Maria Isabel Lopez stands out from the other bold stars of the 80’s for her achievements both before and after her sexy movies. Born in Cagayan de Oro City in 1957, Maria Isabel studied Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines. In 1982, she entered the Binibining Pilipinas Universe pageant. For her final pageant question, she was asked by judge Rita Gomez if she was still a virgin. Setting the stage for the liberated and controversial celebrity she would later become, the twenty-four-year-old beauty fired back, “Will it make me win the crown if I said yes?” She did win the title, and later that year represented the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant in Lima, Peru. Though she did not win, she entered show business after the pageant and went on to become one of the most sought after actresses in the Philippines.
Her first film was the 1983 big budget production Sana Bukas Pa Ang Kahapon. The following year she made a daring career move by staring in the bold movie, Isla. This was followed by a string of bold movies-
-which included explicit Pene scenes, as well as two of the most sizzling lesbian sex scenes in Philippine cinema: with Barbara Luna in Heartache City (1985); and with Stella Suarez, Jr. in Mga Nakaw Na Sandali (1986). (As a side note, in 2007 Ms. Lopez admitted to actually having had several lesbian affairs.)
Her bold movies did not tarnish her film career. Maria Isabel remained active in show business and went on to many acclaimed movie roles. In 2009 she won the Golden Screen Best Supporting Actress Award for her role in Brilliante Mendoza’s movie Kinatay. She walked the red carpet at the Cannes International Film Festival in France for that same film. Over the years, she won five other supporting actress awards and was nominated eight additional times for supporting or lead actress roles. Maria Isabel continues a busy acting schedule in both film and television. She remains a stunning beauty.
In addition to her acting accomplishments, she was a Secretary of the NCCA National Commission for Culture and Arts Committee on Visual Arts, and a Line Producer of Independent Films. She is separated from her husband, Japanese national Hiroshi Yokohama. They have two children. Their daughter, Mara Lopez, is also now an actress.