Marian Rivera talks back
10 THINGS - Bianca Gonzalez (The Philippine Star) - June 23, 2013 - 12:00am

She is the Primetime Queen of GMA7, yet day in, day out, she deals with haters, bashers, and naysayers. With her angelic face, she always plays the star on TV and in movies, yet in real life, people paint her as the kontrabida. What goes on in her head and who is she, really, behind the camera?

Here are 10 things you should know about Marian Rivera.

1 On being labeled as mataray, suplada, or maldita: “Pagod na pagod na ako marinig yan. Transparent akong tao eh. Sa showbiz pala hindi pwedeng masyadong transparent.” (I’m tired of hearing that. I’m a transparent person, but in showbiz you can’t be too transparent.)

“Sa totoo lang nagsasawa na talaga ako (I’m really getting tired of it). I used to ask myself why? What am I doing wrong?  I guess you can’t blame other people for the perception they have of me because of the issues I have been involved in,” Marian says very matter of factly. “I am tired of being labeled as maldita, “ she says in Filipino, as most of her answers were.

“I can’t please every one. As long as hindi naman kita binabastos, hindi kita tinatarayan, hindi ako nagpo-power trip sa yo, kung ayaw mo sakin, anong magagawa ko? Luluhod pa ba ako sa yo? (As long as I am not rude to you,  I’m not power tripping, if you don’t like me what can I do? Should I beg?) No. This is me. What is important is that the people I work with I am able to get along with them.”

2 She never got into any fight as a child, was a homebody growing up, and was an honor student in high school. 

“I grew up as a homebody. If other kids wanted to play with me they had to go to our house. Even when I was in college my barkada had to come to the house. My lola would let us do what we wanted to do,” the actress recalls. “I don’t know where the impression that I am a rebel came from. I speak harshly because I am from Cavite. All my cousins in Cavite are boys so I guess that is why I am a bit boyish.  My lola told me that she would allow me to become an actress. But no one will ever take advantage of you.’”

She recalls being a pretty good student in school, attending St. Francis of Assisi for grade school and high school and De La Salle University Dasmariñas for college. “There was a point in high school when I was an honor student. Not in college. I had a hard time.”  On a more casual note after the interview, she poses an observation (or even frustration) on who gets admired and who gets mocked: “Yung magaling mag-English pero hindi tapos ng high school, o yung nakatapos ng college pero hindi magaling sa English? (Those who spoke good English but didn’t finish high school or those who finished college but didn’t speak good English?)”

3On one lesson her family taught her when it comes to being involved in controversies: “No matter what is said against you, never destroy another person.”

“Hindi ganun ang pamilya ko. Lalaban kami, pero hindi to the point na maninira, (my family will flight but to the point of defaming another person),” she explains. 

Marian was born in Spain, but after her parents’ separation when she was two years old, she and her mom came back to live in Cavite. “My parents got married and got divorced later on. But they never made me choose between them. I stayed with my mom but my dad came home regularly to visit me,” she shares.

Marian reveals that her parents Francisco and Amalia prefer to not read any write-up about her. “My father never wanted to know how I was doing in showbiz.” She adds that when a negative issue is thrown at her, it is her mom she turns to first. “When I get into controversies in showbiz, I talk to my mom until I feel better.”

4Had she not been discovered to become an artista, Marian is convinced that she would still be working her first job — at the Mandaluyong Mental Hospital.

Having finished a degree in AB Psychology, Marian took her OJT in Mandaluyong Mental Hospital and worked there for four months. Her career in medicine was cut short when she was discovered by producer Tony Tuviera in a commercial.

“Oo, gusto ko dun (yes, I want that),” she says when asked if she wanted to pursue that career. “I was allowed to deal with patients, we would evaluate them, give them their medications. There are many patients I remember because once tumuntong ka dun, sasabihin mo talaga na napakaswerte mong tao (you see them there, you will realize how lucky you are).”

Marian admits to having cried many times because of overwhelming emotions in the ward. “ I was often told that when I am at the hospital I have to be strong. But I can be very emotional when I see that the patients are having a hard time sometimes I find it hard to take,” she says in a soft voice.

5 She has an obsession with butterflies and actually used to have them as pets at home.

“Anything with a butterfly makes me happy,” she says as her face lights up, and goes on to show me a butterfly chart she has saved on her phone. “It came to a point that I became obsessed with butterflies. I would cry when they died, so I asked my lola to make a cage where we could keep them. I was so obsessed that I thought of spending all my earnings on butterflies!”

She started collecting when she was still a student, and stopped just a couple of years ago. “I would prepare their food, the fruits and I would put sugar in their water.  I used to get my butterflies in Greenhills. Some were P25, other P500. They live for about a month,” she adds. At one point, she was taking care of 40 butterflies. 

6 Marian Rivera in numbers:

177,000: number of followers she has on her Instagram account, “therealmarian,” her only social media account. “ I really wanted to be on Instagram. I spoke to Ate Reg (Velasquez), but she has a lot of bashers. She told me, ‘It is easy to be on Instagram! If there is something you don’t like you can block it.”

