Marian Rivera: Unfiltered

Marian Rivera: Unfiltered


by Rachelle Siazon, Nikko Tuazon

"Hindi ako takot na dumating ako sa point na, 'Ay, may kulubot na yung mukha ko. Ay, 30 na ko, ang tanda ko na.' No. Sabi ko nga, tumatanda ako na may na-achieve ako sa buhay ko at masasabi ko whole ako." — Marian Rivera

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She never dreamed of becoming famous.

Her aspirations were typical of any young woman coming of age: to be a career woman, find a good man to marry, raise a happy family.

She was not ambitious, but she became Marian Rivera.

She was catapulted to stardom before she turned 30, and is now at 33 the reigning Prime-Time Queen of GMA-7.

How did Marian do it?

Her answer was simple, "Because we work hard, kung alam lang nila."

It was on a Friday afternoon, halfway through the end of a busy work week, when Marian did the shoot for Headliner, the very first digital cover of Philippine Entertainment Portal.

She arrived at the Summit studio in a short denim skirt, black shirt, and black boots combo, sans makeup, her hair done up in a simple pony.

GMA-7's Prime-Time Queen Marian Rivera on Headliner, the very first digital cover of Philippine Entertainment Portal
PHOTO by Edward dela Cuesta

Without a fuss, she plunked herself down comfortably on the makeup chair and chatted away while her glam team prepped her up. 

The Kapuso actress, we quickly learned, gets things done fast.

She listened to instructions, gave suggestions, livened things up with witty punchlines, and went about the business on hand with ease.

She breezed through four layouts, changed clothes fast, and gamely spilled out in this interview her unfiltered thoughts on what it takes to be Marian Rivera.

"Alam naman ng lahat na ako ang tipo ng taong very transparent. Palaban talaga ako," she said of her ballsy, go-getter attitude.

"Pero mapagmahal ako. Ang mahal ko, mahal ko—literal," she hastened to add.

PHOTO by Edward dela Cuesta

On the top of her list are husband Dingdong Dantes and their daughter Maria Leticia, better known by her moniker Zia. 

They are, according to Marian, her life's "priceless" rewards.

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Dingdong and Zia, she said, are her first considerations before she makes any important decision, however difficult it is.

But she got married and gave birth at the height of her showbiz career, tough choices. What was it like for her?

Marian answered, "Ayokong sabihin na pinakamahirap kasi choice ko siya, ginusto ko siya.

"Number one, alam naman natin na pag nag-asawa ka, iba na.

"Hindi puwede na yung kilos mo nung dalaga ka, same pa din.

"Why? Kasi nung dalaga ka, ako magde-decide ng para sa sarili ko.

"Ngayon, hindi na puwede. Pag may gusto ako, iko-consult ko, 'Dad, okay lang ba 'to? Dad, puwede ba 'to?'

"Dalawa na kayo, dun papasok yung respect sa isa't isa at kailangan meron nun.

"Kung dati parang, 'Ay, aalis ako!'  'San ka punta?' 'Secret!'

"Ngayon, hindi na. Kailangan nakalatag na lahat."

Edwrad dela Cuesta
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Marian married Dingdong on December 31, 2014.

On November 23, 2015, she gave birth to Baby Zia.

Marian continued, "Marami ang babaeng takot mabuntis.

"Marami ang takot na mabago ang katawan nila, mag-deform ang kung ano mang meron sila, magkaka-stretch marks sila…

"At papasok ka. Magpapadede ka ba?

"Pero sabi ko nga, gusto ko maging role model sa mga kababaihan na natatakot manganak na priceless ang magkaanak. Choice ko din yun."

She quickly clarified, "Siyempre, ipasantabi naman natin do'n sa may mga ayaw, choice nila ‘yan.”

Many moms get the blues after giving birth, but in the case of Marian, "Arte-arte lang, e, parang feeling ko lungkot-lungkutan ako na, 'Ay, bakit medium ako?'"

She got her post-pregnancy figure back, too, in no time at all, "Nag-small ako, extra-small, tapos extra-extra small na ulit ako.”

She went on to say that she takes parenthood seriously.

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"Pangatlo na big decision, yung i-give up ko ang meron ako para maalagaan ko ang anak ko."

A brief back story, in March 2015, Marian was supposed to headline The Richman’s Daughter, but she gave it up when she learned she was pregnant.

Her role went to Rhian Ramos opposite Glaiza de Castro.

As much as Marian wanted to do the project, she prioritized her pregnancy.

She also took a break from doing prime-time series for two years to keep close to Zia during her infanthood.

Nonetheless, she remained visible via GMA-7’s weekly variety show Sunday PinaSaya and commercial endorsements.

