"Noon, commercial talent. Ngayon, leading lady na," says Marian Rivera in one of her many productendorsements. This is exactly how onecan describe the showbiz career of the 24-year-old Caviteña.
Nobody knew her when she was still a commercial talent. Butafter she was launched as the Philippine version of the heroine in the Mexicantelenovela Marimar, every other Filipino recognized her as the actresswith a bright future in show business.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) now looks back on howshe became one of the biggest stars today.
EARLY ROLES. Like most showbiz wannabes, Marian started out as a commercial talentbefore she entered the world of acting.
In an interview with YES! magazine (January 2008),Marian recalled that it was the assistant of Popoy Caritativo, her currenttalent manager, who gave her an offer she couldn't refuse.
"Pinapahanap daw ako ni Mr. [Tony] Tuviera," Marian relatedto YES! magazine. Mr. Tuviera isthe producer of Eat Bulaga.
Apparently, Mr. Tuviera remembered Marian in one of herprevious commercials and wanted make her the lead star of an afternoon soapopera. She consulted her mother,grandmother and even her father, who is a Spanish restaurateur. They were all hesitant for Marian to join thecrazy world of showbiz, but she was determined to try her luck.
So, she agreed to do the role of Clarisse, the leading ladyof Oyo Boy Sotto, in Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang Ako (2005). This was followed by a short stint in themovie Enteng Kabisote 2: Okay Ka, Fairy Ko (2005)and two otherafternoon teledramas, AgawinMo Man ang Lahat (2006)and Pinakamamahal (2006). Also in2006, she signed an eight-picture contract with Regal Entertainment.
Becoming a big star in local showbiz was not easy forMarian. Like other celebrities, she gotroles that were far from her age.
She was only 22 years old when she accepted mother roles inGMA-7's afternoon teleserye Muli (2007) and primetime fantaserye SuperTwins (2007). Some observers thoughther career was already laying low.
Marian admitted to YES! that she felt sad by theroles she was getting. Nonetheless, she took things positively, saying that theroles helped her show the audience her versatility in acting:
"Ang maganda lang, marunong akong tumanggap ng project andnever akong nag-reject sa lahat ng 'binibigay nila sa akin. Ke mapa-nanay, ke mapa-sweet na loveteam,kahit ano ginawa ko. At least alam nilana kahit saan nila ako ilagay puwede."
THE NEXT BIG STAR. Marian was a psychology student at the De La Salle University inDasmariñas, Cavite.Even then she was determined to make it big in the industry she was starting tolove. And so, when GMA-7 announced anaudition for the lead character of Marimar, the young actress started tointernalize the role-she practiced Marimar'sdance moves diligently, trimmed her figure, and dared herself towear a two-piece bikini (her first time ever) in the audition.
All her efforts paid off. Marian got the title role of thePhilippine remake of Marimar (2007). Soon, on her birth month (August), then 23-year-oldMarian Rivera was declared "the next big star" by GMA-7 president and CEO Atty.Felipe Gozon. (Click here to read related article: http://www.pep.ph/news/14336/GMA-7-declares-Marian-Rivera-its-Next-Big-Star)
The teleserye'smass appeal, particularly her successful team-up with hunk actorDingdong Dantes, was such a hit that it consistently topped the primetimeratings. In fact, it even broke therecord of the original Marimar, which rated 46.5 percent, by getting49.5 percent for one of its episodes in November 2007.
And so, more windows of opportunity opened up for Marian inmovies and product endorsements. Marian was in the cast of two official entriesto the 2007 Metro Manila Film Festival, Bahay Kubo and Desperadas. Last February, she starred with RichardGutierrez in the Valentine movie (GMA Films) My Best Friend's Girlfriend.
Her commercial endorsements almost tripled from the numberof products she was endorsing while she was still starting in the business. Shebecame an image model for a communications company, and for brands of shampoo, ladies'wardrobe, denim pants, fruit drinks, yogurt, and even signature bags.