198,100: number of followers of Marian’s parody twitter account, @superstarmarian. “ I have heard a lot about her. She tweets a lot of funny things. If she uses it in a good way, why not? But on the Internet, things can sometimes be foul. Kahit si Kuya Mike (Enriquez) tinanong ako, ‘Gusto mo may gawin tayong paraan?’ Sabi ko hindi na. (Even Mike Enriquez was asking me if I wanted to find a way, I said, no, never mind.)”

15: number of movies done within her seven-year career. To be released this year are My Lady Boss and Kung Fu Divas.

45,000: total number of units sold of her two dance albums, winning a Platinum award for the first and a Gold for the second.

2: number of days she goes on a diet if needed for a pictorial or project. “After that I go back to what I used to do!” Her choice workouts include boxing, running (3k or 5k), and Muay Thai

7 Three artists she admires most in the industry: Dawn Zulueta, Vilma Santos, and Aga Muhlach.

Dawn: “She is beautiful and her personality even makes her more beautiful. She told me, ‘Pinaglihi ko sayo anak ko, gusting-gusto kita,’” she gushes.

Vilma: “I admire her and want to be like her. When we worked together I never thought she would go to my room and talk to me. She talked to me and we exchanged numbers. We text each other even until now.”

Aga: “I want to work with him. I have met him a couple of times and I find him really nice.  I once saw him in New York and he said, ‘Hoy Marian, magkakamovie ba tayo?’ (Are we going to have a movie together?)”

She says she has the deepest respect for big stars who remain grounded and who are unselfish to newer artists like her. “I like working with people like that.”

8 Marian shares her five favorite destinations in the world:

1. Madrid, Spain: “ I was born there, but I did not grow up there. But it is like home. I am happy there because my dad and siblings are there.”

2. Paris, France: “One of the most romantic places in the whole world.”

3. Amanpulo, Philippines: “Just like paradise.” Despite her extremely fair complexion, she reveals she loves the sun but her skin doesn’t darken easily.

4. New York, USA: “I enjoy window shopping!

5. Tokyo, Japan: “The food is great. I eat a lot when I am there.

9 Despite Marian and boyfriend Dingdong Dantes being on countless “sexiest” lists, she reveals that their absolute favorite pastime as a couple is eating out.

“We love restaurants. We love eating five-course meals, we like taking our time. It is then that we share stories with each other,” she reveals. “Dong is not a very vocal person. But you will get to know him because of the way he acts.” She names Goose Station, Las Flores, Shangri-La hotels, and Tsukiji as some of their favorite places to eat.

On the sweetest thing she has done for Dingdong: “ I gathered all his relatives and friends to celebrate his 30th birthday.  He thought that it would be a date, just the two of us. But there was even a production number from his mommy, tita and cousins.” 

On the sweetest thing Dingdong has done for her: “He has done a lot. There was a time he gave me a bouquet of flowers made of art paper. He had a wish for me written on each flower! It was not wrapped well though because it was wrapped by him.”

10 If she were to describe herself in three words, Marian says: malambing, kalog, and totoong tao (sweet, crazy in a fun way,  and real).

Marian says the biggest misconception about her is that she picks fights. “ Pero hindi ako lumalaban ng walang dahilan, (I don’t fight without reason)” she explains. “Actually I don’t really want to talk about it. I am always at the short end when it comes to people’s perception of me. ‘Ay ganyan si Marian.’” She adds, “Ang pagiging mataray o maldita…I can’t be demure all the time. 

“At the end of the day ‘pag natulog ako, sino ba ako? Bakit ko kailangan magpanggap na hindi naman ako. (I don’t need to pretend who I’m not) This is who I am. This is what I can do. Unless gusto ko mag improve at ibahin sarili ko sa mas mabuting paraan, gagawin ko. Pero yung parang magpanggap ng hindi ako, hindi ko kaya. Mas pinipili ko na eto ako. (If I want to improve or change myself for the better,  I will do it, but I will not pretend. I can’t handle that. I would rather choose to be me.)”

* * *

“Actually, I am really like a child,” Marian says. (And she actually prefers to be called Yanyan.) The 28-year-old is now unfazed by accusations thrown at her, learning how to accept things more in a forgiving, childlike way than someone who just doesn’t give a damn. “Okay ang family ko, relationship okay, career okay, kailangan yata talaga may ganyan para naman balanced. Kasi pag wala, para namang ang perfect na ng lahat!”  (My family, relationship and career are okay, so maybe you need controversies for a balanced life. You can’t be perfect in everything.)

She goes on to joke that she wishes there was a phone app wherein when she reads a basher’s comment, she can push a button then she’d literally pop out of that person’s phone and say: “Hiyang hiya naman ako sayo! Ikaw na ang maganda, ikaw na ang matalino, ikaw na lahat lahat.” Everyone in the room bursts into laughter.

* * *

E-mail me at or message me on Twitter @iamsuperbianca.


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