First of a series of lifestyle features on presidential candidates' wives/partners
MANILA, Philippines - Among the current crop of possible First Ladies, Tarlac 1st District Rep. Monica Louise "Nikki" Prieto-Teodoro is undoubtedly one of the most stylish and well-groomed.
A blogger once called her the Philippine version of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the glamorous wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Though they may be at par in terms of good looks and fashion sense, Prieto-Teodoro's husband, presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro Jr., says there's more to his wife than that.
"You know, I mean, with the looks, probably. With the sense of style or whatnot, that's valid. But with the background? Probably not," the former Defense Secretary told abs-cbnNEWS.com in an interview last year.
Prieto-Teodoro, who comes from the wealthy Roces and Prieto clans, graduated with a degree in International Marketing from Webster University in Switzerland. She became a commercial model for Pantene and Bank of the Philippine Islands.
She married Teodoro in 1992. They have an 11-year-old son, Jaime Gilberto Teodoro.
During her husband's stint as Congressman, Prieto-Teodoro served as the Vice-Chairperson of the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc., a charitable body.
In 2007, Prieto-Teodoro replaced her husband as Tarlac 1st District representative. Well known as a children's welfare advocate, she helped build the Amor Complex, a children's shelter in Tarlac, and the Golden Rooster Foundation that raises funds for underprivileged children.
Here are Prieto-Teodoro's answers to some questions posed by abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak:
What's your fashion sense? What makes your style unique?
I am a jeans, shirt and boots person. I love wearing my 15-year-old boots. I believe that clothes don't make a person, it's the person who puts a difference in the clothes that he or she wears.
Who is your stylist or fashion consultant?
Rajo Laurel, Paul Cabral, Joe Salazar, Pitoy Moreno and Jean Goulbourn.
If a customs official were to open your hand bag right now, what would he or she find?
My phone, planner, calling cards, compact, lip gloss, breath mints and rosary.
Suppose your husband wins as president, which designer would you most likely approach for your Inauguration dress? Who is your favorite designer?
I have no idea yet, all of them are special to me.
What is your secret to staying well-groomed and beautiful?
I just wash my face using Cetaphil and then I use toner and moisturizer. Doing a 30-minute walk around the village also helps a lot. I eat more often but in small proportions. In applying make-up, less is more.
What are your favorite hobbies or sports?
Horseback riding, scuba diving and biking.
How do you relax after a stressful or hectic day?
Bike with my son and play with my dogs.
During campaign sorties, what things can't you do without?
Hat and water.
What is your pet peeve?
What are your tips for working moms who want to keep a well-balanced lifestyle?
Know your priorities. In my case, I put my family first. They are my source of strength and joy. Also, find a cause that you can be passionate about like children's welfare. At the end of the day, you should love what you are doing.
When you want something done, how do you get your way?
I set my mind on it. I have a mental checklist and a time table on what needs to be done. I ask the help of other people and explain to them why it is important for them to pitch in to the vision.
Do you consider yourself a good cook? What's your favorite dish?
My husband Gilbert is much better than I am in cooking. But I can make a good lemon chicken and spaghetti with bolognese.
Describe your parenting style. Do you have tips for other parents?
I am a hands-on Mom. Tips? When you talk to you kids, do it in such a way that they will understand. We should go down to their level and not the other way around. No matter how busy you are, spend a lot of quality time with them. Take them to a movie or play their favorite sports.
What books have you read lately?
"The Road of Lost Innocence" by Somaly Mam; "Girl with Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier; "Eat, Pray and Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert; and "The Great Pretenders" by Jan Bondeson.
Describe your typical workday. Has your husband's campaign for the presidency changed your lifestyle?
My typical workday is long but fulfilling. With Gibo's campaign for presidency, my schedule is not my schedule anymore.
To what extent, would you say, do you influence your husband's decisions?
Gibo is his own man. My tender, loving care works sometimes.
-Report by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak.