Marian Rivera is not sorry
Cate de Leon (The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Despite her striking and breathtakingly delicate features, Marian Rivera is perhaps the least saccharine person that I’ve met. She walks into the room with a smile on her face and gets right down to business, assessing the gowns that have been laid out for her to wear. She doesn’t bother trying to woo the people in the room. If she doesn’t remember you from the millions of interviewers she’s faced, she won’t pretend to. After having met quite a few actors and high-profile people for the first time — and having them all warmly tell me that I “look familiar”— eventually I realized that I probably didn’t have a doppelganger roaming the showbiz circuit. It was all patronizing PR, which they thought they needed to bestow on me.

Marian is polite and very easy to work with, but she won’t coddle you with warmth. Even when the shoot wraps up and it’s time for her to leave, you can easily tell from the way she bids goodbye to each person who she’s spent more of her life with. If you’re close, you’re close. If you’re not, you’re not. Those who are more sensitive would probably brand that as suplada, but I strangely appreciated it. This was a woman with whom I knew exactly where I stood. In hindsight, I also realized she was a ton more respectful than those who thought a pinch of flattery was necessary.

‘TARAY’ QUEEN

Unsurprisingly, the words “suplada” and “mataray” have been following the snappy Marian around, in a culture where people are so used to having their egos given the spa treatment. “Ang sagot ko dun... totoo naman! Totoo naman kasi eh. I think it’s OK to be suplada as long as you’re not power tripping. Hindi rin naman siguro masama na mag-react kapag may ginawa sa’yo. Basta ang motto ko sa buhay, kung mabait ka, mas mabait ako sa’yo. Pag sinalbahe mo ako, ah patay na.”

Marian is glad to have started her now eight-year showbiz career without the aid of pretense. She revels in the freedom that comes with being straightforward and how everyone relates to her as that. She does, however, admit that she has had to learn not to be transparent all the time; to know when to speak and when to keep it zipped.

“Actually, it’s not just in showbiz,” she says, unfazed by the body of intrigue that has been thrown at her so far. “Bago ako nag-artista nakapagtrabaho naman ako. Even at the office or hospital or in school, you get situations like that. It’s just that this industry broadcasts everything. Pero pare-parehas lang ang tao.

WORK IS WORK IS WORK

What gives Marian the courage to always show up as herself under the klieg lights is that she gets on a deep and grounded level that stardom isn’t everything. It’s a job —a job that makes many people happy and provides for her family — but still just a piece of the pie. “Hindi dito umiikot ang mundo ko. When I’m no longer here at your interview, I’ll be at home with my family, at yun yung totoong buhay.”

At work, Marian may give off that stand-offish aura that makes it always clear that you don’t own her. But that doesn’t mean she’s incapable of caring deeply and belonging to the people who really matter. Her family keeps cropping up during the duration of our conversation. “Hanggat kaya ko silang bigyan ng oras, gagawin ko, lalo na yung lola ko kasi matanda na siya. My mom is like my best friend, and I can’t not talk to my dad in Spain at least once a day. With my siblings, I like seeing their pictures and what’s on their agenda. Yung mga pamangkin ko na pinag-aaral ko, gusto ko palaging kamustahin kung nag-aaral ba sila ng mabuti. Those are my concerns. My family.”

Once in a while, Marian also sends her fans direct messages to thank them and update them on her life. “Kasi kung wala sila, wala talagang Marian. They’re the ones who push me up.” It’s a line that’s been said so many times before, but Marian speaks it as if she were articulating a conviction.

She describes herself as a simple girl with simple dreams, whose main purpose in life is to be happy and make sure her family is the same. Beyond that, Marian simply lets the issues and intrigues come. “Hindi mo naman maiiwasan ang issue eh. Kahit nananahimik ako, kung merong gusto akong gawan ng issue, gagawan at gagawan ako eh. So ang kailangan ko lang gawin, wala deadma. Ah, ah issue? Ahhhhhoookay! Deadma!’” she laughs. “What’s important is at the end of the day, when I’m about to sleep, masaya ba ako sa buhay ko?” With certainty, Marian answers her own question in the affirmative, and to her that’s all that needs to be said.

* * *

Tweet the author @catedeleon.

AHHHHHOOOKAY AKO DEADMA HANGGAT KAHIT KASI MARIAN MARIAN RIVERA WHEN I
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