MANILA, Philippines - She was five when her parents separated. She was seven when their marriage was annulled.
Mareshah Mishael Rivera Vallar, daughter of former commercial model/actress Monette Rivera and ’70s actor Michael Vallar, admits she was traumatized by the annulment that she lost her confidence and her faith in love.
“When my parents separated, I was the one really affected by it. I was traumatized to face the camera and lost my confidence to talk to people. For a time, I became a loner in school. It was only during my high school years that I learned to express my anger towards them. I left home at age 16,” says the 25-year-old who was exposed in the industry at a very young age. At age three, Mishael did her first TV commercial and continued to appear in 24 more commercials until she was seven.
Being a daddy’s girl, what Mishael truly found difficult was not being able to run to her father when she had a tough day in school. Not having him around really affected Mishael.
“My mom was hiding from my dad so we had to move to different places and different schools. I’ve had a total of nine schools. So adjusting was really hard for me and my brothers,” she admits.
Because she left home as a teenager, Mishael had to work to survive. When her friends from the older batch graduated, she didn’t want to be left behind in school so she dropped out, passed the acceleration exam and tried looking for work. She was not able to start her college education so finding a job was difficult.
“I was 17 at the time and I had to fake my age so I could pass the age requirement. I wasn’t ready to work but at the time, I knew I had to if I wasn’t going to return home,” she recalls. She got accepted in a call center and worked there for five years. Mishael also worked as a live online casino VIP dealer. Today, she is a real estate consultant for Nuvo and Picar.
“I was lost for a while but there comes a time when you just have to accept the situation and learn to live with it. Even though I wasn’t going to church, I would always pray to God to give me strength and I’m so thankful that despite the challenges that I encountered, God was always there to guide and protect me,” Mishael shares.
Perhaps the greatest lesson she learned from her parents’ separation is that marriage shouldn’t be done in haste and should be between two people who know how to compromise and accept each other despite their flaws. Mishael is single and taking her sweet time waiting for the right one.
“I want to concentrate on loving myself first and my career. Marriage is not yet on my mind right now but if the right person comes, then I wouldn’t deny myself the opportunity,” she ends.