Cebuana Diva Montelaba loves the idea of being mentioned alongside Jennylyn Mercado, Ryza Cenon, Jackie Rice, and Jewel Mische—all previous StarStruck Ultimate Sweethearts.
With GMA-7's reality-based artista search show about to conclude its fifth season on February 21 at the Araneta Coliseum, Diva is raring to go out there and prove that she has what it takes to win this year's honor.
"I'm pretty sure that I have a great chance kasi naniniwala ako na sa lahat ng sinakripisyo ko, I deserve a price," Diva told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview last February 4 at the TriNoma Mall Activity Center.
Such bold display of confidence is rare for the 5'7" dusky beauty, given the fact that she grew up as a shy and inhibited young woman.
NATIVE BEAUTY. Diva confessed having problems with her self-esteem during the time she auditioned for StarStruck. She cites her lack of confidence to a childhood deprived of parental attention.
Diva's parents are separated and both eventually found new partners, leaving parental responsibility to her grandmother, who took up the role dutifully.
"Siguro 'yong pagiging iba ko sa kanila [fellow StarStruck contenders]... Most of them grew up in a complete family," Diva reasoned when asked why she felt awkward mingling with the others at first.
More than the promise of stardom, most talent search programs leaning on the reality-based format aim to develop an individual's character through a series of challenges. In Diva's case, her StarStruck stint helped repair her low self-esteem, which paved the way for her to remain in the final crucial stretch.
Aside from Diva, the other five finalists are Sarah Lahbati, Nina Kodaka, Rocco Nacino, Enzo Pineda, and Steven Silva.
Diva feels that her "tan color which represents true Filipina beauty" is one considerable edge working in her favor come judgment night.
"The talents that I have," she added. "I really think that I have proven a lot while here in StarStruck."
And contrary to what others think, the 19-year-old aspiring actress and model, whose full name is Hyacinth Diva, is not bothered by the negative "prima donna" connotation of her chosen screen name.
"I have no regrets," she said, pertaining to her name. "Kasi tumatak na din siya sa mga tao."