"Siguro masaya doon sa mga nagtitiwala sa akin sa mgacommercials. Kasi dumadami talaga ang[endorsement ko]. 'Tapos ang nakakatuwa,lahat ng ine-endorso kong product, lahat sila nagre-renew ng contract," saidMarian in an interview with PEP when we visited the set of her new show Dyesebelin Subic, Zambales recently.
In spite of all her success, Marian keeps her feet on theground. In fact, she doesn't want tothink of her popularity. "Ayaw kongisipin ang mga ganyan kasi kung iisipin mo nang ganun wala namang mangyayari sabuhay ko, e. Mamaya lumaki pa ang ulo ko."
She added, "At saka ang lagi kong sinasabi, sige, kung nasaisip ko na ako 'yong big star na 'yon at ako ang princess nila, hindi akoganito magsalita sa inyo ngayon. So,gusto ko lang 'yong normal lang 'yong lahat, 'yong totoo ako sa sarili ko."
CAN SHE SING? Afterproving her versatility as an actress, Marian surprised her followers with adance album that instantly hit the music industry.
"Sa dance album ko, actually, hindi ko ine-expect 'yon,"recalled Marian. "Actually, noongino-offer sa akin ng Universal [Records] 'yon, sabi ko kay Popoy, ‘Momsy,parang hindi ko yata kaya, mamaya masawi lang ako.' Although, gusto ko talaga magka-dance albumat hilig ko talaga ang sumayaw."
Although Marian never expected it, the sales of her album, MarianRivera Dance Hits, has reached double-platinum.
Marian excitedly told PEP, "Hindi niyo napapansin lahat ngguestings ko sa SOP, lahat surprise na mayroon akong platinum, gold na,lahat surprise. Kasi wala silang sinasabisa akin na nabenta nga yung CDs ko, walang sinasabi sa akin. Kaya, ‘Ha?! Ano 'yan? Platinum na? Hindi nga?' Parang, di ba, gumaganun ako,hindi ko ine-expect na platinum na hanggang sa nag-double platinum siya."
This Caviteña has already proven that she's her fame-she canact, dance, and even host a TV show. Nowcomes the question: Can Marian also sing?
During the interview, Marian could not answer directly ifshe would have a music album in the future. Instead, she simply told PEP, "Gusto ko talaga pero alam naman natinglahat na 'yon na lang ang hindi ko nagagawa. Kasi nakakaarte naman, nakakasayaw ako, nakakapag-comedy ako,nakakapag-drama ako, nakakapag-rap, kanta na lang talaga ang hindi konagagawa."
UPCOMING PROJECTS. Aside from her fantaserye Dyesebel, Marian is currently busydoing photo shoots for new product endorsements. She will also have a movie with her screenpartner Dingdong and another Kapuso artist Iza Calzado titled One TrueLove. She's also excited about hernext TV project, which she refused to divulge, after Dyesebel.
What's making her even busier is her month-long birthdaycelebration (her birthday is August 12) together with Dingdong Dantes, whocelebrated his 28th birthday last August 3. Both are preparing for their grand birthday celebration, which theydedicate to their avid fans, on August 27 at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City. (Click hereto read related article http://www.pep.ph/news/18523/PEP-EXCLUSIVE:-Marian-Rivera-still-works-non-stop-as-she-celebrates-24th-birthday)
Marian has gotten used to celebrating her birthday whileworking since she turned full-time actress. She said on her birthday, "Taping ako, e. Simula nang mag-artista ako, lahat ngbirthday ko may trabaho ako. Two yearsna akong nagtra-trabaho ng birthday ko, pangatlo na ito."
The birthday wish of Kapuso's Big Star: "Gusto ko na palagiakong masaya kasi importante sa akin ang pagiging masaya. At saka sanamas mahalin ako ng mga tao sa pagiging ako."