Book chronicles the life of Filipino child star, Cave Creek resident – Foothills Focus

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Not many people can say that they had the privilege of penning their famous parent’s biography, but Mylene Agana Jao Richardson is one of the few.

In “The Legend of Tessie Agana: Beloved Child Star of the Philippines: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother,” Richardson shares the inside story of her mother Tessie Agana, a Cave Creek resident who was a Filipino child actress in the 1950s known as the “Shirley Temple of the Philippines” and “The Nation’s Little Sweetheart.”

The Legend of Tessie Agana Book Cover

Richardson’s debut book hit shelves today, Sept. 20 — just in time for Filipino American History Month in October.

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s been a long road for me to get to this point,” the Scottsdale resident said, adding that the book took her 15 years to write. “So I think it for me, it’s very surreal to even get here. It was definitely the best journey to get to this destination. Even at this destination, I still feel like there’s so much more to do and to say.”

Richardson penned “The Legend of Tessie Agana” for her family — her mother in particular, now aged 81, is thrilled for its release.

“I wanted this physical thing for my mom. … She has been a part of my journey from the very beginning. I’ve read every chapter to her,” Richardson said. “That was my objective, is that I wanted her to hear her story, because it’s a powerful story and people need to listen to these stories — to her story.

“And so she’s just beside herself. Every time she looks at this book, she hugs the book.” (Read the full story in The Foothills Focus)

By Summer Aguirre, Foothills Focus Managing Editor
September 20, 2023

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Mylene Richardson

Mylene Richardson

Mylene Agana Jao Richardson was born in Manila, Philippines, and is the sixth of nine children (six boys and three girls) from Tessie Agana Jao and Dr. Rodolfo Jao. Although she grew up in Indiana, her trips back to the Philippines are her most memorable family vacations. Mylene currently lives in Arizona, with her husband Andy, and their two sons, Chapman and Harris.


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