In September 2017, Marian made her comeback on primetime TV via Super Ma’am.

"Sa awa ng Diyos, and thankful ako sa GMA na nangyari na ang lahat, nag-asawa, nanganak, and everything. Still, nandyan sila para pagkatiwalaan ako at bigyan ako ng malalaking proyekto."

Faced with the grueling demands of Super Ma’am Marian was forced to leave the care of Baby Zia at home to her mother, Amalia Rivera.

Being away from her baby for several hours gave Marian separation anxiety, her biggest challenge yet as a first-time mom.

"Hindi ko din alam kung paano nakakaya ng nanay na after giving birth after two weeks, nagwo-work na," the actress mused.

"Ako nga parang ilang taon na yung anak ko bago ako nagtrabaho."

Edward dela Cuesta
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HAPPY PARENTING

Both Marian and Dingdong's Instagram accounts—@marianrivera and @dongdantes—have become their online diary flooded with baby Zia's latest milestones.

Dingdong, in particular, captures Marian and Baby Zia's candid moments, and captions them with heart-warming messages.

The actress commented, "Siguro mas maganda kung sa kanya manggagaling.

"Pero ang maganda kasi niyan, siguro nakita niya kung gaano ako ka-dedicated mom at handa akong ibigay ang lahat para sa family na meron kaming dalawa

"Kasi willing talaga akong ibigay ang lahat. Sabi ko nga, minsan naiiyak ako, ganun pala talaga pag sobrang mahal na mahal mo yung anak mo. Totoo yun, e.

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"Pangit ng term, palasak na lang, pero ibibigay mo na lang, kakainin mo na lang, ibibigay mo pa."

"Isa-sacrifice mo sarili mo—hindi na ako matutulog, puyat ako tatlong araw, dalawang araw wala pang tulog—okay lang. Sacrifice because of love talaga."

Marian gives full credit to Dingdong for being there all the time, especially during moments when she doubts her capability as a working mom.

She recalled, "May mga time kasi na parang feeling mo, 'Ay, pagod na pagod na ko,' Si Dong, 'Hindi, okay lang 'yan!'

"’Tapos yung anak ko, 'I love you, Mama.' ’Tapos si Dong, gano'n din.

"Makakatayo ka talaga nang straight kung meron sa likod mo na nagpu-push sa ‘yo, mga mahal mo sa buhay na naniniwala sa ‘yo.

"Malaking bagay yun, e, at thankful ako na meron ako nun."

PHOTO by Edward dela Cuesta

Marian admitted she was so caught up with the new chapter in her life as a mom that, without meaning to, she had cast her husband aside.

It worried her, but again, it was Dingdong himself who comforted her.

She explained, "Kasi pag first-time mom ka, ang focus mo, e, yung anak mo at sa haba ng pasensiya ng asawa ko, nawawalan minsan talaga ako minsan ng time.

"And, to be honest, talagang never ko siyang naringgan na, 'Uy, andali lang, a. Bakit gano'n? Parang ganito? Ba't ganyan ka?'

"Never in my life talaga, as in tinake niya lahat hanggang sa nakikita niyang nakaka-recover ako.

"Do'n na kami medyo nagkukwentuhan na, 'Alam mo ba, dati?'

"’Tapos ako, 'Ay may ganyan pala?' Tapos sabi ko, ang bait naman neto ng asawa ko.

"Hindi biro, e. Parang may anak ako, hindi naman sa ini-itsapuwera ka [pero] wala ka sa circle of life ko

"Between [Baby Zia] and me lang. Yung anak ko at saka ako.

"Pag first-time mom pala, feel mo end of the world na...  Natatapos ang buong araw na tinititigan mo lang yung anak mo.

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"’Di ko man lang matanong yung asawa ko nang ganun... 'Ay, andyan ka na ba? Kumain ka na ba?'  

"So, tinake niya yun lahat na, wala akong naririnig sa kanya, na hanggang ngayon na naka-recover ako, nakabalik ako sa normal ko, na-overcome ko yung pag-aalaga ko, yung pagbe-breast feed ko.

"Ngayon lumalabas na kami, happy-happy na ulit kami.

"Nagkukuwentuhan kami, sabi ko, 'Ah, at least natuto na ako, sa second baby ko, alam ko na kung ano ang gagawin ko.'"

Edward dela Cuesta
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MONEY MATTERS

It’s obvious Marian and Dingdong are abundantly blessed in their respective careers; they are earning more than enough to live a good life.

But we found out it was futile to ask Marian how, as a family woman, she manages the household expenses.

"Sorry ha, nachi-cheapan talaga kami sa money issue," she declared.

