Heart Evangelista admits feeling “defeated” at times by persistent criticisms from bashers.
It is in those moments that the 32-year-old Kapamilya actress would remind herself of the words of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who became her friend.
Recalling one conversation with the feisty senator, Heart said, “She told me that I should quit showbiz daw because she felt that I was too weak, and I would be affected too much about how things are in showbiz.
“And that if I wanted to stay, I would have to develop my backbone. And that I have to fight back because she won’t always be here for me.”
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) interviewed Heart last October 3 during a shoot, with My Korean Jagiya leading man Alexander Lee, for PEPtalk on the 17th floor of the GMA Network Center.
How would she describe her closeness with the lady senator?
Heart told PEP.ph, “She was so involved in my life, she did all my contracts... my bookings.
"She was like a manager, she planned out my life. She sketched my life for me.
"I am in such a better place because of her. It was like she knew she was gonna leave.
“So, I’m so grateful. Parang she set me up before she left us.”
HEART'S MATCHMAKER. It was the lady senator's matchmaking that led Heart to her husband, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero.
In 2012, Heart had just broken up with Daniel Matsunaga, when Senator Miriam handed the Kapuso actress a list of eligible bachelors in politics and business.
According to Heart, Senator Chiz was at the top of the list, and she readily gave her matchmaker permission to give her number to him.
On May 10, 2012, Heart and Chiz had their first date at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Heart went on to say that she misses the late Senator Miriam, who battled stage four lung cancer and died on September 29, 2016.
The Kapuso actress recalled, “She was a queen. When she arrives, everybody would stand up.
“She gave me the best advice, and I feel like I took that in. I feel like I’m so much stronger now.
“I feel like I survived because she was there, and she gave me a heads up that you have to develop a backbone and you need to know how to put your foot down.”
DEALING WITH BASHERS. Heart said there are many times she feels vulnerable, and during those times she would talk to herself:
“You’re not gonna post on your Instagram account that you’re defeated.
“You’re not gonna post on your Instagram account that this certain person hit you hard.
“That a certain basher's hate message feels like her hand came out of the phone and slapped you.
"You’re not gonna say that. You’re gonna fight that."
Heart continued, “Of course, there are moments where you, even if you say na, ‘I don’t want this person. I don’t care if they don’t like me.’
“In your heart, you feel, like, ‘If you gave me a chance, we could be friends.’ May ganun ka, e.
“I guess, that’s the little girl in me.
“Of course, sometimes it gets you down—but just for a brief moment.
“I think I’m strong enough to set it aside.”