By now,everyone knows the story of how Marian Rivera came to be a household name,thanks to GMA-7's top-rating primetime soap Marimar. How the 22-year-old actress was born in Spain, raised by her grandmother in Cavite, landedleading roles in daytime soaps, and got her biggest break to date. But beyondthe surface, who is Marian Rivera, really?
As Marian herself reveals to marie claire magazine, she's a lola's girl. "Of course, I love my mom,too," she says, "But my grandma holds first place in my heart." She is so closeto her grandmother that leaving her behind in Cavite to pursue her showbizcareer is one of the major turning points in her life. "Since childhood, it'salways been the two of us. Always," Marian shares, "Then I made theexcruciating decision to leave her because I wanted to work." She starts totear up before saying, "It was as if after she took care of me, I just suddenlyabandoned her to live my own life. That's the hardest and most painful part ofit all."
Despite being away from hergrandmother, Marian brings with her a deep faith that was instilled sincechildhood. Laughingly, she tells marie claire how she would even missclasses just to hear Mass and even went to church right after the Marimar audition."Lahat ng simbahang puwedeng pasukan, pinasok ko," she says, "As long as myschedule permits, I still go to Baclaran every Wednesday."
Her grandmother also taught her tostand on her own feet, lessons that proved to be valuable when Marian's careerhad yet to peak and she found herself washing her own clothes by hand andlugging her own things to shoots, a far cry from her pampered existence inCavite. Marian learned to be her own person, unafraid to be true to herself. "Ididn't finish college just to be belittled by anyone—showbiz or not," Marianasserts, "My principle in life is if you're kind to me, I'll be kinder to you. Pero'pag tinarantado mo ako, mas tarantado ako sa ‘yo. I'll just reflect theway you treat me."
Such candor may be rare in showbiz,but Marian is quick to say that she has learned to compromise with showbiz. "Ilearned to [keep] my temper [in control], makibagay sa lahat ng tao, so they'dhave nothing to say about me." Having to deal with all sorts of people promptsMarian to recall her experience of taking up a three-month practicum in theNational Mental Hospital. "Mas mahirap pa nga pakisamahan ‘yung mga normal eh,"she says, "Kasi[the mental patients], they're real people. Whateverthey feel, nilalabas nila. When they're mad, they really show it."
She explains that people in themental hospital were extremely sensitive and would notice if you cover yournose or try to curb the urge to gag, saying, "Working in the mental hospitalrequires intense love and understanding." With that, it becomes clear thatthere is so much more to Marian than her Marimar persona: an actress whoremains unafraid to be the woman her grandmother brought her up to be, a womanwho knows where she wants to go but will not step on anyone just to get there.Of her journey to the top, she says, "Independence, self-confidence, knowingwhat's right and wrong, the will to act, and faith all led me to where I amnow."
Marian Rivera is clearly at the top of her game. marie claire reveals more about Marian in its March issue, available in allleading newsstands nationwide at P125 per copy.