Ellen Adarna , Gee Canlas , Topless , FHM Philippines, December 2016
IT WAS THE BLISTERING HEAT OF THE ZAMBALES SUN THAT TRIED TO UPSTA E ELLEN ADARNA DURING HE THIRD FHM COVER SHOOT.
Everything was serene—the lush greenery, wild flora, an expanse of sand and stone and rolling clouds on the horizon. As rays of splintering light from above shone through the pine branches, the scent of dry woodland grass escaped from beneath her feet. But there was no reprieve from the unforgiving humidity. It was sweltering hot. A temperature so palpable that both talent and crew were melting. We were only twenty minutes into the proceedings to be exact. Stark naked, with only thorny vines to barely cover what was needed, the Cebuana heiress-turned-actress remained a vision in front of the camera. With each shot, she seemed to resemble Mother Nature at her strongest: fiery yet benevolent, reckless yet in control. And then Ellen Adarna fainted. “I don’t know exactly what transpired,” she recalls. “At first, I was okay. Mainit lang. And then, all of a sudden, every time I’d blink, paitim na nang paitim yung nakikita ko. `Parang mahihimatay yata ako, kailangan ko ng tubig,’ I remember thinking to myself. And then I collapsed. I was no longer in front of the camera. I was no longer in the frame.” Panicked, everyone rushed to take Ellen back to the Zambawood mansion, a sprawling ranch estate that included a beach, a small forest, and an enviable stretch of farmland, which served as the location headquarters. She was given food, water, and sugar in her air-conditioned room. She was dehydrated, and was asked to rest.
We didn’t want to make Ellen suffer. The cover could wait. Everyone agreed we could always reschedule and that it might be a good idea to pack up and head home to Manila. But Ellen Adarna wasn’t going to succumb to the elements. She knew what was required of her and to her credit, she was determined to be professional about it, fainting spells be damned. After just an hour of getting it together, she was back to her old self—game, excited, and (a wee bit) embarrassed to let everyone down. “I guess it makes me happy that people perceive me that way [a pro]. Pag ganitong shoot na more skin and nude, wala naman akong issue. It’s also because I’m comfortable with Mark (Nicdao) as the photographer and with the FHM team since I’ve been working with you guys for a long time. Actually, I wasn’t expecting the elements to be so harsh. I had to go on a diet for this shoot, and I didn’t know we were going to be under the heat of the sun.” Funny thing is, as soon as Ellen was up and ready to continue with the shoot, the weather changed just as quickly as her mood. The sky suddenly turned dark, the heat of the sun replaced by angry clouds that poured heavy rain. And in the middle of the madness was our cover girl, enjoying every minute of the downpour as the lens captured and immortalized the moment. Inspired by her carefree attitude, the crew decided it would be a shame to not join in. Ellen paid no mind to the tempestuous waves that came crashing in her direction.