By association, Daniella “Dani” Barretto is a showbiz royalty.
Her parents Marjorie Barretto and Kier Legaspi both belong to showbiz clans. Gretchen and Claudine are her famous, albeit controversial, aunts. And she is the older half-sister of rising star Julia Barretto.
Away from the heady world of showbiz, the 20-year-old lass is creating her own niche as a fashion blogger. She is also a budding enterpreneur poised to start her own clothing line.
Despite her efforts to be inconspicuous, Dani has found herself being dragged in the Barretto controversies as she defends her younger sister Julia from bashers, and standing by her mom Marjorie in her feud with sister Claudine and estranged husband Dennis Padilla.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) recently talked to Marjorie’s eldest daughter and asked her about the pros and cons of being a Barretto, her family’s feud, her relationship with sister Julia, and why she is not in showbiz.
BEING A BARRETTO. Although she is not an artista, Dani grew up being “part of showbiz.”
She says there are people who recognize her as a Barretto, and she has learned to live with it.
“I grew up with it na, e, parang lumaki na ako na ganun yung environment, so sanay na rin ako,” she tells PEP in an exclusive interview at the launch of Converse Fall 2014 Collection last August 19, Tuesday.
Dani says she has also resigned herself to getting involved in controversies that hound her family and being forced to defend her loved ones from issues that have nothing to do with her.
She explains, “I chose kasi not to be part of the limelight.
"I chose not to be part of that situation or place na masasama ako sa ganung isyu.
"But since yung family ko medyo magnet ng maraming issues, siyempre hindi maiiwasan na masama [ako].
“Kahit naman ayoko, wala… ganun talaga, ’di ba?
“It’s not something I can control.
"I just have to always handle it in a way na mapapakita ko sa tao na okay lang ako. Kaya kong lagpasan.”
Was she ever interested in showbiz?
“Not naman hindi interested, pero if I will be given the opportunity, I wouldn’t naman not accept.
"I believe na everything na dumadating sa life natin or if you’re being offered something big, it’s a blessing,” she answers.
Right now, she is content with her own ventures, even if she is not in showbiz like her younger sister Julia.
“I’m a fashion blogger and I’m about to start my own clothing line,” she explains and adds that she intends to use her name for her line.
ON SISTER JULIA. Dani relates she is happy for her younger sister’s increasing popularity, ignoring the comparison that comes with being siblings.
She attests, “Ngayon, medyo sanay na ako [sa comparison], lalo na nung sumikat si Julia.
"Sa amin kasing magkakapatid, pinalaki kaming walang inggit-inggit sa isa’t isa.
"I’m very supportive and protective of my [siblings].”
Apart from Julia, Dani’s two other siblings with mom Marjorie are Claudia and Leon.
She says she is proud of them, "especially Julia and Dominique yung mga success nila, I’m very proud of them.”
Dominique is a cousin of Julia and Dani, the only child of their aunt, Gretchen, with businessman Tonyboy Cojuangco.
“It’s not something I should be jealous about, kasi pamilya ’yon, eh.
“Dapat ’pag pamilya, nagsusuportahan kayo, hindi nagkakainggitan,” Dani declares.
Given Julia’s very busy showbiz schedule, Dani says their time together has been lessened, but they are constantly in touch and spend time together when their schedules permit.
Dani relates, “We would still text each other, call each other, and say we miss each other.
“’Pag may problema siya, tatawag pa rin naman siya sa akin.”
PROTECTIVE SIS. As the big sister, Dani tries to play the part as best that she can, especially now that Julia needs her the most.
As she puts it, “Minsan hindi mo alam ang sasabihin mo.
"Parang all you have to do is just be there beside her, listen to her, distract her.
"’Wag mo nang ipaalala sa kanya yung mga issues.
"Inaaliw ko na lang siya para naman kapag kasama niya kami, hindi niya kailangang dalhin yung mga ’yon sa bahay.
"Sa bahay, masaya lang."
Probably one of the toughest challenges that test Dani’s patience are Julia’s online bashers.
She says, “I’m not going to lie. There are times talaga na gusto ko nang sagutin lahat ng bashers, awayin sila.”
But she also reveals that Julia is finding her own strength in the face of these challenges, which gives Dani relief.
“I don’t know how she does it, but she remains so calm.
"She always tells us, ‘Wala akong magagawa, they’re there. Wala naman akong magagawa to stop them.’
"Which is true, you cannot please everybody talaga.”
Julia’s recent controversy concerns the changing of her last name from Baldivia to Barretto.
Baldivia is the real surname of actor Dennis Padilla, the father of Julia and her younger siblings Claudia and Leon.
About the predicament her siblings are in, Dani is hard-pressed to comment.
“Well, I don’t know how to answer.
"I guess ’pag pamilya talaga ang pinag-uusapan, ibang usapan talaga ‘yon.
"Parang it goes na rin with other families.
“Pero kasi, like what I said, pinalaki kami ng mommy na maging matapang at all times.
"Kasi ’pag nagpakita kami ng slight bit of weakness, mas titirahin kami nang titirahin.
“And I’m very proud of my sisters, my siblings, because they handle all the controversies so well despite being so young.
"Yung parang kahit na naaapektuhan man sila, parang hindi mo mapapansin.
"Kaya nilang ilugar ang sarili nila pagdating sa ibang bagay, kailangan composed, kailangan okay."
STILL HOPEFUL. The family feud in the Barretto family is common knowledge. How does Dani feel?
“How can I answer that?
"Hindi lang siguro kami na-bless kung paano yung ibang pamilya but we learn to surpass it all.
“Wala kaming magagawa if it’s destined to be that way,” Dani says with a shrug of her shoulder.
She admits, “Mami-miss mo talga yung kumpleto kayo lahat, I won’t lie, kasi close talaga yung pamilya namin.
"Nasubaybayan ng buong mundo ‘yan na close talaga kami.
"I guess unfortunate lang kami na this has to happen, but nonetheless, life goes on."
Does she still hope that her family will one day get over their misunderstanding and have a harmonious relationship?
"Kahit siguro sino sa amin, kahit siguro hindi kami, yung ibang tao lang na iniidolo yung pamilya ko o pamilya namin, siguro yun din yung hope nila.
“I’m really hoping for the best for our family.
"Maybe timing lang talaga. Timing lang is everything."