Tribute: Makeup guru Fanny Serrano wore many hats

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at May 11 2022 07:57 PM

Celebrity stylist, make-up artist and fashion designer Fanny Serrano will always be fondly remembered as the man who wore many hats. He was also an actor in a number of memorable films and worked as a costume designer. He even tried his hand at directing.

Fondly known as Tita Fanny to his colleagues in the showbiz circle or simply “TF” to those who are really close to him, Serrano worked with the biggest names in tinseltown – from Lorna Tolentino and Sharon Cuneta to Kris Aquino and Maricel Soriano.

Serrano passed away on Tuesday night at 74, more than a year after he suffered a massive stroke. 

Born Felix Mariano Fausto, Jr., Serrano grew up without a father. At a young age, he took on the roles as both father and mother to his siblings. His mom took on all sorts of odd jobs to support their family.

Early on, Serrano learned to do the laundry, clean the house, fetch water and take care of his younger brothers and sisters. He found ways to augment their income by selling chocolates and candies. He also learned to sell old newspapers, magazines and bottles.

Most of his nephews and nieces benefitted from Serrano’s kind-heartedness. Some of the children grew up with him, although they learned to be independent and strong. Those traits he ingrained in the kids to allow them to live on their own.

He earlier told the kids of the eventual reality. In the article of Bing Parel Salud on the Philippine Star, Serrano disclosed: “When I die, that will be the end of it. They will start their own lives without me. I will not be leaving them with any debts; neither will I leave them with any inheritance which they will have to divide among themselves.

“The only thing I will leave them are memories of what they have learned in life, which will enable them to stand on their own.”

In September 2016, Serrano had his first stroke and was brought to the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. He recovered from that, was able to return to his business, and even did a movie (“Jesusa”) three years later.

Even before he became noted for making actresses beautiful, Serrano tried his mettle in front of the camera and was seen in Maria Saret’s “Bakit May Bilanggo sa Anak ni Eba” (1973), with Dante Rivero, Eddie Gutierrez, Gina Pareño and Rosanna Ortiz; Joey Gosiengfiao’s “Babae” (1977), with Amalia Fuentes, Gloria Diaz and Pilar Pilapil; Christian Espiritu’s “Alaga” (1980); and Eddie Garcia’s “Sinasamba Kita” (1980), with Vilma Santos, Lorna Tolentino, Christopher de Leon and Phillip Salvador.

The year was 1977, when Serrano tried his hand as a make-up artist and hair stylist for the first time with Celia Rodriguez in “Maligno.”

Then, Serrano also ventured into the colorful world of costume design with Luciano B. Carlos’ “Maria Went To Town” (1987), starring Maricel Soriano with three leading men – Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano and William Martinez; and “Inday Bote” (1985).

Serrano became the make-up artist of Cuneta in a number of the Megastar’s films, from Pablo Santiago’s “Kahit Konting Pagtingin” (1990) opposite action king Fernando Poe, Jr., to Olivia Lamasan’s “Madrasta” (1996) and “Minsan Minahal Kita” (2000), Jose Javier Reyes’ “Kung Ako Na Lang Sana” (2003).

No wonder, Serrano became a multi-hyphenate showbiz worker in the long run. He worked as a director, too, and megged “Maalaala Mo Kaya” (MMK) episodes – “Bridal Gown” (1996) and “Pusod” (1997).

He starred in six “MMK” episodes and displayed his acting prowess in “Sinturon” (1991), “Relo” (1992), “Chimes” (1994), “Baril-Barilan” (1999), “Salamin” (2003) and “Sketch Pad” (2017).

Serrano returned to acting and played the lead in Neal Tan’s “Tarima” (2010), where he figured in a controversial love scene opposite then new actor Rocky Salumbides, who became a “Pinoy Big Brother” celebrity housemate.

“Tarima” is a small room inside the prison grounds, where an inmate is allowed to share an intimate time with his partner. Serrano, who was a Born-Again Christian, nonetheless took on the challenging role and delivered the demands his character required.

He aspired to get an acting award for his role in “Tarima,” but fate had a different plan for him. The film also starred Gloria Romero, Rustica Carpio and Gina Alajar.

Being a renewed Christian was what prompted Serrano to use his real name, Felix Mariano Fausto, Jr., when he shared his testimonies in gatherings he attended. 

Ronald Carballo’s “Jesusa” (2019) with Sylvia Sanchez in the title role, allowed Serrano to return to acting.

In 2020, Serrano joined the cast of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry, Joel Lamangan’s “Isa Pang Bahaghari,” with Nora Aunor, Phillip Salvador and Michael de Mesa.