Yes, doll-faced Ria Atayde is White Castle Whisky’s 2023 calendar girl, with all her round and womanly curves captured in all their gorgeous glory.
To be sure, most, if not everyone, has already laid eyes on the tastefully seductive layouts of glamour photographer Dix Perez for the alcohol brand’s decades-long tradition of selecting a face – and body – to represent them for the year. Long part of Filipino pop culture – the White Castle Whisky Lady in a red bikini riding that iconic white horse – Ria actually joins an elite and exclusive group of women who have graced the legendary calendar with the likes of Evangeline Pascual, Lorna Tolentino, Techie Agbayani, Carmi Martin, Maria Isabel Lopez, Cristina Gonzales, Glydel Mercado and Roxanne Guinoo to name a few. She stands out, however, for being the first White Castle Whisky lady who isn’t of a standard waistline, shape or mold and is both honored and mighty proud to be so. Because all the same, Ria dazzles and generates the same impact as the muses before her, albeit in more modest swimwear, body suits and cover-ups that are just as alluring as the uniform two-piece that until now had been indispensable to all calendar girls.
All this is intentional, of course, as Destileria Limtuaco President and CEO Olivia Limpe-Aw confirmed this week’s unveiling of Ria’s trio of 2023 calendars.
“As we celebrate 60 years of White Castle, we wish to highlight the fact that physical beauty is not confined to a single mold. We are proud to say that White Castle will continue its diversity in beauty campaign,” said the prominent lady business leader. Distileria has indeed gone against the grain before Ria, launching the very first calendar boy in 2021 (YouTube chef and content creator Ninong Ry), following up the coup via public voting, and duly naming an LGBT celebrity and Tiktok sensation (Sassa Gurl) as 2022 calendar girl.
Now back to spotlighting calendar girls, Ria is just as genius of a choice in diversity and inclusivity, not only for her physique but a good head on her shoulders and her principled and outspoken personality.
“I never thought that I would see myself as a calendar girl, so I was in disbelief [I was chosen]. Talaga ba? So I am very overwhelmed. I was so touched because big girls usually don’t get cast in something like this, and yet here we are, with all that confidence this experience has given me.” The woman of the moment continued, “I am honored to be chosen as a White Castle Whisky Girl as the brand allows and supports me in my advocacy to empower each and every woman to embrace her femininity and celebrate her body.”
Popular for her showbiz career and social media presence, there’s no doubt that Ria will emerge an effective champion of body positivity, which to this day eludes not just her generation of women but women of all ages.
Unique and inspiring for being comfortable and confident in her own skin, The T-Zone had to ask Ria how she’s been able to rise above the pressure of losing weight or pining for a model’s figure amid a business environment and audience that puts too much premium on the old age standards of beauty – tall, thin fair and so on.
Ria’s answer is a knockout: “I can’t deny I was affected by all of that. I’m human naman. I still feel that once in a while. But I think it’s a matter of recalibrating my mindset. Like, say if I work out, I work out not because I hate my body, but rather because I want to take care of it and love it.
“And I think that made all the difference for me because before, I used to have body dysmorphia too and sometimes it still hits me. But now it’s just a lot more looking towards it as a positive thing. It’s a matter of turning off all the noise because, at the end of the day, it should only be the opinions of the people that matter to you that should affect you.” Bravo Ria! Bravo, White Castle Whisky!