A healthy body goes with that face many are loving on TV. Oh, and there’s a cool guy beside her—Derek Ramsay
With her toned frame, clear skin and nonthreatening, conspiratorial way of talking, Joanne Villablanca seems cut out to be a wellness speaker. For a couple of years now, she and her brother Jose (@holisticjose) have been giving talks on health and wellness to desk-bound professionals.
“My brother is a fitness trainer; he’s the one who really pushed me to give corporate wellness talks, while he takes charge of the technical aspects, suggesting specific exercises participants can do in the office,” Villablanca said.
A commercial model since age 15, this Anlene brand ambassador is familiar with fad diets that promise quick results, but can be detrimental to one’s health in the long run. She’s tried everything, from subsisting on crackers and tuna to eating just chocolate several days before a big event.
“You drop a few pounds but then where’s the nutrition? It’s about eating balanced meals and getting the right amount of exercise. The topics I talk about are really based on my own experiences.”
Villablanca is the first to admit, however, that she doesn’t have an athlete’s bone in her body.
She’s tried tennis, volleyball and basketball, but realized early on that it wasn’t her thing.
“I do work out a lot, I’m very adventurous. Crawl in the mud, walk around barefoot, or scale mountains and get sunburnt? I’m okay with all that!”
She once clambered up a construction crane and rappelled to the ground for an adventure TV show, but the one thing she can’t wait to cross off her bucket list is skydiving.
“Derek has done it four or five times already. He’s adventurous, too, so it’s good we share interests,” she said.
“Derek” is her boyfriend, actor and TV host Derek Ramsay. With her 11-year-old daughter Sophie from a previous relationship, Villablanca and Ramsay have made a light-filled, animal-friendly home.
During our recent visit, we were asked to leave our shoes outside and were led to the living room with its view of the pool and an aquarium filled with brightly colored fish.
Three dogs padded silently by the pool area, peering through the closed sliding door, and maybe wondering why they weren’t being played with. Looking on with round, unblinking eyes was an owl perched on a branch in the space beneath the stairs.
Villablanca had just come from the gym and was dressed in singlet, leggings and trainers, not a slick of makeup on her face.
During the shoot that followed, she gently pinched and patted her cheeks for a naturally rosy flush.
“Since I don’t have an office job, I lift weights five days a week, sometimes even seven days a week. However, I work different groups of muscles on different days and make it a point to rest those muscles for two days.”
She and Ramsay seem to be a perfect fit. They both work out regularly, although he prefers strenuous contact sports and heavy lifting, while she is content to work out on her own or with a personal trainer.
“I go to the gym even if we have a rowing machine and several free weights at home. Sometimes there’s a trainer or I just follow a YouTube workout.”
Both love to travel—as seen in Ramsay’s IG account (@ramsayderek07)—but perhaps more importantly, he is very sweet and demonstrative to Sophie.
Villablanca admitted that since he began posting photos and short clips of them together, her number of IG followers has dramatically increased. People were curious about Ramsay’s girlfriend.
“It was a really big jump but since they followed me already, what they see on my IG (@villablancs) is who I am and what I do in terms of health and fitness. I get so many DMs (direct messages) now from people asking health-related questions, like whether or not to drink a particular protein shake. Others message me to say that I’m their ‘fitspiration.’”
Villablanca tries to reply to all. “I tell them what I know based on my experience. This worked for me, it might not for you,” she said.
One of her goals is to become a part-time Plana Forma instructor. She may be dating one of the country’s heartthrobs, but she is also a a mother, a model, and hopefully soon, an instructor.