"Parang, siguro baka nasasabi ko lang, kasi okay kami, financially, stable kami;  pero, hindi talaga, e."

"May sarili siya, may sarili ako pero may bibilhin ako, sinasabi ko din, respeto lang na parang pinapaalam ko lang."

According to her, she and Dingdong keep separate bank accounts, and a joint one for their family's future.

Baby Zia also has her own bank account, “Nag e-endorse na, e, so si Zia may sariling bank account, and lahat ng kinikita niya, pasok sa bank account niya.

"Pag 18 years old niya, 'Anak, eto yung kinita mo, bahala ka kung anong gusto mong gawin diyan.'"

With regard to their personal spending, Marian said they keep each other informed before they make a huge purchase.

She revealed, "Honest kami, example siya, 'Uy, bili ako ng motor. Tignan mo, ganda.' ‘Ay, ganda! Magkano?' 'Ayos, ganda ba?'

"Gano’n kami. Hindi naman yung, 'Uy, nasa bahay na! Ay, may Mercedes na tayo?!' Hindi gano’n.”

Marian also recalled, laughingly, "Parang ako, well, babae naman, 'Dad, o, ganda ng bag.' Sabi ni Dong, 'Magkano ‘yon?'

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"Sagot ko naman, 'Eto…' Biro ni Dong, 'Pangit!' Ako, 'Talaga ba?!'

"Basta nag dyo-joke kaming gano’n. So, gano’n kami mag-take ng gano’ng mga bagay."

But, seriously, Marian said they are careful spenders, "Echos lang ‘yon, yun yung nagsasabi na, 'Sandali, kailangan ba talaga ‘yan? Baka kasi gumastos tayo.'

"Especially ngayon na may Zia kami, hindi na kami masyadong OA sa gastos."

She added, "Parang inisip naming future, kailangan makapag-business kami.

"Kailangan makapagbahay kami, kailangan yung dream house namin ganito, kailangan ganito for Zia, future ni Zia, school ni Zia, saan si Zia mag-aaral.

"Kasi, naniniwala din ako sa school. Kung saan niya ipapasok yung anak mo, dun mabubuo yung personalidad niya, e—bahay and school.

"So pag-iipunan namin yun. E, paano yun? Gusto namin maraming anak. Alangan namang yung isa dun sa maganda, yung isa sa gano’n.

"So kailangan i-achieve naman na we work hard para sa kanila, hindi puwedeng bara-bara lang.

"Kasi mataas yung pangarap ko. Sorry, mataas yung pangarap ko sa anak ko, e.

"Yung mga weakness ko, kailangan hindi niya weakness, chos!"

PHOTO by Edward dela Cuesta

NOT SCARED OF LOSING STARDOM

Clearly, Marian can’t ask for more than her happy family life on top of her flourishing showbiz career.

Is she afraid of losing her stardom?

Without missing a beat, Marian answered, “Hindi lahat ng tao nabibigyan ng pagkakataon na maranasan kung ano ang nararanasan ko. So, dun palang, thankful na ako.

"And alam naman nating lahat na kailangan tanggapin natin ang katotohanan na, may bata at may batang dadating in showbiz, at tatanda at tatanda ka din.

"At sabi ko talaga, hindi ako takot maging matanda.”

Marian emphasized that her life with Dingdong and Zia away from the glitz and glamor of showbiz is what truly makes her feel complete.

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"Hindi ako takot na dumating ako sa point na, 'Ay, may kulubot na yung mukha ko. Ay, 30 na ko, ang tanda ko na.' No. Sabi ko nga, tumatanda ako na may na-achieve ako sa buhay ko at masasabi ko whole ako."

She continued, "Kasi nagkaroon ako ng anak, nagkaroon ako ng asawa na pinakasalan ako.

"So, doon pa lang, buong-buo na buhay ko, e.”

Last question, as an only child, does Marian want a big family?

She hemmed and hawed, “More children? Gano'n? Siguro 'yon.

"Pero sa nangyayari ngayon, sobrang thankful ako.

"Ayoko naman sabihin na wala na akong pangarap, na natupad ko na lahat. No.

"Ang tao kasi, hindi nauubusan ng pangarap. Pero dapat nakokontento ka kung ano’ng meron ka."

 

PRODUCED BY: Karen Pagsolingan

ASSISTED BY: Nikko Tuazon

ART DIRECTION & SET STYLING: Jeremiah Idanan

SHOOT COORDINATION: Irene Mislang

STYLING: Leanne Ledesma and Melville Sy of Qurator Studio

MAKEUP: Juan Sarte

HAIR: Celeste Tuviera

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