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Dayanara Torres on UPN-MyNetworkTV’s new television drama ‘Watch Over Me’
An exclusive interview with former Ms. Universe 1993 and Philippines’ one and only ‘Dancing Queen’

by Oliver Carnay

Former Miss Universe 1997 - Dayanara Torres plays Julia Rivera in WATCH OVER ME, a classic love triangle between her fiance Michael Krieger (portrayed by Marc Menard), a successful businessman engaged in devious business practices, and ex-Special Forces operative Jack Porter (Todd Cahoon), who Michael has hired to protect them. The series airs Monday through Friday over the span of 13 weeks on UPN / MyNetworkTV Channel 13 (produced by Fox Television company). WATCH OVER ME also stars Casper Van Dien and Catherine Oxenberg. (Dayanara Torres photo taken by Oliver Carnay during 75th Hollywood Christmas Parade)

The last time I talked with former Ms. Universe 1993 – Dayanara Torres was late last year during Teen’s Choice Awards held at the Universal Amphitheatre. She mentioned about moving from Miami to Los Angeles and is reviving her disrupted Hollywood career after her divorce with singer Marc Anthony.

When I found out that she is riding the float for the 75th Hollywood Christmas Parade to promote her new television show on MyNetworktv UPN 13 entitled “Watch Over Me,” I took the time not to pass out the opportunity to interview her again. Fresh from attending the 2007 Ginoong Pilipinas-USA, I got out of the plane from San Francisco and headed straight, right in time to arrive at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel before she walked the red carpet. She was surprised to see me again. Here’s an excerpt of my interview with her:

OC: You’ve been in Manila for only a couple of days. It’s kind of short, but how was the trip and how long were you gone for Manila?

DT: It was really short, Oliver, just for five days, but I have a really good time. The reception was very, very nice, and it brings a lot of memories to me. I was there endorsing and promoting Beverly Hills 6750, the beauty clinic owned by Jessica Rodriguez and David Buenavacz. It also helps promote the tourism-program in the country, and you know that Philippines have a special place in my heart!

OC: How are your two boys, Ryan and Christian?

DT: I did not take my boys with me in the Philippines, so that is one thing why I cannot really stay longer. Next time I come, I’ll bring them along so we can have a nicer time together. I want to go back and introduce them how nice is the Philippines.

OC: The last time we talked was during the Teen’s Choice Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre last year. You told me you wanted to move here in L.A. What happened next?

DT: Yes, as you know, I am living here now in L.A. with my two sons. I was then in Miami knowing that I needed to be here. And finally, packed everything with my kids and started doing auditions again here in L.A. I stumbled upon this television project and just started shooting.

OC: I was surprised to see you on (UPN) Channel 13, in a teaser of a new television show, and that made me do this event (75th annual Christmas Parade) so I can talk to you. I specifically asked the publicist if you are going to be here. She said you are supposed to ride on “Watch Over Me” float, which is your new television drama. Can you tell me more about it?

DT: Yes, I’m currently finishing my latest project and promoting our new television show “Watch Over Me,” which starts airing on December 6 on MynetworkTV (Channel 13) in Los Angeles (Fox Television is producing the show). Today, our main cast will ride the float along Hollywood Blvd. … I’m very excited about this new show. We were in San Diego shooting for four months since June and we’ve finished sixty-six episodes. It actually airs every night from 9 to 10 p.m. It’s a love triangle. I play Julia Rivera, a student, very focused in her career and family and so in love with this perfect guy (Mark Menard). We’re in trouble so he hires a bodyguard to protect me. But I fell in love with my bodyguard, Jack Porter (Todd Cahoon), which is a guy who comes back from the war. He leaves the Navy Seal early because he fell in love with me. I was shot accidentally, and he was hired to protect me. My fiancé (Mark) is in a very bad business in the black market in the world. He is in love with me but also endangers my life, but he’s back trying to save the world again. We shot 66 episodes, which is three years worth of work. We shot in 16 weeks. Normally it is 22 episodes a year, that’s 365 days.

OC: What else your fans should look out for in the coming months?

DT: Well, this month, you can grab the December issue of the Vogue magazine, where I was featured in the spread. I’m still endorsing the clothing line for Metro Seven for Walmart, in which I’m also the spokesperson. I have finished a book for children called Healthy Smiles. It’s about two kids, Ricky and Andrea who are afraid to go to their dentist for the first time. What else? I support different projects such as non-profit organizations.

OC: I’ve asked you this before last time, but I’ll ask it again. Are you willing to stay in Manila if there’s a right project?

DT: If it’s the right project, it will have to work out with my kids’ schedules. I have kids -- and that’s the most important thing for me. I can probably bring the kids and stay longer in Manila, but only at a certain time when they are off from school, then, that will be great. But during the year for a longer time, definitely, it won’t do.

OC: What did you do for Thanksgiving Day?

DT: I had my whole family and my best friend here in L.A. Her husband from Puerto Rico came, and we celebrated altogether. The next day we went to Vegas and watch Celine Dion in concert.

OC: What’s your Christmas wish?

DT: I just wish of good health! I was in a little bit of trouble at the beginning of the year where I had an abdominal emergency operation, and maybe realized that the most important thing in life is health and that’s all we need. I am a mom with two kids. I don’t want to have anything to happen to me because I still have two kids growing up.

12.06.06 by OC