|CHARO SANTOS, as a Print Ad model for Seiko Watches, 1975.|
Considered as one of the most powerful women of media—being a top executive of the largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the Philippines, CHARO SANTOS started from the ranks, working her way up the corporate ladder by taking on many paths that proved her mettle, creativity, managerial skills, and business savvy.
She was born Maria Rosario Navarro Santos (b. 27 Oct. 1955), to Dr. Winifredo Santos and Nora Navarro from Oriental Mindoro. Her initial route to fame was through beauty pageants—at age 16 she won the 1971 Miss Southern Tagalog Athletic Association title and was crowned Miss Calapan two years later.
|CHARO SANTOS (center)as one of the 6 Baron Travel Girl Finalists, 1976|
But it was while a student of St. Paul’s College that Santos started gaining national attention when she won a string of beauty titles, beginning with Miss Green Race 1974—a pageant designed to drum up publicity for the Green Revolution project of then First Lady, Imelda Marcos.
In 1975, Santos was named as one of Manila’s Five Prettiest for the year. As if that was not enough, she topped the 1976 Baron Travel Girl, a prestigious corporate pageant. In between, she became a professional ramp and commercial model, appearing in “Bagong Anyo” fashion shows and in a few print advertisements as featured here.
SEIKO was already a world-renowned Japanese watch company when it began marketing SEIKO branded clocks and watches in the Philippines beginning in 1967. They quickly began to gain market share in the country because of its material and workmanship quality and affordability. The latest models of SEIKO Watches were advertised on print, and Charo Santos was chosen to model the ladies’ line in 1975.
|THE FACE OF JOIE. 1975|
JOIE was a cosmetics line produced by Vibelle Manufacturing Corp.—the same maker of the popular Caronia Nail Polish. Introduced in the early 1970s, JOIE COSMETICS included products like lip gloss, capless lipstics, beauty cake, pressed powder and even a herbal shampoo. Charo Santos became the face of JOIE, and for awhile, JOIE had a brief run of commercial success. Marketing of JOIE was gradually discontinued as the personal care market changed due to changing consumer expectations.
After graduation from college where she graduated cum laude, Santos forayed into the movies both as an actress and as a producer. Her performance as the possessed girl in Mike de Leon’s “Itim” won her the 1977 Asian Film Festival Best Actress Award. In the 1980s, she produced such classics as Oro, Plata, Mata and Himala under the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines. She became the creative force behind the productions of Vanguard Films and Vision Films before moving to Regal Films. In 1987, Santos was invited to join the newly re-opened ABS-CBN and began her ascent to the top of the corporate ladder. The rest is history.