Raelene Elaine Ebaler Villanía (born June 29, 1986 in Australia), better known as Iya Villania, is a Filipina-Australian actress, host, singer and model.Mostly credited for being one of Philippines television’s most visible and prominent personalities, she shares hosting roles for notable TV shows like ASAP ’08, U Can Dance, Wowowee, Us Girls and as a VJ for MYX music channel.
I . BIO
FULL NAME: Raelene Elaine Villania
SCREEN NAME: “Iya Villania”
NICK NAME: “Bubba” or “Len” to her family, “Rae” to her Highschool friends
BIRTHDATE: 29 June 1986
PLACE OF BIRTH: Australia
FAMILY: Dad is Ray, Mum is Ellen; Sisters: Rhoda and Sheila
Colegio San Agustin – 2nd to 4th Year High School
De La Salle University – AB Psychology (Sophomore)
II. More About Iya:
SHE’S A SPORTS BABE
The youngest of three sisters, she used to be a tomboyish girl, she loved playing “touch footy,” a less physically violent variation of the rough sport. “You just tag players instead of tackling them,” she explains. “But when unsupervised, we tend to tackle each other really hard.” This is sort of CUTE: Her name Iya is an anime character’s name. (Remember that Globe XTM Commercial?) Aside from her, she’d like to be Buttercup of The Powerpuff Girls. She’s cute and tough. Iya also loves Tigger and Cookie Monster.
Her CellPhone. Unlike a lot of us Cell phone addicts,(ehem.) whom this ex-GJ used to send into a texting frenzy, Iya uses prepaid phone cards at an average of P300 a week- even two weeks or a month. “I don’t really use my cell phone that much. I don’t call people, they call me,” she jests. Anyway, in case you want to know, she owns a Nokia 6600 and she changed the casing to pink one.
NoyPi! Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Iya is a true blue Pinoy. Check this out: Filipino parents, Sydney upbringing, royal accent. Proud to be Pinoy she is-and flaunts it by trying to speak the brown man’s tongue. She can say, “nakakapagpabagabag” 5 times.
Thanks to the Karaoke Influenced and inspired by his dad’s fondness for karaoke, at age seven she discovered her vocal chops from her My Way-singing dad. At 13, she has been doing front acts to Filipino big time singers and actors who would visit and perform in Australia every now and then. Iya was only 13 when she was first spotted by talent manager Arnold Vegafria in a show co-produced by her mother. As Geneva Cruz’s opening act, she sang Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.” “He told me to get in touch with him if ever I decide to go to the Philippines and become a singer,” she remembers. Hurray for everyone who loves karaoke!!! HURRAY!
“HELLER” – an expression spreading around like some contagious airborne virus these days, in the same way most new phrases take on strange lives of their own. It’s supposed to be another variation of “hello,” supposedly of the Australian persuasion. Thanks to her Aussie twang. People are tracing its origins to our beloved Iya. When asked about how she feels about it, “I don’t really know,” (with that last word sounding like “neur”). “That’s just the way I say ‘hello.’ You know, I don’t even hear the ‘er.’ People come up to me and say ‘hel-ler.’ Well, I don’t like to think about it. I saw it coming. Anyway, I love that word.”
THE HOLY BIBLE
Her traditional Filipino upbringing in Sydney has turned her into a responsible young lass, a devout follower of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, in fact. “My strongest weapon is the Bible, which I had been taught to read as a child. We go to church on Saturdays and our Sabbath is from Friday to the sunset of Saturday. I have a strong relationship with God and I talk to Him always.”
I’m not a star! Things weren’t as easy at first. She did a frightening amount of VTR tests, with not-so-encouraging results. She wasn’t getting hired, and it got to a point when she took the rejections personally, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ But thanks to the now defunct, GameChannel. Iya got her break being a Game Jock interacting with the players of the show. Few commercials followed and she was hired to play the role of ‘Sydney’ in GMA 7′s youth oriented show, Click. Despite the attention and hellers, Iya doesn’t consider herself a star yet. “There’s so much competition, so many people better than me. I’m not the best. I’d like to think I’m still trying. Like, I’m still doing all those VTRs.”
About the accent. Her accent isn’t something she’s conscious of. She said that, it’s the people around her who make her conscious. Iya speaks with an unapologetic Aussie accent and manages to make vowel endings sound like ‘er,’ or even ‘ewr.’ But she’s not about to drop any of that anytime soon. “My accent is part of me. Although I have been criticized for having a foreign accent, I’m not about to lose it. People just have to accept me for what I am.”
Singing Career: Due to numerous offerings and school loads, Villania’s singing career, her main reason for coming in the Philippines, had to take a backseat. In spite of this, she still was given the opportunity to demonstrate her talent on many occasions. In 2003, she front-acted for the American pop rock band Hanson. In 2005, she had a singing duet with Ogie Alcasid in his Valentine concert. Beside singing for most of her part in Footloose The Musical, she recorded “Almost Paradise” with Jay-R which became the carrier song for the musical’s album release. In 2006, in-line with her endorsement for Rose Online, she recorded the game’s carrier single “Good To Be Me” and performed it during the game’s official launching.
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