
What advice would you give to the Hispanic moms who are raising their children in the U.S.?
DT: They need to remember that our culture lives in us, the mothers. It doesn’t matter where we are, it is our duty to teach our children what is ours. It is our responsibility to teach them the value of our roots. Our children must be proud of where they come from.
This actress and conductor is proud of her origins. She was born in a small town called Toa Alta, located on the northern part of the island, west of Bayamon. That place has nothing to do with the urban feel of New York and Los Angeles, where this Puerto Rican girl has lived in the past few decades. Toa Alta is a rural mountain town, where chickens, goats and cows graze in front of the houses. Dayanara is proud of her origins and remembers her life on the island.
What message do you have regard the recovery of Puerto Rico?
DT: We are warriors. We don’t give up easily. I know we will raise up from this difficult situation stronger. These are difficult times for us. I lost my father in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and my pain remains in my heart every day. Little by little we are recovering, and I don’t lose my hope.
What is the best memory you have from your life in Puerto Rico?
DT: The times I spent with my family, my siblings, in our home. I also remember how much fun we had on our trips to the island’s beaches, which are wonderful.
What is your favorite Puerto Rican dish?
DT: Without a doubt the pork roast with “arroz con gandules” and fried plantains.
When you close your eyes and think about the island, what image comes to your mind?
DT: Walking the coast and seeing the small seafood shacks everywhere.
The other island
Dayanara traveled the world when she was Miss Universe. After that, between 1994 and 2000, she moved to the Philippines to conduct the musical show ASAP Mania. In 1995, she met Philippine actor Aga Muhlach and had a romantic relationship that lasted 4 years. She also participated in several movies. She remembers the Philippines as a second home, that gave her happy life experiences and good memories.
Any good memory from your life in the Philippines that you would like to share?
DT: I spent five years there. During that time, I had the opportunity of conducting two TV shows. I also made a lot of commercials and even some movies. I was happy in that country. The love Philippines showed me is hard to forget. They still love me today.
Do you miss your time as an actress?
DT: I have been blessed and I have had the opportunity to participate on movies that are timed perfectly. I had projects during the summer, that worked around the school break. I can’t complaint.
The model and beauty queen
For Dayanara, her participation on the Miss Universe was like a fairytale come true. She was discovered by the organizers of Miss Puerto Rico while walking on the streets of her hometown. After winning at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, where Miss Universe 1993 took place, her beauty and her humility became qualities that she still has today. And with the passing of time, she has shown great discipline to keep her timeless beauty, as if years haven’t passed.
What is the best advice to stay in shape?
DT: Eating well and drinking lots of water is crucial. Then, I recommend to exercise. I have practice Zumba for exercise and it works great for me. I love it because it doesn’t feel like exercise… and I am always smiling on the class. I love it!
What is your perfect breakfast?
DT: To start, I drink my coffee with hazelnut or caramel. Then I make sourdough toast with butter. Some other times, I eat eggs scrambled with vegetables.
What is your go-to fitness routine?
Any excess you have had that you don’t regret?
DT: Eating the traditional dishes from Puerto Rico, especially those my mother cooks.
On the road to Broadway
After her successful participation on “Mira Quien Baila,” (Look who’s dancing) Dayanara Torres is getting ready for her debut in musical theater in Broadway. This Puerto Rican artist is convinced that she will be able to use her multiple talents in Broadway. Her project will allow her to sing, dance, and act, an it will be unveiled in 2019.
Mom above all
Her sons, Christian and Ryan are her main motivation. She encourages them to follow their dreams. They inherited their father’s musical talent. They can learn and play any song, by ear, with the guitar. Ryan even has a band with his friends. Dayanara makes sure they continue to speak Spanish at home. “Sometimes they even speak it in front of their friends to show off,” said Dayanara.
Her beloved Puerto Rico
Dayanara is still in love with her hometown. Almost daily, on her Instagram account, she publishes pictures from different areas of Puerto Rico. Those who follow her can see pictures from Poza del Obispo, Naguabo, Vega Baja and El Yunke. Dayanara is working to promote the natural wonders of the island. Her hope is that many people visit Puerto Rico and for no one to forget that Puerto Ricans are going through difficult times.